Butker, Bias & Leaning Into Your Vocation

(Picture via Benedictine College/Youtube)

If you’d asked me just a month ago who Harrison Butker was I would have been stumped.
Now, however, thanks to the politically correct news cycle I can tell you exactly who he is.
He is a child of God. He is a husband and father. He is a practicing Catholic. He is a football
player. And he has never been so famous – or infamous – as now. And all because of a
commencement speech where he was not afraid to speak from an Catholic viewpoint.
I’m not going to go into everything he said just here. If you’d like to read the entire transcript
head on over to EWTN’s website, which I’d highly recommend. However I’d like to focus on
the anti-woman statements that he made.

“Each of you has the potential to leave a legacy that transcends yourselves and this era of
human existence. In the small ways, by living out your vocation, you will ensure that God’s
Church continues and the world is enlightened by your example.”
So far so good, right? Okay, let’s continue.

‘For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should
be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak
directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical
lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are
thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you
may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the
majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this

‘I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly
started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. I’m on the stage today
and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond
blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all of my
success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would
convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all:

At this point, the secular media tells me that I should be angry. Like, blistering with the heat
of rage. I mean, how dare this successful footballer and all-round standup guy, suggest that
women might be more excited about marriage and children. Come on Butker, I mean, aren’t
you living in the dark ages? Women’s liberation ‘fixed’ all of this for women.
Seriously, how could you possibly suggest that Isabelle is happier living out her specific
vocation in a society that values neither maternity nor homemaking? That because she is
‘leaning into’ her vocation her feminine genius has come to the fore and you are able to live
out a genuine masculinity. Do you really expect us to buy that?
“She is the person that knows me best at my core, and it is through our marriage that, Lord
willing, we will both attain salvation.

‘I say all of this to you because I have seen it firsthand how much happier someone can be
when they disregard the outside noise and move closer and closer to God’s will in their life.”
Wait, what? Happiness is to be found in doing God’s will? Oh man, that’s totally foreign
territory these days. Most people don’t believe in an omnipotent God who both loves us and
is wholly invested in our happiness and salvation.

Oh, I see. Butker is suggesting that people who do not have a relationship with God have got
the wrong end of the stick. They don’t value His presence; they’re not secure in their own
identity as His children; and they think that the intrinsically beautiful and ultimately fulfilling
complementarity of man and woman in the Sacrament of Marriage is actually just a limitation
upon their own individual happiness.

It is unfathomable that Butker and his wife could actually be satisfied with a life that is
countercultural, pro marriage and family, pro life and pro Catholic.

But see, that’s the thing about people. We are all made in God’s image and likeness. Our
happiness in this life, and the next, is dependant upon our eagerness and consistency in
discerning and following God’s will for us. In other words, leaning into our individual
vocations and unleashing our unique capacity on the world.

It is not necessary for us to give up our dreams to fulfil that of motherhood. Popular
American speaker Leah Darrow expresses this well: “babies AND dreams”. Butker’s wife
has leaned into her vocation and chosen to stay at home full time. That is just one way to
live out God’s call in our lives – there are so many others!

Being docile to God’s call for us does NOT mean you must drop your dreams and produce
babies. Discernment is a continual and ongoing process. It is possible to work and have
babies – there are many married women who have grown small businesses from home so
that they be at home with their children. Even inspirational saints like Gianna Molla and Zelie
Martin discerned calls to work professionally whilst still raising their children. And obviously
doing a stellar job of forming them too.

Butker and his wife are not wrong. But their call may not resonate with you because God has
different things in mind for you. It’s completely reasonable to both admire the Butkers for
their witness, but not desire to be at home fulltime. Lean into your own individual vocation!
There is no one size fits all policy here.

Remember that following God’s will does, at times, require sacrifice, but the graces received
from those same sacrifices are literally out of this world. Love requires sacrifice, a self-
surrender for the good of others. That is the key element that unites each of us in our own
vocations. As St Therese of Lisieux says, “My vocation is love.” But how we express that
love is different for each of us.

So, we can choose to lean into the self-sacrificial love modelled by Our Lord Jesus Christ
and ordered our lives to God’s plans for us, or we can lean into the self-love of a world that
seeks only to serve itself.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the Butkers have the right end of the stick. Even if the
secular media want to beat him with it.

VM Writer and Graphic Designer. Wife of one, mother of 8. Tackling growth in virtue one (baby) step at a time.

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