Dominican Friars and True Masculinity
October 22, 2014
Fr. James Brent, OP and Fr. Benedict Croell, OP recently offered an online piece on manliness, vocation, and the religious life titled “The Masculine Vocation.” In the piece they point out the tensions in modern understandings of masculinity: “There are two extremes at work in our society. At one extreme we find a kind of hypersensitive male: insecure, indecisive, excessively preoccupied with emotions and the way he looks. At the other extreme, we find a kind of machismo male: egotistical, emotionally hard, indifferent to others, and ready to use women for his own pleasure.” These false idols are countered by the true image of manliness: Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ is the way. Jesus stands as the point of balance between these two extremes. He is gentle but firm, He is full of strength and power, but places that strength and power at the service of all, including women. He speaks with women and interacts with women, always telling the truth and always affirming their dignity and worth. Even though He is filled with the power to cast out demons, to heal and to walk on water, He is meek and humble of heart.” Imitating Jesus is the way to true masculinity, either in the vocation of marriage or, perhaps surprisingly, the vocation of religious life: “A man who is called to religious life is called to identify with Jesus in a profound way, and by identifying with Jesus, he finds the meaning of true masculinity.” To learn more about Project Fraternity, see their website. Fr. James Brent, OP made simple profession in the Order of Preachers in 2005 and was ordained a priest in 2010. Since then he has been an assistant professor in the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. Fr. Benedict Croell, OP made simple profession in the Order of Preachers in 1993. After being ordained a priest in 1998, he served at St. Gertrude’s Parish in Cincinnati before going to Kenya, where he ministered for five years, most of which as Master of Novices. Returning from Eastern Africa, he worked at St. Joseph’s University Parish in New York City and then earned a License of Sacred Theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2010, he was named the Province of St. Joseph’s Vocations Director, a post he currently holds. Fr. James and Fr. Benedict frequently give presentations on college campuses about Catholic and Dominican life.
Image: Fr. James and Fr. Benedict with Providence College alumna Mary Vercollone (FOCUS Missionary) on a recent FOCUS retreat in Illinois.