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A Child Shall Lead

My daughter Amber, now 19 months old, has caused a shift in me so great as to be the primary reason I am once again in God's care. The journey through my Knighthood (Third Degree) was a direct result of her birth and my desire to become a better man, husband and father to this miracle of life. Every flaw of mine that I have had and will have will be more quickly worked upon, I suspect, thanks to Amber and my return to the Church.

We are a small group, we Knights of Council 13555, but our Worthy Grand Knight and all the fine men of our Council are fans of Fathers for Good. Please keep up the great work you are doing. The recent article in Columbia, "The Adventure of Fatherhood," reminded us all again how important what we do with our thoughts and actions as fathers truly is, especially as the guiding strength of our families.

I for one am ready for the challenge, taking up The Holy Bible and Catechism and studying; bringing my temper down to a manageable level, and hopefully someday eradicating it altogether; forgiving my wife for her past actions, and asking forgiveness of her for mine. As a family, we have been through so much, and as hard as it has been, Amber, our daughter, is the key to our future success.

I hope you never see the end of letters like this. I pray all fathers hear this call and step up to the challenge.

Vivat Jesus!

Chris B.


My Son is my Brother

I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in the initiation of my 20-year-old son, Michael, into the Knights of Columbus.

I've only been a Knight for about seven years now, and it is a source of tremendous pride to me. I am a member of the world's largest lay movement, the most active and effective pro-life organization, and one of the staunchest supporters of the Church and our Holy Father in particular.

It is an association of Catholic gentlemen, with a stress on both parts of that -- Catholic and gentlemen.

I can't reveal the details of the ceremony that brought my son into the First Degree of our Order, but suffice it to say that there was one proud father who was watching his son take an important step into manhood.

In our fallen society, "manhood" is too often associated with excessive behavior (alcoholic or sexual), or with the chronic shunning of responsibility (see the phenomenon of the extended adolescence). The "masculinity" recognized by our culture is typically seen as strutting, ignorant, misogynistic machismo.

To be a Catholic gentleman is the antithesis of that. Honor, gentleness, selfless service, patriotism, humility, integrity, kindness, courage, commitment, gift of self, loving, and religious. That is what it is to be a real man. Those are the ideals of a true Knight.

My son certainly isn't perfect -- how can he be with such an imperfect father? But the other night a transition took place in our lives, and I'm very, very happy about it.

My son moved further forward towards manhood.

My son became my brother.

 – Ed M.


No Simple Solutions

I have a daughter that will be 12 years old in March. The only time I ever saw her was when she was just a few weeks old. I have not been a part of her life, but wish to be a responsible father.

What should I do?

 – Name withheld

I am a stepdad and my wife and I have been married for 2 years. My stepson's dad was not in his life until I came into the picture. I remember when he would tell his mom at the age of 8 or 9 that he didn't want to visit his dad and I encouraged her to have him go because that is his dad and he needs to create a bond with him.

Well now he is 13 years old and his dad tells him he cannot come get him because he works 6 days a week and he is tired or it's raining or some other poor excuse. This results in my son doing things out of anger for his dad directed at us.

My question is how can I change his attitude when I show him what a good man is but he follows his dad? He shows laziness, bad hygiene, no self respect, and no moral self control.

Thanks for any help!!!!!

 – Name withheld

Response: These family situations are not simple, and probably require some form of professional assistance or consultation.

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a family counseling specialist and head of the professional group Marital Healing, recommends prayer as a good start for all men who are dealing with difficult family situations. To learn more about dealing with specific problems, go to his website: www.maritalhealing.com. His resources are excellent and highly recommended.


Knights in Action

I absolutely love this website! As always, the Knights of Columbus lead by example and excellence! I am once again humbled to be included part of such a great organization of Catholic men!

I will be linking many friends and family to this great resource! I am excited to begin reading the articles and taking advantage of this gift so that I can help strengthen my marriage and my family!

 – Gregory, Michigan


 

Church and Children

I have 5 children who are now past age 21 (one is actually 38) and only the youngest gets the right interpretation of why the Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ.

One, a first-year law student, repeats things she learned while in college while taking a prerequisite, "Pagans And Christians." Father John Corapi, of EWTN, says there is a "fine line between sophistication and imbecility," but the college where she attended and took the course was Loyola of New Orleans, a Jesuit university centered around the Catholic faith.

So not to further push her away, what would be a good way to drive home the fact that ours is a faith 2,008 years old and no others can sport apostolic history, tradition, succesion, or even authority?

Any help would be appreciated.

 – Randall

Dealing with children who are away from the Catholic faith is most difficult, because emotional and familial ties run deeply. We want our kids to know the truth, yet we don't want to offend or push them further away.

Bishop Michael Saltarelli wrote a helpful guide on bringing back inactive Catholics, in which he addressed parents whose child had left the Church.

Here is a section of his letter:

Often your adult child's inactive faith can be a difficult subject for you to broach. Defensive reactions can be quick. You may have a tendency to lecture or to nag. Often the issue of Catholic practice may be tied up with delicate emotional issues between you and your children.

Still, never give up. Pray for your inactive children and model more vibrantly your own Catholic faith for them. There can be opportunities for you to talk empathetically with your children about the benefits of returning to the Church. It requires a great deal of emotional calm, a supernatural spirit, and an intuitive sense of diplomacy and timing!

Remember St. Monica, who never gave up on St. Augustine. She prayed for Augustine for over thirty years. During this period, he restlessly tried a number of intellectual philosophies and engaged in self-centered, manipulative relationships. How painful it must have been for Monica to watch her talented son walk this self-destructive path. It was through Monica's prayer that Augustine came home. We lift up our sons and daughters to the intercession of St. Monica and St. Augustine. We never give up on them.


 

Loss of a Child

I would like to thank your sending me the Fathers for Good website link.

If I might I would like to suggest an article in the future on fathers who are coping with the loss of a child. Maybe with prayer and understanding fathers everywhere might begin to understand how to somewhat try to cope with this terrible time in their lives.

 – Jack

We will put your idea on our future story board. You may want to see a brief treatment on the topic in the Fathers for Good dection about the parents of St. Therese (Little Flower), who lost a few children to early death. See the last Question on the page from this link: http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/news/index.html

Thank you.


 

Words of Praise

Thank you, so VERY MUCH, for providing such a wonderful initiative...such a wonderful website...and such a wonderful facebook group. You are directly involved with the work of God! KC's to the rescue...again!! May God bless your ministry!  – Kevin, Baton Rouge

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. The Knights of Columbus, sponsor of this website, has been serving Catholic men and their families since 1882. This is one of our works using modern media. Our founder, the Venerable Father McGivney, would have wanted it this way.


Where's That In the Bible?

I was checking out the new website for fatherhood and read Dr. Fitzgibbons' first article. He emphasized the spiritual side of fatherhood and quoted one of his favorite Scripture passages:

"A brother who is strengthened by a brother is like a fortified city."

I went looking for it in my references and couldn't find chapter and verse.

For this and future references it would be helpful if you would provide them. I was going to send it to friends and I knew they would press me if I don't have it. – Rick

Thank you for reading the article so closely. Dr. Fitzgibbons was quoting an older translation of the Bible from memory.

The verse is from Proverbs 18:19, which in the newer Catholic translation reads:

"A brother is a better defense than a strong city."

From now on we will check all Scripture quotes and provide the chapter and verse, for reference. Thank you for keeping us honest.


Expectant Father

This (website) is exactly the kind of thing the Knights should be doing. My wife and I are expecting our first child in November. We are having a girl and I couldn't be more excited about the idea of being a father. Thank you to everyone who is helping to get this website started. It is an important resource. God Bless. – Past Grand Knight, Washington, DC

Thank you, and many blessings on the birth of your child. We are planning to post content soon on resources for new fathers, and also those who are planning to marry and contemplating fatherhood.


Raising Kids Catholic

My wife has never been baptized, but we have two young sons who have both been baptized into the Catholic Church. Any resources or advice to help me raise them in the Catholic faith while living in a non-sacramental marriage? – John

You are a good father to be concerned for the religious faith of your children.

The most basic formation in the faith you can offer your children is to bring them to Mass each Sunday and teach them morning and bedtime prayers. When they are old enough, enroll them in Catholic school or a parish religious education program that will prepare them for the sacraments of Confession, holy Communion and Confirmation.

Regarding your marriage, if you were not married in a Catholic ceremony, you may want to talk to your wife about doing so. Even though she is not baptized, you and your wife can have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church, with permission from the bishop of your diocese. This will also be a witness to the importance of your Catholic faith to your children.


Well Done

I am writing to congratulate you on the excellent website for fathers. It is very user-friendly and filled with excellent suggestions. I am also pleased that the link to foryourmarriage.org is readily accessible on the front page. I look forward to recommending the website to our organization and to the people of our diocese. Congratulations on an excellent job.

Deacon Bill


Men Need This Site

As a Third Degree Knight of Columbus, I am VERY HAPPY to see you open this site. It is the perfect fit for the KofC!

I have been involved with other great fatherhood groups like St. Joseph Covenant Keepers (dads.org) and That Man is You (TMIY) and I believe with continued focus this “service to fathers” that you are providing will be great!

Guy, St. Louis


All in the Family

I just wanted to write to commend you on this fine resource for fathers. I will be recommending your site to our members, all of whom are involved in stepfamilies. We publish bimonthly newsletters, as well as family advice blogs and online articles. We also provide online and long distance counseling and conflict resolution for couples and parents and teens.

Rev. Bob, CDM, Certified Domestic Mediator


Why do you think fathers have an identity crisis? – Jason, Albuquerque

Crisis may be too strong a word in some contexts, but certainly a large number of men experience problems developing confidence and assurance about who they are and what they are doing.  In our featured article, Father Phillip Chavez draws on his full-time work in men’s ministry to suggest some reasons why this might be the case. With the prevalence of divorce, so many men (and women) grow up without a strong fatherly example. Also, popular culture too often portrays men and fathers as confused and helpless.

Secular experts have noted this as well, as shown by another article on our site from a female psychologist.

At Fathers for Good, we hope to address these issues in a positive manner that will benefit men, their wives and their families.


The site really answers a need for men, sort of an online community for fathers. Why didn’t the Knights of Columbus do this before? – Jeffery, Conn.

Since its founding in 1882, the Knights of Columbus has always been at service to men and their families. Father Michael McGivney (whose cause for sainthood has advanced at the Vatican) brought together men of his day to address issues facing Catholic immigrants to the United States and their families, and he founded a fraternal benefit society that addressed the financial, spiritual and social needs of the time.

Today, men face different challenges in our societies, and the Knights of Columbus seeks to meet them where they are (on the internet with this website) with expert guidance, fraternal support and the time-tested wisdom that comes from the Catholic faith.

But Fathers for Good is not just for Knights, or even just for Catholics. All men can benefit from the resources provided here.


I hear about men’s spirituality groups getting more popular. Where can I find one? – Alan, Pittsburgh

Since spirituality groups tend to be most successful in a parish setting, you can always seek to start one in your own parish. You can use our “Father’s Bookshelf” suggestions from the Fathers for Good website for guidance and discussion.

You may also contact your local Knights of Columbus council to join in the spiritual activities.


I think you’re right that men find it harder to know how to be fathers today. I’m retired, but in my day, a father was a father and everyone knew what he was supposed to do. Take care of your family. Be there for your wife and kids. – William, Florida

Yes, there are fewer guides along the road of fatherhood today. Here’s a suggestion. You may be retired from work, but you never “retire” from fatherhood. Maybe you can serve as a mentor to younger fathers, and -- of course -- you can always guide them to the Fathers for Good website.


Wow. I’m a Knight of Columbus and I heard about your site. How can I spread the word about Fathers for Good? – Peter, California

The first thing you can do is forward the link www.fathersforgood.org to everyone in your e-mail address book. Then tell the priests at your parish about the website and ask them to mention it in the parish bulletin. Make sure everyone in your Knights of Columbus council knows about Fathers for Good. Talk about it to friends and neighbors. You may even want to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, saying that a helpful new resource is available for men and their families.