Spiritual Fatherhood

Archbishop Óscar Romero in 1978 on a visit to Rome

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monse%C3%B1or_Romero_(colour).jpg

Description: Archbishop Óscar Romero in 1978 on a visit to Rome

Author: Arzobispado de San Salvador

“A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the support and the privileges of the things of the earth – beware!!  This is not the true church of Jesus Christ.  A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel’s call.” Oscar Romero

The world laments lost fatherhood.  Watching “Romero” last night I was struck by the portrayal of strength, the strength of the saint’s leadership, the fatherly protection he eschewed by the end of the movie leading up to his martyrdom.  He did, as Christ did, lay down his life for his friends, his spiritual children, his flock.  Oscar Romero was at first a reluctant reformer but became the Shepard who faced down the wolves.

How many men, fathers of families and spiritual fathers are robbed of their vocations by modern mediocrity? – by laity wishing to run the show, or the destructive influence of bad feminism.  Men are becoming obsolete.  The Homer Simpson stereotype is becoming the norm, propagated by helicopter parents raising dependant man-babies stuck in a selfish arrested adolescence, perpetuated by a dominant trend of women’s rights going full circle subjugating men in the family and in the Church.

Men, through their families or their flocks are required to lay down their lives, figuratively and literally, for those spiritually and materially dependant on them.  We live in a mixed-up Catholic world where everybody wants to be somebody else.  Women want to be spiritual fathers rather than spiritual mothers.  Priests want to get married and have children of their own because let’s face it, who would blame them, as their spiritual fatherhood is being dismantled by the banal trend of political correctness?

Priests are now not so much fathers but parish facilitators.  No longer are they shepherds of souls carefully tending to the spiritual needs of their flocks but backbenchers in their priestly vocations, bowing out to the needs of others to “participate” in the liturgical life of the Church.

No wonder priests wish to marry and have children of their own as their priestly, shepherding, spiritual fatherhood is being robbed from them by the modern misunderstandings of vocation, gender roles, fatherhood and motherhood.  As a lay woman, a busy mother of a big family of small children, I need my priest to be a spiritual father, to minister to my needs, in order for me to fulfil my vocation as a wife and a mother.

It was this fatherhood that lead to the martyrdom of Oscar Romero.  The saint died fighting for the rights of those who had little.  Our Lord said you will always have the poor among you but you will not always have me.

But who are the poor in Ireland today? In modern western society there is a great poverty. A whole section of our population is side-lined and ostracised because of their age.  To feed the poor, cloth the naked or visit the imprisoned are commendable acts.  But those who walk, march or speak up for those truly poor are ostracised – the unborn, small defenceless, impoverished based on the whims of their parents.  They are the poor, rejected, whose lives are violently ended in the name of choice.

“Those who have a voice must speak for the voiceless.” Oscar Romero

Abortion is trumpeted as being a woman’s right, yet it is men, our spiritual fathers who we need to wage war on this great evil, like Saint Oscar Romero.  It is these men we need to take to the pulpits, even reluctantly, and preach to bring about an end to this atrocity, at risk to themselves.

“A church that doesn’t provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone else’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it’s being proclaimed, what Gospel is that?“