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I've posted similar articles on the subject before, but I find it so sad yet interesting. At the same time, there was something I posted some weeks back that talked about how even prior to Vatican II the men would just hang around the back of the church, and praying was left to the women. So obviously it's more than just the change in liturgy, there has been a cultural shift that has occurred on top of that.

From Regina Magazine. Emphasis are mine.

Quote:[size=18pt]Who Needs Men in Church?

By Joseph Shaw

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Cardinal Burke recently gave a rather controversial interview on the crisis of men in the Church. The lack of men in most Catholic churches in the West is there for all to see; looking at those most involved in parish life—readers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Altar servers—the lack of menfolk is even more striking. The general problem of lapsation and apathy has clearly hit men hard—or, even harder—than it has hit women.

This phenomenon, though undeniable, has attracted very little official attention from Church authorities. Part of the preparation for the 2015 Synod was an embarrassingly amateurish video put out by the Pontifical Council for the Laity seeking input for the Synod’s deliberations.

From men? No, from women. Even as men become an endangered species in our congregations, the focus remains on the experiences of women and how the Church can reach out to them.

While the Catholic Church may seem to need make up some lost ground on the female front because the clergy is all male, those denominations with female clergy don’t appear to have any more interest in men’s concerns.

On the contrary, for liberal Episcopalians/Anglicans  the ministerial calling could soon be a female occupation, like nursing or secretarial work once was, and the feminisation of church structures will be complete and irreversible.

So what makes men uncomfortable with the Church? Does it matter? And can anything be done about it?

A good rule of thumb is that the more liberal a congregation or denomination, the fewer men are interested. Men are perfectly comfortable with Islam, which actually attracts more men than women. Hinduism, Orthodox Judaism, and Eastern Orthodoxy also seem to have no problem attracting and retaining men.

It isn’t religion per se which men don’t like; when surveys in Europe and America show that women are ‘more religious’ than men this reflects the failure of mainstream Christianity to engage men — not an unavoidable male distrust of religion. Within Catholicism, anyone wanting to see a congregation with a roughly balanced gender ratio needs to get themselves to a Traditional Mass.

Like or it not, men respond more readily to a religion which is demanding, which presents them with the objective and transcendent, and to a liturgy which ordered and reverent. They find it easier to relate to a religion which is serious, and grown up. This contrasts with emotional, spontaneous, wordy, and community-focused liturgy, catechesis, and churchmanship in general.

Prairiemom Wrote:Now, here I have a few questions about that assertion. In the Evangelical Church, in my experience, there are many men. They seem to attract men too. Part of it is that many Evangelical denominations are actually quite rigid, with well-defined roles for men and women. They are also emotional, spontaneous, wordy and community-focused. So one doesn't necessarily cancel out the other. So what specifically does the author mean?
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These may seem rather vague concepts, but it isn’t hard to see them in real life. Is Islam a demanding religion, or a soft option? Is Orthodox Judaism all about the worship of a transcendent God, or all about expressing one’s emotions? Is the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox characterised by reverence and awe, or spontaneity?

We know the answers. We should not be surprised when the Traditional Catholic liturgy, with its emphasis on order and reverence, or Traditional Catholic spirituality, with its emphasis on self-discipline and penance, and its external and physical acts of devotion like pilgrimages, seems attractive to men, who have been told as young Catholics that being a good person is about holding hands, and joining in emotional spontaneous prayers.

A lot of men would rather gash themselves with knives (perhaps in honour of Shiva the Destroyer?) than tell a group of strangers about their deepest hopes and fears. That doesn’t make men irreligious, and it shouldn’t make them bad Catholics.

It isn’t hard to see what can be done about the situation: there are obvious ways to make the liturgy — and the way that the Church manifests itself to Catholics in general — less uncomfortable to men. This can be done without making it any less comfortable to women. The Traditional Mass offers a familiar model.

But at this point a common response one encounters is that, if men don’t like what progressive theologians and liturgists have done to the Church — often with the specific goal of undermining notions of objective truth, the transcendent, and anything smacking of ‘patriarchy’ — then it is men who are to blame.

According this view, men—and women too—who lapse because the liturgy is unbearable, and the teaching devoid of substance, should get a grip, because after all the Church is the Ark of Salvation and lapsing is a sin.


Why Aren’t Men ‘Included’?

The strange thing is that the same people who say this will go on to say that the Church should make itself more acceptable to feminists by removing ‘non-inclusive’ language from the Bible
. Similarly, the Church should make itself more ‘acceptable’ to native Australian shamans by permitting their smoke-ceremony at a Papal Mass. (Editor’s Note: This occurred during Pope Benedict’s visit to Australia in 2008.)

Finally, is it important? Who cares if more men lapse than women?

It matters, in fact, not only because of the souls of the men involved, but because a community without men is without fathers. Simply put, Catholic family life is impeded without the involvement of the father. Indeed, studies have shown that children, of both sexes, are more influenced by the religious attitudes of their fathers than of their mothers. This may best be explained by the father representing, to children, the grown-up world, and the mother the domestic domain. If religion is not part of the adult world, children who want to become adults will tend to leave it behind.

Catholicism is, in fact, a religion for grown-ups. For the sake of all of us, we need a serious, grown-up liturgy and approach to teaching.
Well when you have a clown that preaches the following:

Quote:Motherhood
The eternal mystery of generation, which is in God himself, the one and Triune God (cf. Eph 3:14-15), is reflected in the woman's motherhood and in the man's fatherhood. Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman. Even if the woman, out of love for her husband, says: "I have given you a child", her words also mean: "This is our child". Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman's motherhood constitutes a special "part" in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part. Parenthood - even though it belongs to both - is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who "pays" directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman. No programme of "equal rights" between women and men is valid unless it takes this fact fully into account.

Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman's womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and "understands" with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the "beginning", the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings - not only towards her own child, but every human being - which profoundly marks the woman's personality. It is commonly thought that women are more capable than men of paying attention to another person, and that motherhood develops this predisposition even more. The man - even with all his sharing in parenthood - always remains "outside" the process of pregnancy and the baby's birth; in many ways he has to learn his own "fatherhood" from the mother. One can say that this is part of the normal human dimension of parenthood, including the stages that follow the birth of the baby, especially the initial period. The child's upbringing, taken as a whole, should include the contribution of both parents: the maternal and paternal contribution. In any event, the mother's contribution is decisive in laying the foundation for a new human personality.

What do you expect? This guy just wrote down and said what many others are thinking. Men are disposable and second-fiddle in their worldview so why is it such a shocker that men want nothing to do with Church stuff. I guess a lot of guys figure if we're "outside" the pregnancy process might as well remain outside the Church too. I mean after all everyone knows we are all born of immaculate conception right?
(06-06-2016, 09:06 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ][size=10pt]I've posted similar articles on the subject before, but I find it so sad yet interesting. At the same time, there was something I posted some weeks back that talked about how even prior to Vatican II the men would just hang around the back of the church, and praying was left to the women. So obviously it's more than just the change in liturgy, there has been a cultural shift that has occurred on top of that.

I'm interested to know how long ago this was happening, and in what cultures or contexts. It appears this is more than a cultural shift, and it took a several or a dozen generations before we finally saw its fruits.
But as the article said there is not this problem amongst Muslims,Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians. This cannot be entirely a cultural shift.  What is it about the aforementioned religious groups that do not lend themselves to the feminization we've seen within Protestant and Catholic circles?

I sincerely ask this, as I'm curious.

I know that compared to Catholicism and Protestantism,Orthodoxy,Orthodox Judaism and Islam are more deeply rooted in their Traditions for the most part, and they are far more radical in asking for a lifestyle change and a break with the world. Is this it though?
(06-07-2016, 05:38 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]I know that compared to Catholicism and Protestantism,Orthodoxy,Orthodox Judaism and Islam are more deeply rooted in their Traditions for the most part, and they are far more radical in asking for a lifestyle change and a break with the world. Is this it though?

I think that may be part of it, though these faiths also tend to maintain more distinct gender roles as well.  Mainline Protestantism abandoned those years ago and, as the article says, Catholicism has gone done that road some distance as well.  The more I ponder my role as husband and father, the more I think that there is something in the male psyche that is hardwired to be a provider and protector.

If the article is right about the children of devout fathers having a greater chance of maintaining their faith into adulthood, then part of the modern crisis of the Church is the lack of lay male involvement.
(06-07-2016, 01:04 AM)introvert Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-06-2016, 09:06 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ][size=10pt]I've posted similar articles on the subject before, but I find it so sad yet interesting. At the same time, there was something I posted some weeks back that talked about how even prior to Vatican II the men would just hang around the back of the church, and praying was left to the women. So obviously it's more than just the change in liturgy, there has been a cultural shift that has occurred on top of that.

I'm interested to know how long ago this was happening, and in what cultures or contexts. It appears this is more than a cultural shift, and it took a several or a dozen generations before we finally saw its fruits.

I can't remember precisely now. I would have to go digging and see if I can find the original article on that topic. I think it was an aside in someone else I posted, maybe on the Eucharist. I will look later when I have more time. But they were specifically referring to Italy I think, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where the men would hang around the back of the church.

(06-07-2016, 05:38 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]But as the article said there is not this problem amongst Muslims,Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians. This cannot be entirely a cultural shift.  What is it about the aforementioned religious groups that do not lend themselves to the feminization we've seen within Protestant and Catholic circles?

I sincerely ask this, as I'm curious.

I know that compared to Catholicism and Protestantism,Orthodoxy,Orthodox Judaism and Islam are more deeply rooted in their Traditions for the most part, and they are far more radical in asking for a lifestyle change and a break with the world. Is this it though?

I had a friend back home who grew up mostly culturally Jewish. When she got married, her husband converted from (culturally)Catholic to Jewish. At some point, he decided they were going to be Orthodox Jews.

It was all-consuming. They had to move so they could get to temple without driving, and their entire week revolved around getting ready for the Shabbat. Even their sex life change - she was required to have a mitzvah (I think that's what it's called?) every month after her bleed, and they couldn't come together until that happened.

It didn't stick - he's since returned to being Catholic and she's gone back to being culturally Jewish last I knew - but those couple of years were intense. It permeates every aspect of your being. But in their case it didn't stick - although they were coming at it from her being a cultural Jew and respecting her husband's authority, and him trying to grapple with his conversion and finding something that worked intellectually and spiritually.
(06-07-2016, 10:09 AM)Pilgrim Wrote: [ -> ]If the article is right about the children of devout fathers having a greater chance of maintaining their faith into adulthood, then part of the modern crisis of the Church is the lack of lay male involvement.

My husband and I were talking a bit about this last night. Out of 17 grandchildren, I'm the only one who practices the faith my grandparents so lovingly practiced. None of their children practiced as adults. None of their daughters married Catholics, including my mother.

I often went to Mass with my grandparents as a child, at least up until my grandmother died when I was 11. I am the second-oldest grandchild by a fair margin, and lived near them so I had the benefit of frequent contact. I remember her influence, much more than any of my siblings or cousins who the majority would have been preschoolers or not even yet born by the time she died.

But you know what I remember the most? My grandfather serving as acolyte. Often when we went to Mass he was doing that. That devotion, that service, is something that stuck with me all these years, even after years of not being in the Church in my teens and early 20s. I mean, I remember my grandmother, saying rosary, the icons in the home, all of that stuff - but when I try to imagine what faith and service and piety means I picture my grandfather dressed in those garments, doing the things he did.

(06-07-2016, 10:23 AM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]But you know what I remember the most? My grandfather serving as acolyte. Often when we went to Mass he was doing that. That devotion, that service, is something that stuck with me all these years, even after years of not being in the Church in my teens and early 20s. I mean, I remember my grandmother, saying rosary, the icons in the home, all of that stuff - but when I try to imagine what faith and service and piety means I picture my grandfather dressed in those garments, doing the things he did.

Very similar experience here.  I didn't get to see my grandfather at Mass a lot because he lived in Belarus still.  But, there was something really powerful to see him in the role of acolyte and then as a general helper at the parish as his cancer worsened.  There is a feeling I can't really explain but it obviously touched me to see a man so devoted to his Catholic beliefs and the church.  It's difficult to explain but it really made an impact.  But, I am compelled from the depths of my soul (again, can't explain) to follow his example of love for Christ.
Thank you, PrairieMom and Zubr, for sharing your stories.  My own father, a Dutch Reformed Protestant, was very involved with his church as both a deacon and an elder.  Yet I would not call him a deeply spiritual man.  I love him dearly and he is one of the most honest and decent men I have ever known, but he didn't exactly set a good example of spirituality for me.
The reason why there isn't more male lay involvement is because there aren't enough ministries specifically for them, and women tend to be the ones running the show with the ministries. That's always bothered me because I grew up in a culture that did gender-separating, and no one had a problem with it because the men knew the women wouldn't interfere with their deal, and the women knew the same with the men.

The only parishes I know of with strong male-led and male-only lay ministries are the parishes that do NO right (yes, they exist) or TLM parishes. Everything else seems to be run amok with women and children. I'm not against ministries or involvement tailored to women and children, but if Catholics are ever going to be interested in this thing called community again, something's gotta change.
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