There’s a difference between maleness and manliness. A person is a male by virtue of his sex (gender), his DNA. A male is not a man simply because of his age, his profession, his marital status, whether or not he’s a virgin, what he owns, or any other arbitrary factor. A male becomes a man when his life is manly. What is manliness? Virtue. This is one of the 3 main tenants of TrueManhood.com – nothing new for the readership.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 1803, states that virtue is “the habitual and firm disposition to do the good.” The CCC clarifies that virtue is an action… doing… a verb. So when does a male become a man? When he does good. You’re a male reading this… are you a man or are you simply a male?
Thankfully, with the definition that the Church gives us, we don’t have to wonder whether or not a male is a man, which means that we don’t have to wonder whether or not our sons (or the males interested in our daughters) are men. It’s the benchmark by which we “grade” them. When we know that, we can move forward to help these males continue to live in a manly way. This brings me to my point…
Manliness isn’t given, manliness is earned. Before something can really be earned, someone must know what they are earning, thus males must first learn what manliness is before they can earn it. As fathers, it is our responsibility to not only live out manliness (ie: virtue) but to teach it. The world gives various versions of counterfeit manliness for our boys to shoot for (search “Cultural Manliness” on this site for more on the world’s main version) and if we don’t teach them what authentic masculinity is, their only option is the world’s option.
The world’s option isn’t an option for me. It’s not an option for my son, Dave Jr. It’s not an option for my daughters Lily, Emma, and Maria. The world’s option is a lie.
Let’s work together as Catholic fathers to teach our children (male and female) what masculinity is. If you ever wonder, just refer back to the Catechism, to TrueManhood.com, or to the “Guide to Virtue” found on my site. More to follow on dads teaching their sons what TrueManhood is all about.
The concept of ‘sexy pressure’ for girls at Halloween had never crossed my mind before my wife sent me a NY Times “parent blog” article – here it is – but now it’s resonating with me. Makes me think about 10 years from now… what’s life going to be like for our little ones? (Please read the article so that you understand what I’m talking about. And not, I certainly don’t prescribe to what the author of the article is saying, but simply bringing it up as a point of discussion.) I’m a father of 3 daughters, and although they are young, I’m aware of the pending pressure that’s coming – but apparently not aware enough.
In the article, you can sense that the pressure on girls comes mostly from other girls. They didn’t talk about whether or not the guys thought they were ‘too sexy’, but the pressure stemmed almost exclusively from what the other girls perceived. (I assert, too, that the pressure they feel isn’t so much real as it is only a perception, and the one quote shows that, when she says, essentially, “it’s not discussed but everyone knows it.”) I’ve always found this to be true; the guys aren’t aware enough, most of the time, or don’t care enough, to make a big deal out of girl’s clothing. Although there is that aspect when a girl is dressed in a “slutty” manner (per the article) when guys notice and begin to pay attention to her. This is age-old.
What’s the big deal here? Isn’t this just adolescent development, trial-and-error, and growing pains? No, I don’t think so. It’s a big deal because of the culture around our kids. They see particular things online, on TV, in movies, in music videos, etc. and whatever is “it” MUST be emulated. At least in their minds. Whatever’s hip, cool, newest, biggest, baddest, and those things that push the moral lines, is what is desired. Again, this is age-old. The shiny thing that grabs attention is what becomes so sought after. So, with our young women, and this idea of “dressing sexy for Halloween”, what do we do? Fathers… where are you?
Here’s what we do. I’ve written about this before, I speak about this all the time, I teach my kids in class this concept in all we do. It’s not a new concept… it too is age-old. We teach our kids that they are intrinsically good and that God loves them, and that we love them. We instill in them a self-worth that is so strong that it can stand up against any cultural phenomenon, any peer pressure, any moral dilemma and come out victorious. Without this self-worth, without this knowledge that they have a dignity that is deserving of only the greatest, they will fall into the pressure of the world to find their happiness, self-worth, and coolness factor from other things. In the end, those other things won’t bring happiness, only emptiness.
Fathers: if you’re not the most loving, caring, compassionate, uplifting source of goodness in your daughter’s life, then why not?! She needs your attention, your affection, your love, your discipline, your care, your concern. NEEDS it like she needs water, food, oxygen, and shelter. An absolute necessity. If you’ve failed her in this area up to this point, work to fix your mistakes. You’ve got 10 days before Halloween, it’s not too late. And let’s be real, Halloween isn’t the issue, but it certainly accentuates the issue.
From time to time, bishops write what are called ‘apostolic exhortations’… a letter or article or writing that calls the people to a higher level of knowledge on a topic… that encourages the reader to live a particular way, or to consider a worldview that may be different from what they currently believe and are living. Many apostolic exhortations have to do with modern crisis and societal concerns that the bishop desires to spend time and effort working to correct. The latest of these exhortations comes from a great man, a great shepherd of the people, and a wonderful bishop, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix in Arizona. Watch the trailer below to be inspired to read the exhortation, which you can find by clicking on the link below.
Click HERE to get to the exhortation. It is lengthy, and the website has much more on it than just the exhortation, so be prepared to save the site and come back to it as you need to.
I applaud the efforts of Bishop Olmsted and all the men and women who support him in this project. He couldn’t be more right in what he says and writes… we are absolutely in a crisis and need the fullness of the teaching of masculinity to come out and to be spread. That IS the work of TrueManhood Men’s Ministry and we stand in solidarity with Bishop Olmsted.
Pope St. John Paul the Great (JP2) was “A Pope for the World.” He helped bring peace to the world by fighting the Nazi’s, communism, and the tyranny of the Cold War. He traveled the world like no previous Pope in history (obviously, modern technology and transportation-accessibility helped that) and was embraced as a man of peace. The way in which he challenged the world to become united was incredible, and although there were always those who disagreed, he was instrumental in peace-filled actions (too numerous to mention) all around the world. For these reasons, and others, he was a Pope for the world.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was “A Pope for the Church.” Even before his time as Pope, and certainly during and after, he worked to solidify the liturgy and to make certain that orthodoxy within the Church was upheld. His work dating back to Vatican II is incredible, and the Church is better because of it. Pope Benedict worked to unite the Church and to strengthen Her from within. For these reasons, and others, he was a Pope for the Church.
I believe that Pope Francis is “A Pope for the Others.” Pope Francis – due majorly in part to the media – has had a huge impact on the lives of “the others.” What do I mean by “others”? Well, those who are outside of the Church for whatever reason. Francis takes the age-old approach of, as I’ve mentioned before, “The Good Shepherd.” Francis knows that the sheep have been dispersed, attacked, and lost, but he desires for even that 1 lost sheep to be brought back into the fold. Much debate about his ways, his tactics, and his methods have been scrutinized and brought into question. For the millionth time… what he is doing is good, faithful, and amazing! Catholics who are opposed to him need to seriously check their pride, egos, and motives because you’re missing the big picture. Maybe, just maybe, not everything in life is all about you.
See, Pope Francis is an evangelist. I and others know this because I see him and his methods, and I too prescribe to this form of ministry. I too am an evangelist and believe that his approach to ministry is absolutely effective and working. Just look at posts and comments from atheists, agnostics, anti-Catholics, and especially from fallen-away-Catholics… they are drawn to him and his heart. One small example! They see his authenticity and genuine care for others and that causes them pause and urges them to consider not only what he does but what he says. This speaks volumes. Beating people into submission doesn’t work. Forcing, coercing, bribing, and/or guilting people into a set of beliefs doesn’t work. Telling people how bad they are, casting them out further, and alienating them doesn’t work. What works is love, and no matter how counter-cultural it is, we must begin to believe that love is the answer to all things. For these reasons, and others, Pope Francis is a Pope for the “others.”
Perhaps you’re an “other” and happen to be reading this. Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you’re here. I hope that my site is a place that encourages you to consider what authentic masculinity really is, and hopefully will inspire a response towards living as an authentic person. If you’re a man, the challenge is simple – live by following the example of Jesus Christ, the One True God and True Man; virtue, virtue, virtue. (Check out my resources tab above and click on the “Guide to Virtue” for more.)
Men, I hope that as you read this, you realize that there are many in our midst that are opposed to the Catholic Church. They are opposed to the ideas of TrueManhood, they are opposed to religion, they are opposed to faith-based-anything. They have bought the lie of the world (cultural manliness) and as far as they are concerned, that’s fine, fun, and good for them. What they are missing is the alternative… a life as God intended it, serving one another, loving one another, and preaching the Good News. Pope Francis does this naturally, and is really spectacular at it. Take heed and learn from him. He’s prompting you to do the same, in your unique way, so that others can see the light of Christ through you.
After I reposted my article, “Ditch the Fantasy“, I received a number of comments and critiques about the article. The same happened last year when I originally posted it. I’m thankful to receive the comments and critiques, and that’s part of my intent when I write something… especially things that might grab someone and challenge them… to get people talking about things. To those who disagree, I ask that you forgive the tone of my article, should it have been hurtful or made you feel like I was condemning you, calling you a sinner, or shattering your confidence. If it was taken in an uncharitable manner, then I sincerely apologize. I certainly don’t want to tear anyone down, but rather, my goal is to build men up. If I have torn you down in any way, please accept my apology. It’s also not my intent to point fingers at other’s sin, as if I’m not a sinner myself; I most certainly sin, and take ownership of my sin. Mea culpa.
The critiques came mostly in the form of people feeling attacked for their like of, or involvement in, fantasy football. Although I remain firm in my position on Fantasy, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain it deeper.
What’s taking place in a Fantasy Football League? In my previous article, I said that I wouldn’t give an explanation of Fantasy, but I broke my rule and am explaining it here in quick terms. Players organize themselves in a computerized league, draft specialty players (QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, Special Teams players, etc.), and team defenses, and then as the real NFL season progresses, the players make mock lineup changes and substitutions with the hope of scoring the most points/yards/wins (based off of the actual performances of NFL players) so that their fantasy team beats the other fantasy teams in the computerized league. To make changes/substitutions, a fantasy player may spend little, some, or many hours researching teams, watching film, checking standings, reviewing the injured reserve lists, listening to and/or watching television and internet shows related to fantasy, rating matchups, and so forth, so as to have the best possible lineup for the upcoming week. Teams within the league play against another team each week, and the winners racks up points. The standings change each week in the overall ranking within the league. Depending on the initiative of the players, there may be no, some, or lots of human interaction (in my experience, often in the form of smacktalk) between the actual players. Some of the leagues are free to join, some cost money. Some have prizes or purses for the winners, some do not.
Fantasy Football as fantasy. I received the following quote: “The word fantasy is present, but there isn’t a whole lot of day dreaming or fantasizing involved.” If you’ll recall in my original post, I mentioned the dictionary definition of fantasy “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.” Okay, big deal. Or is it? The reason I believe that Fantasy Football is absolutely a Fantasy is because it’s made up. The teams are made up, the leagues are made up, etc. Along these lines, I linked the playing of fantasy to pornography, and that also got a rise out of some readers. Notice that I mentioned that “fantasies lend themselves toward sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy.” They “lend” themselves toward sinfulness. No, I’m not necessarily saying that Fantasy Football will send you to hell, but I believe that addictive behavior can spread very quickly from activities like this, especially when technology is involved, and that is at the very least something we should be aware of. (Personally, I lived this not only through my pornography addiction but also through my use of television, movies, and video games.) This opinion of mine is linked to studies and scientific data that show that the brain is negatively affected by stimuli coming through technology. We condition our brain to react a certain way based on the content we consume and the brain chemicals that create dependency. For this reason, I am also opposed to video games, especially in adolescent boys.
Linking Fantasy to board games. One major critique is to pull board games into the mix, and argue that fantasy football is no different than playing a board game. To this point, I disagree. Board games require human interaction at every turn. Even the body placement of the players during most board games has the players facing each other around a table. This body placement promotes conversation, human interaction, and non-verbals and, in my opinion, is much more human than someone merely sitting in front of a computer screen, tablet, or smartphone. In board games, the opportunity to be compassionate, caring, and/or relate with other players is prevalent. Not so in fantasy. I’d say that board games are absolutely a bonding opportunity, and can be a good use of time. Go for it!
The “All Things Good in Moderation” lie. Please don’t buy into the lie that “all things are good in moderation.” This is not the Catholic position! The Catholic position would never say that drugs in moderation, or unfaithful, extra-marital sex in moderation, or lying in moderation are good things. Obviously not. What the Church would say is that we (humanity) should live the virtue of TEMPERANCE in all things. Temperance “moderates our attraction to pleasures… the temperate person directs the sensitive appetites towards what is good.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1809.) The Church would also instruct us and compel us to utilize the virtues of WISDOM, PRUDENCE, and others, in terms of what we do and how we spend our time. I think this is reasonable to bring into this discussion of manliness and how it relates to activities such as Fantasy.
I suppose it also benefits the conversation to ask the question “Is Fantasy Football cultural manliness?” Is Fantasy telling men that the more power, money, sex, and stuff they consume the more manly they are? Not necessarily in every case, but I am personally aware of many cases that fit this definition.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t be shooting for something that’s “just okay” or “not as bad as”… we should be shooting for the greatest good. Our actions as males, whatever they are, are either virtuous or vicious. They are either working to be like Christ, or they aren’t. That’s for you to think about and decide.
You may not agree with me. That’s your prerogative. I would leave those who disagree with this thought and challenge. Is it possible that you are abdigating your responsibilities during the time you are playing Fantasy? (The same could be asked about a lot of activities, most certainly.) Are you missing out on “greater goods?” Is Fantasy Football helping you reach your goals in life? Is it helping you to grow in holiness?
I received yet another invitation to play Fantasy Football this year. That makes, well, several invitations. Because it was such a big article for me last year, and because I think it needs addressed again, I’m reposting my article “Ditch the Fantasy.”
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.
Repost from August 2009, with a few additions, for the college-aged young men out there…
With most schools starting recently (or soon), I thought it would be good to address some issues about how a TrueMan behaves on campus. A college campus, as we all know, can be a hostile place for an ardent follower of Christ. It can be a treacherous minefield of explosive situations, abusive and vulgar language, uncomfortable environments, and disagreements with unbelievers. In order to deal with these difficult issues, here are a couple suggestions.
- Be yourself. If you love and serve God, don’t be ashamed of it. Live it out, your witness will come through – people will want what you have.
- Don’t give in to negative peer pressure. Negative peer pressure is stupid… Real friends don’t force you into bad situations and surely don’t lead you into sin. We call these people “nasty friends”. If you’ve got ’em, get rid of ’em. Don’t ruin your life holding on to people who are ruining theirs.
- If you are struggling, and think that you’ve got it bad or that you’re really suffering for the increase of the Kingdom, read about St Paul in 2 Corinthians 11/12. That’s some good perspective, huh?!
- There’s a big difference between being a strong Catholic man who stands for something good as compared to a “culturally manly” guy who wants the “glamorous” lifestyle of money, power, women and stuff. College campus life increases these bad desires exponentially.
- Many women on your college campus won’t understand the chivalry you extend to them. Do it anyway, with charity and a smile. Be a radical change on your campus.
- Being a TrueMan doesn’t mean you can’t have anything to drink, or that you can’t go to any parties. It means that you put yourself in good situations, that point you towards heaven and you act in moderation and with prudence. Remember, Jesus hung out with sinners, but not when they were sinning. (*Keep in mind that a TrueMan abides by the law, and whether you agree with the drinking-age in the US or not, it is the law. A TrueMan wouldn’t risk it. If you’re underage, just say no.)
- Strive for excellence in all things. Start by being sober and chaste. If you conquer these two areas, you’re well on your way.
- As much as it seems untrue, women don’t want to marry the dirtball, drunkard, C-minus-student types. They want a gentleman, a man who’s going to provide for them, a man who loves them and shows their love by respecting them and by being self-sacrificing. They want a man who is going to be a great dad and a hard worker. There’s nothing wrong with stacking the deck on this topic! Put all the cards in your favor from the get-go!
All in all, college is a great time for a young man. Live it up. Enjoy it. In all things, be focused on Christ, live virtue and especially, live joy.
High school graduations are upon us, and many of those graduates will be moving on to bigger and better things. When they’re gone, they’re still your child, and you still have some responsibility for their sanctification. Although they’re of adult age, and many will be out of the house, your parental role doesn’t stop, it merely changes. How then do you help your college-aged, young adult children? Well, here are a few tips.
- Don’t Lie to Yourself: Realize that they’ve seen more, done more, and have been exposed to more than you’d probably like. If they’ve seen any mainstream media, heard any popular music, or hung out with any other children who have done so, they’ve seen it, done it, and/or have been exposed to it. The “it” is the junk, filth, and garbage that’s out there in TV, movies, music, magazines, and all over the internet.
- Be Aware: Most institutions of higher education don’t filter, block, or have regulations against pornography and other filth on the internet. Some do, but those systems are rare.
- New Found Freedom and Rebellion: Being out of the house lends itself towards rebellious views and ideas of invincibility, especially on the college campus. These institutions are typically not calling the boys towards authentic masculinity, but rather, allows and encourages on-going childishness and “cultural manliness”.
It doesn’t matter what they go on to do, they’ll be exposed to more and more than ever before. Even faithful, Catholic schools have problems with protecting their students, and your child isn’t the exception to the rule. Okay, okay… downer Dave here… as usual, killing the excitement and joy surrounding graduation. Harping on the bad news and leaving everyone scared to raise kids in America. Sorry. Well, not really. Instead of only harping on the bad, I’ve got a great tool to aid you in your parenting. It’s called Covenant Eyes, and I fully endorse their products.
Covenant Eyes is a filtering and accountability software for PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. It works on a plethora of devices and they continually develop the software to keep up with the latest and greatest gadgets. Covenant Eyes does a number of things, and while I can’t tell you all of them in this short post, here are three of the most practical things it does, especially for your boy (or girl) heading off to college.
- Peace of Mind: Covenant Eyes lends itself towards giving parents peace of mind that the content that their child (even their young adult child) is protected from content that is bad for them. The filtering helps to block explicit, pornographic, and malicious content from entering the device.
- A Talking Point: Covenant Eyes is a gateway to conversation between parents and children. It gives a parent the opportunity to discuss the content, not ignore it. It gives the child the responsibility of having the device, with the accountability to back it up.
- Keepin’ It Real: Covenant Eyes keeps everything honest, open, and transparent. The truth is the truth, and if a site has been visited that shouldn’t have been, or an app has been utilized that shouldn’t have been, or questionable online behavior is happening, it puts it all out on the table. When it’s out there, it can be dealt with.
And it’s not only good for older kids, it’s great for everyone in the house. Dads – you need this software on your devices to keep you honest. Moms can benefit from it too! (Did you know that 1 out of 4 church-going women admit to being addicted to pornography?!) And our pure, innocent littles… it’s the least we can do for them. The least.
So how do you start using Covenant Eyes? Click HERE to go to the Covenant Eyes site to sign up for your free one-month trial. That’s right, it couldn’t be easier, just head on over and they’ll let you try it out for a month at no cost. (The link takes you to my affiliate page automatically.) Once you’ve signed up, you’ll download the program on your computer(s), laptop(s), and iOS/Android devices (get the app), set up the functionality you want to utilize (in the setting portion of the account), and immediately, the device is protected. If you have ANY problems, or struggle with technology (like so many parents do), simply call their customer service line and they will walk you through everything. It’s totally worth it, easy to do, and gives you that all-important peace of mind. What’s stopping you? Do it today!
Covenant Eyes has a monthly cost after the initial free month trial. Considering all of the junk out there, I find the minimal costs to be well worth the souls of our children. One monthly cost covers ALL of your family’s devices. Hard to beat. I’ve tried tons of different blocks, filters, and accountability, and by far, this is my favorite.
When I saw this video clip, I was encouraged and inspired. As a man, as a husband, as a lover, as a friend – I was challenged. To see a man, whose courage and patriotism far surpass mine, was a firm reminder of what I’m shooting for. AND… it all flies in the face of the hyper-masculine idea of manliness – cultural manliness. Check the video out, then look below for more thoughts.
So, I wonder:
- When is the last time I wrote my wife a letter and mailed it to her?
- Have I shared my emotions with my wife?
- Am I confident enough to cry, and to let people see me cry?
- Do I mean the words I write? Do I believe them? Should the reader believe them?
- Am I working hard so that I have a 63+ year marriage? This not only includes my love for my wife, but my physical health… will I live that long? (I have 54+ years to go… that puts me at about 88 years old. I think I can make it!)
- Am I in awe of my wife? Do I feel lucky to call her mine?
- If my wife wasn’t here, would I feel that same heartache that he feels?
- Is our marriage/life an “incredible story”?
- Would my children and (future) grandchildren say the same things about me?
- Is there a true depth to the love we have in our marriage?
- Is my marriage inspiring to others?
- Does my marriage set a great example?
Some may watch this video and read this list and shrug it off. I challenge you to, instead, take these questions and apply them to your life. If you’re not married, substitute the words of wife or marriage for life, or Jesus, or family, or friends, and see what your answers are.
To this man, Bill Moore, and to our other heroes of “The Greatest Generation”, we owe you so much and are in awe of your sacrifice. Thank you for setting an incredible example of manliness for us to strive for.
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.