Brothers, Sing On

Recently, one of our local high schools celebrated a state championship in track and field. Not remarkable, unless you consider that it was the school’s 16th championship in a row. On the same day, the same high school’s swimmers swept to victory in the state finals. It was their 21st straight championship. This school is also regularly at the top in baseball, basketball, and football. It is not a terribly big school. In fact, its enrollment of boys is far outnumbered by that of most of the schools in the state. Bishop Hendricken’s main distinctions are two: It is Catholic, and it is all-male.
It reminds me of a pretty small (100 or so students) boys’ boarding school in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, St. Gregory’s Academy. The boys there all study Latin. They all take art classes in an art room made to order for boys: a room with a lot of wood, and clay, and rock, with hammers and chisels and saws. They all serve at Mass — the Latin Mass, with its many precise responsibilities. They all learn to sing sea shanties and ballads of brotherhood. They all learn to juggle, under the instruction of a young English teacher; they juggle balls, skittles, hoops, knives, fire, and a host of other things, while clowning, riding a unicycle, weaving in and out of one another’s juggling, and in general putting on comic skits. They all learn to play soccer and rugby and spend a lot of their spare time in the mountaintop fields above their school. They have thereby become a soccer and rugby powerhouse, winning their regional championships against schools many times their size. Most of all, the boys at St. Gregory’s are taught what it means to be Catholic men, the natural virtues of manliness raised by grace and permeated with faith, hope, and brotherly love.

Apparently, after the signal failure of feminism to produce women willing or able to lead boys into manhood — because nothing less than that is what they implicitly promise to do, if indeed they wish to don the robes of leadership in fatherless homes and in increasingly feminized schools — some Catholics have begun to conceive the idea, hardly a novel one in the world, that at some point only men can make men out of boys.
Evidently, the founders of Fraternus think so. Their mission is truly bold. The anti-culture out there exposes children to pornography everywhere; if you doubt this, you have not recently been to a pharmacy, a bookstore, or a grocery store, nor have you taken a good look at the “spam” folder in your e-mail. So Fraternus attempts to instill into young men the old and character-forming virtue of purity. (One wonders — I do not know the answer to this question — whether any comparable organizations for young women do the same.) The anti-culture corrals boys into those pinfolds called “schools,” with less and less time conceded to them for vigorous play, indoors or outdoors. So the men of Fraternus take the boys out for hikes, and for a week’s adventure on the ranch, complete with whitewater rafting. The anti-culture preaches the goodness of boys pairing up with boys for sexual fulfillment. So the men of Fraternus give boys the chance to develop their personalities in the context of healthy brotherhood.
I see such signs, as if an arid land had just been blessed with rain, and the first green shoots had begun to shoulder away the dust. At Princeton, my mater ferox, the black hole where faith and reason used to go to die, a couple of brave young women founded the Anscombe Society for Traditional Morality, an organization that now has chapters on more than 20 campuses. When I asked them whether they had any trouble finding young men to join, they replied that if anything the problem went the other way; male leadership was relatively easy to find. It is as if good men, or men trying very hard to be good in a bad and stupid world, understand better than anyone that the sexual revolution put its stamp of approval on the worst in them, and that if they really want to take action for the common good, they must first revive the virtue of cleanness of body and soul in themselves and in one another.
There is now a chapter of the Anscombe Society on my campus, led by a brother and sister team. There is also an informal reading group for women; last year’s reading included Dawn Eden’s The Thrill of the Chaste. We have, in addition, an informal group for young men, with 20 or 30 members who meet each week to discuss faith and morality with a male professor or with one of our Dominican priests, beginning and ending each meeting with prayer — on their knees. That is not to mention a new and active chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
Something is stirring here. I see a cloud on the horizon, no bigger than a man’s hand. The world assumes, in its blockheaded way, that the sexual revolution is over, and that we must all, from henceforward, grow accustomed to ubiquitous divorce, child-poor families, shack-ups, porn, playboys and playgirls, and the pill. Who will lead us back to sanity?
I’ve long insisted that the sexual revolution has corrupted both sexes, but in different ways, and that no effective opposition can be mounted unless men rediscover themselves as men. It is not a sufficient condition for victory, but it will be necessary. When I was a boy, there were still some 60 Catholic men’s colleges in the country; now there are none. We need them; but before that, we need organizations like Fraternus, and schools like Saint Gregory’s, and Catholic men who understand that good husbands for their daughters will not simply appear, as if by magic, but must be made. If you want an army, you must train the soldiers.
May God, who teaches our fingers to fight, inspire in the hearts of good men the desire to raise up that army, to make good women rejoice, and the enemy tremble.

Anthony Esolen


Professor Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).

  • I am not Spartacus

    Thanks for this excellent piece about these young warriors.

    As what passes for a culture continues to calcify in corruption what you wrote about are healthy and hopeful signs.

    Something is stirring here. I see a cloud on the horizon, no bigger than a man’s hand. The world assumes, in its blockheaded way, that the sexual revolution is over, and that we must all, from henceforward, grow accustomed to ubiquitous divorce, child-poor families, shack-ups, porn, playboys and playgirls, and the pill.

    St. Augustine may as well have been writing about what you describe when he was writing about ancient Rome in “The City of God”…….(Scroll down to Chapter 20)

    Only the Catholic Church, led by men, can revive our culture.

  • Deacon Ed

    all of this brought to you without governmental interference. How is this at all possible?

  • Pammie

    Wonderful commentary on a major problem in our day. And even better than that- some hope for the future in the form of
    Bishop Hendricken’s existence. Doesn’t the spector of growing gang membership and their escalating violence ring the bell that something has gone terribly wrong with the way we are rearing our sons and daughters? We can look around and see what happens when young men are left to their own devices and have no one to guide them to Catholic manhood. Fatherless homes have proved to be devestating to children both male and female.

  • Karen

    It wouldn’t be Inside Catholic without the monthly “GIRLS STINK” from Anthony Esolen. You want to improve men and women? Teach both sexes to respect the achievements and accomplishments of the other one. This, of course, requires that both sexes have achievements and accomplishments. The old system Mr. E praises allowed women one and only one virtue: chastity. All we could ever do was say “no,” until we married and lost even that right. If you don’t like what women have become, I strongly suggest you take an accurate look at men from the middle of the 20th century backwards, because there you will find the origins of what you dislike so much.

    Feminists simply what what all humans want; an acknowledgment of our skills and reason. I seriously doubt that the schools in this article teach boys that girls can be courageous and intelligent, or that even courage and intelligence and competence might be more important that a girl’s looks. If all a woman can do is avoid having sex, does it matter if she’s a cowardly, weak, idiot? If a boy is supposed to be The Leader, then it helps if the Follower is a complete incompetent. Consequently, boys educated in the atmosphere Mr. E wants will themselves only want women dumber, weaker, and more fearful than they are. Women no one would ever respect. What will, matter, however, is that she be pretty. If all a man wants is a pretty face over a stupid head, he’ll very likely get one. What this leads to in twenty years or so should be easy to imagine.

  • Deacon Ed

    an article devoted to the development of boys as men can be interpreted as a slur against women? I guess you have to be a man in order to understand men’s needs – best done in an all-male environment. Women are not capable of interpreting men to themsleves…sorry.

  • Sarah L

    I’ll take one of those schools for my son, and a female equivalent (a school designed to help girls become the women God made them to be) for my daughters. Please!

    I’m not sure how Karen managed to get the “Girls stink” message from the article. Real manhood–and I don’t doubt the leaders at St. Gregory’s and Fraternus recognize this–is way more than just keeping your pants zipped. And only a real man can appreciate a real woman. That much should be obvious, but, no thanks to the gross distortion of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, many in the so-called feminist camp seem to think that if you encourage a man to be masculine, he’ll be a tyrant in his own home–a bully who wants a pretty but brainless and weak wife and children who fear him too much to even talk to him. A real man knows that such a husband/father is little more than an overgrown kindergarten bully who never really grew up. A real woman doesn’t have to be a genius to be a good wife and mother, but she does need a well-formed character–just as real men do.

    Is it really any surprise that men are better at training boys to be men than women are? That’s why kids need both parents. Boys need to be trained in what it means to be a man by their fathers, and they need mothers who demonstrate to them what they should look for in a future wife. Girls need mothers to train them in what it means to be real women, and they need their fathers to demonstrate to them what they should look for in a future husband. They need models of both real manhood and real womanhood.

    Mr. Esolen’s article gave us some great examples of why this is true. Whether or not self-styled “feminists” acknowledge this or not, Christ had His perfect reasons for choosing men to be his apostles. The Blessed Mother understood this, and she is the model for all real women.

  • Steve T.

    If a boy is supposed to be The Leader, then it helps if the Follower is a complete incompetent.


    Spoken like a true feminist. Your understanding of leadership exactly matches that of Capt. Holly Graf. Google her.

    If you’d ever been in an actual leadership position, you’d know that a leader is as only good as his followers. A true leader can bring out the best in his followers, but that counts for nothing if their best is worthless. Having been been in both the leadership and follower roles, I know first-hand.

    (And I used “he” exclusively to tweak you. I’ve been led by nuns, for example, that I’d go to the gates of Hell behind.)

  • Kamilla

    It’s funny that Karen accuses Tony of thinking “Girls Stink” while she actually says it,

    “You want to improve men and women? Teach both sexes to respect the achievements and accomplishments of the other one. This, of course, requires that both sexes have achievements and accomplishments.”

    In response, I am compelled to ask Karen a question: Which of men’s “achievements and accomplishments” will follow them into eternity?


    P.S. Here’s the answer, courtesy of Alice von Hildebrand:

    “When the time has come, nothing which is man-made will subsist. One day, all human accomplishments will be reduced to a pile of ashes. But every single child to whom a woman has given birth will live forever, for he has been given an immortal soul made to God’s image and likeness.”

  • Martial Artist

    how Holly Graf managed to be promoted to the rank of Captain in the US Navy. At least this writer must. As a retired Naval officer (mustang), I am amazed that her penchant for disrespectful behavior was not observed long before she went before the Captain Selection Board.


    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • I am not Spartacus

    All hope is not lost. Here it is 1:45 PM EST and Inside Catholic has yet to post anything about St. Patrick.

    Rumor has it he was a man.

  • Sarah L

    All hope is not lost. Here it is 1:45 PM EST and Inside Catholic has yet to post anything about St. Patrick.

    Rumor has it he was a man.

    Not to mention a true leader–in the best sense. smilies/smiley.gif

  • Bruce

    Girls stink?

    My daughter attends Lauralton Hall in Milford, CT which is a Catholic All-Girls High School. The outstanding young women who attend this school were in the State Championship in basketball, have exceptional Softball, Track and Field, and Soccer programs. Many of their team members are All-Area and All-State Athletes.
    In addition, they volunteer at nursing homes, soup kitchens, have fund-raisers to help the poor and needy in their community. They learn Catholic values and stress ourtreach to their families and community.
    They also have high academic standards and for several years have enjoyed 100% College placement for their Senior Class. Among their alumni are Congresswomen, scientist, doctors, lawyers, and educators.

    Does this article say anything negative about girls? No. It says that there is more to education than just book skills. It says that young people will excell if we first insure that we care for their souls as well as their minds.

    May God our Catholic High Schools!

  • Kevin

    950 boys, generally wealthy parents (fees are upward of $10K a year) … These achievements are not so surprising.

    Our two local high schools have about 1,000 kids apiece, 500 of whom are boys. That’s a smaller pool from which to draw athletic champions. Perhaps half of these boys are not particularly motivated or involved with school activities, perhaps partly because their parents aren’t particularly dedicated to them (as parents who fork out that kind of money for their kids would generally be.) So the pool shrinks to about 250 boys. Most of these public school parents can’t afford all the additional coaching and private lessons that give their kids an edge in competition, so the pool dwindles even more. At least one of our local high schools has outdated sports facilities, which doesn’t help our public school kids either.

    In the majority of cases, it’s privilege that builds high performers. I doubt this school’s achievements have anything to do with the sexual revolution or lack thereof or clouds on the horizon.

    My son is a promising junior tennis player in large part because of the thousands of dollars my wife and I have spent on his coaching. For the same reason, my daughter is an outstanding volleyball player. We paid for expensive private therapy when it became apparent my son was mildly dyslexic. This is part of the reason he’s an A student and will go to a good college.

    BTW, we’re a two child, two income family. That’s why my kids have the athletic and educational advantages they do. That’s why we can focus so much on helping them. Money and parental commitment provide a huge boost to achievement.

  • All Male Alumnus

    Teaching men to be men does not mean that girls stink. Quite the opposite, in fact. Learning to be a real man means appreciating women for all that they are. Catholic education in all male schools does this. Part of that appreciation involves acknowledging the differences. Women are not simply men with different genitals. Men and women react differently to situations, process information differently, have different styles of leadership, and make decisions differently. Appreciating those differences means educating each in the way which is best for them in high school.

    Single-sex high school education acknowledges these differences and educates students in the manner best adapted to their sex. I know Bishop Hendricken from my days at Providence College. I am a Notre Dame of West Haven (Holy Cross Brothers) man and my roommates at PC were from Hendricken (Christian Brothers) and Iona Prep (Christian Brothers). Thank God for such opportunities for young men. Its much easier to grow up in high school, passing through the awkward, immature, and “uncool” phases of life around other boys going through the same thing without worrying about looking like a loser in front of the girls. A skinny, clummsy, non-athletic guy like me could be friends with either varsity athletes or bookish types without ever feeling self-conscious or left out because girls were not paying attention to me. Letting boys be boys in high school did not mean a break down in discipline or a tolerance for bad behavior. Indeed, it was just the opposite, but in obeying the rules, and pushing them from time to time (e.g. the dress code)or a little rougher level of kidding,or perhaps some raucus humor, allowed us to grow up by being ourselves. We also developed study habits that worked for us. By the time we got to college we knew how to learn and were ready to act like adults. Part of this was being decent to girls.

    A positive aspect of this male mode of education is building a resistence to the feminized culutre of victimization so rampant in every aspect of our society. (Feminists bear much blame in this regard.) In high school (in the late 70’s and early 80′) we had a requiremnt of community service to graduate. Those of us in the CSMC also supported the missions and we prepared and delivered food baskets at Thanksgiving to people in housing projects. There was nothing weak-kneed about that. On the other hand, I am quite able, as are my professional colleagues who went to Fairfield Prep (Jesuits), to appreciate the unfortunate situations of others, attempt to help them, but not coddle them and excuse any responsibility on their part. Our all male Catholic education (even our non-Catholic fellow alumni) can easily say “Get over it” when the situation calls for it at work, even as we put our hands in our pockets to give a few bucks to the rummies who accost us each day outside our office when we go for lunch.

    Similar benefits acrue to girls in all female schools. When I was a kid we had three girls schools in this area. They turned out an army of intelligent and successful women. Saint Mary’s (Dominican Sisters) is gone, but Laurelton Hall(Mercys) and Sacred Heart Academy (Apostles of the Sacred Heart) are still turning out well prepared young women. These women lack nothing in intellect (Sacred Heart biology students are mapping genomes under the direction of one of the sisters). They lack nothing in Catholic compassion (These girls are off to Mexico and West Virginia building houses for the poor on their spring break). They develop skills, advance in knowledge, exercise leadership, and grow personally in an environment free from artificial competition from boys. They are strong in character, fully capable of taking their place in the world, but still possesed of feminity, gentleness, and grace. They are not man-haters and don’t want to be men. They are completely women. They are free of the artificial conflict between men and women the flames of which are fanned by hard driving feminists idealogues.

    I’m pleased that my daughter will be at Sacred Heart in the fall. She’ll be there with the daughters of several guys with whom I went to high school, all of whom love their daughters, desire the best for them, and give them every encouragement in their education and social development, not because they are girls or in spite of it, but because they are human beings and our children. Yes, we learned this in our all-boys high school; and at home; and in the parishes we grew up in; and in the parishes we attend now. I intend for my other daughter to follow her. I’m confident that the wonderful sisters and lay staff, with my wife and me, will lead her into womanhood. I also hope my son goes to my alma mater in two years. He needs to. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls and thank GOD for that! And thank God for schools that let them.

  • Nick Milne

    I seriously doubt that the schools in this article teach boys that girls can be courageous and intelligent, or that even courage and intelligence and competence might be more important that a girl’s looks.

    This is a vile and calumnious libel, at best. That’s what it is. Perhaps Karen really does “seriously doubt” this, but whatever; the accusation is implicit, and, though implicit, it remains patently and admittedly uninformed. If it were actually informed it would not be a doubt but rather a certainty; she “doubts” because she does not know, and she does not know because she has no idea whether this is the case or not. This being so, her comments are irresponsible.

    For my own part, I don’t know if my response here is in violation of IC’s comment policy or not; if so, I will gladly retract it and/or submit to its deletion. I don’t think it is, though, because Karen’s accusation here would seem to be the greater violation, and I don’t see how one could be seriously faulted for pointing it out.

  • Kevin

    I have to agree with Karen. The author trumpets the achievements of some rich, little boys (which, as I pointed out previously, probably has much to do with privilege.) OK so far. Then he makes the completely illogical leap that such achievement is at least in part the result of rejecting feminism (“… apparently, after the signal failure of feminism to produce women willing or able to lead boys into manhood”) and that the achievement of boys depends on male leadership (“at some point only men can make men out of boys.”) Nonsense. Jimmy Connors was molded by his mother to become a tennis champion. One of my son’s friends is a talented violinist. His idol is Midori. An energetic and talented woman led his orchestra to achieve state prizes. Why the swipe at the positive influence of women on young men? It does seem misogynistic. Can’t we just accept that both men and women can help our children to reach their full potential?

  • I am not Spartacus

    I think your criticism is way wide of the mark. You appear to think the fantastic success of Bishop Hendricken is largely due to money and numbers when other factors can easily be imagined.

    How about high expectations?

    One does not have to wealth to encourage/create success.

    I am a Vermont Crank whose Mother was a graduate of Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland, Vt. She came from a poor farming family and she lost her Mom when she was 10 y.o.but she was able to board at MSJ because she began working there when she was in the 9th Grade.

    The same thing happened with her brother. He too lived and worked at MSJ. After a lengthy stint in the Military, he became employed by The Gemini Space Program.

    MSJ had remarkable success in Academics and football and even though it did not have enough students to qualify as a Division 1 program, it successfully petitioned to become one – much to the dismay of the other Vt Division 1 teams.

    With a student body numbering less than 200, MSJ accomplished this:

    Vermont Senate

    J.R.H. 231. Joint resolution congratulating the 1999 Mount St. Joseph Academy Division I football and debating champions.
    Whereas, Mount St. Joseph Academy, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1882, is a Catholic school that serves the educational, spiritual and moral well-being of central Vermont youth of all faiths, and prepares them to assume an active and responsible role in society, and Whereas, the 1999 Mount St. Joseph Academy Football Team brought great honor to its school and to its community by winning back-to-back Division I State Championship titles for the fifth time in the school’s history, with a 11-0 record, and

  • Kevin

    To: I am not Spartacus. Sure. High expectations play a huge role in success. Having high expectations of children is a very large part of the privilege of being sent to an expensive private school. Parents who pay for private schooling generally make sacrifices and want to protect their investment by expecting their children to do well. Or, more charitably, parents pay for private schooling because they have high expectations of their kids and love them enough to want to give them a leg up in life. That is why, even though these kids may predominantly be coached by men, we have to respect the leadership and influence of the women in their lives. Some of these parents coughing up for their little darlings’ school fees are, in fact, mothers. At least some of these parents who are getting up at 5 A.M. to take their sons to practice sessions are … women. There are plenty of mothers who show up at track meets to encourage their sons. Let’s give credit where it’s due for the influence of these women on the lives of boys. The author absurdly gives all credit to “male leadership.” It’s only because of feminism and the fact that we’re a two-income family (my wife actually makes more than I do) that we can even consider private schooling and extra coaching for our kids. My wife is an incredible support, financially and emotionally, and a terrific role model for both my son and daughter. She contributes greatly to their current and future success. The author makes some very confused assumptions about relationships between the sexual revolution, availability of porn, and athletic success. You are right — parental commitment and high expectations generally lead to success. Let’s face it, though — it sure doesn’t hurt when this is accompanied by money.

  • Kamilla


    You are just as wrong as Karen is about what has been written here. I used to be a feminist, in fact I knew some of the biggest fish in the Evangelical feminist pond. And yet I was never treated with more disrespect and misogyny when I didn’t parrot the party line.

    When I embraced what you and Karen sneeringly dismiss as the root of all evil (I exaggerate slightly), I found something quite unexpected. I found among the men whom you and Karen try to label as misogynists exactly what I was promised by feminism – respect for my achievements – and men who respected me as a woman and not simply a human who happens to have breasts.

    I’ll admit it, folks like you and Karen make me angry because you not only lie about my friends, you lie about God and who He made us to be as men and women. Nothing in the column above can reasonably be construed to deny the necessity of both moms and dads, men and women training up both boys and girls. And yet you sneer about misogyny and “rich little boys” (ever heard of scholarship kids?).

    It’s ugly, this world of yours so precious about dignity and fairness. I am so very thankful God allowed me the grace of repentance so I could leave it behind.


  • Kevin

    Kamilla, I’m sorry, but you’re spouting complete nonsense. Firstly, feminism does not deny the differences between men and women. It merely affirms equal opportunity. I’m genuinely sorry if you can only gain approval from men by pandering to them. It’s distasteful to watch. My wife truly does not need to do this. She is respected as a person and a professional by all who know her. She has no ego. She’s gentle and soft-spoken. She’s just darn good at what she does. As to whether a successful woman, earning a good income, can advance her children’s ambitions — of that there is simply no doubt. In my opinion, it is despicable to “sneer” (to use your words) at good, hard-working women. But to condemn the prejudice of misogyny is equivalent to condemning the prejudice of racism. These kids who go to expensive private schools (as do my own two) can hardly fail to benefit from the advantages they have, which includes a large dose of Pygmalion effect. I didn’t mention scholarships because Bishop Hendricken does not give out athletic scholarships, but many private schools do. This is another reason for the relative success of private schools. Kerri Walsh, one of my daughter’s idols, won a scholarship to Archbishop Mitty High School, which, of course, proceeded to do very well in interscholastic volleyball. Alumni dollars at work. If you do respond, please try to make your response about facts and logic, rather than about your own nebulous feelings and experiences.

  • Pammie

    There you go Kamilla. Kevin’s last post proved the validity of your arguments for you. I admit the feminist formula “both parents working, 2 children family” can have success in a worldly sense.I don’t think anyone would argue that. But in the real world I have watched my young women friends KILL themselves trying to have it all. Their 2(no room for God in that decision) children have everything the disposable income of two employed parents can buy.

    What they don’t have is the TIME of their parents or normal childhoods. They will have spent huge amounts of their young lives being chauffered off to lessons, sports activities and catered birthday parties for 2 yr olds where all toddlers get their nails done. Other people (mostly strangers) will rear them and they will spend much quality time with their electronic nannies. Now that’s progress!

    Most modern children’s earliest memories will be a drive thru, because who can cook twice a day when there is salaried work to be done. I suggest Kevin go into poor neighborhoods where both parents are also missing from the home. The picture soon turns grimey and violent and children don’t fare nearly as well as middle class kids sometimes do following the Feminist Formula.

    Women from time immemorial have been the gatekeepers of civilization. Modern Feminism’s great accomplishment has been to remove them from their posts. But at least now they can make a bigger salary than their husbands, so all is well.

  • Kevin

    Now Pammie is showing her ignorance. Pammie. I am very familiar with poor homes. I grew up in one. It’s why I’ve made darn sure my children don’t have to live in one. My dad died when I was in middle school leaving my mom with seven children and a high school education. My best friend had two parents and one sibling. I had one parent and six sibling. Let me tell you, his parents had a lot more TIME for him than mine did. I can assure you that I wasn’t in an expensive private school with great sports facilities and good coaching. My kids are. The “Feminist Formula” has produced educated women with self-respect. It has helped to produce the most privileged and fortunate generation of children in history. Opportunity is not incompatible with spiritual development, by the way. If you think working parents neglect their children, come over to my home. We work flexible hours. Our lives are about our children in a way that my own parents never were (even when my dad was still alive.) One of the confused points of the original article appears to be that feminism is incompatible with male athletic achievement. I disagree. Women can provide opportunities and support for their sons just as well as men can. That is the “Feminist Formula” — self-actualization for the benefit of others, whether you’re male or female.

  • Kamilla


    You’ll have to excuse me now, I have to go get a new Bible. Mine are all missing the bits about, “educated women with self-respect” and self-actualization.


  • Pammie

    If we are one upping each other Kevin, I guess the fact that BOTH my parents died before I was 7 beats your youthful circumstances. I grew up with NO mother and father in the home so you might say I know of what I speak from personal opinion. I also had many older siblings but never got to see them for obvious reasons. I had educational opportunities, food and clothes, music lessons, holidays etc and no parents.

    Lucky for your kids you have the option of having flex hours. How common do you think that is for most working parents? And I do agree with your assertion that today’s kids have just about every material possesion available. They also have more suicide , STDs and children out of wedlock than previous generations. Still not impressed. I also agree that opportunity is not incompatible with spiritual growth. But the blind pursuit of wealth, expensive private schools, and great coaching may well be to those whose lives are devoted to their aquisition above all other things.

    Kevin you have managed to take offense and be offensive with the author, Kamilla and myself. No one asked you or your wife to quit your jobs and stay home with your children so I’m not quite sure why you are so irritable. As a woman I think the Feminist Solution stinks. Drop in on a daycare sometime and watch the workers spoonfeed 6 infants slumped over in highchairs in strict rotation. “A bite for you, a bite for you….” Look at your other siblings and erase all but one of them from your life. That’s Feminism too. Your comments and manner of conversing with people who disagree with you has not changed my mind.

    Civility to those one does not agree with is a nice virtue to practice and to teach one’s children. It probably won’t make one a lot of money or get one a better address, but it does contribute in a small way to the common good.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Having high expectations of children is a very large part of the privilege of being sent to an expensive private school.

    You managed to draw the wrong conclusions from the MSJ information which I introduced by writing; ” One does not have to wealth to encourage/create success.”

    During its long and fruitful run of Christian formation and academic and athletic success, MSJ attracted the children of those who were not wealthy; women and men like my Mother and her Brother.

    Back in the day, before Vatican Two renewed the Orders of Women Religious, there were many Nuns who taught at MSJ for little pay and so MSJ was able to keep Tuition low.

    So, the point I was trying to make was that the children of all Classes were able to attend and thrive at that Catholic Private Academy and even though they had a very small student body, they were highly successful in a wide range of activities.

    Of course all of that changed thanks to the success of feminism.

    Now there are nine Nuns in America and they are dressed, and act, like social workers.

  • Kevin

    >>Civility to those one does not agree with is a nice virtue to practice and to teach one’s children. < < So try it. I’m sorry if I was rude. Kamilla annoys me enormously with her holier-than-thou claims that people who support women’s rights are “lying about God” and other such nonsense. Feminism need not equate to babies in daycare. Feminism is about women having choices. Women can stay home with children if they choose (preferably after college.) That is a valid feminist choice. They can work and let the husband stay home. They can work part-time while their husbands work part-time. My wife and I are both very happy with the solution we’ve worked out. So are our children. Taking care of children is something men and women need to work out together. Our society is still adjusting to changing roles. My hope is for better maternity and paternity leave, more flex time, more part-time and shared jobs, etc., in the future. We men need to step forward and take a more active role in helping both women and children self-actualize. This is a very different point, by the way, from the one made by the author. His point, as far as I could tell, was that feminism gets in the way of athletic achievement. The reality, in that particular case, is more likely that dual incomes and/or educated mammas are giving this subset of kids (students at Bishop H.) a boost. We need more empowered women to spread the advantages around.

  • Kamilla


    That’s the sort of non-apology just makes me chuckle. You’re sorry, but it was really my fault for irritating you.

    Gotta go, still looking for a Bible that has those bits about self-esteem and self-actualization . . .


  • Kevin

    >>One does not have to wealth to encourage/create success.< < I am not Spartacus: I don’t disagree at all. In fact athletes who come up out of the slums and ghettoes, in spite of the disadvantages of poverty, often have one thing in common before they get the scholarships. That is a mentor in their lives. Sometimes it’s a parent. Sometimes it’s a grandma. It might be an older kid or a coach or a teacher. My point was that most kids at Bishop Hendricken have TWO huge advantages: supportive parents and money. It’s these two factors that probably account for their success more than overcoming feminism (or whatever the point was.) One of these factors alone can fuel a child’s growth. Look at the Williams sisters. They had very little money, but their father was completely dedicated to their tennis careers. The McEnroe parents were much wealthier. Their kids had the twin advantages of parental support and wealth. Talent is an issue too, of course. These people are genetically probably one in thousands, but very few make it to the top without help from some source.

  • Kevin

    I’m sorry I was rude to Pammie because I was still annoyed that you were rude to me and my wife. I’m not sorry that I was rude to you. And if you find anything in the bible suggesting that women shouldn’t use their gifts to advance their children, let me know.

  • Administrator

    Let’s get back to the article, everyone. It’s easy to get distracted by personalities.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Pammie

    Kevin while I bet you got all A’s in Women’s Studies, you managed to miss the point of Mr. Esolen’s, Kamilla’s, and IANS’ comments while ignoring mine. You fail to address the very real consequences to society of your Feminist Solution. Remember your children will be trying to coexist with all those other little children who have been thrown under the Feminist bus until things “improve”. You know the ones that made it thru the Feminist maze of abortion and birth control. One doesn’t have to read “Lord of The Flies” to find out how that’s going to turn out.

    Kamilla’s way of feminism may upset you but here’s the kind that gets my goat: well-to-do, middle class, gated community, self-serving ,smug , highly educated, disagreeable feminist types that look down their noses at those who look at things differently.. you know ..the ones that feel as though they are right about EVERYTHING and have nothing of value to learn from others. It is to be hoped they might schedule a personal day at a nearby Missionaries of Charity home for mothers and children to get a closeup picture of how their solution is working for those folks in less pleasant social circumstances.

    See how civil that was? And I accept your apology!

  • Pammie

    Sorry -didn’t see your post before I posted my last comment.

  • Kevin

    Very briefly (sorry, Adminisrator:-))

    Pammie, I haven’t met the self-serving kind of feminists you describe. My wife is so different from that. Also, I don’t think feminism causes the problems to be seen at Missionaries of Charity homes. Those kind of issues have existed for centuries. Feminists don’t need to let themselves get into those kind of problems.

  • Dan Hoffman

    Great article, Dr. Esolen.

    As the father of five daughters ranging from seven to eighteen, I must tell you that these are the kind of boys my “girls’ want to find.
    My daughters are smart, faithful and excel in athletics and want men who can “measure up”(thanks to a young fellow named Tim Tebow, I get to watch my beloved Gators with my wife and five daughters by my side. In fact, they usually remind me to turn on the game). Fraternus, St Gregory’s and Bishop Hendricken are not producing young men who will discourage or compete with top-notch ladies; they are working to produce men worthy of my five daughters. These guys are not a threat to the gals, they are a threat to the Army of effeminate men who hide behind false masculinity and have been faking out their wives and girlfriends for years.

    Thank you and I will pray for these organizations in the hope that they will become “farm teams” for my future sons-in-law.

    In Him,
    Dan Hoffman

  • Mark

    “Then he makes the completely illogical leap that such achievement is at least in part the result of rejecting feminism (“… apparently, after the signal failure of feminism to produce women willing or able to lead boys into manhood”) and that the achievement of boys depends on male leadership (“at some point only men can make men out of boys.”) Nonsense. Jimmy Connors was molded by his mother to become a tennis champion. One of my son’s friends is a talented violinist. His idol is Midori” – Kevin

    That’s the best you’ve got? Tennis and violins? Game, set and concerto Esolen.

  • EV

    Such talk from the likes of Kamilla and Kevin is of course rooted in the utopian push, born of a cutting off of transcendence, to immanentize the eschaton. Very common.

  • Sally

    Typical, all right. Kevin, I prefer egalitarianism to feminism and appreciate this article very much. Kamilla is known for rudeness when it comes to feminism and apparently is now indicating there’s some problem with self-respecting, educated women.

    “Types that look down their noses at those who look at things differently.. you know ..the ones that feel as though they are right about EVERYTHING and have nothing of value to learn from others.”

    Funny, this describes Kamilla’s type of patriarchy to a tee.