Virtual conference to promote fatherhood as boon to society

A New Hampshire Catholic college is hosting a virtual conference this week on “Rediscovering Fatherhood” to help men fulfill their vocation at home.

Dr. William Fahey, president of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H., told CNA that good fathers are a major part of the solution to the pressing problems of society.

“I cannot think of a single social problem which does not have its origin in the failure of fatherhood, or is not exasperated by the deficiencies in society with respect to fatherhood,” said Fahey.

“Nor can I think of one single social problem that strong fathers will not help to resolve sooner and more dynamically.”

The free conference will include four short lectures and an opportunity for discussion. It will be available to watch live on Zoom on June 22, the day after Father’s Day, at 7:30 p.m. EST.

For those who register but are not able to watch the live stream, the content will also be available to watch afterward. More than 1,000 people are expected to participate.

In addition to a talk from Fahey on lessons from St. Thomas More, discussion topics will touch on virtue, strong marriages and work.

Speakers include C. R. Wiley, author of “Man of the House;” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage; and John Cuddeback, founder of the blog and professor of philosophy at Christendom College.

A press release advertising the conference says it hopes to offer “advice and encouragement” from fathers “who approach their role with wisdom and experience.”

Fahey said the conference was developed by the college’s Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture, which was established several years ago. The center offers reading groups, workshops, and traditional conferences, as well as podcasts, videos and other resources.

This is the second virtual conference. It is “a natural outgrowth of fulfilling our mission in the ‘Age of COVID’,” said Fahey.

Over the past few months, he noted, American fathers have been required to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This situation may be stressful, but is also an opportunity for men to discover or rediscover their roles in the household, he said.

“Coronavirus has cooped parents up. Yet it has provided a rare opportunity to spend more time with children and spouses. The conference is meant to encourage Catholics, especially fathers, to reflect deeply on this opportunity and to follow Christ in their vocation of fatherhood,” Fahey said.

“The goal is to prompt reflection among adults, especially men, on the centrality of fatherhood; to consider the effects of bad or absent fathers in society; and to present positive models and ideas for implementation and imitation,” he added.