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Catholic Review of: The Three Marks of Manhood

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Author:  Dr. Gregory C. Dilsaver

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This item received 4 stars overall. (03/02/2011)

Orthodoxy: Completely orthodox.
Reading Level: Intermediate

lozeeroseBy lozeerose (VA) - See all my reviews


A Call for the Return of [Proper] Christian Patriarchy

Evaluator Comments

For a while now, I have been working my way through a thin volume from Tan Books/Saint Benedict Press 2010 releases: The Three Marks of Manhood: How to Be Priest, Prophet and King of Your Family. The length of time it took me to read this book in no way reflects the content or the author's skill. What it does say is that I need to find more to time to pray and sleep.

From the publisher:

Author G.C. Dilsaver writes that the time has come for Catholic families to re-discover true patriarchy - time for Catholic men to accept and fulfill their role as leader and head of their families. Christian manhood, as ordained by God and confirmed by Catholic teaching, is symbolized by three staffs: the Scepter of authority and self-discipline, the Crosier of spiritual stewardship, and the Cross of redemptive suffering. Three Marks of Manhood can help Christian families realize their identity to the fullest - empowering them to resist the encroachment of secular culture. Read it and learn how to build a strong and lasting marriage, raise children to become faithful men and women of God, and foster an authentic Catholic culture in your home.

On the surface, the above description seems to portray a self-help book for men. This is less a self-help book and more a splash of cold water to the face. Dilsaver does not pull a single punch it outlining the woeful state of manhood today, especially in the case of Christian men and even more especially those of the One True Faith - Catholics.

The book proceeds to build a comparison between the Mystical Body of Christ and what has long been called as the "little" Church otherwise referred to more recently as the "domestic" Church, that is the household of a validly married couple. In this, Dilsaver reminds men (and their spouses) that although the ordinary vocation of the espoused is to be a husband, we act in similar fashion of the ministerial priesthood by "putting on Christ" by means of the relationships in our lives. These relationships include our dealings with God, our wives, our children, our employers, etc.

Every point and lesson touched on in this book is certainly orthodox and on point. Perhaps it is fact that initially put me off as I flipped through the first few pages. Despite my fervent return to the Faith and my profession of fidelity to the Church and Christ, I felt a bit disturbed at the tone, which can most certainly be construed as counter-cultural especially by hardened feminists.

Long story short, this book does not mince words concerning the present state of manhood and offers valid, faithful and long-standing suggestions on how to reclaim our God-given roles as priest, prophet and king of our homes reminding us of St. Paul's words in his Letter to the Ephesians:

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

-- Ephesians (RSV) 5:21-33

You can purchase this book here.

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