Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where are All the Good Catholic Men?

Single Catholic guy "discerning".

Having witnessed a few mating dances at the Chesterton Conference this past weekend, the weird and distressing situation among single Catholics mystifies me.

A Facebook friend has drawn my attention to an article by Devin Rose entitled Single Catholic Guy - Wake Up!

Here's how it begins ...

It’s never been a better time to be a single Catholic guy.
Why? Because there are thousands of lovely, faithful young Catholic women waiting for you to step up to the plate and court them!
Yet many Catholic guys are unsure about themselves, uncertain, dithering, wavering, vicissitudening. Stop it! In Christ, with the power of the Holy Spirit, you can change this and face your fears, be courageous, bold, and manly. It’s not about being a boor, or having enormous muscles (though it wouldn’t hurt to go work out), or swaggering around like you’re Tom Cruise after a Scientology retreat. It’s about being yourself and living up to who God made you to be.

... the rest of the article features more or less stupid advice, but the above is on the money.

It's apparently pretty bad out there.  Many beautiful, intelligent devout single Catholic women I've known have trouble finding anything but losers or ambi-sexuals who are too busy "discerning" to realize what God made them to be and to do.  There seems to be a shortage of Catholic men who are simply men.  Or, perhaps, who are straight.  The lack of sexual activity during courtship doesn't even seem to be a motivating factor for marriage for many of these guys - which is not a good sign.

In fact, I've known more than a few women deliberately marrying guys who were gay - or guys who were "struggling with same sex attraction" - thinking they could marry them and reform them.

This never works.  It's a recipe for disaster.  Life long disaster.

And I've known other Catholic women whose husbands were straight, and who showed an interest in them, but who had such serious psychological problems that their lives together became a nightmare.  Invariably, these women knew how disturbed their husbands were before marrying them, but married them anyway thinking they had no other good options.

And hard as it is to understand, this is perhaps the most significant area in which young Catholic women are called upon to trust God and to have the courage to engage in real life and real men.  Unreality often dominates the lives of devout Christians, however, and Matrimony, which is dying in the secular world, also suffers greatly even in Catholic circles.

The vocations crisis is not just in the Catholic priesthood.


Anonymous said...

Things are bleak, to be sure. I could write thousands of words as a guy about why it's terrible for a guy, but that would be boring.

A couple contributing factors harming both young men and women:

1) The pool of available, practicing Catholics is very small compared to even 25 years ago. Almost unbelievably small. I'm sure both men and women can't believe the slim pickings (real or not) that they have to deal with.

As a close corollary...

2) Waiting forever for perfection. I've done it myself. I've definitely known plenty of women who've done it. In today's consumer culture, every person wants total perfection and is willing to wait forever to find it.

Paul Stilwell said...

Feminism transferred a neurosis to man, and made man neurotic about his own manhood. Feminists wanted to correct men by making them gestate the perpetual concerns of womanhood that women have.

Men need to live a life of presence. Men are to be rocks in a storm and even sturdier rocks in calm weather. Many men appropriately recoil from the use of these images, because they sound utilitarian - not to mention just forced and fake and distasteful, like they were being called to give up their senses for some kind of dorky campaign. But the "rock" that men are called to be has nothing to do with that sense.

There's a certain sense in which a man is to be a rock to himself, and this is ultimately his fundamental listening to, and leaning upon, God, His Son, in the simple moment. Christ is both son of God and son of Man. What a consoling treasure: Son of God and Son of Man!

This being present and living a life of presence is not so much a matter of "attaining to" as it is "letting fall what may" without taking up the suggested language of what happens to be befalling. Men need to learn how to sift out of life what doesn't matter, what is not essential, what is inconsequential. This does not mean an insensitive and boorish dismissal of the many things of life, but rather the opposite: true, untroubled care. True and untroubled because they have their ear upon the heart of the Son of God who is also the Son of Man.

One could put it this way: enjoying life. A man enjoys life when his inner neurosis is being sifted out and he doesn't lift a finger against it. He lives.

In other words, men need to let go of the feminist-transferred neurosis, and enjoy the freedom of being oneself. Be at home in your poverty. Don't whine about it, don't put a mask on it. But be at home in it. A home has a door and windows - and rooms.

The good news for men is that this is not hard to learn, and it is not about "discernment". The good news also, is that it can be quite enjoyable - in fact, to the "envy" of women.

Women are turned on by men who live and let live, who let life "sift out" what does not matter, while showing care for what *does* matter - with self-possession, with presence.

The presence of being present to something. Not the "presence" of the $3000.00 suit and grooming trying to attract with an aura of power.

Don't count time. Always speak in response to the goodness in a woman, never out of your own preoccupations. This means presence, not counting the time, and humility.

Anonymous said...

By the way,

Catholic perfection (n): a guy who attends Mass every day, majored in theology at a small, unknown Catholic college and has a job in an "apostolate" making poverty wages and still getting support from Mom and Dad.

Ex. "OMG, Sophia, I met the perfect guy!" "You mean he showers daily, doesn't have credit card debt, slaves away in a cubicle in a family-supporting job, but also goes to Mass weekly and isn't a manwhore?" "Gosh, no, silly! He works at Starbucks and plays in a Christian rock band!"

Paul Stilwell said...

What's wrong with working at Starbucks and being in a Christian rock band?

Kathleen Ritter said...

As a woman who is, thankfully, no longer in the Catholic dating scene, having met and married Anonymous' cubicle-dwelling Catholic man, I can attest strongly to Anonymous' examples. In my dating days, it seemed that every Catholic man I met, whether online or at my parish young adult group, wanted Mary (and not, I'm quite certain, the strong Mother of God but some simpering, vapid version of her). Yet they were not willing to be Joseph! They were in their thirties (and more) and thought that they DESERVED Mary, yet lolled around unemployed, or underemployed, or "discerning"; still taking handouts from Mom and Dad and thinking that this somehow made them attractive to women. It didn't.

Paul Stilwell said...

And what was St. Joseph?

Someone who has moved out of his parents' place and has employment? This is "being" St. Joseph? The American St. Joseph? St. Joseph's foster son was 30 when he moved out of his mother's place.

Talk turns cheap when it comes to talking about being a man - or "being St. Joseph" doesn't it?

I don't live in my parents' place and I'm employed and I don't think I "deserve" Mary (that's just weird), but I don't predicate my identity on this these things that will go with me to the grave.

I find all this very American.

jvc said...

There's nothing wrong with working at Starbucks if you haven't gone 100,000 USD in debt for a Mickey Mouse degree with other people's money and/or married at age 20 with no way to financially support a family.

jvc said...

The aspect of this that is very American is our insatiable consumerist attitude when it comes to everything, including human relationships and dating.

WASP culture has wholly adopted the attitude that you need to marry up as much as you can, and the American Catholic twist is that you have to find as Super Catholic a spouse as possible.

Tim in Cleveland said...

I guess we're all just losers.

Timothy said...

I guess us single males are all losers.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently dating a Lutheran, and she's awesome. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Susan said...

What's wrong with working at Starbucks? Pretty hypocritical for a Catholic to support or work for a Starbucks.

Joshua said...

Ritter may be correct to a degree, but a lot of the good, middle-class jobs have gone to women.

In a post-industrial economy, the solid $40k and up jobs belong to women, who are naturally stronger networkers than men.

Most women will not date a man who makes less than they do. They won't come out and say it, but they won't.