Over the last few years there have been movies about one or several of the Superheroes from the Marvel or DC universe. Many of these Superheroes have been around since the 1940’s when they first appeared in comics. These Superheroes, I believe can be an excellent archetype for the Catholic man and his son.

Recently someone commented to me that they didn’t think that these movies were appropriate for their husband and son to view because they are so violent. True, there are a few that should not be watched by children, one that comes to mind is “The Watchmen” but that is where the father must discern what is appropriate and what isn’t. As to the fighting in these movies, I don’t believe they are an issue. We live in a hostile world and there are forces out there who wish to do harm and fathers should explain this to their son’s. Learning how to morally and virtuously defend oneself is a good thing.

Stories of heroes are as old as mankind and boys have been raised on these stories to teach morals, ethics and what it means to be a man. The hero usually follows some kind of “code” that directs his life and actions using his fighting abilities to protect others or to save his city or kingdom. Gilgamesh, the oldest epic poem, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Knights of the Round Table and Beowulf have been read to boys by their fathers for centuries, as well as the stories of Samson and King David. I personally grew up on the stories of the Crusaders and King Richard the Lion Hearted. All of these stories are about the superheroes of the day. A Captain America or a Batman is not much different from a Sir Percival or an Odysseus.

These stories of the Superhero are an allegory for something deeper, the struggle that takes place on the spiritual plain. It is here that the Catholic man does battle with the enemy, Satan and his demons. It is a battle for the very soul of the Catholic man. The weapons of the enemy are the Vices that destroy the soul; Gluttony, Immoral Sexual Behavior, Greed, Anger, Slothfulness, Self-importance, and Pride. The weapons of the Catholic man are the practice of the Virtues which are; Good Judgment, Justice, Courage, Self-control, Faith, Hope, Love. The Catholic man draws his power from the Holy Spirit who gives him further gifts to combat the attacks of evil; wisdom, understanding, council, bravery, knowledge, godliness and fear of the Lord. The Catholic man trains his mind, body and soul through fasting, prayer and meditation and sacred reading as well as through some form of physical exercise. The real battle takes place between good and evil in the interior of the man. The evil that takes place in the physical realm is a result of this inner struggle. Likewise, the good in the physical realm is a result of the victory over evil that takes place in the depths of every man.

There are occasions when evil manifests on the physical plain when a Catholic man will have to defend and protect his loved ones or himself. Training in self-defense is not a bad thing to know. A good self-defense teacher will help you train your body and your mind to fight against your greatest enemy, yourself. Having to physically battle against evil is rare but being prepared for this possibility and knowing how to defend yourself is a good thing.

Understanding that Superheroes are an allegory for the struggle that takes place within every man, I believe they are an excellent archetype for the Catholic father and his son and could be a good teaching tool for instruction on living a virtuous life.

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