For the past 30 years since the slow and uneven rebirth of traditional Catholicism in the United States, a common question has been asked by many Catholic women: Where are all the good Catholic men?
This question, it must be noted, is asked not among progressive and liberal Catholic circles, which like the social milieu of the political Left, is devoid of both attractive females as well as attractable males (or males who are interested in women at all). Rather, the principal searchers for a suitable Catholic husband are to be found among those young women who identify as conservatives and traditionalists.
At conservative "Newman Guide" Catholic colleges and universities, young women frequently languish for four years looking for Mr. Right, only to be ignored by young Catholic college boys more interested in four-hour games of Risk and binge-watching The Mandalorian on Disney Plus than in chaste courtship.
Throughout the United States, there is an entire fleet of young Catholic girls working at parishes and diocesan administrations in search of that perfect Catholic guy whom she will meet after daily Mass or adoration, but who never appears or who slips off after church with the guys to watch arena sports.
On the other hand, there are, sadly, good Catholic girls who find themselves in horrific dating circumstances or even in some cases end up as single moms due to being lured by a non-Catholic or non-practicing Catholic who "seemed like a nice guy at first."
The reverse of this narrative is, of course, the lamentation by many young (and, in some cases, old) Catholic men who have tried to court seemingly sweet Catholic women who "just wanted to be friends," or who seemingly magically began "discerning a vocation" when the conversation turned toward possible courtship.
The fundamental problem with this lack of congruence between male and female Catholics is a lack of understanding of a central enigma in contemporary Catholic courtship. This enigma resides not among Catholic men but among Catholic women, and this enigma is fundamentally a question of desire. It is not a question of what men desire, for what men desire is quite obvious.
Tutored on Lifetime and Hallmark television specials or the aforementioned tales of Jane Grey, the millennial Catholic male might assume that Catholic women want a man featured on these TV shows, who combines his boyish good looks and passion for social justice and women's rights with a sensitive and caring (and secretly gay?) personality.
However, were a man to think this is what women want, he would be completely wrong. For, just as men (both Catholic and non) do not really want the digital-age female archetypes marketed to them, neither do women want the "Aw shucks" nice guy always there to provide them with back-up when things go wrong at their idealized, high-powered job, saving lives in a Seattle hospital.
At heart, more than anything, all women want a man who is a man, and at the core of masculinity is strength.
Even the words "virile" and "virtue" are ultimately rooted in the Roman word vir, which as is commonly known, means "man" in Latin. However, the word vir itself is ultimately rooted in an even older Indo-European word meaning "power" or "strength." Male strength takes a variety of forms, but there are four forms of male strength that are especially attractive to women.
The first is emotional strength. It may seem odd or ironic that women like both "the strong, silent type" as well as the gregarious and charismatic alpha male. However, on closer examination, both types of men are noted for their strength and poise and ability to remain firm in their decisions. No woman likes a man who is timid, indecisive, reckless and impulsive, or a slave to his emotions.
The second is physical strength. It's no secret that women find muscles attractive. But outside of the aesthetic appearance of a fit man, muscles and physical strength are a sign that this is a man who can protect his family in the face of threats and who can employ that strength when needed.
A state of physical health is by no means unobtainable to men who have the discipline and will to change, and in the current year of 2019, there is no big mystery about how to lose weight and build muscle with a low-carb and high-protein diet, as well as a consistent, long-term workout routine. Moreover, this physical strength often (but not always) manifests itself in a pronounced and dedicated work ethic: Women like men who work hard and sacrifice their bodies and their own happiness for their family's prosperity.
The third aspect of male strength that women find attractive is mental strength or intellectual vitality. For obvious reasons, women do not like nerds or "bug men" (despite their prevalence in our age in which software engineers have become the new ruling class). Nor do women like the pretentious and flamboyant C.S. Lewis-quoting, faux Catholic intellectual, who, despite his cursory knowledge of the rudiments of St. Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, could not change a tire or sheetrock a wall if his life literally depended on it. Nonetheless, women do like men who are erudite and well read and who combine their intellectual gifts and academic prowess with sincere humility and kindness.
Finally and most importantly, Catholic women want a man of strong faith. We live in the worst period in the Church's history in which many, if not most, clerics have embraced some aspect of the modernist heresy and whose personal scandals are bankrupting and humiliating the Church. Whether or not President Trump is re-elected in 2020, the political Left is poised to seize complete and total control of our government and desires to eradicate completely the remnants of Christianity in our country.
After the Church's enemies loot Her and destroy whatever political power She has left, there will be a need for strong laymen with an unshakeable faith in God's providence and his love for his Church to help rebuild Christian civilization from the ground up.
In this "winter of our discontent," it is not just Catholic women but all of us who need Catholic men to rise up and become leaders of our communities and defend their faith and folk.