The Art of Manly Virtue

July 7th, 2008

by Mickey Addison

The Art of Manly Virtue

It is a foregone conclusion in some corners of Western society that men and virtue are mutually exclusive things. Especially in our own American popular culture, men are more often presented as hapless perpetual adolescents or dimwitted loons who stumble their way through life haphazardly and without virtue. From television and film characters to homosexual politicians, we are force-fed a steady diet of men whom no one wants to respect.

We have exchanged our manly heroes for a vacant spot…there are precious few authentic men presented to us as role models in the modern culture. The trick is not to attempt to use modern culture as our touchstone.

One of the glories of our Catholic Faith, however, is that we’re not set adrift in modern culture. To extend the nautical metaphor just a bit further, as Christians we have Christ as the “keel” and the Church as our “rudder.” We have the benefit of looking back over 2,000 years of culture: at the contributions of the Saints and our beliefs to the building up of first the West, then later the entire world. When we ground ourselves in authentic culture, and not some sort of commercialized anti-culture, we can see that manly virtues really do have a place in our society… and that bumbling adolescent oaf presented in modern culture ought to be rejected out of hand.

What is “manly virtue” any way? Well, I suppose every man has his own idea about what that is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as the “habitual and firm disposition to do the good” (#1833). According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the very meaning of the word “virtue” comes from the Latin “virtus” which means manliness or courage. Both words eventually find their root in the Latin word, “vir” which means “man.” Our language links virtue with manhood.

Click here to go to Catholic Exchange, for more

Submitted by Doria2

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