Today we plan a hike along the Hudson River about an hour or two from New York. Tomorrow we meet a brand new addition to our family, and on Sunday another new addition. The Sunday event is a baby's Baptism. On the next day we head south, and I expect that next Thursday will see the return of our Catechism posts. Yesterday we stopped at a gift store at Graymoor, the religious campus posted high on a mountainside overlooking the Hudson. Graymoor was directly on the path of the hijacked planes that struck the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11.
Looking ahead to meeting two new little arrivals to my in-law claim very soon, I reflected that since I wanted to be a priest from about the age of four, there was no point in my life where I ever thought about being a father myself, or ever felt myself deprived of that extraordinary experience. I had a wonderful step-son for several years before he was killed by a drunk driver, but much of my life has been "bachelorhood," so to speak. It brings its own rewards, particularly an inordinate sense of personal power over one's life and schedule.
I got to thinking that all of the sacraments and rites of familyhood are officiated by men who have never themselves immersed in serious reflection on the possibility of fatherhood in the familial sense. Moreover, every theology of marriage, and perhaps more to the point, every moral teaching and standard of marital existence, has been conceived, composed, and implemented by men--exclusively men--for whom the idea of marriage was never a real or practical consideration.