Reclaiming Catholic fatherhood

TODAY’S CATHOLIC — In the 1950s, fathers in American culture were seen as wise heads of the household to whom children could turn in times of need, portrayed in such television shows as “Father Knows Best.” In those shows, the earthly father stood in place of the heavenly Father, guiding and instructing his children as a Christian father is intended to do. However, this image has become distorted through the years, with the modern father more commonly painted as the Homer Simpson-esque, unintelligent, lazy figure.

The defining secular attitudes regarding fatherhood have seen constant change in the last 50 years. While fathers are now allowed in the birthing room and are expected to help with household chores and child rearing, there has also been opposition to the necessity of the father-figure in an age of confused gender roles. What is the true role of fatherhood, as defined in the Catholic Church?

Father Royce Gregerson, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Goshen, shed light on the value of fathers in the Catholic life.

“My experience as a parish priest has been that the father makes an enormous difference in the faith life,” he said. “We talk about God as Father all the time. Whether people find that credible or believable or not is frequently determined by their relationship with their own father.”


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