Richard Rohr is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He has led men's retreats with a focus on inner-healing from anger and rage. In the July 2010 issue of Sojourners magazine, Fr. Rohr published the article, Boys Don't Cry on why developing an inner life is essential to healing men from the explosive violence bottled up within. Below, he speaks with assistant editor Jeannie Choi.
Jeannie: You have worked a lot with men and the spiritual development of men. Share with me first how this issue became a passion for you.
Richard: You know, I first got involved in men’s work when I was rather young. I was the pastor of a lay community in Cincinnati approximately the time that Sojourners started, which is how Jim and I became close personal friends. We were very much involved in similar things. I realized shortly into it that so many of the young people [I'd worked with] had what I called “father wounds.” They either had alcoholic fathers, absent fathers, abusive fathers, or emotionally unavailable fathers was the most common. And it just got me already as a young priest involved in this issue of [asking] what is this emptiness, this anger, this longing that I found in so many of the young boys? And, of course, as a priest, cause we have the title "Father," we almost ask for it, that people project onto us a lot of their need for a father, both good and bad. So the complexity of all of that sort of drove me into the work.
Jeannie: As far as your own relationship with your father, how has that influenced the work that you do with the men that you work with?