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August 11, 2003



While I did not read the whole entry because it was a little too long winded for me. I agree, and you should not discredit it by saying "I didn't say it, the author did". You should be proud to say it.

Michael Tinkler

On orthodoxy and masculinity -- why do you think the canons require beards?

And if you think they don't still require beards, you should read some of the ugly things Orthodox traditionalists say about 'shaven-faced priests' in America -- and by that they mean Antiochian Syrian Priests with goatees!

In other words, yes. This is a big issue for them, too.


Neither the author nor the poster want to face the obvious conclusion of the assembled statistics. So it would seem yet another round of nickel and dime-ing the problem will have to be undergone, with yet another set of insoluble problems arising from those half-measure "reforms" (maybe if we didn't allow over 45% gay priests and had only one female acolyte to every one male acolyte, and made our phalanx of eucharistic ministrices dress in something other than polyester jogging suits. . . )

David Kubiak

I think all the points on the causes and implications of the gay clerical presence have probably been discussed to death by now. But apropos women and the ministry I suspect this is just part of a trend that is making women the majority in higher education generally, both in college and professional schools. Christina Hoff Somers has an interesting book on how boys are intellectually short-changed in today's educational system, and since gay men have been politically attached to women's issues they tend to benefit from this phenomenon as well. I think the book is called 'The War on Boys.'


My impression has always been that women tend to be more religious than men, so now that theological schools and seminaries are open to them, it's not surprising that they are attending in large numbers. I think I read somewhere that church service attendance is dropping among women, so that they are losing their "edge" over men. It will be interesting to see if the decline in women's religious observance eventually affects women's numbers in theology programs.

Patrick Rothwell

The article shows an interesting cultural and theological paradigm shift. During the "Bad Olde Dayes", it was the liberal social justice types who were aggressively masculine and who denigrated the more traditionally-inclined clergy as feminine or homosexual and there was some truth to their charge. Homosexual clergy were far more likely to be social conservatives than revolutionaries, and it infuriated the liberals to no end. Soi-disant Anglo-Catholic clergy (which I happen to know best) were particularly despised for this reason. Yet, in the sex and gender wars since the 1960s the situation has totally changed.

The writer mention Paul Moore. Paul Moore is a representative transitional figure. Paul Moore was paradoxical figure in many ways. He was a card-carrying member of the WASP establishment with old-fashioned WASP values, yet he was a social revolutionary. He was aggressively masculine, but was an early champion of gay rights in the late 1960s-early 1970s. He was from an early age associated with the conservative Anglo-Catholics in churchmanship and not Broad Church Anglicanism, but gradually broke the Anglo-Catholics on all sex and gender issues. Much, much more could be said about this phenomena.

Patrick Rothwell

Here is an interesting article on the subject of my previous comment. Scroll down to "Beyond Gin and Lace." It applies mostly to England rather than the United States, but there are some commonalities. Relics of the culture he describes still exist in the United States, but they are mostly gone (I think). I was an Anglo-Catholic and there were some of these people still around in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Also, don't miss Rowan Williams' little introduction. It is an interesting read in light of current events.


Jimmy Mac

Wearing beards indicates that one is masculine? I know lots of gay me in San Francisco who will agree with Michael Tinkler on that, but would he agree that the beardest-wearing group of men in the US today ... gay men ... are masculine?

An interested observer

Re: What is the tipping point for men considering a profession and perceiving it as "women's work?"

A 2003 ECUSA Convention delegate from Holy Cross in SC quotes a [very beautiful] clergywoman talking about her young son. When asked if he would be a priest when he grew up, he said, "No. That's a girl's job." She apparently offered this as a charming anecdote of the changes she represents. At least in that home, the tipping point has been reached. I suspect in terms of 'emotional semiotics' we're getting there.

Michael Tinkler

Jimmy Mac - the big issue for the orthodox USED to be Eunuchs. Like Origen. Hence the prohibition on beardlessness.

And the language still used is pretty anti-eunuch-real-manism.

As for me, I wear a goatee -- make of it what you will :)

David Kubiak

Mr. Rothwell's post reminds me that along with traditionalist Italian bishops another type that has completely died out in the last forty years is the old-style academic homosexual -- Alan Bloom may have been the last. I encountered several in my own education -- socially conservative, very supportive of heterosexual men, generally misogynistic, and openly contemptuous of lesbians. Elite private education was very much influenced by them, a kind of last gasp of an ancient Greek ideology.


Ravelstein indicates Bloom was a bit more sinister than that, I believe. . .


Patrick Rothwell,

Thank you for linking to that very interesting article on homosexuality in the AC subculture. So much there I could comment on. Three things, quickly:

1. If one appreciates beauty in the liturgy, does that mean one is gay? I do, and I'm not.

2. ACism isn't the same as the Oxford Movement? I always thought the terms were synonomous.

3. Is ACism a spent force? Is beauty in the liturgy a spent force? Must we look forward to "contemporary worship" for the next 250 years?

Lee Podles

As heterosexual men become a smaller and smaller minority in the mainline Protestant clergy (and perhaps in the Catholic clergy), men who feel a religious impulse will find a home, if we are lucky, in conservative, evangelical denominations, and if we are unlucky, in Islam, or in ideologies even more dangerous than Islam. Men will have their suspicion confimed, that Christianity and masculinity are incompatible. This is not true, but the Western churches have often acted as if it were true.

Tom Mohan

Despite the trends you site, your gayest church moment will be hard to beat. I hope. Nice bit of humorous color to your point.



Tom, I didn't write the article. I quoted it.

Tom Mohan

Oops. So much for speed reading the long blogs.

Patrick Rothwell


Question 1: Thankfully, one does not have to homosexual to appreciate beauty. Anglo-Catholicism was never a homosexual sub-culture, but there was one that was rather noticeable. Anglo-Catholic worship was usually quite beautiful and beauty, being what it is, attracts all sorts of people.

Question 2: The Oxford Movement and Anglo-Catholicism were closely linked, but not identical. Here is a gross oversimplification. The Oxford Movement was a theological movement which was a reaction against liberalizing and secularizing trends in the Church and tried to revitalize the Episcopate as a guardian of "catholic" doctrine through strict interpretation of the Prayer Book in light of the teaching of the Church Fathers, among other things. The Oxford Movement as such was not really interested in liturgy as such. The Oxford Movement as such died in 1845(7?) when Newman became Catholic. Anglo-Catholicism was more interested in recovering pre-Reformation (and even post-Reformation Roman) forms of the liturgy in the Anglican Church. For the most part, it was closely tied to the theological agenda of what was the Oxford Movement, but it gradually became unhinged from it in varying degrees of orthodoxy.

Question 3: ACism is dead as a movement because of (a) the liturgical forms it championed have been superseded by the reforms of Vatican II and (b) most of its important liturgical agenda has been adopted by the Anglican Church sans the over-the-top liturgy even as Anglicanism slides into complete heterodoxy and relevant to the topic at hand(c) the women-priest and gay issues have seriously divided the movement, the former more so than the latter. The former is more critical, not so much because AC's suffer from a "gynophobic" culture as Ken Leech claims, (though some ACs are indeed pathological misogynists) but because women priests are considered to be invalid and a permanent barrier to reunion with Catholic Christendom. On the other hand, most AC traditionalists who oppose homosexual sex on theological principle nevertheless are in practice highly tolerant of it among parishioners and clergy and take a "boys will be boys" attitude towards it. This attitude tends to drive evangelical and liberal reformers Anglicans absolutely bonkers, as can be imagined, though it is not an entirely unreasonable attitude. (It is certainly preferrable, in my view, to the alternatives provided by either anti-sodomy zealots or gay radicals who control the terms of the discussion.) The attitude does, however, creates rather complicated and awkward responses to events like the Lambeth Conference statement and same-sex union proposals and the like.

ACism, as a prominent AC priest named Richard Martin said, changed the face of the Anglican Church to a Catholic one, but failed to change the heart of the Church. ACism was a lost cause, albeit a noble one, because ACism, even though it tried, could never have hoped to undo all of the internal theological contradictions within Anglicanism and make it an authentically Catholic body.

I'm going really far afield from the topic at hand, I guess but I wanted to address Larry's questions.


Lee Podles makes an interesting point. I'm amazed at the editorials I have seen in may local paper since the election of Gene Robinson. The paper is becoming fairly "liberal" in its bent and two columnists write regularly about their support of gay marriage.

Now, the interesting part is that the editor always divides the views of the Christian community neatly between those mainline Protestants and Catholics who do not support gay marriage and those who do. The publisher of the paper happens to be a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which holds the traditional view of heterosexual marriage. Do you think their viewpoint is ever represented? Not on your life. And this paper, with its constant emphasis on multiculturalism, has yet to focus on the Islamic view of gender issues.

Some parts of the media really don't want to give the matter a full public hearing.




Thank you for your thoughtful and comprehensive response.

I think the beauty of AC liturgy needs to be preserved--somewhere. Whether in a protected and guaranteed Anglican Rite within Catholicism, or as a form of Western Rite Orthodoxy, or in a strengthened and revitalized orthodox Anglicanism.

John Weems


You should look into the Anglican Use of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church at www.atonementonline.com



John, I think Larry's point in saying "protected and guaranteed" was that he knows the Anglican Use exists, but it does so precariously. It has no official champion except for Cardinal Law, who is doing his best groundhog imitation these days.


I have learned a lot! Thanks

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