St. Joseph a much-needed model for Catholic men

| Matthew James Christoff | December 17, 2015 | 2 Comments

JosephJesusThere is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Many men have quit Catholicism and many fail to practice the faith. Many Catholic men have lost sight of the powerful attractiveness of heroic Catholic manhood.

During Christmas, Christ the King gives men the special blessing of remembering the heroic manhood of his earthly father, St. Joseph. St. Joseph shows Catholic men how to be better men, husbands and fathers by becoming sacrificial protectors, providers and leaders of their families in several key ways.

  • St. Joseph knows and practices the faith. Large numbers of Catholic men do not know the faith and only one in four men profess to be “practicing” Catholics. Joseph, a devout Jew, rigorously practiced the faith by his diligent adherence to Jewish rituals such as the circumcision of Jesus, the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and traveling to Jerusalem for feasts.Following St. Joseph’s lead, Catholic men can practice their faith diligently through deep engagement in the sacraments, prayer and the liturgical life of the Church.
  • St. Joseph practices heroic chastity. Two-thirds of Christian men are viewing pornography monthly, putting their souls in mortal jeopardy. The statistics approach 100 percent for young men.Worse, four of five men have not been to confession in the past year and only 1 in 50 go to confession monthly. God knows Satan uses sex to attack men and blesses men with the powerful example of the chastity of St. Joseph.St. Joseph respects the virginity of Our Lady, and, through a deep devotion to God, is given the grace to live a life of perfect celibacy. God offers the same graces to today’s Catholic lay men who aspire to chastity.
  • St. Joseph upholds the dignity of women. Many men fail to uphold the dignity of women, as they are influenced by a sexualized culture in which women are objectified. Many also reject sacramental marriages. St. Joseph demonstrates a heroic willingness to uphold Mary’s dignity by marrying her despite the fact that she is with child, and, in that relationship, upholds her virginity. In St. Joseph’s heroic chivalry, Catholic men can learn to uphold the dignity of all women.
  • St. Joseph protects Mary and Jesus. Many Catholic men are failing to watch over their families and failing to protect their homes from an increasingly perverse culture. St. Joseph protects Mary and Jesus by securing a safe place for the nativity and by leading Mary and the newborn Jesus on the dangerous and arduous trip to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous intent. Joseph exemplifies the vigilance and determination men need to protect their wives and children today.
  • St. Joseph teaches Jesus the faith. Men are essential in passing on the Catholic faith, but half of Catholic men don’t know the faith and are not convinced their children should remain Catholic. St. Joseph fulfills his role as passing on the Jewish faith to Jesus; while the Son of God learns directly from his Heavenly Father, St. Joseph oversees Jesus’ catechesis for at least 12 years, teaching him to pray the Psalms.

St. Joseph shows today’s men the importance of passing along the faith to their children by actively practicing the faith and being a model teacher.

In Christ’s earthly father, every Catholic man can find the inspiration and confidence to be heroic Catholic men. Reflecting on the heroic manhood of St. Joseph can help every man be renewed in Christ, becoming the sacrificial protectors, providers and leaders needed in their families and parishes.

St. Joseph, patron of the Church, pray that all men might come back to the fullness of Catholic manhood.

Christoff is a parishioner of St. Anne in Hamel and founder of the New Emangelization Project.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen, Featured

  • 24HourMoisture

    I used to scratch my head when I saw people leave the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) displayed all year long. Now I do it in addition to putting the full manger scene up at Christmas.

  • Charles C.

    Dear Mr. Christoff,

    You aroused my interest with the first article in your Catholic Watchmen series. I eagerly awaited this one and have read it several times. Thank you for going to the trouble to write on this important subject.

    You might not have noticed that there were comments made to your first article in this series. Two men agreed on certain points concerning the difficulties the Church was having in regards to Catholic men. It’s too bad that you didn’t address them or indicate you had seen them. But I’m sure all things will happen in their proper time. It’s your column and I’m sure your plan is a good one.

    I’m glad you mentioned St. Joseph. He doesn’t get the time and attention I think he deserves. Here’s my favorite quote from St. Joseph: “__________” (I thought that was funny, but I’m easily amused.)

    But now, if I may get serious? Where are you going with this series? In both articles you tell us that men are not participating in the Church, her sacraments, and parish activities. Your second article suggests that men should be more like St. Joseph. That’s true, of course, but it’s just another way of saying that men aren’t enough like St. Joseph.

    Where does that get us? What is the message received? While I can’t speak for all men, I can speak for me. The message I get is the following: “Men, you’re not as totally active in the Church as you once were. Stop that, you’re really hurting yourself and everybody else you’re involved with. You should start being good Catholic men.”

    Men, more so than women, drifted away from the Church, and they did it for a reason. Perhaps you’ll look for possible reasons in future articles, but for now I hear “We must have done something to cause you to lose interest. We haven’t fixed anything, it’s still the same as when you left, but come back anyway.”

    How do you tell men, who don’t even go to Confession, that they should follow the example of St. Joseph and become deeply engaged in the liturgical life of the Church?

    The movement you founded is named The New Emangelization. Evangelizing doesn’t mean telling men they really should go to Confession more often. Please forgive me if I am too harsh, but by pointing out the statistics we are only looking at the symptoms. “Catholic Watchmen” hasn’t yet identified the problem, and has made no apparent progress towards even suggesting solutions.

    When my thermometer tells me that my temperature is higher than 99% of the people, it has identified a symptom. A doctor has to locate the problem and suggest cures.

    Please, Mr. Christoff, I’m expecting great things from you, don’t disappoint me or other men.