The Need

This is not hyperbole : 40% of children in the US will be raised without their dad. Considering abuse and the many ways a father can be absent – emotionally, spiritually, physically – the ripple effect of a fatherless generation is just beginning. And considering that the very mission of Jesus was to reveal the face of the Father (John 17:25-26), and that the turning of father’s hearts towards their sons is central to God’s plan of salvation(Malachi 4:6, Luke 1:17), and that fathers are meant to image God (Ephesians 3:15), we can understand why Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict) said: “The crisis of fatherhood we are living today is an element, perhaps the most important, threatening man in his humanity.”


One effect of fatherlessness is the absence of brotherhood; if we’re not sons of a common Father our brotherhood breaks down. Without brotherhood, boys and men do not receive the rites of passage and challenge to greatness that are so necessary for full and true manhood. In study after study men are reporting that they live a “friendless” life. Just one example of the effect of living without brothers is the pornography epidemic. Men are suffering tremendously from this addiction, but the simple presence of a challenging brotherhood would give him the encouragement and accountability he needs to be free. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man must sharpen another,” (Proverbs 27:17).


Without fathers and brothers, boys are growing up confused and grasping at things they hope will make them a true man – promiscuity, power, popularity, prestige. The current trends must stop now. Catholic men must step up and provide the mentoring and rites of passage that are essential to forming boys into men. No program or curriculum will ever make up for the presence of men in the lives of boys.

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