The barbaric Islamic cowards of ISIS have threatened our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and have vowed to “conquer Rome”. The Pontifical Swiss Guard have accepted the challenge of defending him. Threats from Muslims against Christianity, and specifically against the Papacy, certainly aren’t new. Many have been actualized over the years, and many more will most assuredly come. However, the Commander of the Swiss Guard isn’t backing down, and says that the Swiss Guard are on high alert and are ready.
Since the assassination attempt of St. John Paul the Great (Pope John Paul II) in 1981, the security measures of not only the Swiss Guard, but also of the Vatican Police, known as the Corps of Gendarmes, have been significantly heightened. Slight changes were made when Francis was elected, but the world can be assured that the Swiss Guard are prepared.
TrueManhood requires that a man defend the common good. It goes without saying that defending the Holy Father is a good thing, and these incredible elite soldiers who make up the Swiss Guard are assigned to a very good task. When it comes to this good task, I wish I were younger, single, and Swiss – but alas, I’m older than the cutoff, married, and Italian (and Irish, Polish, & Czech).
The young men that make up the world’s smallest army must be between the ages of 19 and 30, at least 5’8.5″ tall, single, a practicing Catholic, and trained in the Swiss Army. Don’t let their Renaissance-esque uniforms fool you – they are trained warriors and ready for the battle. They train in unarmed combat, small arms, and are proficient with their pike and sword. Here’s the oath they swear on May 6th (each time a recruit becomes a Swiss Guard):
“I swear I will faithfully, loyally, and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See if vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors, respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me!”
Sheer awesomeness – an oath of self-giving, self-sacrifice, and overflowing with the virtue of magnanimity! And I can guarantee that these men don’t take this oath lightly – a true and holy honor to protect the Vicar of Christ. This sort of attitude flies in the face of cultural manliness and stands for authentic manliness – TrueManhood! We here at TrueManhood are proud of these men and so grateful to have them among the ranks who will be the first to defend Mother Church and our Holy Father.
One of the questions I’m asked most often is “If a man is addicted to porn, what can he do to overcome it?” I’d like to tell you that there’s an “easy button” that a man can push and be done with it, but it’s definitely not that simple. It’s such a frequent question because so many men are addicted and literally don’t know what to do. Many will tell me that “I’ve tried everything but nothing worked.” Some will say “I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything.” All of them know that they want out of the chains that bind them, and all of them know that something has to happen, but so few know what really works.
I have a “5 Step Plan” that could be a good starting point for you. It’s worked for many men, I believe it can work for you as well. There are some areas of the plan that are nuanced, the most important of those areas is accountability. [I hope to create a video about accountability soon to help explain it further.] There are plenty of other plans, programs, ideas, formats, resources, and approaches that you can find and try. For men who are extremely troubled by their addiction and who need a full-on attack, some would suggest Sexaholics Anonymous groups, counseling, and/or reparative brain therapy. You are obviously welcome to try them – do whatever you need to experience freedom.
Regardless of what method you choose, one thing is for sure… every man needs accountability. The reason accountability is so important is because it forces us to be honest about our life, and forces us to take responsibility for our actions. An accountability partner is someone very close to you, with whom you can be honest and forthright. Failing to be 100% open and honest will result in failed accountability. If you can’t be honest, don’t even start… you’re wasting everyone’s time. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s extremely hard to be honest and that vulnerable. It’s not a sign of weakness to be vulnerable, it’s a sign of wisdom.
For some, knowing what other men have done, tried, and what has worked or not is a great benefit. Other men will want to blaze their own trail. Either way, a man needs to do something, anything. Be sure, accountability is not something that is okay or acceptable in the cultural manliness lifestyle, so not many will understand and few will encourage it. Don’t let them get in your way.
Following Step 3 of the 5 Step Plan, you’ll see that you need to “find a brother”, meet as frequently as you need, and be deliberate about your approach. Watch for the video on accountability, along with a still-to-come TrueManhood guide to accountability. Another frequent question or road block I hear is about finding this brother for accountability…. so few men actually have male friends, let alone a man they feel comfortable to invite into this sort of relationship. For those who need it, I offer my services to work through the beginning stages of accountability and beyond. Contact me for more information. ContactUs@TrueManhood.com.
In May 2014, I attended the inaugural Encounter Young Adult Conference in St. Louis, Missouri as a vendor and sponsor, and was welcomed to give a brief testimony on the topic of “Hunger”, specifically related to my personal story, struggle, and addiction to pornography. Hunger was one of the themes that day. I finally got some editing done and uploaded it to YouTube. It’s also on my YouTube Channel with other videos like it.
There are several themes within this short talk that are vitally important. If you search through the years of archives, you can find many of them explained. I realize that’s difficult, and lots to sift through, so hopefully some of the resources I’m working on creating and making available will help. These important themes are: accountability, God’s forgiveness, having a plan of action, brotherhood, personal effort, virtue, and more. If you have questions, or a specific scenario you need help with, don’t hesitate to contact us. Email us at ContactUs@TrueManhood.com.
Here’s a feel-good story for you, and something to push you on. It’s been around on the internet for a few years, but I just saw it recently and thought it was good fodder for discussion. Watch this video about “The Door Man” and then read some of my reflections below.
Let’s take a look at the details in this video and see how they apply to TrueManhood. First off… Josh lost his father as a child; a tragic death that impacted him immensely. Every child needs their father. Everyone experiences loss and hurt, at varying levels, and quite often never share it, talk about it, or heal from it. These sorts of experiences are horribly detrimental to us and our psyche, not to mention our day to day interactions, thoughts, and choices. We begin to believe lies about certain aspects of our lives, our circumstances, and ourselves.
The video also talked about bullies, and how Josh fought back. Let’s just put this out there… whether you’re a child or a grown male, bullying at any stage is absolutely and positively not authentically masculine. A TrueMan never exploits someone else to attempt to make himself feel better. If you or someone you know is being bullied, or if you ever see someone being bullied, you are bound by the duty of your God-given masculinity to step in.
From all of this – the pain, the bullying, the emptiness, – came a loneliness, depression, and lack of self-worth for Josh. Unfortunately, this is all too common in our culture. Josh said: “I was sick and tired of being a “no one” and I wanted to be someone.” Again, an all too common belief. Even at a young age boys believe that they should be living “cultural manliness” so that they’re a “someone.” No matter what’s going on around you, happening to you, or what you’re experiencing, your worth comes from God and that’s enough. We must realize that our worth isn’t found in how others treat us, how we look, public prestige or applause, but only from God. He created us and sustains our life because He loves us, and that love is the source of our worth.
They said in the video that it took a while for people to adjust to doors being held open, and although I wish this wasn’t the case, it’s amazing how so small a gesture is forgotten and now “odd” to so many. The culture of the gentleman is lost, and needs to be reclaimed. I remember once when I was about 18, I was in New York City, and I happened to see a woman pushing a stroller with a baby in it, with several bulging bags hanging from her hands. She was attempting to move her giant stroller and bags through a door and no one was helping her. I ran over to show a simple common courtesy and she was absolutely floored. Fifteen years later I still remember that encounter because of how baffling it really is. In the video, as Josh opened doors, it said that people started to open up to Josh – it doesn’t take much. People want to be noticed, and wish that they had someone to listen to them. They want someone to engage with them, and they’re waiting for an opening so that they themselves can open up. It’s really not that difficult to make someone feel comfortable and welcome.
“Opening doors gives people hope that people care.” said Josh. “He set a good example for other students, and he changed things in the school.” Something SO SIMPLE as holding a door can make a real impact in someone else’s life. What are you doing EVERY DAY to make a difference in someone else’s life?
“I never expected to get an award. I was just happy enough to make it through.” Josh overcame a fear and gave himself to others, they relate to him that way, and he makes a difference. Good on you, Josh. I hope that you’ve continued to grow in courage, and that you haven’t stopped helping others.
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of the self-proclaimed “worldwide phenomenon”, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Whether it is in reference to the book series, various off-shoot parodies, re-enactments, productions, products, and so on, or the upcoming film, you’ve heard it. I wonder, though, how many people actually know what all the hype is about. If you’re not really up on the details, the facts will likely shock you.
Fifty Shades is, in a brief description, rape porn and BDSM porn. BDSM, for those who may not know, is an acronym for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism. This is also known by such names as slave porn, torture porn, domination porn, and so on. [Any male believing that he is in control of reality, making a good decision, or ‘treating a woman right’ by these sorts of acts is greatly misled.] Why then, is this series of books and now the upcoming movie (not to mention all of the “adult novelties” for sale based on the books) so popular, especially among women??? It boggles the mind, and clearly shows the broken nature of our world. Folks are looking for authentic love, yet receiving a drastic counterfeit.
Does this definition sound like a free, total, faithful, fruitful gift of self to another, or something opposite?
I think it’s important to point out that “50” depicts violent porn as glamorous – a lie that most pornographers want the consumer to believe. It’s ultimately the consumption of the lie of “Cultural Manliness” by women, believing that males like character Christian Grey are what they should be looking for in a man. I assure you, he is not. “50” wants you to believe that what’s happening in the story (stalking, dominance, rape, and various other forms of dangerous and degrading sad0-masochistic sex) is normal, acceptable, and even beneficial to relationships. How people believe these lies are beyond me, but obviously they do.
On February 14th, the Feast of St. Valentine, the movie form of “50” will be released in all markets. I highly encourage all of my readers and supporters to 1. boycott the film and 2. have an open and concerned conversation with others in your life who may go to the film. Support of this movie is in direct conflict with the Gospel Message. Exploitation of individuals, especially women, and the degradation of human sexuality is absolutely sinful and should be avoided at all costs. If you’re looking for an alternative, and want to support mainstream films that uphold human dignity and wholesome entertainment, please consider attending “Old Fashioned – the Movie” instead, also opening in theaters on February 14th.
I was recently invited to privately screen the film, and overall, I enjoyed it. I made a date night out of the event with my wife, getting some of her favorite movie-foods, and creating a little “home theater” for us. The film is a depiction of a man who, after turning away from a life of debauchery and exploitation, has chosen to have standards for himself and for any potential mate moving forward, for the goodness of his and her soul. He is seen by other characters in the film as being “stuffy”, “prudish”, and, well… “old fashioned” (hence, the name of the film.) I was impressed enough to encourage you to see it especially as an alternative against “50”. Here’s the trailer:
Additionally, there is a responsibility here, for men to step to the plate and protect humanity. Personally, should our local community-run theater choose to show this film, which I have already formally requested that they not do, I will likely be forced to take further action. Let us pray that this does not happen.
For me and mine, we say “Out with the ‘Grey’, and In with the ‘Old’.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to porn, download my “5 Step Guide to Overcoming an Addiction to Pornography & Masturbation” for free.
In my last post, I wrote about being on trial, as a defendant, for First Amendment issues. A lawsuit was brought against me by the owner of a string of adult stores on claims that were beyond ridiculous. These claims (surrounding peaceful assembly) all had to do with my rights granted me from the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
On the morning of Monday, January 12, I appeared in Federal court with my co-defendants, expecting to select a jury and begin this epic trial between good and evil. Instead, what happened was fairly lackluster. The plaintiff counsel called a meeting with our defense counsel and told them, “We don’t have a case.” Essentially, they caved. It was over before it started. All of us involved knew that they never had a case, we just wish it wouldn’t have burdened us for the past 3.5 years; costing us time, money, and being a royal pain in the rear. But, in the end, a victory is a victory and we were happy to stand for the truth, for justice, and for goodness.
The First Amendment rights that you and I (hopefully) appreciate, were upheld. The right to peacefully assemble, the right to free speech, and the right to freedom of religion. Now, in this case, some people have brought up the question about the adult store’s “rights” to perform free commerce and their “rights” to free speech and free press in terms of pornography. Heck, it was even written in their language in the original lawsuit documents! Make it known… the business owner who sued me is engaged in illegal activity, and his business practices are NOT protected by the First Amendment. What?!
You read that correctly… the activity taking place in that store (and MANY others like it all across the country) are engaged in illegal activity. This business, in particular, is guilty of at least two counts: 1. The distribution of hardcore pornography. (A felony in the United States of America.) and 2. The operation of pornography viewing booths. With #1, I bet you didn’t know that the production and distribution of hardcore pornography was against the law! Yep, it sure is. (Here’s the proof.) But why is there so much of it being produced and distributed? BECAUSE THE LAW ISN’T BEING UPHELD! And viewing booths lead to illegal and illicit behaviors and have been outlawed in many states, including the one I was sued in. Without getting into specific details here, we have evidence to believe that there were not only drugs being sold and consumed within these booths, but also lewd and heinous (hetero and homo) sexual acts were taking place, including prostitution. Isn’t it ironic that the criminal enterprise that brought suit against us was (is) involved in much more damaging and negative activity than they claimed we were!
So here’s how this thing ends:
The lawsuit was filed — we went round and round with the courts and their proceedings — we spent time and money — our lives were negatively affected for 3.5 years — and so on. What now? Do we step away from this fight because we were sued once? No! Whether it’s peaceful protest outside of a pornography shop, standing with love outside of an abortion mill, or writing blog posts that expose corrupt and illegal behavior, we mustn’t stop standing up for our rights. Rights give us freedom FOR things, not freedom from things. We have these rights so that we can be free for goodness and honesty, for clean communities, for wholesome businesses with wholesome practices, and free for giving and receiving love. That’s what it’s all about.
PS: If you struggle from addiction with or a pension for pornography and you need help getting out, contact us today. Email us at info@TrueManhood.com.
Starting Monday, 1.12.15, I’ll find myself (along with 7 others), on trial in Federal Court. I’m being sued by an adult store owner (owner of, I believe, 18 or so adult stores in the northeast) for several reasons, including trespassing, public and private nuisance, some anti-commerce claims, as well as coercion, to name a few. All of the claims are ridiculous. The case has been going on for some time now (almost 3.5 years) and although I am not worried or concerned – for I didn’t do the things that he claims I did – I would ask for your support and prayers during this time. The case comes down to a matter of the First Amendment, and my (AND YOUR!) right to free speech and to peaceful assembly.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (excerpt)
I peacefully and prayerfully stood as witness to the harm and dangers of pornography. Personally, I stood there for all the men who are trapped in pornography and also for the women whose lives are negatively affected by those men and their actions. My favorite sign to hold was “Real Men Don’t Exploit Women.” Translated… “males who are acting with the proper behavior, who do what they should and not what they shouldn’t, and who uphold the utmost respect for women, don’t USE them!” I hope that it made a lot of folks stop and think about their actions. I held this sign, too.
Maybe protesting is crazy. Maybe it’s ineffective. Maybe because of the insanity taking place in our country lately, protesting will forever be tainted (maybe it already was.) But let me put another side to it. There are people who are caught in the trap of pornography who don’t know that there is another option for them. They don’t know that there are resources, support groups, counselors, programs, and other people who care about them so that they don’t have to be confined to their addiction. For many, the addiction to pornography destroys their life, ruining marriages, causing firings from jobs, loss of important family finances, and so on. Porn can also negatively affect the brain, the ability to perform intimately and sexually, it increases selfishness, and does a serious number on the chemicals in the brain causing dependency and withdrawal symptoms. Anger can also stem from porn use. (There’s much more on this in my archives.)
So because of all of this, I stood and peacefully assembled, hoping to help just one person. And, you know what… on MANY occasions, people told me that it opened their eyes, helped them out, or prevented them from making a decision they knew they would regret.
Being involved in this trial is not something I want to do, but I’m involved and I have to see it through. True manhood requires it of me. I will remain calm, I will not be evasive on the stand during questioning, and I will, as always, be honest. Marks of a TrueMan. Be steadfast with me and do what you can today to defend the First Amendment.
PS: A HUGE thanks goes out to our lawyers for their help and care in this case, they’ve been great. Alliance Defending Freedom is the bomb!
Brothers, can I be honest with you? Really? I mean, can I really lay something out on the table and call you to task? Bros… it’s time to ditch the fantasy football leagues. Playing football… awesome. (Especially local pick-up games at the park. I played ball as a kid up into college. It taught me teamwork, hard work, discipline, tenacity, perseverance, and so many other great characteristics. It even – significantly – helped me pay for undergrad!) Watching football… fine. (I thoroughly enjoy it myself. It’s always been something we do in my family… gathering us together like nothing else can. Literally like nothing. else. can. Eating, talking, enjoying one another. It’s awesome.) Fantasy football… nah.
I’ve been getting jazzed for this season of late and excited about the Steelers’ run for their 7th championship (stop – don’t send hate mail!) In watching some stuff about the NFL and listening to some sports talk radio on my long commutes, and following a few threads here and there, I keep getting bombarded with the fantasy talk. I even went to a game recently (pre-season Vikings vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead – thanks Jeff!) and heard it there. Over the loud speaker, on the jumbotron, on posters. It boggles my mind that grown men get so into this garbage. Don’t you have better things to spend your time on? Can’t you find something productive to do? Sure, a lot of us spend time poorly on occasion. Sometimes it’s leisure, recreation, relaxation, etc. Sometimes, it’s just blatant idiocy. I have to be frank about this, even the name evokes the shear viciousness that is fantasy football.
For those who don’t know what fantasy football is, there are countless places to learn about it, but you won’t find that on TrueManhood.com. Sorry.
If you find yourself ready to attempt to justify fantasy to me, stop yourself, think through it, and ponder this: it is a fantasy. Fake. Fantasies lend themselves to sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy. We need to live in reality, not in fantasy. If you look up the definition of fantasy online, it will tell you that it’s “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.” This is what you spend countless hours on each week? This is what gets you hot and bothered? Don’t tell me that you might win a $1,000 if you win your league. Don’t tell me about bragging rights over your brothers, co-workers, or poker buddies. Require more out of your life than fantasy. Our wives and children deserve more than fantasy. Our world deserves much more than fantasy.
Why do I care? ‘If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it.’ Right? How many of you are thinking that right now? Guess why I care… because men have too many responsibilities that are going undone because we waste our lives on crap like fantasy football. To me, this isn’t much different than porn. Porn is a fantasy land. Unreality that leads to viciousness. If you don’t think it effects you and me, you’re wrong. When men don’t live lives of virtue, they’re living lives of viciousness. There’s no two-ways about it. We have tons of males running around like boys, playing games all day long, wasting away the good opportunities to be something, and to do something. Get it together, bros!
So, what are you going to do instead of fantasy football this year? I’d suggest anything along the lines of… anything but fantasy.
James Foley is, seemingly, a saint; a living witness to the faith. He very literally gave his life for the sake of the Kingdom. He was beheaded for being a Christian. From what I can tell, he lived heroic virtue, especially in the face of persecution, even to the point of death. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes martyrdom as “the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude.” (CCC 2473.)
James Foley was a journalist working to make the plight of the Syrian people known to the world. They have been oppressed and tortured, and most recently, as I hope we are all aware, have been brutally murdered, often by beheading, by Islamic terrorists. His work put him in terrible situations, and he knew his life was in danger. He was proud of the work he was doing, and knew well the reality of the holy war taking place in the Middle East.
Jim was a Catholic, and believed firmly in prayer. During his time in the Middle East, he was held captive, and ultimately, was beheaded by the terrorist cell The Islamic State (IS). Their cowardly act of absolute destruction of human life was horrific, while Jim’s witness was absolutely beautiful. He was a TrueMan! In the face of danger, he was courageous. In the face of persecution, he was faithful. In the face of evil, he was true goodness. He lived charity, and gave his life as a witness.
In a recounting of his first captivity in Libya in 2011, Jim wrote about how prayer, the Rosary specifically, got him through. He wrote: “If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.”
Here’s a video showing his parents – talking a little about Jim and his faith.
So the question for us now is, “Do you realize that martyrdom is a real possibility in our world?” I often hear people talking about “those other people” who were martyrd, as if it couldn’t (and won’t) happen to us. I suggest that each man reading this post consider what he will do in the face of oppression, so that when that day comes, he will know and will be prepared. Brothers, we cannot wait to prepare, because the forces of evil are strong, and they are coming for us. Whether it be terror cells like the IS, or some other form of hatred towads Catholics, we will experience persecution, and it may even lead to our death. If you’re living virtuously now, it will make all the difference then. Virtue = authentic masculinity. Virtue = TrueManhood.
I’ve been wanting to write about the persecutions, rapes, pillaging, plundering, destruction, and massacring of Christians in the Middle East for some time now. I haven’t really known what to say and how to possibly bring any value to the discussion because it is so unthinkable. Many have likened what is happening in the Middle East by ISIS to Nazi Germany, and I can’t disagree. However, I find the tactics and purpose (of the terrorists) much more heinous because of a few reasons. 1. It is on display (thanks to the media outlets available worldwide, and very easily). The Nazi’s scheme was all but hidden, especially the concentration camps, while these Muslim’s galavant around, showcasing the horrow of their actions for all the world to see. They display the decapitated heads of small children as if trophies added to their collection. It’s absolutely sickening. 2. The world is seemingly doing little to nothing to stop ISIS. I pray this changes very quickly. 3. It’s not the first time this sort of “ethnic/religious cleansing” has happened. For me, that’s why it’s worse this time around.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Come on, world! Get it together! Start stepping in for these people, and rid the world of these awful terrorists. Haven’t we learned anything from the past mistakes of humanity?!
Well, because I doubt I’ll be eloquent enough to make any difference, I thought I’d let Fr. Barron shed some light on the subject. See below.