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December 2, 2021

In Brief: We Need a Nation of Josephs

Whether or not Roe does indeed fall, women around the nation need men like the biblical Joseph.

The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, regarding a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The Court could use it to overturn the gross abortion of justice known as Roe v. Wade.

Either way, writes political analyst Kathryn Jean Lopez, women all over America need more men like Joseph, the biblical figure who stuck by Mary as she faced a “crisis pregnancy.”

We talk about women when it comes to abortion, as we obviously should, because she is the one who is physically pregnant, tied to the unborn baby within her like no one else on earth. But what about the man? What are his responsibilities? What should we expect of him? What should he be living up to? Saint Joseph helps as a model of guardian who protects mother and child.

Lopez points to the way Pope Francis has highlighted Joseph as an example for all of us. She also notes:

There’s a rallying cry letter to men: Into the Breach, by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, of Phoenix. He explains it as “a clarion call and clear charge.” He writes: “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.”

He points to Joseph in emphasizing that fatherhood does nothing short of changing history. In the Gospel according to Matthew, he notes that where “Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,” there were (42) fathers who lead up to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus.

Olmsted, in turn quotes Pope John Paul II:

In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God (cf. Eph 3:15), a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife, by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability.

Lopez argues, “It’s safe to say that the young men I see outside abortion clinics have not been told this.” Indeed, fatherlessness is arguably the greatest root affliction in our nation today.

Mary Eberstadt notes in How the West Really Lost God that the Christmas story of the Holy Family is foreign to so many today because having a father is foreign. Fatherlessness is not a mere plague to regret. It is something we need to change. Eberstadt elsewhere worries that all the violence we see in society — and the streets — has to do with the lack of fathers.

Lopez concludes with a simple truth: “We need people in our lives. We need mentors. We need fathers.”

Read the whole thing here.

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