Mahound with some thoughts on the Tommy Rosica wannabe, Larry Richards.
From Mahound's Paradise
Fr. Larry RichardsCrux just published a puff piece on Fr. Larry Richards, the celebrity priest and author of Be a Man! who was just exposed as falsely claiming that Church Militant had made death threats against him:
Abuse survivor priest tackles ‘crisis of masculinity’ in the Church
The piece is notable for two things:
1. In a 1,500 word article, it doesn't mention that Richards was recently forced to issue a quasi-apology for his Jussie Smollett thing against Church Militant.
The post does mention that Richards "recently went under fire by the conservate [sic] group 'Church Militant' for saying that LGBT inclusion advocate and Jesuit Father James Martin “'is a good priest seeking God’s will'...”
It does cite Richards's admonishment of Church Militant and others for practicing demonization:
We have to stop demonizing people who don’t agree with us,” he said, adding that division within the Catholic Church makes it harder to face the challenges that its [sic] faced with today.It doesn't mention that even before the false death threat accusations, Richards frequently accused Church Militant and other Catholic organizations and sites as being "of the devil."
But what does one expect? It's Crux.
2. The article cites Fr. Richards' views of what it is (or should) be to be a man and to be a male priest.
In Richards’s view, manhood today is less about self-aggrandizing concepts of power, dominance and machismo and more about being capable of laying down one’s life for others and offering an example “of the love of the Father.”
Richards believes men shouldn't be afraid to use the words, "I love you." Men should not be afraid to cry. Manliness means putting the needs of others before one's own.
For Richards, men should be holy and priests should be deep men of prayer. He adds, however:
"We need seminarians that are real. Not hiding behind any kind of piousness. Because when someone is too pious that scares me. I wanna run. It seems like they are hiding something,” Richards said. “Be real! Christ was real!”Crux helpfully adds that this is "reminiscent of Francis’s often heard refrain of priests needing to have 'the smell of the sheep' on them."According to Crux, Richards also believes that accountability and transparency are also manly virtues.
Of course, much of this is itself unobjectionable. But it's hard to see which of the above virtues are specifically manly per se. Shouldn't women also love others and be holy, etc.? (Though one hopes they might avoid the smell of the sheep.)
Without being unfair, it almost sounds like for Richards, being a man, or perhaps, being a man today, for the most part means not doing the things that some believe are stereotypically male, like keeping one's feelings to one's self, getting into fist fights, cutting short the family prayer so one can put the storm windows up, etc.
Stereotypical manliness is not manly.
Again, fair enough. But what does this have to do with mountain climbing?
We should mention Fr. Richards's comments about his own abuse:
As a priest and having experienced clerical sexual abuse at the hands of the rector of his seminary nearly 40 years ago, Richards has a unique insight into the abuse scandals that have been hitting every level of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.
.Casting the darkness aside, he has come to realize that “the greatest thing that’s happened to us is the scandal.”
.“In my day, when I was molested, I couldn’t tell anybody anything. It wasn’t even an option,” Richards said, but today he believes that the exposure and awareness of the issue within the Church is forcing seminarians to go through a much harder vetting process leading him to say that “there isn’t a safer place in the world right now than the Catholic Church.”(Wow)
...“I am not a victim. I am not a survivor. I am a warrior. Because I will not let what someone else did to me affect my life,” he said.
“Today we gotta make sure to teach young men coming into the seminary that you have to be real. If someone above you or among you is doing anything wrong you must say something and you must bring the light of Christ to it,” he said.
.When Fr. Richards, at the age of at least 20, was allegedly abused in seminary, he failed to tell anyone, even though his abuser (the rector) presumably was abusing and would continue to abuse other seminarians. I wouldn't fault him for this except for his claim that it's important for men to be real and say something. Presumably this aspect of manliness is independent of the current state of organizational "awareness." One assumes that for a man, doing something (I prefer that more general formulation to saying something), especially if it concerns preventing serious harm to innocents, is always an option. But no matter, he's now a warrior.
Given his arguably gender-neutral views on manliness, it's perhaps not surprising that he holds to the Francis party line on the priestly abuse crisis:
.Unlike some who point to homosexuality as the root of the problem in the priesthood, Richards doesn’t buy that explanation and has identified a “lack of holiness” as the primary cause.In a previous post I said that in his ubiquitous recorded homilies and video presentations, Richards comes off as having a distinctively unmanly manner - sort of a cross between Jim Bakker and a parody of Mr. Rogers. Listen for yourself if you don't believe me. Again, I'm not saying that's his fault. Indeed, if that were my lot, I'd probably be a sort of revisionist on manliness, myself.
But let me serious for a moment. The problem with Fr. Richards types is that in their opposition to stereotypical manliness they have erected, as it were, a straw man. It's similar to modern churchmen implying that the historical Catholic Church (before they came along) was not merciful.
But we've always known that the stereotype of manliness has always been just that, a stereotype.
Instead of or as a supplement to Be a Man! watch a good western.
Manliness means doing what's right, whether it's popular or not, and being willing to lay down one's life for others.
Manliness means meekness (in the original and positive sense), taking wrongs and insults in stride and fighting only when necessary or as a last resort.
Real men aren't afraid to say they're scared.
The Tall T
And, of course, real men pray.
We Were Soldiers