Male Spirituality
#41
(06-06-2012, 12:54 AM)Varokhâr Wrote:
(06-05-2012, 01:37 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: Okay. So, keeping in mind that we're speaking analogically and not literally, what does "male spirituality" mean for Catholic men and how is it different from the spirituality of men of other religions, or no religion. I mean, men are natural leaders. Pagan men too. If men, naturally speaking, are kind of turned off by the idea of "serving" - how much comfort can they feel in a religion that is basically all about serving the other, and humility and obedience.

When I read this, I couldn't help but think of how humility and obedience are virtues not just in the Catholic religion but in the concept of Bushido, the ethical code strictly adhered to by the Japanese Samurai warrior caste. I couldn't help but notice similarities to the Medieval European concept of chivalry, where men of our warrior caste of knight were also expected to be not just brave, but humble, obedient to the Church and to one's local lord, and ready to serve the weak and needy. Both codes upheld moral virtue and discouraged vices and malice. At no time and in no way were the notions of humility, service, and obedience considered unmanly or somehow feminine ideas.

Perhaps some of the reason that modern men find those virtues to be off-putting is because modern civilization is so far removed from ancient ideals?

That's a good point. Maybe it has to do with the macho John Wayne type idea of masculinity? The independent man without God who lives according to survival of the fittest philosophies... I think that's been around for a while and does tend to have a certain negative view of "weak" men as well as a denial of the need for women (beyond the physical-- food and sex). They are independent after all so needing helpmates and families for salvation, being leaders by example in all virtues, being humble servants etc..., it's all distasteful and unmanly. I'd bet that fits in there somehow.
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#42
Lisa, et al.,
You may like to read Masculine Mystique by Andrew Kimbrell. It is not a Catholic book, although Andrew is a Catholic, and you may not even agree with every viewpoint, and Andrew himself would probably update the book a bit, but it gives a great perspective on the plight of the western male. He takes things back to the ending of the commons (the enclosures) in the late Middle Ages, and how men had to go to the city for work. It covers quite a bit, including the things I see in my grandfather. No hugging, no crying. Distant. More men are in jail. More men commit suicide. Etc. It is an enlightening read, from my perspective, and even cuts a bit through the call for John Wayne like ideals, as though the problems of men can be solved if we just toughened up.

A taste: andrewkimbrell.org/andrewkimbrell/doc/masculine%20politics.pdf
"A time for men to pull together" on page 4
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#43
I've been a lurker here at Fish Eaters for a while, but this topic proved too tempting for me to pass up.

(06-05-2012, 12:38 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: As an aside: This morning at Mass I counted the people; there were 19 women and 1 man. This is typical of daily Mass here. If anyone says that men stay away from daily Mass because of all the women, I will laugh. No, I am sure Alice von Hildebrand was right; that women, by nature and social training, are simply more willing to submit and serve.

I do not think either you or Alice von Hildebrand is correct on the matter of submission and service. If men are not naturally disposed towards submission and service, why are so many drawn to the military with its strong discipline and hierarchy? Or to joining police and fire departments which similarly subordinate the individual to superiors and demand sacrifice for the good of the group? Even in socially poor settings where gangs rise up or organized crime, not every man is the don or gang leader, but rather many are the followers and they obey their leaders willingly and serve their interests. Consider the words of the Centurion in Matthew 8:9 - "For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this 'Go' and he goes, and to another 'Come' and he comes, and to my servant,' Do this,' and he does it."  Considering how military service is a classically male activity, it would seem that aversion to submission and service is not inherent to the male spirit.

Now on the subject of whether or not the Church has become feminized or effeminate, I think there is something to that claim. As an example, here is a quote from a homily delivered by Fr. Cantalamessa, who is a preacher to the pontifical household: "Here is the crucial point: to think of Christ not as a person of the past, but as the risen and living Lord, with whom I can speak, whom I can even kiss if I so wish, certain that my kiss does not end on the paper or on the wood of a crucifix, but on a face and on the lips of living flesh -- even though spiritualized -- happy to receive my kiss."

Source: http://www.zenit.org/article-32128?l=english

Earlier in this thread there was a quote from St. Francis de Sales, wherein he complained about how some men were not very manly for not wanting advice directed towards women. I bring this up not to dispute with the good saint's claim, but rather that he clearly thinks, by using the term "manly" that there is such a thing as manliness and that men ought to exhibit it. I suspect that advocates of "male spirituality" also believe in manliness and that men ought to be manly. So there is a dilemma: how does one reconcile such a manliness with the above quote from Fr. Cantalamassa above- and with the approach to Christ which it typifies?






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#44
(06-05-2012, 12:38 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: As an aside: This morning at Mass I counted the people; there were 19 women and 1 man. This is typical of daily Mass here. If anyone says that men stay away from daily Mass because of all the women, I will laugh. No, I am sure Alice von Hildebrand was right; that women, by nature and social training, are simply more willing to submit and serve.

I disagree.

Women are not naturally more submissive and willing to obey authority than men, quite the contrary. As the result of the fall, the woman has great difficulty submitting to authority, especially male authority.

It's true that women are less likely to stop going to Church than men, I agree with that. But this has nothing to do with willingness to serve or obey authority but rather with the woman's natural religiosity and conservativeness. This happens in all religions. In fact, most women that still go to Church today don't do so out of a sense of obedience to Church authority or love for evangelical doctrine but out of a sense of personal piety or just keeping with the traditions they received as children. Where as men are more likely to cut off with the past as a matter of personal convictions, women are much more conservative and likely to keep doing the same thing they learned as kids, even if they don't believe in all of it.

I'm sure we all know many women, even pious old ladies that go to mass every Sunday, that don't believe in some dogmas and teachings of the Church. My late grandmother was one of those ladies. She didn't believe in hell and was a Catholic her whole life, raised in a rural environment in pre-Vatican II days. I have another old aunt, still alive, who is just like that too. Pious but not exactly orthodox or anything.
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#45
Welcome aboard, Aegis. You've given me a lot to chew on, Vetus too, and I'd need to think about it for awhile. But I would like to address this.

(06-06-2012, 04:58 PM)Aegis Wrote: Earlier in this thread there was a quote from St. Francis de Sales, wherein he complained about how some men were not very manly for not wanting advice directed towards women. I bring this up not to dispute with the good saint's claim, but rather that he clearly thinks, by using the term "manly" that there is such a thing as manliness and that men ought to exhibit it. I suspect that advocates of "male spirituality" also believe in manliness and that men ought to be manly. So there is a dilemma: how does one reconcile such a manliness with the above quote from Fr. Cantalamassa above- and with the approach to Christ which it typifies?

First, I'm not at all saying there isn't such a thing as manliness. I'm questioning where we get our modern definitions and role models. Certainly not from the Bible! King David was a warrior and a ladies man. But he was also a shepherd and a poet and a harpist. He wept with abandon. He danced with abandon. He wasn't anything like Scriptorium's grandfather and mine, who didn't touch, hug, cry or dared show too much emotion. Of course, that could be a cultural thing. Which brings me back to the advocates of male spirituality. So far the ones I've come across are all American and raised on cowboys and football. Real men don't cry and all that. And they certainly don't kiss Jesus on the lips. Right? 

I read that piece from Fr. Cantalamassa and I agree that agape shouldn't be separated from eros. In fact I even started a thread about that many years ago. But I'm not sure what your point is. Did you ever read some of the writings of St. Francis of Assisi? Some are downright embarrassing by our standards. But, as lolanthe once said, he was medieval, and Italian, and a poet.  So maybe we're dealing with cultural hangups here.
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#46
(06-06-2012, 09:35 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: First, I'm not at all saying there isn't such a thing as manliness. I'm questioning where we get our modern definitions and role models. Certainly not from the Bible! King David was a warrior and a ladies man. But he was also a shepherd and a poet and a harpist. He wept with abandon. He danced with abandon. He wasn't anything like Scriptorium's grandfather and mine, who didn't touch, hug, cry or dared show too much emotion. Of course, that could be a cultural thing. Which brings me back to the advocates of male spirituality. So far the ones I've come across are all American and raised on cowboys and football. Real men don't cry and all that. And they certainly don't kiss Jesus on the lips. Right? 

I read that piece from Fr. Cantalamassa and I agree that agape shouldn't be separated from eros. In fact I even started a thread about that many years ago. But I'm not sure what your point is. Did you ever read some of the writings of St. Francis of Assisi? Some are downright embarrassing by our standards. But, as lolanthe once said, he was medieval, and Italian, and a poet.  So maybe we're dealing with cultural hangups here.

I provided the link to Fr. Cantalamassa's sermon in order to provide the source for the quotation in my post- that's all. I was not trying to use his entire talk as such to bolster my position. You seem to suggest, though, that not wanting to kiss Christ on the lips is of the same order of hyper-masculinity as the attitude that "real men don't cry"? Is that your position?

As far as the writings of St. Francis of Assisi goes, no, I have not read any of them. I have read some of St. Bernard's, and they are often strange, to put it mildly.

With regards to masculinity, I am pleased to see that we both agree that such a thing exists. Presumably you also think that men ought to be masculine. Now,  I have read your December 2008 thread on the subject (as found here: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...642.0.html ). In that thread, in fact in its first post, you write: "I say that all spirituality is, by nature, feminine." Herein lies the problem. If men are supposed to be masculine, how can they also be obliged to be feminine? After all, any good spirituality is meant to permeate our lives, and so men would be under a natural and cultural obligation to be masculine but under a divine and religious obligation to be feminine.  But you may not agree that men are supposed masculine, or that perhaps they must eventually be rid of it. In which case I would raise the question of whether or not grace, in this case, is not destroying nature (i.e. the masculine) rather than building upon it. Of course, that would only hold if masculinity were in some sense natural and not cultural or unnatural. In any case, I look forward to your response.


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#47
First, I wrote that four years ago.. I could have changed my position since then. I could change my mind during the course of this thread. It's a woman's prerogative, you know. I am not on this thread asking the exact same question(s) that I did on that former one. But since you brought it up..... I used the term “spirituality” then when I said “all spirituality is feminine in nature..” I take it back. This time, on page 1, I asked if the human soul is “feminine” in its relationship to God, meaning receptive. God is the one who woos us, who plants the seed of faith. God is the one who does the initial work of grace. Men can certainly be masculine, with all their manly traits, and be receptive to God.

I never once said men were “obliged to be feminine.” You're putting words in my mouth or reading something more into what I was saying. I am arguing, or asking, on this thread, whether spirituality is truly masculine or feminine. I am arguing, or asking, if the advocates of “male spirituality” are trying to spiritualize the natural, and the cultural. 

On that other thread, I agreed with Catholic Thurifer who said:
“I really doubt the Early Church Fathers ever thought about spirituality in terms of gender or sex. To do so is quite a twentieth century thing to do. Interestingly, the soul has always been traditionally thought of as feminine.”

I am simply saying here, that I can understand spirituality as Christ-centered, or Marian, or Dominican, or Franciscan, or Thomistic etc. And that both men and women will be attracted to one or more of these paths for various reasons.

For the record, I would describe myself as having a “Salesian spirituality” –  formed by the writings and teachings and style of St. Francis de Sales. The devout life, the art of loving God, finding God's will in my life. This is the goal of every Christian, male or female.
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#48
[Image: praying-the-rosary-sparta.jpg]

Okay, I'm going back to the Catholic Meme thread.
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#49
(06-07-2012, 12:06 AM)charlesh Wrote: [Image: praying-the-rosary-sparta.jpg]

Okay, I'm going back to the Catholic Meme thread.

:LOL: :LOL: :LOL: And that would be all 20.. er, I mean 15 decades.. on your knees... arms outstretched!

AND IN LATIN!!!!!
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#50
(06-04-2012, 03:12 AM)TraditionalistThomas Wrote: One that doesn't involve hugging, dancing, and ecumenical dialogue.

Glad to help.  :tiphat:

this
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