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April 20, 2004

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» A Manly Church ... from Fathers Know Best
Amy Welborn has an interesting post about an article on manly religion, especially how to attract christian men in what feels a lot like a feminized Church. Although I have some quibbles about some of the ideas the article brings... [Read More]

» A Church of Manly Men from Welcome to Arcadia
Doug Giles cracked me up . . . Have you ever asked yourself, “Self … why do churches today look more like the lingerie department at Wal-Mart, than a battalion of men poised to plunder the powers of darkness?” Why... [Read More]

» wednesday in pink pj's from conjectural navel gazers; jesus in lint form
Drinking coffee wearig pink pj bottoms. Life is good. Well, yesterday's post brought a little traffic to the site. That is good. What is better is the lingering conversation. Jennifer found herself in the thick of it on a couple... [Read More]

» wednesday in pink pj's from conjectural navel gazers; jesus in lint form
Drinking coffee wearig pink pj bottoms. Life is good. Well, yesterday's post brought a little traffic to the site. That is good. What is better is the lingering conversation. Jennifer found herself in the thick of it on a couple... [Read More]

» Mini-Blogwatch from Noli Irritare Leones
My favorite line from a blog today: For anyone puzzled about the precise form of insanity involved, I should explain... [Read More]

» wednesday in pink pj's from conjectural navel gazing; jesus in lint form
Drinking coffee wearig pink pj bottoms. Life is good. Well, yesterday's post brought a little traffic to the site. That is good. What is better is the lingering conversation. Jennifer found herself in the thick of it on a couple... [Read More]

Comments

Todd

Peace, Amy.

If someone found a way to lasso men in, not only would they be bucking the trend in Christianity, but in every major and middling world religion. There was a U of Washington study done a few years ago that found that women worldwide always bettered men in religious commitment, no matter what religion was studied. No difference was found in faiths with exclusive male leadership, either. I would speculate that "feminine drift" in Christianity is an urban legend. If anything, we're seeing more polarization between the sexes and approaches to each within the faith.

Charles M. de Nunzio

It was, from what I can discern, a feature of Italian Catholicism since at least the 19th century (and likewise in other Romance-language countries as well); the men were starting to enmesh themselves in various revolutionary movements. Which, come to think of it, means it should be no surprise that the feminist movements sprang up in the 19th century as well....

chris K

Yes, Amy, this has always been a factor historically. In fact though, male participation has been much greater in the US than in European countries. There has to be acknowledged though the trend for even those areas that would normally be seen as in the pipeline to the masculine priesthood a usurption by the feminine without too much thought to how this would effect the already eroding presence of men connected to the altar. Funny, but the one area that doesn't seem too important to women is that of "usherettes"! Passing the basket still seems to be something the men don't mind doing. I guess it's one of the dirty jobs left ... and somebody has to do it!

caroline

But why? To say that the church is feminized dosen't answer why the men allowed it to get feminized by default. Were the men, except for John, absent at the foot of the cross BECAUSE women were there?

Jeff Culbreath

I second Mr. de Nunzio's remarks about Italian Catholicism. My reading of California and Mexican history confirms that men began falling away from Spanish Catholicism -- in the New World, at any rate -- as a result of Enlightenment/Masonic fervor in the 18th nd 19th centuries. By the time of the Mexican revolution, religion was widely considered the domain of women, children, and feeble-minded men inclined to superstition.

Clearly bringing men back to the Church will require more than merely turning back the clock to the 1950s. Better aim for the 13th century or thereabouts.

William Tighe

On this issue, see *The Church Impotent* by Leon Podles (2001: Spenser Publishing)

Whitcomb

This article is claptrap--Promise Keepers on steroids.

I wonder if Mr. Giles' brigade of Christian soldiers--not that I'm interested in joining--has room for a church-going man who enjoys:

the company and conversation of women, baseball, the poetry of William Butler Yeats, the sensuous, even sinful, pleasures of a cigarette after a good meal and you-know-what, a good drink or two or three, ruminating on the tragedy of "Long Day's Journey Into Night,'' talking to small children, finding mischievous humor when so-called Christian bookstores fail to stock "The Book of Common Prayer,'' watching almost any Humphrey Bogart movie, defending his center-left politics, playing catch with his son, making his daughters' boyfriends squirm just a little yet who declines to audition as a breast-beating patriarch--though his wife would certainly offer a dissenting opinion.

He doesn't own a firearm, paintball gun or spear for that matter. He enjoys John Wayne, but not in the pulpit.

As to those "Nancy boys," I would not like Mr. Giles' chances in a brawl with one of my favorite priests--a Mr. Peepers type who is an ex-Marine.

Paul Smith

I want to second the comment above about "usherettes." I've only had one woman complain about the lack of female ushers and that was a girl I was quasi-dating at the time, so that might have just been flirting. (I'm an usher at my church.)

I've also had women tell me that they're quite happy leaving ushering to men. And the few times we've asked women to usher we've gotten turned down.

So, I guess what I want to know is: why? Any thoughts?

amy

I attend two parishes that are rather on different ends of the spectrum. Both involve women as ushers. I really fail to see the big deal, and to call the staid ladies in suits pushing the collection basket down the pew "usherettes" is stupid.

Anastasia

While dining at a small, nearly empty restaurant in Vatican City a couple of weeks ago, my husband I could not help but overhear a conversation between two Vatican journalists (they were talking rather loudly). I learned that one of the main concerns of the Church is the inroads that Christian fundamentalists are making in Latin America - PRIMARILY because they are attracting MEN. Apparently the Fund. Christinans are very active in drug/alcohol rehabilitation and reach many nominally Catholic men that way.

My personal observation is that men tend to want/need rigidity, rules, and maybe even a sense of doing "battle" with the secular culture - they want religion to be tougher, more challenging. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that - their needs have to be addressed too.

Mark Kasper

I've often wondered at the terms 'religious ghetto' or 'Catholic ghetto.' "Keeping Christians marginalized in a religious ghetto"? I wonder how the author must view St. Therese and Her Little Way. What a damn fool she was.

In 10+ years of college and post-graduate education, and >10 years in corporate America, I have seen with my own eyes where the ghetto actually is. The impoverished spirituality, a shallowness so profound that it can be gauged in Angstroms, views of life as a bazaar - the search for titillation and appeal...

I will take the lives of my grandparents, quiet lives spent devoted to each other, developing from year to year the holiness of the Sacrament of Matrimony. One could easily deride their lifelong geographic confinement on a midwestern farm as living in a ghetto, yet their apparent lack of worldly ambition was in reality a much greater ambition for the love that God gave to them as a vocation.

So, if you don't mind, I'll turn off the TV and cancel my newspaper subscriptions, love my wife, raise my children, and labor for both their benefits without losing too much sleep over the ghetto in which my family lives.

MKasper

P.S. Amy, I hope you understand that my comments are not directed at you.

Jared

I think this topic was discussed not too long ago on G. Popcak's weblog, he called it the Mercedes Principle. It reminds me of St. Ignatius Loyola. A military man, reading the lives of the saints and realizing that trying to be saintly is not for the wimps. This is where we need good Catholic psychology b/c Catholic practice can seem rigid or obsessive-compulsive to J. Public. I am not fearful of not being holy, it is more that God desires me to be holy, and I desire to be holy b/c He wants me to be holy and knows this is the greatest thing for me.

I think sometimes many saints are portrayed as wimps. I good example is the stereotypical St. Francis of Assisi. But his life was anything but wimpy.

Patrick Rothwell

Muscular Christians usually tended to be theologically unsound. I'm thinking of people like Thomas Arnold, Charles Kingsley, Episcopal Bishop William Lawrence of Massachusetts, and so on.
Bishop Paul Moore of New York represented the end of the line of the liberal muscular Christian tradition.

Its really hard for me to think of the Inkling crowd, the Tractarians, and the 19th century Catholic revivalists as muscular Christians - Archbishop Ullathorne and Cardinal Manning being distinguished exceptions.

Cheryl

While my first reaction is to send this guy a Precious Moments figurine accompanied by a lovely floral card...

I actually think this is basically one of the better (practical) arguments against women's ordination.

Rod Dreher

Anastasia: My personal observation is that men tend to want/need rigidity, rules, and maybe even a sense of doing "battle" with the secular culture - they want religion to be tougher, more challenging. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that - their needs have to be addressed too.

Hear, hear. I've been saying that for a while. Mel Gibson's Jesus is the manly Jesus -- the Jesus I never, ever hear preached and presented at mass. I am so sick of the Dr. Phil Jesus that we constantly, constantly, constantly get that I could scream.

JohnB.

Support your local Knights of Columbus chapter..even better, if you are a man, become a member!

Form a men's group at your parish. Do good works and have fun. Help perform repairs at the parish, help with parish school projects, go on male golf outings or to sporting events as a group bus trip, etc.

Build brotherhood and fraternity among men. The group of men will lead, and from that group will come your male leaders.

This is not a male superiority argument..its about getting a segment of traditionally uninvolved Catholics and gettign them involved.

Anastasia

Rod,
I know what you mean. Case in point:
Palm Sunday,St. Suzanna's in Rome - the English speaking church: The very pleasant Paulist father gave a sermon on how it was WOMEN who stuck it out with Christ through His Passion, while the MEN ran away. How there is strength in enduring, hoping, praying. Fair enough and a good point. I kept waiting for him to talk about how the MEN redeemed themselves and went on to risk life and limb preaching the Good News in hostile territory, undertaking dangerous journeys and how they suffered violent deaths. That is a different kind of courage, but no less praiseworthy. Why can't both "male" and "female" virtues be acknowledged, encouraged, celebrated? Isn't there a place for all at God's table? I couldn't help but wonder how I would react as a man to such favoritism.

Children have a much better chance at developing their faith when their fathers practice it too. My father and uncles LOVED The Passion primarily because of the way Jesus is played.

Cheryl

Have you ever actually listened to Dr. Phil, Rod? Ever though he got his start on Oprah and deals with "women's problems" on his own show, I'd actually describe him as more of a manly, straight-talker type myself. A few Dr. Phil-type priests (orthodox, of course!) might not be such a bad thing ;-)

Our young pastor, Father John, is very orthodox, a great homilist, and, believe it or not, definitely a "guy's guy'" as well. He loves sports and started a parish softball team a couple of years ago. This Easter FOUR of his players were received into the Church. Now that's a record to brag about, if you ask me. Of course, these poor guys had to sit through RCIA sessions led by our well-meaning female DRE, who tends to focus too much on hand-holding, feelings-sharing, etc.

The softball converts muddled through, in spite of our touchy-feely RCIA program. But I believe it was our pastor who got them into the pews and I have no doubt he'll keep them there.

Peter Nixon

My language is not that of Mr. Giles, but as someone involved in men's ministry in my parish, I share many of his concerns. Contemporary Christianity often fails to call us to the kind of radical discipleship that could speak to a man's heart.

But I would also say that a man who follows Jesus in the path of discipleship is as likely to have his notions of masculinity challenged as he is to have them confirmed. Too many men are still boys, obsessed with the playground pecking order, with playing and watching games, and with purchasing larger and larger toys. But there is men's work that needs to be done and we need to get about doing it.

Claude Muncey

For an example of an approach that has worked, consider Cursillo. After the war years (especially after the chaos of the Spanish Civil War) lay men had largely dissappeard from Catholic life in Spain. Cursillo grew out of Catholic Action and the 1948 national pilgrimage to Santiago Compostela, and was originally aimed on Mallorca at men. Many Cursillo communities still run separate men's and women's weekends. (I have seen both co-ed and separate weekends work well.) But even on co-ed weekends, discussion tables are separated by gender.

One of the problems that Cursillo has had, especially in this country, is its identification with the general run of 60's/70's renewal and charismatic groups. It's not that those groups are necessarily wrong, but Cursillo is actually rather different, and there has been a lot of work on getting the movement back to its original, largely Ignatian roots. While I am no longer active in the movement itself (in my area, Cursillo is largely a Spanish language movement only in the Catholic Church), when I was on teams and on a diocesan Secretariat, I witnessed the effectiveness of this movement on bringing just the kind of men that some of you are taling about back to Christ and his Church, but in a more authenticly Catholic and counter-cultural fashion than PK.

Brennan Doherty

I agree with Anastasia’s comments. Recently someone recommended to me the book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge (a Protestant). In it, he made the point that men want a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. I have to agree with him.

One of the reasons I am a supporter of the Tridentine Latin Mass is that it seems to attract men more because of its strong adherence to a set of rubrics. If one has ever attended a military banquet, or even a dinner at a lodge, one will probably see that men do like a certain formalism and set of rules that should not be breached.

Further, the old liturgy seems to take a more confrontational approach to the world at large rather than acquiescing to it. Too often in the new liturgy the ambience seems to be that of a group hug. And that is not going to attract men.

As the world and the Church come more into conflict then perhaps we will see a greater involvement of men. As long as members of the church seem to be merely accommodating the world and not confronting it men will probably not be too attracted to it.

And when I spoke of a “battle” I don’t mean some macho caricature. Poets, artists, architects, and others are needed just as much as anyone in the fight against a rampant secularism.

Dale Price

Lose the fathers, lose the sons. And eventually, the daughters, too. My wife cites her late father's example as ensuring she'd be a self-identified, if nominal, Catholic during her undergrad years. I wasn't raised Catholic, but when my dad stopped caring about getting up on Sunday, so did I. It was my brother's conversion to evangelical Christianity that made me think there might be something to all this Jesus business.

I think a good deal of it can be plausibly laid at the feet of modern American Catholic worship styles, from the sign on the lawn to the bowdlerized song lyrics. This summer, the New Oxford Review will be publishing an essay about the hurdles men go through in modern Catholic worship, and the turnoffs involved.

Some of it is also a trend across society--but that's hardly an excuse for the Church to sit on its fanny. The Great Commission doesn't have gender exceptions or "Sorry, Jesus, but societal trends made it tougher" ripcord. It took the better part of a generation for society to realize the common sense dictum that a father is not some dispensible extra irrelevant to the raising of children. Will it take the Church another generation to realize the same about the need to bring men back into the fold?

Steve Skojec

I'm with Brennan. Men love ceremony, honor, nobility, gestures - namely the rigor of sacraments and devotion.

I know that for me, the turning point in my faith as a teenager had everything to do with this. I went to benediction. For the first time, I saw incense, beautiful vestments, a monstrance and priests who, beneath it all, were manly. They wore their collars and cassocks in public. They weren't afraid to be Christ's men. That meant a lot to me. It gave me something worth holding on to.

Christine

Of course, there can be a world of difference between "masculine" and "macho." Whenever I see those waves and waves of Muslim men prostrating themselves in the Middle East I am always struck by the absence of women who of course are expected to worship separately. And I've always loved how Jesus was not afraid to show his tender side -- his longing to gather Jerusalem to himself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings is about as tender as can be.

There's such a thing as a healthy "feminism" just as there can be a destructive "masculinity." Christ seems to have embodied the best of both.

Poppi

An excellent topic!

Our too-soft society is becoming thoroughly feminized, and it stands to reason that the Church is following suit. The problem is much larger and more pervasive than most people realize or will admit.

I think the best thing a man can do to fight this (providing he still has his identity in tact) is to set a strong masculine example for his sons and bring them up with a clear understanding of what it means to be a man.

Steve Skojec

I highly recommend reading Fr. James McLucas' article on this topic, The Emasculation of the Priethood.

It focuses on the most damaging aspect of the problem - what it is doing to our priests.

ren

there is something fundmentally wrong with the idea that masculine is good and feminine is bad.

i mean are we back in the middle ages people?

i didnt think so.

Chris-2-4

ren, I'm not sure if you had more to say or not, but there is something equally (fundamentally) wrong with the idea that feminine is good and masculine is bad.

Male and Female he created them.

The idea that either sex is superior to the other is wrong, yet our society is consistently telling Males that they must suppress all masculinity in favor of Femininity.

Dale Price

ren:

Where did anyone say that "feminine is bad"?

Jennifer

I dislike Giles' call to "eliminate" the effeminate. John Wayne-type pastor? Ugh. There is a difference, as other commentators pointed out, between masculine and macho.

Also, about the disciples "redeeming themselves," well, that reads kind of strange theologically, although maybe it wasn't meant that way. I think Anastasia was referring to Paul and Peter and others, but there have been a lot of women killed for their faith too - I don't think we need to count up the gender of the martyrs.

Both "male" and "female" virtues should be transformed by the virtues of the kingdom. The fruits of the Spirit are for everyone. It's not that gentleness is for women and self-control is for men. Both men and women are called to radical discipleship, to resist accomodating the world.

Sherry Weddell

I have encountered a number of parishes where women absolutely dominate and believe it or not, parishes where an extremely conservative "muscular Catholicism" reigns triumphant (and yes, Vinnie, there are such places).

I have spoken at one such (huge) parish a number of times. I didn't find out until half way through the first workshop that I was *the first woman ever to have spoken publicly in that parish*. (I am not making this up). I had at least a half dozen women come to me privately during that first visit and thank me. Muscular Christanity was so dominant that there was almost no room for the "genius of women" in that place.

God seems to have thought well of the two sexes - he made so many of both kinds. What has always puzzled me is the tendency to only allow one gender's "style" rule, whether feminine or masculine. Without both, we are seriously deficient as a people and a Church. But how to keep both present and live with the resulting tension - as we do in families and the community? I, for one, enjoy "mixed" gatherings where the full glory of our sexuality is expressed.

I often tell leaders who are publicizing our events: have a "guy's guy" make the pitch from the pulpit. If your organizing group is all women, you'll get 90% women.

In one parish where the local leader was a no-BS graduate of the Atilla the Hun School of Pastoral Care (a great guy and friend to this day but "no whining" allowed) workshop attendance was over 50% men. As one guy told Atilla in a surprised tone of voice at the end of the day: "This wasn't touchy-feeling at all , it was actually useful!"n :-}

We aims to please. . .

Han Ng

For ren,

Nobody is suggesting that masculine is good and feminine is bad, but rather that men naturally seek to worship in a masculine way, just as women seek to worship in a feminine way. The trick is to have both in a liturgy, but much of what has happened as of late is that the masculine aspect of Catholic worship has been neglected and/or conciously suppressed. It is also a larger societal problem. I cannot remember who said it, but in describing the Promise Keepers, this author wrote that if the idea of a revival of Christian manhood is a bunch of men gathering in a stadium to cry together, we have our work cut out for us.

Because men and women are substantially different, that is, sex is not an accident but part of the being of an individual, it is natural that the way in which men and women interact with God will be different. Take Mr. Skojec's and Christine's (sorry, I do not your name) different, yet complementary, ways of approaching Christ. It seems to me that Mr. Skojec wants to be of service to something grand and glorious and wants to be proud of that service. Christine, on the other hand, seeks intimacy with God and wants to be part of a community of God's children, loved by their creator. As a man, I would like to assert that I never saw Jesus' desire to gather Jerusalem to Himself as a motherly gesture in an act of tenderness. My take on the same desire is that Jesus is a shepherd who guards and defends His flock from the wolves of sin and death. In Christine's take, Christ's love and protection is manifest in how He gathers us to Himself and stays close to us, whereas in my take, His love and protection is manifest in how He interposes Himself between us and the enemy. These are quite different ways of viewing the same truth, but they are complementary not contradictory.

The complaint about a feminised Christianity is that much of worship today is of the "Jesus is your best and most faithful friend" variety and the "Jesus is the great king" aspect has been downplayed. While men want friends too, it is the king, not the drinking buddy, who inspires men's adoration.

Thanks for reading,
Han

Mark R

These calls to masculinity sound reactive. I know there is plenty to react against, namely virago feminism, metrosexualism and general male wimpiness. I never found the opposite of a phenomenon to be a panacea for it.
Why not just encourage men to be well-rounded? My father is of the older generation whose young men both played sports AND did things like opera and cathedral chorus (the sort of things usurped by women and gay men)...in addition to being pious and good to his parents and sisters.
Over-doing the butch act has always made me suspicious.

Steve Skojec

You know, there's an aspect that we're not really discussing here - namely, the fact that generally speaking, women are more religious than men. There's clearly a reason for this, but I'd hardly say that the reason itself is clear. One can attribute it to many aspects of the female psyche, but all in all, it may be something more attributable to the more detestable gender - myself included.

I was speaking to a guy friend the other night about Novenas. I mentioned that my wife and I had been saying a couple for a particular intention, and that I simply hated doing it, even though it was for something that I wanted. He responded by saying that he always tells his wife to remind him to say his novenas when they are doing it, but that the truth is he doesn't forget, he just doesn't want to. He needs her to prod him.

I don't know what our problem is. You know, I can read about the faith all day. When it comes down to saying the rosary though, I find myself struggling internally with the "I'd-rather-do-anything-but-this" syndrome. When it comes down to doing the right thing, a lot of times men will do something - and even take some satisfaction from it - because of duty, that they wouldn't otherwise do from desire.

This is why military parallels seem to draw men in. A manly liturgy that is rife with noble ceremony is something he's proud to be a part of. The fact that the liturgy smacks of antiquity doesn't hurt either. Guys like that kind of thing - I still think it's cool that Marines carry swords with their dress uniforms, despite the fact that the M-16 is their weapon of choice. It's also why being a Swiss Guard would be the greatest job in the world. Armor at Mass? COUNT ME IN!!

I know I'm rambling here, but it really means everything that the aesthetics appeal to us as men. We aren't so naturally faithful, but we are drawn to glory and majesty. We don't want to hold your hand at the our father. We don't want a big group hug. We want to worship the guy who was man enough to bear that cross, under all that suffering, and take it to the top of the mountain - then offer his own hands so they could nail them down. That's what inspires men to be Christian - Christ was the paradigmatic man.


Brennan Doherty

I agree with the idea of the complementary aspect of the masculine and feminine natures.

While I believe the rubrics, the Latin, and the strong doctrinal content of the Tridentine Latin Mass appeals to men, the feminine aspect to worship is just as important. In other words, there needs to be beauty as well. This beauty ought to take its form in the church’s architecture—a beauty which would draw others to the church. Inside this beauty can take the form of stained glass, statues, and the material makeup of the church—even the flowers that might adorn the sanctuary. I am not in favor of any church looking like a military barracks even if that is construed somehow as being “masculine.”

Hence the masculine and feminine each have a crucial place in the worship and the architecture of the church.

When the feminine (beauty) aspect is at work, people are drawn to the Church, just as a man may be drawn to a woman because of her beauty.

Of course these aren’t necessarily cut and dried categories. A Gothic Cathedral can be breathtakingly beautiful, and yet convey a masculine sense of strength at the same time.


Brennan Doherty

Yes, yes, I have to second Steve Skojec's comments. Men are drawn to beauty, nobility, and strength. If these are withdrawn from the liturgy and architecture, it really should not be a mystery why fewer men are drawn to a vocation as a priest or a religious.

Similarly, if one were to take a woman and strip her of her beauty, it should not be a mystery as to why she has far fewer suitors.

James Kabala

Can anyone provide solid documentation as to what the ratio of male-to-female participation is in other religions? Todd claims with certainity that women participate more in all religions; I have heard other men claim with equal certainty that in Orthodox Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and even Eastern Orthodox Christianity, men and women participate at equal rates and there is no stigma at all attached to the masculinity of devout men. What are the real facts?
One problem I often have with complaints about "feminization" is that they sometimes seem to act as if women who do go to Church are doing something wrong, or as if church-attending women (such as the "usherettes" mentioned) are somehow the enemy. The goal should not be to replace women with men; it should be for both sexes to attend Mass and be pious in large numbers.

Rod Dreher

Steve: I know I'm rambling here, but it really means everything that the aesthetics appeal to us as men. We aren't so naturally faithful, but we are drawn to glory and majesty. We don't want to hold your hand at the our father. We don't want a big group hug. We want to worship the guy who was man enough to bear that cross, under all that suffering, and take it to the top of the mountain - then offer his own hands so they could nail them down.

Exactly right! I nearly came out of my seat cheering when Christ, in the Gibson film, his bound hands trembling, stood up to take more beating! That was the first time I cried watching the movie: at his physical courage. The only other time I cried was when, bearing the weight of the Cross, said, "See Mother, I make all things new." (That is to say, "I know what I'm doing; I'm suffering this horrible trial because it's my duty in love.")

That's what appeals to men! Not this lovey-dovey backslapping psychobabble crap that so many of us have to sit through every week in the homily.

I think that one reason I'm so outraged about the scandal response is that so very few bishops and priests have acted like real men here. They've been so quick to run to embrace and defend and soothe their disgusting child-molesting brethren, instead of give them the equivalent of the butt-whipping they deserve. I don't think I know a single man who wouldn't go out of his way to punish severely a man who sexually violated a child. The idea that a man would stoop so low is so utterly defiling of the idea of manhood that no man worth respecting could tolerate it. Yet the ranks of the clergy are full of men who did, and who do, and who are quick to babble on with soothing silken bromides about how we must forgive, we must forgive, poor Father was so damaged in his woundedness, etc.

Somebody suggested joining the Knights of Columbus. I wouldn't think of it, not here in Dallas. I've heard from too many troubled KCs who've told me that the KCs locally are big on standing by Bishop Grahmann, no matter what. I've got to think that a real man, the only man I'm interested in following or fellowshipping with, is not going to violate his conscience just to belong to a group. (N.B., I'm not saying all KCs, either in Dallas or elsewhere, are like this; I've been contacted by several who tell the same story about feeling sick by the tribal "we must back the bishop" mentality).

Will

The complimentary relationship between men and woman is naturally perfect. I think the problem comes in when people won't accept that. Instead of appreciating the natural differences between men and woman some people feel the need to assign value to these differences and then attempt to artificially homogenize society to the point where we are suffering from a collective identity crisis.

Generally speaking, men are better suited for the psychological and physiological demands of leadership. As such, men should be the leaders in our Church and in society. I know this concept does not sit well with many people, and it is seldom argued publicly. But put together a group of balanced and thoughtful men who have had significant leadership responsibilities and they'll all say the same thing.

So to all the woman who want to be men, and to all the men who want to be women, I suggest getting in touch with your inner child and telling her/him that it's time to grow up.

Jennifer

Put together a group of balanced and thoughtful women who have had significant leadership responsibilities and they'll all disagree with your statement, Will.

Jennifer

Obviously I am a little ticked. I apologize for being snippy. But my having a position of leadership in my church does not mean I want to be a man. It means I am exercising the gifts God gave me to the glory of his Church.

Rod, I had the exact opposite reaction to when Jesus stood up. I thought, oh that's just Mel Gibson macho crap. I see your point about how it moved you and I am trying to understand it, but for me the point of the movie was not about how much physical suffering he endured, but that it was the Son of God suffering and dying for us. I also thought Jesus' courage was not mainly about enduring the physical suffering but about enduring it and not retaliating and forgiving his persecutors.

You might say I just proved your point about babbling on about forgiveness, and I am not trying to relate that to the situation with the bishops since I am not Catholic and not fully versed as you are on what's been going on.

Are we assuming here that our masculine/feminine virtues are affirmed by the gospel? Can we talk more about how the gospel challenges those ideas?

Todd

Peace, James.

The documentation is not mine, but belongs to the UW researcher. Helpful info to know for sure: is this discussion about bucking a "special trend" for a special time or are we trying to move against human sociology? Not that moving against basic human sociology wouldn't be a challenge for a man like me, but I'd really want to know what I'm up against, wouldn't you?

RyanM

Steve Skojec wrote:
You know, there's an aspect that we're not really discussing here - namely, the fact that generally speaking, women are more religious than men. There's clearly a reason for this, but I'd hardly say that the reason itself is clear.
As someone who has come back to the Church in the last three years and now in my late 40s, I was surprised when I started attending weekday masses on a regular basis by the number of men my age and younger there. I expected archtypical elderly women. Very encouraging! I think its not unrelated to gender-based asthetic preferences: weekday masses are short, devout, with concise homilies that convey more than many typical Sunday sermons.

As part of my journey back to the Church , I have been studying the JPII/Ratzinger Catechism with some frequency. Why is it that I find it so much easier to find Catholic men rather than women who recognize it for the intellectual and pastoral achievement that it is. As someone who reads Amy's posts and Sherry Waddel's commentaries with pleasure and anticipation, I ask myself, why aren't more Cathloic women taken with it? I've queried two of my aunts who are nuns... they could care less about the Catechism...but that's a whole other story. Same with other family members and friends. Limited data set I realize, but I find it curious nonetheless.

Sherry Weddell

Will:

Guess my being Co-Director (with a priest) of an Institute dedicated to lay formation sponsored by a major men's religious order, isn't going to sit well with you, is it?

That's one of the things I really like about being Catholic - the Holy Father's explicit and repeated calls for women to take serious leadership positions in the world and in the Church. (and no, that's not a proposal for the ordination of women. Chill, people! I seek to think with the Church on all issues. Ordination isn't the only leadership game in town.)

But your comment does remind me of a story:

Mark Shea and I started teaching little Bible seminars together shortly after we entered the Church and one really sticks in the mind. After we were done with our major presentation, we opened it for questions and as usual they were all over the map. (I mean, why ask about the Bible at a seminar on the Bible?) So an older women complained that women couldn't be priests.

While I was still trying to assemble my response to that unexpected question, a man in back piped up. He was pretty big guy sitting next to a rather shrunken woman who seemed to be his wife. "Women can't become priests because priests have to be ready to be martyred and women can't deal with pain." he offered.

I was so stunned by his comment that my mind went numb and I just said the first thing that came out of my mouth.

"Have you ever had a baby?"

It brought the house down. Women were whooping and roaring and the poor guy was visibly deflated before our eyes . . .

Mark is my witness.

Kevin Miller

Whether it violates a well-informed man's conscience to "stand by" his bishop depends on what one means by "stand by." "Standing by" even a bad bishop in certain ways might be precisely the way God wants one to carry one's cross. And we don't get to choose how "manly" a cross God will have in mind for us.

Steve Skojec

Jennifer -

I think the point of Christ standing up there was proving that he "drank the chalice of suffering to the dregs" - he didn't run from suffering, he embraced it - for us.

As for women in Church leadership roles, I struggle with that question a bit, only because if ANY woman should have had a role, it was Mary. But she remained silent, and was not a teacher, even though no one knew Christ as well as she. Why do you suppose that is? (I'm asking, not being rhetorical).


Sherry Weddell

One issue that we must not lose track of in this discussion is that all human beings are three things simultaneously:

1) fully human
2) member of a specific sex
3) an individual

That means that the lived expression of one's maleness or femaleness is heavily colored by one's humanity and one's uniqueness as an individual.

Women are not just the "opposite sex", - they are also fully human and unexpected individuals just like men. As Dorothy Sayers pointed out in her wonderfully funny "Are Women Human?", women are to be found occupying the vast spectrum of human giftedness, personality, preferences, etc. Just like men, women are unexpected and simply don't toddle along with a single set of reactions, likes and dislikes, as though having higher level of estrogen made you a member of a particularly dull and docile flock of sheep.

One the things that I resent about the whole ordination debate is how it has poisoned our ability to acknowledge this obvious point. If I talk about the humanity, individuality, and leadership of women, everyone assumes that "Sherry really means to argue for ordination of women". Sherry, being a much simpler and straightforward being than they give her credit for, means nothing of the sort, but paranoia is the serious business of heaven, is it not?

This was really brought home to me last year when a group in New England called to invite me to speak to a women's conference. When I suggested the topic of "The Apostolic Woman", you could hear the organizer hiss over the phone. "What do you mean by that?" she asked with audible anxiety. "Well . . exactly what the Church means when it says that all the baptized are apostles, anointed by Christ for a mission". Oh, I thought that you meant the ordination of women. . ." Sigh.

We are so anxious to shut off any avenue of thought that *might* ultimately give someone an argument for ordaining women, that we are often not reading the Holy Father's writings on women in their context which is his even more copious writing on the human person.

I have seen some absolutely ridiculous articles in the Catholic press that have, for all intents and purposes, reduced the meaning of JPII's "genius of women" to the charming old Nazi phrase about the province of women : "Kinder, Kuche, Kirke". (Children, Kitchen, Church). Whatever the cost, we must not surrender an inch of anthropological space that *might* be used at some point to undermine the Church teaching on ordination. So we undermine Church teaching on the subject of the human person, women, and sexuality instead.

Here's the deal. Like real women, real men are all over the map and simply can't be reduced to " "Real men want X or feel Y!" I know serious, unwimpy, heterosexual Catholic men, who thought that the Passion was full of unnecessary violence that got in the way of the story, (sorry Rod, they hated that bit when Jesus drew himself up for another round of whipping) and who would writhe in embarrassment at the idea of wearing armor at Mass. They find Catholic men's movements and groups exceedingly uninteresting.

One of these "wimpy" guys is currently preparing to run North America's highest ultra-marathon: 100 miles on mountain trails in 30 hours at elevations between 10,000 - 12,000 feet.

Which qualifies as pretty damn macho in my books . . . except of course, that here in Colorado, women run it too. :-}

Rod Dreher

Whether it violates a well-informed man's conscience to "stand by" his bishop depends on what one means by "stand by." "Standing by" even a bad bishop in certain ways might be precisely the way God wants one to carry one's cross. And we don't get to choose how "manly" a cross God will have in mind for us.

Using news since January 2002 as your reference, name a circumstance in which a Catholic man reasonably ought to public distance himself from and denounce his bishop. Can you come up with one from real life, Kevin?

I trust you will be able to, because ya know, it's just not like you to find a theological reason that cravenness before a corrupt Catholic hierarch is in fact virtue.

Kevin Miller

Rod: I'm not going to take your bait. You're not interested in the truth about the relationship between the lay faithful and the bishops; you're interested in pursuing your agenda. That's your prerogative. But it has nothing to do with Catholicism. You're as much a CINO as Kerry, only in a different way.

Kevin Miller

... I will, however, offer one parting comment: de Lubac's position is the position of the Church and of me.

Brennan Doherty

Hi Sherry, I agree with your comments.

"Don't throw out the babe with the bathwater." ;)

Steve Skojec

Sherry - The armor at Mass comment wasn't really about what I want to do - it's about seeing the Swiss Guard stand at attention at a papal mass, and salute at the consecration - that's pretty cool.

Catherine L.

My $.02:

I attend a very conservative parish that probably has more male attendees than female. The pastor is a masculine Monsignor, and could not be described as a John Wayne type. He is, however, completely comfortable wearing his cassock in public, and not afraid to tackle issues like gay marriage and sexual teaching from the pulpit and elsewhere. He intentionally only allows female leadership in the choir. For him, it's just practical: the women will be in church regardless, so make sure you recruit the men. His EM's, lectors, ushers and altar attendants are all male. There are so many reasons I love that church, but I think the reason so many men are comfortable there is that there is more male participation, and there probably wouldn't be that if women were allowed to do those things.

Catherine L.

James Kabala

Sherry - Great comments, but the Nazi reference was unnecessary, as such references always are.

I don't know what this says about my masculinity, but I don't even remember the scene Rod, Jennifer, etc. are discussing.

Anastasia

Christ said that in the afterlife things like "husband" and "wife" won't exist - here's hoping He meant "gender" will cease to exist. Wouldn't that be a relief?

But in the here and now, we have to strive to find ways to make Christ's message appealing to both genders. That means we should stop rolling our eyes and thinking "Oh no, more touchy feely stuff" OR "Oh brother, more macho chest beating stuff" and instead try to see that both messages have meaning for ALL of us.

On a totally different note, I don't think running some pointless race over mountain tops is particularly masculine - seems more like the type of thing well-educated, type A personality people do to have yet another big challenge in their lives. Sorry, but I live in Boston and am surrounded by men and women like that - Boston Marathon was yesterday, after all.

Will

Jennifer,

Based on your response to my post I can see why you disagree with my premise. Please note that I used the words "Generally speaking . . . " to preface my point. There's no doubt that a percentage of woman embody leadership qualities that are more often associated with men, perhaps you and Sherry are two such women. However, I don't think that changes the general point I was making about Doug Giles' article. Some of you gals tend to get a little defensive when this issue comes up, but then again, thinking in the abstract does tend to be a male thing, generally speaking, of course.

As far as the gospel affirming "feminine/masculine virtues", I think there's plenty of evidence of that. Steve also makes a good point about considering Mary's role in salvation history. I've heard of Mary as the co-redeemer, but I don't recall anything about her being a co-director.

Jimmy Mac

Would anyone like to comment on what kind of "wild man" or whatever would want to prance around the Catholic/Anglican altar looking like a full-blown drag queen in lace and frippery? All you have to do is look at pictures of the accoutrements pre-V2 and you'll see that. Or go to the nearest Old Rite show.

And don't forget that those super masculine men floating around the priesthood in the 1940s and 1950s were some of the biggest abusers of boys and girls. And most of good ones left in the 1960s to get married, anyway.

Don't mistake form for substance.

Steve Skojec

Jimmy - that's what we Catholics refer to as "manly lace". Nothin' wrong with it. I know some guys that wear it that could take on a bear.

Liam

I would argue that the immediate wake of Vatican II had the unusual effect of emphasizing the masculine. Nuns, who were in practical effect deaconesses and through whom much more of the childhood experience of Church was mediated than through priests, left in droves. The persona of the male priest became much more highlighted through the liturgical reforms.

And that in turn begat the feminist reaction, to which this topic thread is a counterreaction.

Brennan Doherty

Anastasia (nice name!),

Peter Kreeft dealt with the issue of gender in heaven in his book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking."

Basically, there will be male and female in heaven even if a husband and wife won't remain married to one another.

Obviously, we won't be a neutral gender in heaven. And I for one am glad of that. I personally would want *females* in heaven.

The only thing worse than a bunch of gender neutral people running around in heaven would be if heaven was filled exclusively with males.

Jennifer

Will, I hope you are trying to be funny and not condescending.

Regarding feminine/masculine virtues, I was thinking that the gospel calls into question all virtues. It shakes them up and turns them upside down. Any understanding of masculine or feminine virtues must be understood in the light of the virtues of the kingdom of God. I'm not sure what everyone means by feminine/masculine values, but we are all called to be gentle, kind, patient, and to be strong in the Lord and put on the whole armor of God, to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

Regarding Mary, I'm Protestant so I do not know enough about your tradition to address her. But I will say Mary Magdalene's role as the Apostle to the Apostles was extremely important. And no, I do not buy into that DaVinci garbage. But I still honor Mary Magdalene as the one chosen by Jesus to be the first witness to his resurrection and believe she had some sort of leadership role in this witnessing of the resurrection to the Twelve. I do not believe that is an accident (i.e. oh, she just happened to be at the tomb first.)

Brennan Doherty

Jimmy Mac,

I have seen the outfits with lace some priests wore prior to Vatican II and I myself can say that I would wear them in a heartbeat if I were a priest and was able to celebrate the Old Mass. And I'd very happily wear a cassock too.

While we can't mistake form for substance, often the substance is mediated through the form. Thus if the form is lacking the truth concerning the substance may not reach the understanding of the people in the pew. And hence the person in the pew may not be "formed" to give a proper and true response to the substance, or reality, of what is taking place on the altar.

Brennan Doherty

Jennifer,

I personally think devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary helps add a certain "feminine" dimension to the spirtual life of a man. Mary's complete and total willingness to be used by God "Let it be done unto me according to thy Word" is a model for both men and women.

One could say it is this "feminine" virtue of surrender to God's will (also modeled by Jesus in the Garden, of course) which must come first prior to the more masculine trait of taking action.

Perhaps Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene as it was the women who tended to stay closest to Jesus during his crucifixion.

Stacey

"Put together a group of balanced and thoughtful women who have had significant leadership responsibilities and they'll all disagree with your statement, Will."

I must be unbalanced and thoughtless, then. Well, I'm sure it's been said by somebody!! ;o) As a woman, West Point graduate, and Army veteran, I actually agree with Will. Of course, now I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of four great kids. And I know that there's been discussion of how the Tridentine Mass has stronger appeal to men than the Novus Ordo, but I like it better, too. Latin High Mass, thank you very much, is as beautiful as it gets. As my husband put it, "You know why you're there."

Matt W.

Steve, I'll take a stab at the questions you posed:

1.) Women are more religious than men. If I may be permitted to generalize, women have a natural draw toward relationship, while men have a natural draw toward transcendence. Relationships require day-to-day effort and build lasting bonds. This seems to fit what we see with women often running the daily aspects of parish life and sticking with the Church. In contrast, the desire for transcendence can easily lead to an impatience--"we want transcendence and we want it now!" Also, it is easy for men to be distracted by other more visible forms of transcendence: building skyscrapers or Fortune 500 business, scientific discovery, writing the quintessential American novel. Thus we trade real transcendence for shadows of it.

2.) The silence of Mary. Do we know that she really was silent? True, scripture does not give any record of her teaching, but we do know that she was with them in the upper room. Acts records that the apostles huddled there out of fear. I cannot believe that Mary was similarly afraid. Thus it seems reasonable that the comfort she provided them as their mother was only in the example of her trust. I believe she also taught them about her son. This seems to me a likely approach by the woman who ignored Our Lord's protestations in Cana and directed the servants "to do whatever he tells you."

Matt W.

To build on my last post and spurred by Stacey's post, I think the problem with the Mass as it is often celebrated today is that it is lacking in both transcendence and beauty. I don't think the Novus Ordo is inherently lacking in these qualities, but rather is often celebrated (as has been much discussed here lately) in buildings and with music that do lack these qualities.

Jimmy Mac

Steve: the "manly lace" comment was tongue in cheek, right? Please don't tell me that you were serious !!!!! Beau Brummel went out of style a long, long, LONG time ago.

Manny

The "precious moments" stuff is really annoying but so is some of this "manly man" stuff because its so deliberately, self-consciously masculine. Jock Catholic vs. Nerd/sissy Catholic: it's the high school cafeteria all over again. There's a lot about "looking" like a macho catholic (chest-thumping, cigar puffin') but not, that I've seen, a lot about 'being' a Catholic. Prayer, works of mercy, that sort of thing. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I could use some good prayer advice. I figure if I get right with God, which is an eternal struggle, maybe the manly-stuff will take care of itself. Maybe I should go on a pilgrimage, barefoot, to Compostela. Or sit on top of a pillar. Is that manly enough?

Victor Morton

But Mr. Miller, whatever your issues with Mr. Dreher, this is a universal audience.

If you can't come up with a single example *since January 2002* of when a layman should have publicly stood up against his bishop ... that speaks volumes.

Whitcomb

Re standing up to a bishop, don't forget Frank Keating, who compared the U.S. bishops' handling of the priest scandals to the mafia.

Donald R. McClarey

Most men like blunt talk and clearly defined rules for conduct. I believe both have been in short supply in the Church for the past 40 years.

chris K

The masculine is most strongly brought forth when it contrasts to the complimentary feminine qualities displayed. Since the roles tending toward the masculine in the Church have been entered into by the feminine with a certain attempt to conform in dress, attitude, thinking to how they had already been defined, there has been less of the true feminine for men to respond to!! Now, it has to be admitted that previously men had cooperated in the faith here in the States when the roles were more distinct and well defined. I can remember, for instance, the great Corpus Christi processions held yearly at Churchill Downs where each parish's men and older boys marched with bannners while the women, girls and young children in general watched, sang and prayed from the seating area. Everyone felt a certain unity of faith and that was due by an obedience to respective positions and necessary humility of role differentiation. There was a great love on every side. When women are fighting to take over, men respond to that too - and in order to keep the peace, they just don't get involved - or do so only to the measure the women seem to permit it. Just as the break down of families has left so many boys without the constant presence of their intended role model, parishes with weak pastors who are afraid to overrule some women for fear of not finding a replacement or just not liking confrontation, leave the young men of the parish without another intended role model. Many surveys have shown that women usually get along very well with gay men - they talk the same language and seem to understand their approach and even offer the backup they may be frustrated in getting in the usual male/female relating. Women actually often go for the weaker wrist in their pastors and that's made it so easy for this culture to thrive. It's a dilemma for "real men" just as it is in the commonly found stereotype of the male image given to us through the media for the past 35 or so years. We have a lot of "heads", but are we missing out on the "hearts" that have left for "higher ground"?? Just some thoughts.

chris K

It's been the tradition of the Church that Jesus came first to His Mother after the resurrection. Also as well, that Mary remained with the apostles, giving them courage and that human connection they still needed to Jesus until the Spirit came ... and afterwards for a time for formation since She was, after all, the spouse of the Holy Spirit. But, she did this as a Mother ... not in some role as leadership. She knew that was Peter's. The "new" theology - esp. from JPII - of the unity of the two Hearts - never separated while complimentary - only gives confirmation to Mary's continuing and extended role as Mother to all, beginning then and still with us now. Leaving Her out of things also left the Church adrift re: roles. Unfortunately there is still much need of acceptance of Her intended role within the will of the Father in the Body of Christ - for instance just the fact that wherever He is Present, She is also.

Will

Jennifer,

You write: "Will, I hope you are trying to be funny and not condescending".

Yes, I was trying to be funny and NOT condescending. Being able to laugh at the differences between men and woman is a valuable inclination in discussions like this. It's not better to be a man or a woman, just different . . . and different is a lot more fun for everyone.

As for not understanding the Catholic Marian tradition, that's easy to overcome and very rewarding as well. There are many excellent books on Mary that you might benefit from reading. I'm not sure if there are any geared toward Protestants looking to learn more about Mary, but perhaps another blogger could suggest a good one. To begin a relationship with the Blessed Mother is very special indeed.

There have been some great insights posted on this subject!

Rod Dreher

KM: You're as much a CINO as Kerry, only in a different way.

So I'm as bad as a pro-abort? Fairly pathetic, Kebbo, that you can't answer the question, so you resort to name-calling. But par for the course.

Jennifer

Stacey - You are right to point out that it's wrong to say ALL women in a particular group would say this or that, but then it's just as wrong for Will to say ALL men in a particular group would say this or that (even generally speaking). I could get together a group of men who would agree with me about women's leadership, and you or Will could get together a group of women who agree with the both of you. So thanks for reminding me I shouldn't make generalizations either.

Will, I am glad you were just joking. I agree, different is good. About Mary, one of the stumbling blocks for this Protestant is understanding what you mean when you invoke "tradition." The early Church Fathers? Chris K says it's tradition that Jesus appeared to his mother first after the resurrection. The Bible says otherwise. It seems contradictory to me. So where is that from?

I was also thinking I hope this thread isn't just another way of saying, "I want the Church to be more like me and reflect my needs and wants." I don't think so, but there is a fine line. That's why I was pushing the "how are our virtues transformed by the gospel" angle. Instead of saying men are like a,b,c and want more of x,y,z in the Church, should we say Christians are called to be d,e,f and that means a,b,c might need to be transformed in light of d,e,f. (And same goes for women!)

Brennan Doherty

Jennifer,

I would also ask Chris K the same question. I have never heard any Catholic tradition that says Jesus first met the Blessed Virgin Mary after His resurrection. Perhaps he can tell us where he is getting that idea from.

In regards to men being transformed into d,e,f I agree with you. Obviously, both men and women are to be transformed into the image of Christ and to the virtues of the Gospels.

One reason I advocate the Tridentine Latin Mass is not just because of personal preference (though I do prefer it), but because I believe through its prayers, doctrinal content, and God-centerdness it can lead both men and women into a profound encounter with Christ.

One person who has made this case far better than I is Dietrich von Hildebrand. His article, "The Case for the Latin Mass" can be found here:

http://www.latin-mass-society.org/dietrich.htm

There is a saying which goes, "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief." In other words, how one prays, particularly in the liturgy, will eventually shape and mold one's belief for better or worse.

Apostolic teaching, or Tradition, is often contained in the writings of the Church Fathers. One good website is at Catholic.com and has some of the writings on Mary and the Saints. Just scroll down to that topic. Here is the link:

http://www.catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp

God bless you!

Brennan Doherty

Jennifer,

I would also ask Chris K the same question. I have never heard any Catholic tradition that says Jesus first met the Blessed Virgin Mary after His resurrection. Perhaps he can tell us where he is getting that idea from.

In regards to men being transformed into d,e,f I agree with you. Obviously, both men and women are to be transformed into the image of Christ and to the virtues of the Gospels.

One reason I advocate the Tridentine Latin Mass is not just because of personal preference (though I do prefer it), but because I believe through its prayers, doctrinal content, and God-centerdness it can lead both men and women into a profound encounter with Christ.

One person who has made this case far better than I is Dietrich von Hildebrand. His article, "The Case for the Latin Mass" can be found here:

http://www.latin-mass-society.org/dietrich.htm

There is a saying which goes, "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief." In other words, how one prays, particularly in the liturgy, will eventually shape and mold one's belief for better or worse.

Apostolic teaching, or Tradition, is often contained in the writings of the Church Fathers. One good website is at Catholic.com and has some of the writings on Mary and the Saints. Just scroll down to that topic. Here is the link:

http://www.catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp

God bless you!

Brennan Doherty

Jennifer,

I would also ask Chris K the same question. I have never heard any Catholic tradition that says Jesus first met the Blessed Virgin Mary after His resurrection. Perhaps he can tell us where he is getting that idea from.

In regards to men being transformed into d,e,f I agree with you. Obviously, both men and women are to be transformed into the image of Christ and to the virtues of the Gospels.

One reason I advocate the Tridentine Latin Mass is not just because of personal preference (though I do prefer it), but because I believe through its prayers, doctrinal content, and God-centerdness it can lead both men and women into a profound encounter with Christ.

One person who has made this case far better than I is Dietrich von Hildebrand. His article, "The Case for the Latin Mass" can be found here:

http://www.latin-mass-society.org/dietrich.htm

There is a saying which goes, "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief." In other words, how one prays, particularly in the liturgy, will eventually shape and mold one's belief for better or worse.

Apostolic teaching, or Tradition, is often contained in the writings of the Church Fathers. One good website is at Catholic.com and has some of the writings on Mary and the Saints. Just scroll down to that topic. Here is the link:

http://www.catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp

God bless you!

Brennan Doherty

Jennifer,

I would also ask Chris K the same question. I have never heard any Catholic tradition that says Jesus first met the Blessed Virgin Mary after His resurrection. Perhaps he can tell us where he is getting that idea from.

In regards to men being transformed into d,e,f I agree with you. Obviously, both men and women are to be transformed into the image of Christ and to the virtues of the Gospels.

One reason I advocate the Tridentine Latin Mass is not just because of personal preference (though I do prefer it), but because I believe through its prayers, doctrinal content, and God-centerdness it can lead both men and women into a profound encounter with Christ.

One person who has made this case far better than I is Dietrich von Hildebrand. His article, "The Case for the Latin Mass" can be found here:

http://www.latin-mass-society.org/dietrich.htm

There is a saying which goes, "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief." In other words, how one prays, particularly in the liturgy, will eventually shape and mold one's belief for better or worse.

Apostolic teaching, or Tradition, is often contained in the writings of the Church Fathers. One good website is at Catholic.com and has some of the writings on Mary and the Saints. Just scroll down to that topic. Here is the link:

http://www.catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp

God bless you!

Brennan Doherty

Sorry for the multiple posts. On my end I thought they weren't going through.

Another Catherine

I attend a very conservative parish that probably has more white attendees than black. The pastor is a white Monsignor. He is completely comfortable wearing his cassock in public, and not afraid to tackle issues like gay marriage and sexual teaching from the pulpit and elsewhere. He intentionally only allows black leadership in the choir. For him, it's just practical: the blacks will be in church regardless, so make sure you recruit the whites. His EM's, lectors, ushers and altar attendants are all white. There are so many reasons I love that church, but I think the reason so many whites are comfortable there is that there is more white participation, and there probably wouldn't be that if blacks were allowed to do those things.


Hmmmm... is this situation offensive?

How 'bout if we changed it to healthy vs. disabled, and we only allow disabled to take leadership roles in the choir, so as not to chase the healthy away from the more visible ministies? After all, we don't want people to start thinking of Church as an institution that favors the lame.

Or maybe, let's only allow the elderly to assume leadership positions in the choir, (regardless of what an individual's gifts might be.) That way, we'll ensure more young people. Because we want to encourage participation of the kind of young people who don't want to have to much to do with elderly people.

James Kabala

I think that I have occasionally heard people claim that Jesus appeared first to His Mother after the Resurrection. I don't know old the tradition is. Nonetheless, it is certainly not tradition in the sense of being obligatory dogma. For my own part, while I'm not usually one for proof-texting, I find it hard to get around the clear words of Mark 16:9, "He appeared first to Mary Magdalene."

Will

Hi Jennifer,

I'm afraid I don't share your aversion to generalizations. I think generalizations offer us a good insight as to how things actually are, versus how some special interest groups wish they would be. How often do we see the fringe elements of society trot out their deviations in order to convince the rest of us of their validity? Unfortunately, anyone attempting to point out any type of "generalization" in the characteristics or behavior of people is quickly labeled as intolerant, insensitive, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, etc. It seems the harshest critics of generalization tend to be those with a big stake in the minority. On the other hand, I also recognize some of the dangers of forming generalized opinions, but of course, I am only speaking of generalizations in a general way. If this seems at all confusing it might help to just lighten up a little :-).

I also found Stacey's comments interesting. As a West Point grad, I think she brings a unique degree of credibility to the discussion. There is probably not another school in the world that is as highly focused on the cultivation of leadership.

I am not sure what Chris K is talking about when he says that Jesus first appeared to Mary after his resurrection. There's no need to overly complicate who Mary is. I suggest just diving in with an open mind and heart. If you can get your pride out of the way (something we all must do), Mary will find YOU.

Will

Hi Jennifer,

I'm afraid I don't share your aversion to generalizations. I think generalizations offer us a good insight as to how things actually are, versus how some special interest groups wish they would be. How often do we see the fringe elements of society trot out their deviations in order to convince the rest of us of their validity? Unfortunately, anyone attempting to point out any type of "generalization" in the characteristics or behavior of people is quickly labeled as intolerant, insensitive, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, etc. It seems the harshest critics of generalization tend to be those with a big stake in the minority. On the other hand, I also recognize some of the dangers of forming generalized opinions, but of course, I am only speaking of generalizations in a general way. If this seems at all confusing it might help to just lighten up a little :-).

I also found Stacey's comments interesting. As a West Point grad, I think she brings a unique degree of credibility to the discussion. There is probably not another school in the world that is as highly focused on the cultivation of leadership.

I am not sure what Chris K is talking about when he says that Jesus first appeared to Mary after his resurrection. There's no need to overly complicate who Mary is. I suggest just diving in with an open mind and heart. If you can get your pride out of the way (something we all must do), Mary will find YOU.

Jimmy Mac

Another Catherine: "For him, it's just practical: the blacks will be in church regardless, so make sure you recruit the whites." What a pathetic statement! That's as bad as the Democrats assuming that they have the black vote tied up. The Blacks I know vote and pray with their heads and hearts. Once they feel they are being taken for granted, in the immortal words of our Governator Schwarzenator: "hasta la vista, baby." Your monsignor better watch it or he'll have to be recruiting LOTS of folks. Are you VERY POSITIVE that is reason he only allows visible Black leadership in the choir?

Liam

Jimmy

AC's post was a deliberate parody of a preceding post. Sarcasm alert was presumably unnecessary....

Catherine L.

I'm probably too late to respond to the attacks on my monsignor, so I'll just say this. It is easy to talk about "discrimination" etc. in our world that is not concerned with salvation. My monsignor wants people in church to save their souls. My mother used to say, "it is not my job for you to like me, but for you to grow up to be a good person." My monsignor is more interested in saving souls than being "inclusive". I probably didn't do him justice in the way that I described him, but I don't think the race card should have been played. He is not racist, and has a more diverse congregation than I have ever seen in another Catholic church. He also is very dedicated to bring a beautiful, orthodox Novus Ordo mass to everyone, being available for confessions, and leading a model life. Laugh if you want, but he'll be the one in heaven being congratulated on all of the souls he is saving.

Catherine

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