Aparecida 461-462: Criticism Of, Demands On Men

The bishops level these criticisms at men, the most significant of which is one of the causes for a deepening divide between Christianity and the world’s culture.

461. We must recognize that traditionally in Latin America and the Caribbean, a significant percentage of (men) have remained on the fringes of the Church and of the commitment that they are called to fulfill in it. They have thereby been distancing themselves from Jesus Christ, the full life for which they so yearn and seek. This kind of distance or indifference by men, which strongly calls into question the style of our conventional ministry, is partly why the separation between faith and culture keeps growing, and contributes to the gradual loss of what is internally essential and what gives meaning, to weakness in adequately resolving conflicts and frustrations, to debility in resisting the assault and seductions of a consumption- oriented, superficial, and competitive culture, and so forth. All of this makes them vulnerable to the proposal of ways of life which appear to be attractive but are ultimately dehumanizing. In a considerable number of them, the way is opened to the temptation of surrendering to violence, infidelity, abuse of power, drug addiction, alcoholism, male chauvinism, corruption, and abandonment of their role as fathers.

These surrenders are all rife in North America as well. One key thing to notice in the discussion on these and other factors is how often women are blamed for them. Men, both within the Church and outside of it, do need to stand up and take responsibility for the problems they create for themselves.

Along with self-made messes, many men do find themselves under pressure from many quarters, and they do labor mightily to keep themselves and their loved ones afloat through various crises of life:

462. Nevertheless, a large percentage of men assume the demands of family, work, and society. Lacking greater understanding, acceptance and affection from their own, valued in terms of what they provide materially, and with no life-giving place in which to share their deepest feelings with full freedom, they are exposed to a situation of profound dissatisfaction that leaves them at the mercy of the disintegrating power of contemporary culture.

Bishops are supportive of outreach to men. I would agree with this, certainly:

In the face of this situation, and in consideration of the consequences that the foregoing brings to married life and for the children, special pastoral attention to fathers of family must be given in all our particular churches.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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