I sincerely believe that the greatest crisis afflicting the family, society and the Church is the utter collapse of male responsibility and leadership.
Too many men simply fail to perform the duties of procreation, primacy, provision and protection that their vocations require. As each generation comes around this problem only grows worse.
In this monumental lecture, Fr. Chad Ripperger tears the veil off the greatest tragedy facing civilisation: men are being conditioned to be effeminate wimps. And, before any man thinks this does not apply to them, listen to what he lists as the signs of effeminacy in men.
I challenge all men to take the time to listen to this lecture. I challenge you to prove that none of this applies to you!
The following is a loose transcript of the main points in the lecture.
- The status of masculinity is in decline. Effeminacy is the norm, not the exception. To find a man who is not effeminate today is rare.
- According to Thomas Aquinas, effeminacy is an unwillingness to put aside one’s pleasure in order to pursue what is arduous (* see below for reference). This is also his definition of sloth, but the difference is that sloth is the aversion of what’s hard whereas effeminacy is the disordered attachment to pleasure.
The Fall of Adam
- Certain sins that Adam committed (and there are 8 of them) have been specifically passed on to men, resulting in particular masculine defects.
- One of these is inept joy – Adam looked at the fruit and his lower appetites took delight in the fact that it was pleasing to the eye. Reason should have said not to touch it, but he ate, contrary to reason.
- A supernatural gift before the Fall was integrity. At the Fall, Adam’s gift of integrity, where the lower appetites were subordinated to reason, was destroyed. The appetites then have a life of their own. In this, Adam chose pleasure over reason.
- After Eve sins by eating the fruit, she hands it to Adam. In doing so, she tries to take the lead and to take control of him. That’s now the problem that women are stuck with. The problem Adam got stuck with was that he didn’t want to be separated from his wife – he chose the pleasures of being with his wife over and above doing what God had told him. Men now succumb to women ruling the home while they want a quiet life of no responsibility.
- Adam blames God and Eve for his predicament; part of effeminacy is choosing the pleasure of not having to take responsibility for something.
- There is, nonetheless, an inbuilt nature in women to subordinate themselves to rightly-ordered authority – if the husband holds this authority the wife will have a desire to please him.
What are the sources of today’s effeminacy?
- Everything is too easy, too simplistic and too pleasurable for men.
- Technology brings pleasure in its use. Temperance must temper that pleasure or else it will make us soft. Tech feeds a specific kind of effeminacy in men: the constant feeding of the desire for pleasure. Men are designed for the use of tools, as men are designed to work, which is why men get pleasure from tools.
- Tech is a tool however, that, with regular use, creates a problem. Nonstop use of technology by boys today is softening them, overstimulating, and makes them effeminate since they have no control of their appetites.
- Part of being a man is being chaste, because chastity is hard. When the time comes to put the pleasure of technology aside, many men do not have the virtue necessary to do it, and won’t be ready to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
Maturity comes through suffering and responsibility
Bl. Fulton Sheen
The four forms of effeminacy
Sensual (pleasures of touch): food, laying around, doing nothing difficult – the most common form of effeminacy.
Appetitive (sensitive appetites from which emotions flow): such as, how did you ‘feel’ about that? It’s the pleasure from following emotions, rather than fighting them and following reason. Following reason is being beaten out of men. Women love a guy who can emote – except women of reason, who can’t stand being around a guy who emotes. Does a man constantly need his emotions to be fed?
Emotions compromise moral judgement. Universal truths are clouded by emotional response. Men should excel in prudence – judge what is good and then do it. If a man looks at something and can’t clearly judge it, or his emotions take over, he is effeminate.
Intellectual (pleasure in considering certain things; an intellectual restlessness); instead, pursue the truth, arrive at it and rest in it. Don’t take pleasure in dawdling along the route. Don’t take pleasure in holding to a specific intellectual position, or in attachment to one’s ideas, or always making one’s opinion known, or constantly needing to know the next thing on the internet. This doesn’t give a man constancy of judgement if it’s just for the pursuit of pleasure. Intellectual effeminacy affects clarity of thinking. Intellectual humility is the antidote – follow the Truth, wherever it leads, regardless of the personal cost to you.
Volitional (self-will and self-love). Someone who constantly wants to do his own thing.
A real man puts aside pleasures to pursue great things. This is called magnanimity.
How a man deals with effeminacy
- This is the test of effeminacy: take something away from a man that constantly gives him pleasure and see what the response is.
- The real man is the man of virtue. With virtue comes interior self-discipline and self-control. It is the hallmark of a real man. He can gauge things that are hard and arduous and still remain steadfast. A man who wilts is effeminate.
- The very nature of masculinity is self-sacrifice. Thomas Aquinas again: the one thing God wants from every rational creature is the sacrificing of their will to His.
- Why particularly for men? Because God has assigned it that way. He designed man to engage with something difficult and you have to deny how you feel in order to achieve this. That’s why our bodies are constitutionally different.
- When Adam fell by taking the effeminate route, his punishment was to work by the sweat of his brow (utilising his energy) among thorns (it will be painful). He has to support the woman and be responsible for her. These are the things God assigned to man and what he has to do in order to grow up.
- A man must master himself to the point where he finds the delight that comes from virtue, not pleasure. This is true masculinity. Embrace what is painful to achieve what is good.
The Cross is the exact inversion of the Fall of Adam and Eve. The blood and sweat of Christ was exactly what builds masculinity.
How to raise a man
- In order to raise a man it is important to know what the end point is, and to know how to get there.
- The end is self-sacrifice, especially in relation to wife and children. A man must provide for and protect them physically and spiritually.
- However, the primary thing you have to protect her from is yourself. She’s more likely to suffer injury at your expense than anyone else’s.
A true man says, what do I have to do to get this done?
Being a man of virtue
- A man of virtue puts aside pleasure to protect wife and family. Thinking about himself all the time is effeminate because he wasn’t designed that way. If you act contrary to nature you’re going to dysfunction and be miserable.
- Thinking about oneself is the dynamic placed in women, not men. This is because her focus is inward towards the children. An unmarried woman has to look for a man who will take care and protect her for the sake of her children (a virtuous woman), not for herself (fallen woman). Men were designed to put themselves aside.
- A man needs fortitude; a man finds doing difficult things fulfilling. He likes the feeling of being physically exhausted. By nature, men should excel more in fortitude and women in temperance.
- Men should excel in chastity not so much for themselves, but for women. For women, being chaste is for themselves (they can get pregnant). Men must view chastity as safeguarding women and their wellbeing, guarding their integrity (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc).
- A true man knows that authority is for those under him, not for himself. It’s for their protection and providence. Because men have no virtue, they have no ability to carry out authority in a balanced manner.
- According to Aquinas, the husband is responsible for everything in the household, but God gave him a helpmate.
A man must assume authority in the home, and must maintain his authority, since the sin of Eve is to usurp authority.
Suffering and responsibility as the transition from boyhood to manhood
- The means to becoming a true man are pain and responsibility. To raise a man, let your boys suffer a bit (ordered suffering, not disordered).
- There is a difference between suffering and pain. Pain, you feel something bad; suffering is when it goes on for a while and involves a perception of time.
- Boys must work at things that are difficult, physically, mentally, volitionally and emotionally. They have to be put in persistent situations where things are difficult.
- After puberty, boys should be given hard physical work, an hour to two hours every day.
- They must see the value of that hard work and get some kind of remuneration.
- Boys must see the father practising his faith. The virtue of religion: praying is hard; matters of religion are hard, that’s why faith is masculine.
- Boys must learn neatness.
- They must learn to moderate anger if things don’t go their way.
- Technology must be kept to a minimum; it is a tool, not a toy, and must be used to accomplish something for those under him, not for his own indulgence.
- Parents must moderate a boy’s behaviour at first, but the boy must learn to moderate it himself.
- Recreation must be seen as a means and not an end. If done immoderately, it causes the soul to dissipate.
- Mothers need to control the urge not to see their boys suffer. Women have to let their boys be men.
- Most feminists seek to destroy masculinity. Feminism is a form of self-hatred.
- Being a women is a perfection, so you shouldn’t have to feel bad about being a woman.
- Women who are really feminine take real delight in seeing someone who is a real man.
- Women who are feminists are miserable. The devil ultimately wants to destroy what is feminine, because what is feminine is beautiful.
- Feminists want to emasculate men so they don’t feel so bad about themselves.
- Boys have to see their fathers exercise authority responsibly. “My dad’s a real man because he’s doing this for the sake of everyone else, not himself”.
- Boys have to be given tasks and take responsibility for their outcome.
- They need to know that others aren’t there to serve their needs. Nobody owes them anything.
- They need to want to take care of things under them so they take joy in seeing them flourish – and they can see this when they come to be married and have children.
- Boys must be taught the virtues!
A boy must get to the age of 18 and have all the moral and mental habits of seeing things properly and making sure his judgements are not affected emotionally.
*In Question 138 of the Second Part of the Second Part of his Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas says: effeminacy is caused in two ways. On one way, by custom: for where a man is accustomed to enjoy pleasures, it is more difficult for him to endure the lack of them. On another way, by natural disposition, because, to wit, his mind is less persevering through the frailty of his temperament.
Toil is opposed to bodily pleasure: wherefore it is only toilsome things that are a hindrance to pleasures. Now the delicate are those who cannot endure toils, nor anything that diminishes pleasure. Hence it is written (Dt. 28:56): “The tender and delicate woman, that could not go upon the ground, nor set down her foot for… softness [Douay: ‘niceness’].” Thus delicacy is a kind of effeminacy. But properly speaking effeminacy is concerned with lack of pleasures, while delicacy is concerned with the cause that hinders pleasure, for instance toil or the like.
Just as it belongs to effeminacy to be unable to endure toilsome things, so too it belongs there to desire play or any other relaxation inordinately.