Thursday, February 7, 2013
CHIVALRY, THY NAME IS FATHER
I must admire Brother Andre Marie of Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, for getting right down to the heart of the matter. In this excellent essay Patriarchy and the Defenseless this good man points to one of the great weaknesses of the pro-life movement, the sort of weakness that infects nearly all efforts at doing the right thing, that of accepting the enemy's terms of reference. In the abortion debate, as Brother Andre so admirably demonstrates, it is the mistaken notion that abortion is only a "woman's issue", and that the forgotten one in all this is the chivalrous Father.
Much of the rhetoric of the pro-life movement is directed at deflating feminist propaganda. Some measure of this is wise and necessary. However, it is often the sad fact that those who are on the right side of an issue allow their enemies to dictate the terms of engagement. In so doing, they can fall into various traps, the most significant being the neglect of truths that need to be professed. I witnessed a pro-life man being interviewed recently. He went out of his way to point out that the pro-life movement is not just a bunch of old men, but it is mostly young and female.
Presumably, this was his response to the feminist quip, “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,” and other specimens of their gaseous rhetoric.
But several questions need to be asked: Is it not a man’s place, like the knights of old, to “protect the weak, defenseless, and helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all” — to the degree to which his circumstances and station allows? If abortion hurts women — and it does — should not men defend the fairer sex from that pain? And if abortion murders a defenseless little baby — which it does — is it not virtuous to “man up” and protect them from being slaughtered?
This essay cannot be recommended too highly. The Saint Benedict Center in Richmond had for many years as its leader one of the most brilliant minds in contemporary Christendom, the late Brother Francis MICM, a man whose Catholic sense and erudition was staggering. Clearly those who spent much of their lives in his presence learned well. And this article by Brother Andre demonstrates that.
The website of this monastery is www.catholicism.org.