Jesus, the Perfection of Wisdom and Power, deliberately chose to build His Church Militant upon the leadership of men by choosing exclusively men to lead His Church and, though Jesus loves and blesses women, throughout the Gospels, Jesus focuses predominately on engaging and converting men to build His Church.
In these troubling and confused times, some will bristle and reject the presentation of the irrefutable evidence of God’s consistent call for men to “step into the breach” and lead His Holy Catholic Church and families because they view patriarchy, masculinity, and male headship as somehow insulting to women. Instead, every Catholic should instead consider the grave challenges of the Church in the modern world and see this as a call to action for every Catholic man to aspire to be a sacrificial spiritual leader of his family who is prepared to lay down his life for Christ’s Holy Catholic Church Militant, his wife and children, and for the salvation of many.
Jesus exclusively recruits and forms men to lead His Catholic Church Militant
Jesus, the Son of the Father, fundamentally changes man’s understanding and relationship with God when He reveals that God the Creator, formerly known as the mysterious “I AM”, was to be known by His name “Father.”
Consistent with the reality that God chooses to be known with the masculine title of “Father”, the Savior of Man chooses to Incarnate as male and the long precedent of exclusive male headship in the history of Israel, Jesus establishes His Holy Catholic Church Militant upon the headship of men.
Jesus will exclusively recruit and form tough men to be His Apostles and predominately focuses on evangelizing men to be His early disciples.
Jesus reveals God the Father
One of Jesus’s greatest revelations is that God is to be known as “Father.”
God’s name is mysterious in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, God the Almighty Father, for His own mysterious reasons, revealed His name to Moses in the Burning Bush as ““I AM He who is” (Yhwh, in Hebrew; Ex 4:14), a name which mysteriously refers to the Father’s infinite being, but is impersonal and impossible for man to comprehend in fullness (CCC 230), and for His own mysterious reasons, He does not reveal that His name is “Father” (CCC 2779). Israel will so revere and fear the Father, they will not mention His name (“I AM, or Yhwh) in words or writing and instead refer to Him by the divine title LORD (CCC 209), a title used thousands of times in the Old Testament. God is rarely (only about a dozen times) referred to as “Father”, and usually as an analogy or figuratively.
Jesus reveals the Almighty Father
In history-changing contrast, Jesus specifically reveals and emphasizes God the Creator is to be recognized and encountered by His name, “Father” (mentioned over 240 times in the New Testament). In the New Testament, 26 of 27 books refer to God the Father (only the very short 3 John does not mention the Father).
Though the Savior of the World could have chosen to be Incarnated as female, instead, Jesus enters the world as male and reveals Himself to be known with the masculine title, the Son of God; as an icon of God the Father on earth, the Son is necessarily male.
Later, Jesus will also reveal that the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is the source of the conception of Jesus in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s womb (Mt 1:20, Lk 1:35), is also to be known in masculine terms (Jn 14:15-17).
Jesus establishes the leadership and structure of the Church based on the Fatherhood of God. Jesus makes knowing God as “Father” the foundation of His Kingdom of God which confirms and reinforces the leadership role of men as fathers in fighting to build the Church Militant.
Jesus establishes male leadership consistent with the Old Testament precedence
Jesus, a Person of the Trinity, established male headship to lead His People Israel.
In the Incarnation, Jesus Himself chose St. Joseph to be His earthly father who is the head of the Holy Family, consistent with the male headship in Jewish families in the 1st Century. The Son of God, who perfectly kept all The 10 Commandments (Mt 5:17-20), Jesus submitted to the headship of St. Joseph consistent with The 4th Commandment (“honor thy father…”; Ex 20:12) and is obedient and grows under the careful eye of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lk 2:51-52). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Immaculate Conception who was born without sin (CCC 491) and, consistent with Judaism of the time, willingly placed herself obediently under the headship and care of St. Joseph. Later, from the Cross, consistent with the responsibilities of Jewish men to be leaders, protectors and providers for their families, Jesus directs His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to come under the loving and reverent care of the Apostle John and John immediately takes the Blessed Virgin Mary into his home (Jn 19:26-27).
Consistent with the precedent God established to have exclusive male leadership in the Old Testament (e.g. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, all leaders of Israel), to prepare to build His Church Militant, Jesus recruits and exclusively commissions men to be His twelve Apostles (Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19, Lk 6:14-16).
Jesus exclusively picks and forms tough men to be His Apostles
Jesus, the Son of God, with Divine Wisdom and Prudence, perfectly anticipates the great spiritual war and many battles His Church will face and recruits tough men whom He will prepare for persecution and death and form to fight and be victorious in the great battle to expand the Almighty Father’s Kingdom to the entire world.
Jesus recruits tough men to be His Apostles
Jesus picks men who are tough and fit for battle, for example: Peter, Andrew, James, and John are hardy fisherman, James and John are highly combative (called by Jesus, the “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17) who desire to destroy a Samaritan village with fire from Heaven (Lk 9:54), Matthew is a hard-nosed tax collector (Mt 9:9-17), Simon the Zealot (Mt 10:4) was a member of the highly aggressive and violent Zealot movement, Paul is a righteous and fiercely devout man who, prior to his conversion in Christ, is a Pharisee who hunts downs, imprisons, and kills Christians (Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-2). The rest of the Apostles prove their toughness as they travel extensively under harsh conditions, confront disbelief and attacks, and become martyrs for the building of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus prepares the Apostles for persecution and death
Jesus makes it clear that He is preparing His men to die to build the Church Militant; every disciple understands the severe persecutions that will come with being one of His men (Mt 10:16-33) and that each of them must be prepared to die the gruesome death of crucifixion on a cross and to lose their lives for Christ’s sake (Mt 10:34-39, Mt 24:6); given the common practice of Roman crucifixion, every one of the Apostles certainly had a very graphic and visceral understanding of what death on a cross entailed. Jesus recruits men with extraordinary hearts and fierceness, men who are prepared to die for His Gospel.
Jesus forms the Apostles through a grueling process
To toughen and prepare His men to battle and die, Jesus forms His men through teaching, through continuous evangelization campaigns, through terrifying life-threatening ordeals (Mt 8:23-27, Mk 4:35-41) and by sending them on tough and dangerous missions to confront and convert whole villages (Mt 10, Lk 10) who were often resistant (Mt 8:34, Mk 6:3, Lk 4:29, 9:51-56, 10:13,17:5). All of His Apostles are eyewitnesses to Jesus’ many aggressive confrontations with the various groups of Jewish leaders and lived under the constant attacks and schemes to kill Jesus; they clearly realize and accept that they too are likely going to die with Jesus (Jn 11:16).
Jesus focuses on making disciples of men in the Gospels
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus focuses primarily on engagement with the men of the culture. Every confrontation Jesus has with the Jews and Romans are conflicts with men. Other than speaking to crowds, Jesus speaks/interacts almost exclusively with men: for example, 89% of Christ’s individual interactions in the Gospel of Matthew are with men. In the individual accounts of healing in the Gospels, Jesus predominately interacts with and heals males (80% of the people identified in the Gospels who are healed by Jesus are men). Jesus designs His parables to appeal to men with predominately male characters (89% of parables in which the sex of the character is revealed have exclusively male characters).
Jesus establishes perpetual male headship in His Church Militant
Jesus reveals that God the Father has passed all authority to the Son (Mt 28:18, Jn 3:35, CCC 651) and the Son passes on His authority to Peter (CCC 553, 936) and Apostles (Mt 10:1, Mt 28:16-20). After Christ’s Ascension, the Apostles remain obedient to His desire for men to lead the Church by passing authority through the Holy Catholic Church (CCC 1087) to bishops and priests (CCC 100, 552, 871-896, 937-939, 1463, 2034) and, just as Jesus is the Head of His Church (CCC 782, 792-795), men are recognized to be the heads of their families (Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:24, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3:1, 1 Tim 2:11, Titus 2:4-5).
Jesus’ men are persecuted and die to establish the Church Militant
The men who follow Jesus are His soldiers who zealously engage in the spiritual battle of the Church Militant and are persecuted; many are martyred in the battle to build the Church Militant.
St. Peter is persecuted and imprisoned three times (Acts 4:3, 12:5, and the last time before his execution in 64 a.d.), teaches about how to withstand persecution (1 Pt 5:1-11), and is eventually crucified by the Romans in Rome.
St. Paul is repeatedly persecuted and violently attacked: five times he receives thirty-nine lashes, three times he is beaten with rods, and he is stoned to the point of near death (2 Cor 11:24-25); he is imprisoned for at least five years (Acts 24:27, 28:30) before being beheaded by the Romans near Rome.
All of the Apostles are martyred except for St. John the Evangelist by various gruesome deaths: crucifixion (Peter, Andrew), beheading (Paul, James the Greater, Matthias), sword (Matthew), stoning (Philip, James the Lesser), spearing (Thomas), flayed alive (Nathaneal/Bartholomew), sawn in half (Simon), beaten to death with a club or axe (Jude).
During the first three centuries of the Church, every pope was martyred.
In the Martyrology of the Catholic Church, from the earliest days, the Church has carefully recorded and honored the many thousands of Catholic martyrs who died to establish the Church. Of all the martyrs listed in the Martyrology, men represent the overwhelming majority (about 9 out of 10 martyrs are men) of those martyrs recognized by the Church; it is also clear that many, many women, typically following their husbands to martrydom, were also martyred. This confirms the nature of the great spiritual battle and the essential role that men are to play in building the Church in a world which is hostile to Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.
Jesus and His Catholic Church Militant has always confirmed the dignity of women
While the fact that Jesus focused overwhelmingly on reaching men to build His Church is irrefutable, this should not be interpreted that Jesus loved women less or in any way to diminish the inherent dignity of women or the essential blessing of women in Creation, the Church and families.
Jesus honors and elevates women
As a Person of the Trinity, the Son of God created men and women in His image and likeness and granted them equal personal dignity (CCC 2334).
Jesus elevated the honor of women through the Immaculate Conception of His Blessed Mother (CCC 490-493, 2853) who is the Mother of the Church (CCC 963, 975) and the Queen of Heaven (CCC 966), who has a unique and powerful ability to intercede for all people (CCC 969, 1014, 2618).
Jesus welcomed the support of women
Jesus welcomed the support of women (Lk 8:1-3), was countercultural in allowing women to become disciples, offered great love to a number of women including Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38-42), Mary Magdalene (Lk 8:2), the Woman at the Well (Jn 4:5-42), the Woman caught in Adultery (Jn 8:1-11), the Woman with a Hemorrhage (Lk 8:43-48), the Canaanite Woman (Mk 7:24-30), and the Widow of Nain (Lk 7:11-17); tradition holds that Jesus first came to His Holy Mother after the Resurrection but then honors Mary Magdalene by allowing her to be the first to see Him after the Resurrection (Jn 20:11-18).
Christ’s Church has always recognized the dignity and sacrifice of women
His Holy Catholic Church Militant confirms the great dignity and sacrifice of women (CCC 369-373, 382, 1605, 1616, 2334, 2393) and millions of faithful Catholic women across the ages have imitated the Holy Mother by selflessly taking up the vocation of marriage to love and support their husbands and bear and raise children for the Kingdom of God (CCC 1603-1604, 2207); many women, in addition to their beautiful and tireless sacrifice for their husbands and children in the home, take on the additional responsibility of working for income to help provide for their families.
Women have played prominent and essential roles in the Church including as martyrs (e.g. Sts. Felicity, Perpetual, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia and Anastasia), Saints (e.g. St. Monica, St. Scholastica, St. Joan of Arc, St. Clare, St. Margret Mary, St. Mary Faustina, St. Teresa of Calcutta), doctors of the Church (St. Hildegard of Bignen, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Thérèse of Lisieux) and as religious sisters who have played prominent roles in praying for the Church, caring for the sick, serving the poor, and educating the young in the Catholic faith (CCC 914-933, 2687).
Accepting God’s plan of the leadership of men in the Church
While some in the modern culture pridefully rebel against God’s clear decision to call and appoint men to be leaders in His Church and in families, they are incorrect for God has absolute authority and does not make mistakes. To begin to more fully accept God’s decision for the headship of men, a number of issues may be helpful to consider.
God purposefully chooses for the Church to be a patriarchy
The Blessed Trinity has deliberately and decisively acted to establish the Church as a patriarchy; God perfectly knows what is best for men and women and knows how to make His Church achieve its mission. God has built His Church to grow and endure until the end of time; He doesn’t make mistakes, certainly not something as fundamental as the structure and leadership of His Church and families.
The Holy Church Militant, founded by the Son of God to be led by men, has been the most accepted and long-lasting institution on earth; including Eastern Orthodox and the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations, those who follow Christ represent about one-third of all people on earth. The strategy of Jesus Christ to appoint men to lead His Church has been highly effective.
The Church must engage in the Spiritual Battle
The nature of building the Church Militant in the harsh and hard-hearted world is very much like combat and conflict, areas that men have always risen to the occasion to act in heroic and self-sacrificial ways; a Church in combat needs and attracts men to lead. In recent times, the abdication of millions of Catholic men from their duties to be leaders of their families and to zealously build the Holy Catholic Church, has led to an accelerating collapse of the Church in many places, great distress in millions of families and the unopposed growing darkness of the confused and evil modern culture; when Catholic men fail to step into the breach, every one suffers.
Men are designed for battle
Physically speaking, men are superior to women in physical strength and stamina and are more able to protect the Church and their families, especially in the moral, and even physical, battles that occur as the world attacks the Church; God has made men biologically prepared to engage in conflict and across time, it has been the men who have done the lion’s share of the fighting and dying in the wars to protect and expand the Church.
Men follow men who lead in battle
Men, look to strength and are strongly biased to follow other men and build a “band of brothers” in the fight; to build the Church, the vigorous leadership of growing numbers of priests and lay men attracts men to the Church. The opposite is probably also true: men are less likely to attend and engage in parishes which are feminized or attend churches led by female pastors.
Challenging men to be leaders and giving them the responsibility to do so gives men purpose and triggers both accountability and response, for no man desires to fail at a duty; this is particularly important in helping men rise to the occasion to be good Catholic husbands and fathers.
Catholic women of good will desire for men to be leaders in the faith
Catholic women of good will who truly want the best for their families realize the great blessing of having a husband/father who takes an active role to lead the family in the Catholic faith; children are much more likely to remain in the faith if their father practices the faith. Women who are struggling to ensure their children grow in the faith should have a strong desire for their husbands to be leaders of the faith in the home.
The Church confirms that men and women are different and complementary in physical, moral and spiritual ways (CCC 2333); rather than battle about dominance and roles, men and women are called to work together to build strong Catholic families and parishes.