Today we live in a ‘man’s’ world, where Spartan heroes like Leonidas, Bruce Wayne and NFL champions are our models. Culture venerates the lone predator ideal; the tough-jawed Cowboy, the ruthless Warrior, the focused Executive. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, where might makes right in a suburban jungle.

So for the ‘manly’ men out there, the rough and ready Wolverines, Jack Bauers and Thors, we need some sort of manly religion, right?

The Nature of Man

God created Men first, and commanded us to master and subdue the earth – strong words implying hard work and sweaty dominance. Since day one, the Department of Defence was a man’s arena. In his own lifetime, Adam saw assasinations and wars spoil the new world red. Men need discipline, team-work and lethal skills to stay alive, catapulting the role of defence from martial arts into swords and automatic weapons.

In fact, culture has become so ‘manly’ that even some women have become convinced that there’s something biologically and mentally wrong with themselves, and are doing their best to ‘man it up’ like the guys.  Or they ‘do what it takes’ to get affection and attention. Everything in modern culture is about, for and by men, from the calculated efficiency of the workplace, the orientation of the job and talent market, and the cultural bias to overcome deficiency and strive for manly ideals.

A man’s world needs a man’s religion. Something strong, and serious, and… manly.  Or does it?

Yes and no.  Perhaps our vision of ‘manliness’ is off.  ‘Catholicism’  holds a controversial answer – as the manliest religion.

A Misguided Sense?

Question: if Catholicism is a man’s religion, then where are the Men? Where is the noble man-hero with a gritty, werewolf complex and steel muscles driving his heel into the Demon’s head, idealizing a Man’s true role and purpose?

Since the beginning of time, God seeded our theology and history with angels, Virgins and Babies who have crushed the Demon, saved us from Hell and drawn us to Heaven.

The Hebrew world was desperate for a canonized hero to come save them on a white horse, driving their enemies into the sea and reasserting their place above the nations. The Virgin would bear a Warrior on a white horse, and Hebrews could finally center their worship on something ‘manly’.

What did they get? A Virgin, a Child, and God himself. This God-Man greeted the cheers and palms of four million Jews with… a donkey, and tears.

What kind of religion is this for a man’s world, with no men in it? Did someone drop the ball somewhere?  Or Are we dealing with a different idea of manhood?

Either Catholicism doesn’t meet the needs of manly men today, or manly men today aren’t manly enough. Is this even possible?

Chivalry: The New Vision

Every religion and ideological system in history that consciously ‘restored’ man’s pride of place has been a living hell for women, children, the weak, and let’s face it… men too.

Either in the ancient world or modern day, men have tended to dominate culture with their single minded efficiency, objectified 50% of the population, and crushed or ignored the helpless. These systems have pandered to and indulged men’s weaknesses of pride and sensuality by declaring them ‘natural’ or ‘strong points’. They have created generations of bearded children too weak to control their organs, too arrogant to correct themselves, too immature to welcome maturity.

What is Catholicism’s antidote? Chivalry.

Chivalry is blended into the heart of the Faith, and has been etched deep into the core of tradition since the moment Mother Eve bit the Forbidden Fruit. Chivalry is not just courtly deference and opened doors, but a code of conduct determining how men treat each other in honor, women in deference and the weak in generosity.

It Takes a Hero

Imagine you found the remains of a US Marine, or any soldier for that matter, on a dusty battlefield. In his helmet is a photograph, a well-thumbed and kissed color-print of… himself and the guys toting their weapons and howling at the moon in manliest manliness.

Of course not. It’s a picture of beauty and babies, his wife and children. Soldiers worthy of the name find their purpose only when their ideals are clear; they exist to protect Faith, family and frontier from the enemy. The manliest thing a Catholic man can do is enshrine the Blessed Mother and the Christ Child in his room; they are not symbols of Simpering Foppishness, but Semper Fidelis!

Catholicism is the manliest religion in history and in the world. It is manly enough to invite men to stop indulging themselves, thinking about themselves, justifying themselves. It humiliates, strengthens and focuses. Only the greatest of men can live up to it without tripping over themselves, because it takes a hero to stop admiring his own physique and actually start using it.

In a world where a Man’s mission is to subjugate, dominate and defend, the only religion worthy of Men is one that idealizes his purpose. Hebrew tradition and Catholicism put the weak, the defenseless and the beautiful on pedestals, orienting men’s vision toward God and the duty of existence.

Anything less is a betrayal. We’re meant to be mirrors of God’s goodness, chivalry and nobility, not spend our lives smiling at our reflections.

Catholicism is a real man’s religion, because it doesn’t let us stay children.

Header image CC hans s

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