Pope Joins Blame-the-Fathers Chorus

absntfthersPope Francis recently commented on fathers and said many good things that would support shared parenting. He extols the “value of fathers” and laments that we have become a “society without fathers.” He pontificates, “The absence of the father figure in the lives of children and young people produces gaps and injuries that can be very serious.” He states, “Fathers are so necessary as examples and guides for our children in wisdom and virtue. Without father figures, young people often feel orphaned; left adrift at a critical moment in their growth and development.”

Armed with endless studies, fathers’ rights activists have been arguing the same for decades. I would hope that Family Court judges and state legislatures are taking notes.

But the pope did take President Obama’s blame-the-fathers approach on absenteeism. I will put aside the issues of a livable wage and reasonable work conditions that help fathers put food on the table without working 60 hours a week, and all that “liberation theology” type of stuff. The primary reason fathers do not spend more time with their children is because their efforts are curbed by family court judges, and mothers who seek sole physical custody.

In these cases, fathers want to be with their children but legally cannot be, or can only visit minimally. Nations across the world could put fathers back into the lives of children by passing shared parenting legislation preventing courts from expelling fathers from the lives of their children at the behest of mothers.

It is well documented that mothers file for 70 percent of all divorces. It is equally well-known that when mothers seek sole custody, they get it. This happens even when the father wants joint physical custody, and the father is a good parent.

While the Catholic Church is theoretically opposed to divorce, Francis takes the politically correct course of blaming fathers rather than criticizing mothers for forsaking fathers and facilitating the breakup of families through divorce.

Lecturing fathers for being absent may have a short-lived effect on some religious Catholics who could be with their children but choose not to be. But infinitely more children would be affected if fathers that want to be with their children, legally could.

The commonality between President Obama and the pope is that while there are numerous fathers’ rights groups across the country, and while there are numerous competent writers, we are seldom interviewed or given column space, especially at the national level, to rebut the argument that the primary reason for a father’s absence is the father’s predilections to abandonment.

My columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, including papers as diverse as the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun, the Buffalo News, the Albany Times Union, the Springfield Republican, the Washington Times, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Gun Digest, and numerous others. Yet, for years I was never able to get published a column against Saint Obama’s annual diatribe about absent fathers that he presents on Fathers’ Day. You would think bashing fathers on Fathers’ Day would be about as ill-advised as bashing religion for being the inspiration of great persecutions and horrors on the National Day of Prayer.

While the pope and the president unequivocally place the blame of absent fathers on fathers, barrels of ink have been spilled on whether a good father should appropriately spank their child, which the pope supports. Why single out fathers?

Statistics show that mothers are far more likely to abuse and even kill their children than fathers. And frankly, when I am out in public and see a child being abused by a parent, it is usually the mother.

In this case, “the pope is in trouble,” and microphones are put in front of spokespeople against corporal punishment. In contrast to the reaction on the subject of absent fathers, that’s bias.

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