PHOENIX (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Arizona is calling men to battle. In a new short film titled "A Call to Battle," His Excellency addresses the crisis in masculinity in today's society, and asks men to rise up to the challenge of authentic manhood by being spiritual leaders in the home and in the world.
Bishop Olmsted's latest effort is his attempt to adress this problem, and toward this end, he previously issued an apostolic exhortation in October titled "Into the Breach" that highlighted the lack of male leadership in the Church.
"Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you," his letter begins, "the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men."
Olmsted then goes on to discuss the "staggering" losses of Catholics in the pews and priestly life: Since 2000, 14 million Catholics have abandoned the Faith, children's religious education has fallen 24 percent, infant baptism has fallen 28 percent, and adult baptism has fallen 31 percent.
He laments, "This is a serious breach, a gaping hole in Christ's battle lines," before pinpointing the problem:
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to "step into the breach" — to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. ... As our fathers, brothers, uncles, sons and friends fall away from the Church, they fall deeper and deeper into sin, breaking their bonds with God and leaving them vulnerable to the fires of Hell. ...
[T]he truth is that large numbers of Catholic men are failing to keep the promises they made at their children's baptisms — promises to bring them to Christ and to raise them in the Faith of the Church.
Father Shenan Boquet of Human Life International remarks, "It is so edifying to hear a shepherd speak so clearly to the role of men and fatherhood in a culture that no longer recognizes the value of fathers, and of men who are unafraid to be men."
"A healthy masculinity comes with a deep desire to both lead and to serve," Fr. Boquet says, "to protect and defend, to provide and share."
To learn about ways to counteract the crisis of masculinity in the Church, watch our program "Mic'd Up—The Downfall of Fatherhood."