Being a beloved son is manly, says straight talking priest
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
The less a man expresses his love to his loved ones, the wimpier he is, says Father Larry Richards.
"If you can't tell your wife and kids you love them, then you are a wimp!" Father Richards said during a presentation called "Be a Man" at St. Mary's Church June 15.
Father Richards is a leading voice in reclaiming the Catholic male identity. The presentation is part of the archdiocesan effort, organized by the archdiocese's Office of Evangelization, to encourage male Catholics to rediscover their God-given manhood.
"The devil's diabolical strategy is to get the man so he can get everybody," said Kyle Neilson, director of the office and organizer of the "Be a Man" talk. "If you strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter."
Neilson said the male role in society has been attacked by an aggressive form of secular feminism, which gained steam with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He said the culture has become anti-male, citing how the media portrays men as playboys and absentee fathers, but not as strong family men.
"Jesus is the incarnate man," Father Richards said to a crowd of more than 800 at the all-males event. "For too many years we (the Church) have coddled you and said 'God loves you as you are, and just try to be a better person.' That's garbage!"
He said God demands love and wants to be first in a man's life. One of the main problems men have in putting God first is a bad prayer life.
"If you can't give God more time than most of you spend on the toilet than there is a problem," he joked.
He told the audience that to be better men they had to let everything go back to Jesus. "To be a man is to know that you are a beloved son. You won't be willing to lay down your life for Christ unless you know that you are loved."
He added the only way a man will understand God's love for them is through prayer. But he also noted that prayer is often a selfish relationship where a man demands things from God instead of listening to God and following His command.
"Does the world know that you love God the Father and you will do everything to please Him?" Father Richards asked.
He also said that, along with being an obedient loving son of God, a man must also be a loving father to his family.
He said Jesus's command from Jn 13:4 was to "love one another as I have loved you."
"This is the call to be a man: pray and love."
"Father Richards's presentation was very challenging, inspiring, and surprising," Neilson said after the talk. "He stressed that an authentic man isn't about being macho but about discovering that a man is a beloved son of the Father."
"Be a Man" was the second of three events put on by the archdiocese for men. The final event, a Catholic men's conference called "Man Alive," will take place Oct. 27 at the Centre for Performing Arts on Homer Street in Vancouver. Registration is online at rcav.org/manalive.