Chivalry: A Personal Definition

Sunday, October 25, AD 2009

Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves, or even aggressively market themselves as mere sex objects. The visual hardwiring for males is tough to short-circuit since it is there for some very excellent reasons- but a boy in-training to become a good man, must develop the capacity to say “No” the same as for the girls- and he must learn to divert his eyes rather than feasting on the nearly ubiquitous female forms in various stages of undress parading by our senses. It is no wonder that St.Paul said it was better to marry than to burn, and Jesus laid out some very high standards when He said that lusting for a woman in your mind was adultery- pretty clear advice from someone whose opinions form my own.

I know that girls who don’t have close and affectionate relationships with their own fathers will act out sexually at earlier ages to try to fill in a spiritual hole in their hearts. I hope that with my own girls I can reinforce their beauty and worth in the world by showering them with my attentions, my hugs and kisses, and all the verbal and non-verbal affirmations of their excellence and my love for them- with the added bonus of giving all praise and glory to God for them as gifts to me and their mother and the world. They should never have to feel that they “need” some sexually-charged teen to give them the idea that they are special and deserve physical and spiritual affection from a male in their life. I hope and pray that this gives them some invisible support to make the correct choice to wait until marriage for the very special gift of their physical selves to another.

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6 Responses to Chivalry: A Personal Definition

  • I’m also under the impression that how the father treats his wife affects the perception of young little boys and girls. Especially when they mature themselves, they mimic, imitate, and follow many of the same traits and behaviors their parents act out towards each other when they have spouses of their own.

  • I like your definition, but why do you subjectivize it? Why is it “chivalry … to you”? Why isn’t it just chivalry?

  • Zach-
    Because too many folks have re-defined “chivalry” for their personal use, meaning everything from “oppressing women” through “treat women like smaller, weaker men” and up to more sane definitions.

  • It is a “personal” definition in the sense that I take what I know about chivalry and describe it in my own words and way. Additionally, I add some personal detail by bringing it home to my own relationship with my daughters- so I am not saying that one can view chivalry apart from it’s classic definition- but in application to modern society and one’s own family experiences, there is bound to be some individual touches in the description of one’s personal definition.

  • “Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves…”–Tim Shipe

    …or men and boys.

    Thanks, Mr. Shipe, for re-affirming that the expression “male chivalry” is redundant. And oh, does a female counterpart to chivalry even exist?

  • I think it’d be “polite.” Possibly “being a lady” or “decent.”

    I can think of a lot of examples of things that violate it– from false rape accusations through chewing someone out for holding the door, all the way up to demanding concessions for being female while demanding that everyone ignore that fact….

Dad and Daughter and Baseball

Wednesday, September 16, AD 2009

MLB lawyers were able to track down and depublish the YouTube video in order to protect the interests of their corporate masters.

No worries, I found another video link which shows the little dad and daughter moment.  Click here.

Saw this late last night and I wanted to share this with our American Catholic readers.

A very touching moment when the little girl throws away the baseball and gets startled by the gasp of the fans.  She quickly turns to daddy and he’s there to give his little girl a big hug of support that it’s alright.

Hope you all can view this before Major League Baseball lawyers take down the YouTube video.

Very nice.

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4 Responses to Dad and Daughter and Baseball

"Taken" Some Life Lessons

Saturday, July 18, AD 2009

I saw the movie with Liam Neeson entitled “Taken”, the other night. It is the ultimate ‘Dads protecting daughters’ fantasy. It plays on a whole lot of primal emotions- particularly the temptation to give oneself over to extreme violence to protect the lives and sanctity of one’s children. Every father wants to imagine himself capable of defending his beloved children from any and all threats- and the father in “Taken” was that ultimate fatherly force. He represented more of a divine Angelic father who slays spiritually evil forces, than a realistic earthly dad- and as such I was able to excuse the incredible violence as something of a parable of ultimate accountability for those humans who perpetrate the evils of human trafficking and slavery.

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3 Responses to "Taken" Some Life Lessons

  • I think you make a key point here about how deeply pornography is connected with the breakdown of the family and the exploitation of women in our society.

  • Can you tell me what definition of “consumerism” you’re applying to the sex-slavery industry which is thousands of years old?

    It seems a stretch to me, but I’m interested to hear.


    Clementine Hall
    Saturday, 13 June 2009

    “Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
    Distinguished and Dear Friends,

    Thank you for your visit which fits into the context of your annual meeting. I greet you all with affection and am grateful to you for all that you do, with proven generosity, at the service of the Church. I greet and thank your President, Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, who has expressed your sentiments with fine sensitivity, giving an overview of the Foundation’s work. I also thank those who, in various languages, have wished to express your common devotion. Our meeting today acquires special meaning and value in the light of the situation that humanity as a whole is experiencing at this time.

    Indeed, the financial and economic crisis which has hit the industrialized, the emerging and the developing countries, shows clearly that certain economic and financial paradigms which prevailed in recent years must be rethought. Therefore, at the international congress which took place yesterday your Foundation did well to address the topic of the search for, and identification of, the values and rules which the economic world should abide by in order to evolve a new model of development that is more attentive to the requirements of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity.

    I am pleased to learn that you examined in particular the interdependence between institutions, society and the market, in accordance with my venerable Predecessor John Paul II’s Encyclical, Centesimus annus. The Encyclical states that the market economy, understood as: “an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector” (n. 42), may be recognized as a path to economic and civil progress only if it is oriented to the common good (cf. n. 43). However, this vision must also be accompanied by another reflection which says that freedom in the economic sector must be circumscribed “by a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality”, a responsible freedom, “the core of which is ethical and religious” (n. 42). The above-mentioned Encyclical appropriately states: “just as the person fully realizes himself in the free gift of self, so too ownership morally justifies itself in the creation, at the proper time and in the proper way, of opportunities for work and human growth for all” (n. 43).

    I hope that by drawing inspiration from the eternal principles of the Gospel it will be possible, with the research inherent in your work, to elaborate a vision of the modern economy that is respectful of the needs and rights of the weak. My Encyclical dedicated to the vast topic of the economy and work is, as you know, due to be published shortly. It will highlight what for Christians are the objectives to pursue and the values to promote and to defend tirelessly, if we are to achieve a truly free and supportive human coexistence.”

    Consumerism, as I use it, is not the positive business economy that is supported by Catholic social doctrine, but the destructive misuse of business models that overemphasize the commerce angle at the expense of the human beings who are on the giving and receiving end of some business transaction. It is the inadequate juridical framework that allows for such things as pornography and adult entertainment businesses to flourish under a false idealism associated with “Free Speech” and corporations being legally defined as “persons” with rights we normally associate with actual human beings. These modern-day abuses of what true freedom is really all about, help foster the modern situation of sex-slavery/human trafficking. The legal pornography helps to fuel the destructive fires of lust in boys and men of all ages, the freedom of advertisers to use sexual appeals to the lowest common denominator in human- particularly male human nature- also makes the pursuit of sex seem to be an overriding concern in everyday life. The rise of female entrepreneurs in the adult video industry and prostitution lends to the notion that women are getting good money for lending their bodies to men for illicit sexual purposes- so there is no victim in the process, when in actuality everyone involved and women in general and humanity at-large is harmed by the social sins associated with the weakening of public morals, and the encouragement of promiscuity with all the physical and spiritual damage that that entails.

    One could say that “consumerism” is that approach to economics and business that tries to separate the Christian Humanism of which the Pope speaks, with the freedom of individuals to pursue many kinds of “businesses” which contribute to the market demand for young girls and boys to be available for sexual exploitation- which is what drives the sex-slavery “market”. I found this to be the case when I attended local city council meetings where the topic was responding to the demands of adult entertainment business owners to have certain areas of town zoned for adult entertainment lest they take the city to the higher courts, where the findings have been in favor of the adult businesses via the “free speech” rationalization. The small cities must come up with ample sites for adult entertainment or else they risk heavy legal fees to challenge something that right now favors the purveyors of porn in the higher courts. Even though the numbers of speakers from the community who were outraged and against such businesses was very substantial- the juridical framework isn’t developed to address the morality questions in these areas. If we have the human person as our primary consideration in determining how to regulate businesses and their affairs, then this would be something more or less easy to fix. But our system is not set up with the common good/natural law as the guiding light for legal renderings- which is what is lacking in the juridical frameworks so often called for by the Magisterium.

A Big Blind Spot (From "Dads Protecting Daughters")

Sunday, June 14, AD 2009

Here is an announcement I wrote for my Facebook Cause “Dads Protecting Daughters”):

In creating this cause (Dads Protecting Daughters) to protect my daughters (and son), I thought of it as primarily addressing the threats from the outside- the political/cultural/economic ones. But recently I had a skin cancer scare (should be ok- surgery is June 17 appreciate your prayers).

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One Response to A Big Blind Spot (From "Dads Protecting Daughters")

  • Indeed. As fathers, we assume we’ll be there for our children, and only hope we’ll be able to do the right thing. And as children, we tend to assume our fathers will always be around as well — at least until they’re “old”.

    I know it was a comfort to my father that (despite having been diagnosed with Lymphoma) he lived until his children were all grown. Though since he died just as I was myself embarking on fatherhood, I sometimes find it hard now to know if I’m acting “like a father” or not. I remember how my father seemed to me, as a child. But there are so many things about which I wish I could ask, “What were you thinking back when I was doing that?” or “Did you have days like this?”

    As Christians we know our loved ones are not truly gone, but the gap and the silence of it is painful at times.

Make America Safe Street By Street – Here's How

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2009

Here is something I wrote over at Facebook’s “Dads Protecting Daughters”- Joe and I traded some comments there, and I thought I would open it up to the American Catholic society! Here goes:

A Safer World For All Children

We have touched upon some of the cultural issues relating to the protection and nurturing of our daughters (and sons- really this Facebook cause “Dads Protecting Daughters” directly relates to boys and girls). Now I want to bring up something on the literal street level- this is a political and economic area of concern. I am a huge “root causes” guy- the Catholic social teachings and Hierarchical commentaries are constantly saying in effect- “be courageous, look at the root causes of violence, of terrorism, of war”. I take this very, very seriously.

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4 Responses to Make America Safe Street By Street – Here's How

  • Tim,

    I have a lot to say about the subject of child-rearing, and I don’t even have a child of my own. Unfortunately I gotta run for now, but a little later I’ll share my thoughts.

  • Our biggest domestic problem, by far, (one that entitlements and the baby boomers alone can only rival) are the rates of illegitimacy – about 1/3 for whites, half for Hispanics, and 3/4 for blacks. This is tragic and untenable. We are well on the way to large underclasses. These children are born with a significant handicap to start their life.

  • A lot of the focus so far is on what kids in poverty are doing.

    To be quite honest, I think they have an advantage over today’s suburbanite. I think they get a more realistic view of the world.

    Tim, you know I agree with you on a lot of things, and I appreciate your social justice perspective that is tempered with an orthodox Catholicism – it’s a lot like my own.

    On this issue of “making the world safe for kids”, though, we may have some different ideas. I say may, because I’m not sure the extent to which you may disagree with me here.

    I see a society today that has an unhealthy obsession with “protecting the children”, with sanitizing life until the age of 18 and even beyond in some cases.

    Human beings were meant to enter adulthood roughly around the time we call “adolescence” today – that is, child-bearing age. In earlier times boys went to work and girls were married off, and life properly began. But now we live a lot longer and in much greater material comfort here in the West. So we run into the problem, the scourge as I see it, of delayed adulthood.

    Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, and we’re seeing more school violence all the time, not just from low income students who belong to gangs but from white suburban kids who just “snap” one day.

    High schools have become four-year holding tanks, semi-prisons if you will, where most kids have no idea what they want to do in life because they’re told every day that they can do or be anything and everything. Unlike countries such as Germany and Japan, which have rational and socially-oriented educational systems, we have an individualist and romanticist view of childhood and education. In many cases this can be crippling.

    By high school age kids should be assessed and placed on career or educational paths best suited to their aptitudes. It doesn’t have to be rigid and inflexible, but they can at least begin heading in a certain direction through a rational plan.

    By the time a young man or woman enters the teenage years, they need to begin being treated like adults. They need to be guided more effectively by parents and teachers, they need to begin attending institutions that are suited to their future careers, they need to be given greater responsibilities. They need to be among peers who share their interests and goals, and not thrown in to a teenage version of “Oz” where petty cliques dominate the social scene.

    I can’t stress enough how much I think the American high school system is a failure, how much damage I think it does to particular kids, and how much better things could be.

    And yes, we need to let them experience danger. Kids should be exposed to little bits of negative things over time so they aren’t overwhelmed by them the second they leave the protected nest. Have a little alcohol, smoke a cigarette, even observe a bit of raunchiness on the television – it is the world we live in. I call it cultural immunization. It works the way vaccines do – its a little bit of the disease so the body gets used to it and is able to fight it off.

    Otherwise we create a totally unrealistic fantasy world of “innocence” and “fun” that leaves kids entirely unprepared for the real world. Sometimes they just go nuts – binge drinking on college campuses is out of control. Kids get to college and they start doing everything that was kept hidden and taboo in a burst of uncontrolled hedonism. College age girls, I think, get the most abortions too.

    I’m not trying to insult or undermine here, and I’m not saying anyone here has ever advocated the things I pointed out here. But I think it is a problem and no discussion of children can take place without it.

  • Joe- I find that we are pretty much kindred spirits, so it should be easy to disagree on some things and not become disagreeable or discordant. Strange thing how that works, there are some people with whom I share an orthodox Catholic belief system, but I feel a cold distance from them- sometimes it is probably related to the fact that I don’t really think they are committed to the orthodoxy since they are really just way too comfortable with being out and proud liberals or conservatives when it comes to political matters- and I just cannot see a way clear to either comfort zones by my study of the Church social doctrine and applications by the Hierarchical authorities.

    Now on to your view on the above. I think that we can’t and shouldn’t go back to the time when our young were pretty much forced by circumstances to end their brief foray into youth, and enter the grind of adult life. I think the fact that we live longer today allows for some extra time of youthful endeavors- all to the good if we put the time to good use- wherein lies the rub.

    I think it was in Plato’s Republic, that he recommended among other things that the youth be thoroughly protected from the corruptions of the adult world- wait until they are developed more fully in the virtues and reason before tossing them to the wolves where they will be eaten alive if they have not the developed capacity to deal with temptation.

    So, maybe I am proffering a third way- if we can introduce our children to the real world grind of social injustice and immorality just enough to serve as that vaccination, but not enough that it steals away their beautiful innocence- then that’s the ticket right there. More art than science. But my purpose in the original piece was to try to secure the streets in a response to the data that suggests a link between bad neighborhoods and cycles of criminals. It is just one more piece of the puzzle we could be taking more collective responsibility for. We can’t change every parent, but we can take back the streets from thugs and drug dealers, giving kids more of a chance to choose something different- different from what they are experiencing at home even. There is no silver bullet- I like the social interventions, but I also like the shouting the Gospel from atop the roof to inspire individuals- it’s a total both-and deal for me. Now you have in the past brought up complaints about my reliance on the police over citizen crime watch groups- that would be more interesting to pursue with more commentators. I am a fan of the police, we just have to make sure we have political oversight representing the people, and internal monitoring to ensure that corruption and/or racism is creeping into local law enforcement officier circles. We need to get the police working with the local faith based groups and missions, so that we don’t have cops with bad attitudes and unholy approaches to dealing with crime and those prone to criminal activities as youth.