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The Importance of Cultivating Moral Courage

By Susan Ciancio

He has been excoriated in the liberal press, his words have been misrepresented, and he has even been doxed. All for a speech he gave to Catholic students at a Catholic college. Harrison Butker, the kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, recently gave the graduation speech at Benedictine College. In that speech, he spoke about Catholic values, Catholic teaching, the importance of family—both husbands and wives—and more. Nothing he said went against Catholic teaching, but that doesn’t matter to those who couldn’t even be bothered to listen to his words. They merely want to jump on the bandwagon and spew accusations, including that he was “misogynistic” and “sexist.”

But when you listen to this speech, you will see none of this. In fact, when he speaks of his wife, Butker gets choked up as he talks about her conversion to the Catholic faith, her devotion to their family, and her support of him. He admits that he would not be the man he is today without her. What wife would not want her husband to hold her in such high regard?

It takes a lot of moral courage to stand up for your faith, even amidst adversity. Butker continues to do so time and again. Along with saints and holy people—like Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Carlo Acutis, and St. John Bosco—Butker is one of the many people who should serve as role models for our children.

Our society, however, has a different idea of who should be role models. When we look around the world today, we see pop icons like Taylor Swift, who said she was “terrified” by the Dobbs decision allowing individual states to make abortion laws; singer Olivia Rodrigo, who started a fund to “benefit reproductive rights”; and Whoopi Goldberg and other members of The View, who tell audiences that a woman’s “right” to abortion is vital to society. All these people are given voice and credence in our culture and are held in great esteem by many.

Yet these people and other pro-abortion advocates are loud and often downright cruel when it comes to not only their beliefs but to those who dare to speak against them, as we see in the backlash to Butker’s speech, which briefly touched on abortion. They call laws against abortion “draconian” and shout that anyone who dares protect preborn babies “hate women.”

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Abortion kills a baby and harms the mother, whether she immediately realizes it or not.

It takes a lot of moral courage to stand up for this truth and the other truths of our faith, as Butker did. This is why it is crucial for Catholic parents to talk to our children about our faith, why we must help lay that foundation so they too can develop their moral courage, and why we must help children see not only the beauty of Catholic teaching but the truth that worldly things will pass away and eternity is an awfully long time.

Many kids, teens, and young adults can’t see the big picture. With phones glued to their eyes 24/7, social media influencing their every thought, and the loud voices of the secular world filling their minds, they don’t hear often enough about the love of God, the beauty of the Catholic faith, or the importance of caring for the vulnerable—which includes not only the elderly and those with disabilities, but the preborn.

Parents are fighting an uphill battle, and one that’s easily lost. In fact, you could do all the “right” things and still have a child who walks away from the faith. The secular culture is just too tempting.

But that doesn’t mean we give up. We must continue to pray, teach, and love. As parents, we must show our children good examples of normal, everyday people living their faith—like Harrison Butker, the pro-life committee leader at your church, your parish priest, or the neighbor who works at the local women’s shelter. We must talk to our children about current events and help them develop strategies for how to combat our woke society. And we must pray daily for them.

So as we approach the summer break, make a promise to yourself and your children to add more faith-filled activities and conversations into their days. Read books about the faith. Listen to Catholic podcasts. And download pro-life lessons from the Culture of Life Studies Program. Any home can do these lessons, and all come with thoughtful discussion questions so you can begin those difficult conversations with your children and help them think about what’s truly important in life.

Without God and without our faith, we have nothing. Our Lord has given us everything we have. Let us build moral courage—in ourselves and in our children—so that we can proudly stand up for our faith. And let us never forget the faithful examples of those around us who teach the importance of living for eternity not for today.