Thursday, October 1, 2015

Exhortation to Catholic Men! (Women, direct your husbands and sons here!)

“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and 
stand in the breach before me for the land…”   -- Ezekiel 22:30

Hooray!!! At long last, the Exhortation is here!

If you recall, way back in February I was part of the Diocese of Phoenix Synod on Masculine Identity and Mission called by my wonderful and holy Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. This synod was a gathering of scholars, priests, religious, and laypeople, and it served as the foundation and inspiration for the incredible document written by Bishop Olmsted and just released on the Feast of the Archangels, at the hour of mercy:

Bishop Olmsted is an incredible spiritual father to all of us here in the Diocese of Phoenix, and he felt a special need to call forth his spiritual sons, the men of his diocese, to their God-given mission. As a woman, I cannot tell you how grateful I am! We have such a crisis of manhood in our nation today, and men, for so many reasons, have forgotten who they are.

Every woman I know wants her husband, her son, her brother to be the man that Christ intends him to be. Our wonderful bishop has sent out a clarion call to those sons of the Church to step up and take their place in the spiritual and cultural battle raging around us!

Bishop of Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted

First, watch this amazing trailer (and trust me, the priests and other men in this trailer walk the walk, they don't just talk the talk):

I begin this letter with a clarion call and clear charge to you, my sons and brothers in Christ: Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes.
One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. 

Read it all! Spanish speakers, go here! Print it out and put it in the coffee table in your home. Email it to all the men in your life. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Men, challenge other men to read it and discuss (there will be ways to implement this document in parishes and small groups, so stay tuned). 

There are three main questions presented in the Exhortation:

1. What does it mean to be a Catholic man?

2. How does a Catholic man love?

3. Why is fatherhood, fully understood, so crucial for every man?

And these three questions are understood within three basic contexts:

Context #1: A New Apostolic Moment – The “New Evangelization”

Context #2: A Field Hospital and a Battle College

Context #3: Man and Woman are Complementary, not Competitors

I am in love with this document. I tried to parse out a few passages that are my favorites, but there are too many, and I gave up. Just read the whole thing

Men! We women support you and love you! Be the men that God is calling you to be! Step into the battle, be a hero, be a protector, a provider, a spiritual warrior, a saint! Sacrifice yourselves totally for the ones you love, in service of Our Lord! We love you! We want you to be what God made you to be!

Men of God, step into the breach!


And, for those who would claim that the Church bypasses women, read Pope St. John Paul II here and here. I trust you will be more than satisfied. And if not, please go pray, and read again. :)


  1. Good read! And not too long, either.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this!

  3. I love this! It reminds me so much of the movie Courageous--same theme from an evangelical Protestant perspective. We need each other, we need community, we need our Savior. "Where are you, men of courage?"

  4. Thank you, all! Yes, I saw the movie Courageous!

  5. I don't know where the bishop found his "gathering of scholars, priests, religious, and laypeople" for his "Synod on Masculine Identity and Mission". But apparently no one saw fit to say "Wait a minute. What about all the older unmarried Catholic men?"

    This is not a surprise. Anyone who's aged out of the "young adult" groups and not managed to get married off, enters a permanent state of limbo. The Church does not seem to believe that unmarried adults over about age 30, could possibly exist.

    The paper is one personal insult after another to unmarried Catholic men that are beyond "marrying age". The banner on the very fancy web page shows a young father and son both pointing at something. Maybe they see a single guy and they're sharing a little joke? How many times does the paper say "all men are called to be husbands and fathers". Nobody read that and said "hmmm... maybe we should be more sensitive to men that will never be either." ? Or "gee, we should suggest 'fatherly' options for men who do not have families of their own". ? No, no one did. Of course not. Because we are invisible.

    Unmarried Catholic men have no "crisis of manhood". Whatever that is. We remain Catholic in a church that seems to have time and care for every demographic, except for us. I have no doubt that many singles will read this paper and have the same reaction.

  6. Hi Uncle Fester,

    I'm a little confused. I understand that you are frustrated with the Church's outreach to single, older men, but I couldn't find the references you were talking about. The only reference I could find for "all men" being called to husband and father was this one reference:

    "All men are called to fatherhood in some way"

    This, of course, means spiritual fatherhood (priesthood), uncles, godfathers, etc. I didn't see anything about all men being called to be husbands, and that would not make sense.

    My first thought of course was, "the Church is full of unmarried older men -- our priests". And many older unmarried men will end up married one day, even at their older age. And those who do not are still called to be uncles, godfathers, mentors to fatherless boys, etc. If you re-read the exhortation with those eyes, you will find yourself -- and every man -- addressed in it.

    Can you give me something specifically that you feel excludes your demographic alone? Thanks!

    1. Leila, Yes I sure can. You have no idea what you are talking about and very Sadly, The Bishop, as good intentioned as he is ...doesn't either. The Church has NEVER really sat down and thought about the fact that it NEEDS to rebuild and that means actually trying HARD to promote marriage by bringing Catholics together! Married folks don't know and really don't care..How could they?

  7. Hi Leila or others, do you have a perspective on Marked Men for Christ ?

    I have heard about it from a good friend of mine who participated, he highly recommends it. He's a deeply faithful Catholic man, and if I'm not mistaken, his brother-in-law, also deeply faithful Catholic, has also attended. It's clearly not a Catholic initiative, but sure welcomes Catholics. Since I trust both of these guys, I am curious to know more and perhaps go as well.

  8. Hi Sebastian! I have not heard of that particular program!

    My husband is part of a program called "That Man is You".

  9. Thanks for responding, Leila! I will investigate if that program is available in this part of the world!

  10. Leila, I debated whether to reply. Some parish insiders and one priest have told me I'm flat out wrong in my opinion. However, a nationally known author and speaker on the issues of single Catholics encouraged me to share my opinion. So here goes.

    First of all, this paper of over 12,000 words contains many good, basic and obvious suggestions about the practice of the faith.

    In his recent "state of the diocese" speech, the bishop cited a statistic that 15 million U.S. Catholics have left the Church in recent years. He has also mentioned the large decline in marriages performed in the diocese. To lay this all on men seems unfair. Both men and women share the blame, and have for at least one or two generations.

    This rapid decline of the younger Catholic population has meant, obviously, that there are now a lot fewer single Catholics than ever before. And that brings me to my focus.

    I am a single Catholic man who has lived in this diocese for my entire adult life of almost 30 years. I have remained faithful to the Church while all my siblings and childhood friends left. I continue to speak positively of the Church in a time where it is difficult and unpopular to do so.

    And while I've always been open to the possibility of being a Catholic husband and father, the scarcity of suitable single Catholic women (and the fact that parishes do nothing to help adult singles even identify each other) has left me, at middle-age, unlikely to ever be either.

    By all accounts, there are plenty of singles just like me. The diocese and the parishes seem not to know that we exist, but we're there, apparently invisible, every Sunday.

    So to raise awareness on behalf of the many Catholic men for whom marriage and fatherhood never happened (through no fault of their own), let's read parts of the paper from that perspective. I'm sure the bishop did not intend to exclude us, but the words speak for themselves.

    "Every man is made to live as a husband and a father in some way ... For most men, this call is marriage while for others, this call is to the priesthood or to some other sincere and total self-gift in God’s service."

    You have implied the words "uncle" or "godfather" into that. I considered that; surely there must be useful things that we can do. But again, the paper is over 12,000 words. "Uncle" is only used once, and "godfather" not at all. Nor any other roles for older single men.

    The next two quotes are more cutting, more personal. Much harder to write off as unintentionally forgetting the single adults.

    "This is why fatherhood – living out one’s vocation to fatherhood, whether that fatherhood is bound up in physical marriage or spiritual marriage in the priesthood or religious life – is absolutely essential for a man to live out the fullness of his meaning in life."

    "If you do not embrace the spousal and fatherly vocation God has planned for you, you will be stuck in the impotence of the “seed” that refuses to die and refuses to give life. Don’t settle for this half-life! The question for every man is not, “Am I called to be a father?” but rather, “What kind of father am I called to be?” "

    Ouch !!! I hope the Bishop didn't mean to say these things directly to me: that I'm not a husband/father nor a priest, so I'm stuck in impotence, and my life has been either a half-life or it had no meaning at all.

    (to be continued)

  11. Lastly, this bit of advice to young men.

    "I urge you, young men, to prepare for marriage even before you meet your (future) bride. Such training in sacrifice is to love your bride before you meet her, so that you may one day say, “Before I knew you, I was faithful to you.”"

    Many of us have been in that "training" our whole lives. Living chastely and all that. Sure, it's a nice message for a teen in the hopes of controlling his hands and his eyes. But starting in your 20's it begins to ring hollow. After 30, your prayers may take a desperate tone. And after that? You know your prayers were in vain, and you realize that you prayed for someone who never existed.

    And you have to make your peace with that. But you expect to find solace and comfort in the Church, because Lord knows that families are usually not so understanding. But the Church can be a lonely place for singles. So parts of this paper do, honestly, really sting.

    Finally, what could be done about this? Please note, I am _not_ asking for "singles ministry" groups. They don't work; we are already isolated enough. We don't fit into the young adults, the family-based groups, or the seniors. Can parishes just acknowledge that we exist? Try to genuinely welcome singles into general parish activities? And, not write things that appear to exclude us, and cause us to question our lot in life. Those things would go a long way.

    Yes this is way too long, but I hope other singles may see this and realize that they are not alone. Thank you.

  12. Uncle Fester, you don't know what God has planned for you, only that He has a perfect plan. Trust Him. It's the best advice I can give. I wasn't married until my late 30s, and I resigned myself before that this was apparently not my vocation. I became a "father" in other ways. And was unexpectedly blessed with meeting my later wife, in the least expected place. Today we are blessed with 3 children. But more important than that is - to trust the Lord. He loves you and He needs you for His plan. Really.

    1. Well Sebastian, YOU are married and I am about 59 and NEVER married. Now What can you tell me about being single? Nothing. Just as I don't tell you anything about being married because I never have been.

  13. Uncle Fester, my heart goes out to you. Now the "matchmaker" in me will come out. Have you been active on the Catholic marriage sites? Ave Maria Singles, or Catholic Match? I know many, many people who have met their spouses on those sites (including my own daughter). My experience also tells me that woman past the age of 35 or so have a VERY hard time finding a good Catholic man. So, you would be in an excellent position to find a wife (unfortunately, a lot of older men are trying to find women in their twenties, for fertility reasons, and I think that is problematic and even tragic, for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it makes women feel like objects, both the young and the old). Anyway, if you have not tried those sites yet, you should! They are fruitful. If you feel a vocation to the married life, you have to go where the Catholic single women are. :)

  14. Folks, please don't change the topic. This is not a pity party for me or for singles in general. Whether we will marry, or when, is not my point. The point is, what can the diocese or individual parishes do to make over-30 singles feel like part of the Catholic family? Ask any single, you'll hear stories of being excluded from activities... suggestions that certain ministries or clubs are "really meant for married people". It's very real.

  15. As to online dating. Your daughter hit the jackpot. But most people find it pointless and futile. Yes, I've tried it. Years ago, on one of the commercial sites. Wanna know how it _really_ works?

    When you join, you are never told the Big Secret. Most of the matches shown to you are ex-customers and will not respond to your communications. So most people join for a month and leave in a far worse state of mind, thinking "how awful must I be, no one even replied to me". Then they become an ex-customer and the problem is even worse for the next person to join.

    If you make it past that - and most do not - then you must wade through the scammers, the desperate, and those who are only looking for pen-pals so that they can justify to their grandma that they are indeed "looking" for a mate.

    Do you see where this is going? Yes, everyone seems to know of someone that hit the online dating jackpot. This keeps the sites in business. But the real success rate is, for all purposes, zero. Am I cynical? Maybe. Realistic? Absolutely.

    Even if you relax and simply treat online dating as a tool to meet new people, it is a huge waste of time and emotion. I came to realize that IF online dating works at all, it is only for those people who believe that you can "get to know someone" electronically, possibly over very long distances. I realized that I just cannot do that... I am too grounded in reality. I need to see someone "in action" first before becoming interested. That should be easy enough... after all, I live in the 5th largest city in the US, and in one of the largest dioceses. How can it be, that no opportunities exist for single Catholics to merely become aware of each other?

    FWIW, I've browsed the discussion forums at Catholic Match, and the "Catholic" dating sites appear no better.

  16. Sorry, Uncle Fester. You are talking about secular dating sites, and I am not. If you want solid Catholics, go where they are. Are you looking only for younger women? Hopefully not. Are you employed? Are you socially adept? There are many reasons why men do not find spouses, but trust me, if you are a good Catholic man with good hygiene and social skills, and a job helps, you will find a woman! I cannot tell you how many middle aged women are desiring a Catholic husband! You mention the Catholic Match forums... stay away from those. Just look for the "seven out of seven" women (there are many) who are in your age group. Seven out of seven, meaning that they adhere to all teachings of the Church (you will see if you join).

    You are definitely too cynical. And you have not tried the Catholic sites. There are SO many women looking for a good Catholic man (can I say that more, ha ha).

    And no, my daughter is not the only one who hit the "jackpot". There are thousands and thousands, and many of them I know personally. It's how 1/3 of people today meet their spouses.

    But back to your main point: I agree that there is what feels like an exclusion of Catholic singles (I've heard that from others), but I don't know the best way to resolve that. Maybe you could start something in your diocese? Anyone have any ideas?

    1. Leila, let me repeat...Why is it that Marrieds, like you...even though you have the best intentions...think that they know everything about being single. ?

  17. Uncle Fester,

    “Anyone who's aged out of the "young adult" groups and not managed to get married off, enters a permanent state of limbo.”

    Hopefully, on reflection, you’ll acknowledge that that’s not quite true – that there’s nothing irreversible about the single (or, for that matter, the married) state.

    I’m single and 60. Twice in my ‘young adult’ days I came within a hair’s breadth of marriage, and both times it didn’t work out.

    My first serious girlfriend started to display a bisexual tendency about 3 years into the courtship. When I questioned her about her increasingly intimate friendship with a female friend, she responded gaily that it shouldn’t bother me because I could, in fact, end up with “two women for the price of one”! It was an intriguing proposition, but after (about 30 seconds of) consideration, I responded that even though I’d be willing to fight any man for a woman, I’d be damned if I’d ever agree to fight another woman for her affection! So that was that... a bewildering and painful end to an otherwise promising romance.

    A couple of years later, I was drawn into a second deep romance, but this too was thwarted, by several factors (disparity in wealth, parental influences, and the like). Before I could win my beloved’s hand in marriage, she was “encouraged” by her parents into marrying someone else, deemed to be a really good match for her. A charming, handsome, educated, successful and popular man he was indeed, but the union turned out to be disastrous, as he was unfaithful to her from the get go. Now guess which old friend she turned to with a proposal to divorce her husband and marry him instead? Another intriguing offer – and more enticing than I can say, given my steadfastly un-dead feelings for her – but again, after a (mighty) struggle, again I had to say no. (She was a devout Anglican with no qualms about divorce and remarriage; I'm Catholic.)

    After being put through the emotional wringer twice, I fell into a kind of cynical-realist mode – of the sort you might be in at present. Oh, I met lots of girls and even shared plenty of fun times with them, but never did I really find the confidence/optimism to pursue any of the friendships in a deeper, more permanent way. I also began to be chameleon-like, happy to be all things to all people, while zealously guarding my real (traumatized) inner self. Then, as the years passed, and I began to be more accepting of (and indeed content with) my single state, something interesting happened. Gradually I began to be “me” again, because nothing was riding on my public persona any longer, as far as attractiveness, acceptance or marital prospects were concerned. I began to wear my heart (for God, beauty, truth, goodness, etc…) on my sleeve. And strangely (or perhaps not), I began to attract – quite unexpectedly – the serious attention of several women! It still happens, every once in a while. And each time I have to delicately steer the friendship back to a purely platonic level, but it has made me think, “Why now, when I am no longer romantically inclined? Where were all these fine expressions of interest in earlier years?” And the answer has to be that now I’m, quite confidently, just me! A real person, good and bad, warts and all, in plain view, no longer hidden in the shadow of past disappointments! And people relate to “real people” more widely than I’d earlier understood.

    So here’s my little tip to you: relax, and boldly put yourself “out there” – by just being fully yourself. Let your faith, beliefs, priorities (and yes, optimism) show prominently, be it in personal interaction with people or in social media – match making sites included (remember, you don’t need a dozen responses from such sites, just a single, divinely engineered one!) As they say, “Every Jack has his Jill”. Don’t assume you’re an exception! If you cheerfully put your love and concern for all out there, soon enough someone will want a lot more of it exclusively! A happy adventure to you! And, oh, do report back to this forum in, say, two years!

  18. Francis, thank you! What a fabulous story you have! And you have been quite a gift to the Church, a real man indeed, married or not, biological father or not, in the way that Bishop Olmsted's exhortation is championing! You have been a very fatherly figure to many on this blog for sure. :)

  19. Leila, This has gotten silly and quite off topic. I seem to be talking completely past you, as I knew I would. Our life experiences are just too different.

    Did I not say that my diocese is your diocese? My bishop wrote that paper, that's why I was so disappointed, and why I hoped that my comments might reach him somehow. You were on his esteemed advisory panel. So fess up - did anyone ever say "hey, what about the singles, does anyone think we're leaving them out?" ? I simply cannot imagine that the sections I cited made it past proofreaders... clearly nobody considered how people like me would read them.

    That's _all_ I came here to comment about. Not for counseling or true life stories. I don't need any of that. I'm perfectly OK the way I am. No matter what the bishop says, and I sure hope he didn't mean what he wrote.

  20. Uncle Fester, I directed someone at the diocese here, to see your comments. Thank you for everything you have said.

    I have a question, though. You said you are perfectly OK the way you are. I am truly thankful for that! That is awesome. You are confident and no doubt growing in virtue and holiness (as we are all called to do). But, you read pages and pages of the Bishop exhorting men to be out there, leading, guiding, protecting, defending, growing in Faith and virtue. Did you see nothing in that long exhortation for you as a man? Nothing at all? What can you take from it and go forth and build up the Kingdom? Perhaps it's not so much about what we can "get" from the exhortation, but more about what we can give to Christ, to the Church, to the world? The world needs saints, and that means men who are virtuous, selfless, "other" oriented. I think as a single man, you have the perfect opportunity to live out that sacrifice and grow in virtue in so many ways. The Bishop also put concrete steps as to how a Catholic man can grow in virtue and holiness and self-sacrifice. I pray that that message did not get lost. You have much to contribute to the Body of Christ: Your own personal sanctity, and your outpouring of gifts and service to others who need to find Christ through you.

    1. My first comment was that the paper does contain many good reminders.

    2. And I would like to know whether the advisory group gave any consideration to singles. We are much more numerous than you probably imagine.

  21. The advisory group did not single out any "groups", but discussed and presented ideas about the identity and mission of men (all men, as God created them). All men are included in the exhortation, and it applies to all men. I am glad you got much good out of it! When our Shepherd calls us to a mission, especially one as humble and holy as Bishop Olmsted, we jump to act! I hope that was your response. If so, we cannot go wrong. :)

  22. Leila, I thought this conversation was long over with. But I stumbled across your Facebook page and was saddened to find another example of your attitude about Catholic singles.

    Rest assured that as long as you continue to post "advice" like this:

    "there are so many amazing young Catholic women and so few Catholic young man available. It's really very lopsided, and I feel the pain of these young women every day"

    that I will call you out on it!

    You gave this advice to the parent of a woman who knew that a Catholic Match man was not right for her, but her parents "decided that she should give him a little time, so as not to hurt his feelings." (The man was a college graduate, I assume the woman was an adult too.) The man ended the online communication with her, and her parent was disappointed in him.

    And your "heart goes out to her"? Do you not see how screwed up that is? Can you now see why online dating is just a fiasco for all involved? A fully adult woman is letting her parents control how she communicates with men. forcing her to string this poor guy along when she knew she had no interest. What man should have to tolerate that?

    You should instead be encouraging these women to "grow up" and be honest with themselves and with the men they interact with.

    And you simply must stop writing that the imbalance of single Catholics is "lopsided" in favor of women. You don't have the data to prove it. I am a single Catholic man, and my data says that single Catholic women do not exist at all! 29+ years in the Diocese of Phoenix, and I've never met one! Clearly, the truth lies somewhere in between.

  23. I added a comment here about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Was it lost? Have you locked this thread, are you no longer accepting new comments?

    1. Comments on posts over two weeks old are automatically sent to moderation. I help Leila out by checking the moderation queue every so often and releasing comments, but I haven't done so in a while. Sorry for the delay. :)

  24. Dear Uncle Fester,

    If you read the Facebook thread or new the story it its entirety, HE DUMPED HER. So, what is your beef? He said he wanted a working woman. She still lives at home. It didn't work out. Not sure your complaint?

    Are you trying to micromanage each and every encounter? I'm very confused about your point. You are bitter and upset about the exhortation. Other older single men are not. Sorry, this goes way beyond the exhortation and I am not sure exactly what you want me to say?

    Join an online dating site. Find a wife if you'd like.

    God bless you and Merry Christmas. I really do wish you well.

  25. By the way, Uncle Fester, this is what she said about her daughter's experience:

    My daughter recently dated (briefly) a young man she met on Catholic Match, a Steubenville grad. He called it off after about a month of dating because he "wanted a working wife" (by which he meant a wife with a "career").

    He broke up with her, not vice versa.

    And, if you could be so kind, please don't go digging on my Facebook page for quotes, unless you want to engage me THERE. I have no time to go dig up old Facebook quotes, and then come here and talk about those old Facebook quotes. Who has that kind of time? I am sorry for your pain, but I am not going to be able to give you the answer you want, I can tell.

    God bless you!

  26. Now just a darn minute.

    When I wrote my comment on Dec. 9, the facebook post was brand new. So don't accuse me of digging up old articles. It's not my fault that your assistant did not approve my comment for over ten days.

    Should you care to look... the post of interest was on Dec. 8, 10:41 pm. In the comments, the mother wrote:

    "My dear daughter briefly dated a young man she met on Catholic Match this fall. She didn't think he was right for her, but we decided that she should give him a little time, so as not to hurt his feelings. AND THEN, out of the blue, she got a "dear Jane" letter from him..."

    to which you replied:

    "Oh, (name deleted), my heart goes out to her. I do a little Catholic "matchmaking" on the side and there are so many amazing young Catholic women and so few Catholic young man available. It's really very lopsided, and I feel the pain of these young women every day!"

    This story speaks for itself. These parents and their daughter did not deserve your sympathy. They were all dishonest to the young man. Maybe he caught on to their deception. I'm on his side.

    I'm very sorry, but I cannot interact with you on facebook under my real name. You don't take me seriously. I am a part of the Church, that you seem uninterested in. Maybe some day I'll have the courage to speak openly, under my own name, about the terrible state of single men in the Church today.

    I will stand and speak whenever you write things like "trust me, if you are a good Catholic man with good hygiene and social skills, and a job helps, you will find a woman! I cannot tell you how many middle aged women are desiring a Catholic husband!" It's just not true, and it's patronizing.

    You claim to know of flocks of single Catholic women roaming the plains, and no men to marry them. I have no doubt that women have told you this. You need to know that these are the same women who post lovely e-dating profiles but only want pen-pals. Most of them don't want to meet men, don't want to date. They just want to moan "there are no men" and to receive your sympathy. You're being misled.

    And by the way, I was never contacted by anyone in the diocese, about my reaction to the bishop's paper. No one else reacted as I did, you say? Well, that's probably because in the handful of East Valley parishes that I attend, NONE have even mentioned the paper. So of course no one is reacting to it. I might be the only single man in town that bothered to read it!

    I guess I did not expect to be contacted. None of you believe that I exist, or that my writing is sincere. And so, back into the shadows I shall go, with the rest of the single men.

  27. My point, Uncle Fester, was that I don't expect to get snippets of my Facebook discussions here on the Bubble, and then be expected to discuss them. That is just not what I do at all. I am not sure why you are so upset, or why you think we think "you don't exist". I cannot help you at all with your dating experiences, but I stand by all my statements about the Catholic dating scene. Someone I know recently started a Facebook Catholic singles page (private) and just today she told me "If we don't get some men in here soon, the whole thing is moot!". Yes, bingo. If you are a man with good hygiene, a job, and decent social skills (sorry, I think you are kind of rude, to be honest), then perhaps there is something else that women are sensing about you that keeps them at bay? I have no idea. Ask your friends and confidantes what it could be. Or talk to your priest about it. I don't know what else to say. But I find that you are generally not very nice or pleasant and affable on this site, so maybe that is part of it? I truly wish you only the best and I pray that you do find a wife. If you want to reach the bishop's office, you could always try calling the diocese.

    God bless.

  28. I can see that I've disagreed with your very strongly-held beliefs in support of single Catholic women and against single Catholic men. Disagreement is fine, but you don't get to dismiss me as rude, "not very nice or pleasant or affable", or even unsuitable for dating. I am none of those things. You don't know me at all. I won't reply in kind.

    And for at least the third time, I am not pleading to "find a wife". "Women sense something" about me? I would love to find out! But let me say it one last time: there simply is no "Catholic dating scene". Men have no meaningful ways to learn who the single Catholic women are. And I'm not being obtuse or naive. Honestly now, when was the last time you saw an "all parish" social activity open to all parishioners (old, young, married, single) to meet and mingle? To create the social network where introductions used to come from? These events died out decades ago. And online dating is just not an acceptable substitute. Men and women alike leave the church in droves, either for mega-churches or for no church at all.

    Statistics say that up to half of all Catholics are now single in one way or another, and that the number of marriages is plummeting. This was the motivation for the bishop's paper, correct? If the Church wants to beat the drum for strong marriages, it had better realize that unless it provides opportunities for singles to interact... real personal opportunities... the trends will surely continue.

    I'll anticipate another question: yes, I've asked the parishes I attend about this. One has a monthly Saturday "family mass" followed by a dinner. I asked what's provided for unmarried adults, and the answer was "we don't really have anything." Half the parish population gets... nothing. Does that seem fair?

    Not sure what else I can possibly say. I think my bubble and your bubble are totally separate bubbles.

  29. Uncle Fester, may I suggest, gently, that you be the one to organize these events yourself? Everyone wants the events, but no one seems to wants to organize them, or do the work required to bring them about. I'm sure it will be a blessing to many, and may God give great fruit to your endeavors!

  30. To Uncle Fester, please, I encourage you *strongly*, to attend a workshop on Theology of the Body here in the Diocese of Phoenix. The John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body offers workshops and also a class through the KINO Institute. I think you will find TOB completely responds to your experience as a single man AND will help you to understand what is meant by a total gift of self, no matter your life situation.

    Do not be dissuaded by the misconception that TOB is for teens and marriage prep. It is about the human person, how we are made, and how we are to live made in the image of Trinitarian Love.

  31. To Uncle Fester, please, I encourage you *strongly*, to attend a workshop on Theology of the Body here in the Diocese of Phoenix. The John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body offers workshops and also a class through the KINO Institute. I think you will find TOB completely responds to your experience as a single man AND will help you to understand what is meant by a total gift of self, no matter your life situation.

    Do not be dissuaded by the misconception that TOB is for teens and marriage prep. It is about the human person, how we are made, and how we are to live made in the image of Trinitarian Love.


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