“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land…”
In September 2015 Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona released an Apostolic Exhortation directed to the Catholic Men of his diocese entitled ‘Into the Breach’. The purpose of the exhortation was as;
“an encouragement, a challenge, and a calling forth to mission for every willing man in the Diocese of Phoenix: priests and deacons, husbands, fathers and sons, grandfathers and widowers, young men in preparation for your vocation – that is, each and every man. With this Exhortation, I want to clarify for you the nature of this mission from Christ, for which I will rely on the clear guidance of the Holy Scriptures, the Magisterium of the Church, and the example of the saints.”(Into the Breach)
While it is directed to those of the diocese of Phoenix, I believe that every Catholic man would do well to read it. ‘Into the Breach’ deals with three specific questions; 1. What does it mean to be a Catholic man?, 2. How does a Catholic man love?, 3. Why is fatherhood, fully understood, so crucial for every man?
The Exhortation begins with a call to battle;
“Men, do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families, the battle that is distorting the dignity of both women and men. This battle is often hidden, but the battle is real. It is primarily spiritual, but it is progressively killing the remaining Christian ethos in our society and culture, and even in our own homes…One of the key reasons that the Church is faltering under the attacks of Satan is that many Catholic men have not been willing to “step into the breach” – to fill this gap that lies open and vulnerable to further attack. A large number have left the faith, and many who remain “Catholic” practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children. Recent research shows that large numbers of young Catholic men are leaving the faith to become “nones” – men who have no religious affiliation. The growing losses of young Catholic men will have a devastating impact on the Church in America in the coming decades, as older men pass away and young men fail to remain and marry in the Church, accelerating the losses that have already occurred…This crisis is evident in the discouragement and disengagement of Catholic men like you and me. In fact, this is precisely why I believe this Exhortation is needed, and it is also the reason for my hope, for God constantly overcomes evil with good. The joy of the Gospel is stronger than the sadness wrought by sin! A throw-away culture cannot withstand the new life and light that constantly radiates from Christ. So I call upon you to open your minds and hearts to Him, the Savior who strengthens you to step into the breach!” (Into the Breach)
Watch the Official Trailer for the Exhortation;
Read “Into the Breach”