Last month Pope Francis spoke of the importance of fathers in their children’s lives. He reminded men not to let worldly distractions squander their opportunity to be good influences.
Tim and I recently wrote a column for another blog which was on a somewhat similar topic – the importance of men in girls’ and women’s lives. Today’s feminists often mock and belittle this role. They want the roles of men and women to be interchangeable. This often results in poor substitutes for healthy relationships and self-destructive behavior.
Unfortunately, what we wrote did not get posted. Instead, we decided to post it here.
In This Together: Reflections on the Fall, Then and Now
During Advent, we were driving home after Sunday Mass, discussing the readings. The liturgy told the story of Adam and Eve as we prepared to celebrate the arrival of the New Adam on Christmas Day. We both had heard this scripture passage many times before as well as the common homiletic take on it. Most of the criticism our first parents usually receive centers on the finger-pointing which occurs when God asks them who is responsible for the mess in His garden.
We started to examine the responsibility of the man and the responsibility of the woman in the Fall. Oddly enough, we didn’t descend into the stereotypical defenses of our own sex. Instead, we each saw how our “side” could have done better to save us all a whole lot of grief. The first thing we noted was that men and women are different. This isn’t always something which is acknowledged or even allowed to be mentioned in post-modern polite society!
Adam did something far worse than say, “It was the woman you put here with me who did it.” She did do it! Adam’s contribution to this valley of tears was what he didn’t do. This is where we start to see some of those flaws in human nature which, fairly I think, can be generalized as being dominant in one sex or the other. Where was Adam when his wife was being lied to and manipulated? One of the weaknesses I’ve observed in husbands and fathers is absenteeism. This is not to say that any responsibility or interest outside the home is a sin against the family. A little honesty and examination of conscience by us men, however, will reveal that we have squandered away time and energy which belonged to our family much like a compulsive gambler throws away the grocery money.
Adam was following his own agenda when Eve needed him. She needed the protection and point of view only he could have provided. There’s a reason the snake took Eve aside. There’s a reason a predator cuts out a target from the herd. Eve was vulnerable because she was lacking the support she should have been able to rely upon.
Snakes are still whispering into the ears of women today. Again, these are generalities, but ones which can be supported by such means as election exit polling, television viewer demographics, and social welfare statistics. The snake tells girls to send graphic images of themselves to friends and strangers. The snake tells single women to support an ever increasing faceless bureaucracy which will take care of them if they are alone. Older women hear the hiss of bitterness through the pain of disappointment and proudly celebrate their lifelong support for the right to choose who gets to be born and who doesn’t.
Young girls are sending those pictures of themselves because too many of their fathers are spending the time they owe to their daughters on pornography. Those single women are lonely and vulnerable because some young men would rather command a cartoon U-boat in a video game than paddle a real rowboat on a picnic with a pretty girl. That old woman who is still proud of her abortion probably wasn’t as happy about it at the time as the irresponsible ambitious corporate climber who got her pregnant.
We came to the conclusion that when God asked Adam and Eve why they were hiding themselves, they shouldn’t have been afraid of not having anything to wear. They should have jumped out of the bushes and surprised God with the cool new snakeskin headbands they made – together.