Bishop Olmsted Issues Powerful Challenge to Catholic Men
In a powerfully worded apostolic exhortation addressed to the men of his diocese, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, has urged them to “not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you.”
In a 23-page exhortation, entitled “Into the Breach,” Bishop Olmsted challenges men to join in a “primarily spiritual” battle against forces that are “progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our homes.”
Bishop Olmsted writes that the cultural crisis has arisen primarily because “Catholic men have not been willing to ‘step into the breach,’ and his purpose in the document, released on September 29, is to rally good men to the cause.
Bishop Olmsted explains that Catholic men are needed to conduct the “New Evangelization,” to re-introduce Christian principles in a society that has come to neglect them. He also cites the image offered by Pope Francis, of the Church as a “field hospital,” providing urgent care for those wounded by societal problems.
Reflecting on the complementarity of the sexes, the bishop calls for active resistance against “gender ideology” and a dedication to living out male virtues, particularly the virtues of fortitude and chastity.
Addressing the question of what it means to be a man, Bishop Olmsted reminds his readers of how Pontius Pilate referred to Jesus: Ecce homo– “Here is the man!” The bishop observes: “Only in Jesus Christ can we find the highest display of masculine virtue and strength that we need in our personal lives and in society itself.”
The bishop urges men to undertake a campaign of spiritual growth, advising regular prayer and use of the sacraments, reading of Scripture, and unselfish service to wives and children. He recommends imitation of the great males saints. He cites the words of one of these models, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.”
In closing his apostolic exhortation, Bishop Olmsted calls readers’ attention to the scandal of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of fetal tissues. “We need to get off the sidelines and stand up for life on the front lines,” he writes, adding:
We need faith like that of our fathers who defended the children of previous generations and who gave up their own lives rather than abandon their faith in Christ. My sons and brothers, men of the Diocese of Phoenix, we need you to step into the breach! (from Catholic Culture)
“Yes!” Wallace shouted back. “Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least awhile. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!”