Our Cold and Lonely Culture Needs the Warmth of Fatherly Love


St. Joseph is an example of holy fatherhood.
St. Joseph is an example of holy fatherhood. (photo: Unsplash)

Each year at this time, our culture focuses its attention on fathers.

But just as we see how fathers can be role models and enrich lives with a presence that reflects security, mentorship and authentic masculine affection, we are also seeing the opposite. The very real face of fatherlessness is all too visible in our society.

We have been subjected to a decades-long stream of television and movies that have deconstructed fatherhood, making it the butt of countless jokes and stereotypes.

We are awash with the pop-culture buzzwords of “male privilege” and “male-dominated patriarchy” currently in vogue both on the streets and in the halls of politics.

According to recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 12% of children in families with a biological or adoptive mother and father were living in poverty, compared to 44% of children in fatherless families.

Divorce among Catholics is as common as with non-Catholics, and out-of-wedlock births among baptized Catholics are increasing yearly. And with the sex-abuse scandals of 2002 and 2018, we are constantly reminded of the impact of the failure of spiritual fatherhood: A yet-untold number of men and women are leaving the one, true Church.

Thank God that among the shadows there are rays of hope of bold fatherliness: the French priest who rescued the Blessed Sacrament amid a shower of fiery timbers in Notre Dame Cathedral; Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles writing an open letter to Catholics, urging us to “Stay and Fight” against the abuses within the Church; the bishops who have strengthened their own dioceses’ responses to sexual abuse and the current crisis in the Church; and the many priests, bishops and laymen who faithfully respond to their respective vocations to love, serve and protect their spiritual children.

With that in mind, I encourage and pray for all fathers — spiritual, adoptive and biological — to take their responsibility seriously and to help rebuild the family.

By your example, teach your sons, daughters and those you coach or guide or mentor what it means to be a father. It is what God is asking of us, and we can do no less.

God bless you!