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July 06, 2007

Comments

Mary Kay

I've thought much on this topic. Had to given how in your face it is since my early formation was in the Rochester diocses where the topic or women's ordination is perhaps stronger than anywhere else, in part due to also being the area of Susan B. Anthony and women's right to vote.

The argument based on gender never cut it with me. Plus giving rise to a lot of headache.

What did make sense to me was the nuptial aspect. The priest stands as alter Christus, Jesus is the bridegroom, the Church the bride.

The idea of masculine spirituality and feminine spirituality also drives me nuts. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. NOT a male faith and a female faith.

Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross had the same faith. As did Terese of Lisieux and Thomas More.

Mary Kay

Okay, so I didn't proofread that first paragraph. It's the first thing in the morning here.

Mary Kay

And yes, Matt, I've fallen off of my citing sources. One Lord, one faith, one baptism is Ephesians 4:4-6 or thereabouts.

Mark

I've grown up in the Catholic Church. I can see how the Catholic spirituality is femanized, but to be honest with you, I have no idea what a masculine spirituality would be like, the femanist spirituality is all I've ever known. I would love to find out more about masculine spirituality, does anyone have any resources they know of? Thanks.

Mangy Donkey

Mary Kay,

The article isn't saying there isn't one Faith. It is saying that men and women are drawn to faith and express their faith differently. And the means by which people are being reached out to is geared more towards woman.

Michael

I have experienced both. Most parishes seem fully feminized, there is hardly a man in sight except those who meet the Sunday obligation. I did have one glorious experience with a community in which men filled most of the lay leadership roles and the energy and committment that engendered was infectious. The new priest quietly moved all the men out and replaced them with women and people just started drifting away. True story.

Fr. John

Here is a thought: perhaps the renewed allowance of the 1962 Missale will have some impact on the over feminization of the Church. If one had to characterize liturgies as being feminine or masculine I think its clear that the 1962 Mass is more masculine in character, given its precision and focus on the sacrificial imagery as opposed to the so called eucharist as "meal" attitude which evokes a more domestic image in the Paul VI Mass. I happen to think that the sacrificial character of the Mass is more generally understandable by men.

matt

Mary Kay,

The idea of masculine spirituality and feminine spirituality also drives me nuts. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. NOT a male faith and a female faith.

Just like the Dominicans and Jesuits have one Faith, they have different spiritualities, and of course so did St. Francis and St. Claire.

I guess the bottom line is reality, want more priests? Be part of the solution. It's not about "fairness", how fair is it for the women in a Church full of women, with no priest, and no sacraments? What a sad thought.

God Bless,

Matt

Suzanne from Okla.

We attend St. Anthony's in Wichita at least once a month for the TLM. What a difference from our regular Parish! Males greet us while passing out missals, the choir is male dominated and of course, the altar has the priest and about 8 male servers. It is different and wonderful.

SDG

FWIW, Jimmy has addressed this subject before, in "The Loss of Masculine Spirituality - And Its Need for Renewal."

Also related: Jimmy on "The Collaboration of Men and Women" (letter from the CDF).

Leo

I would have thought that the stereotypically 'feminine' characteristics of gentleness, caring, nurturing etc. would be good things for a priest to have.

SDG

I would have thought that the stereotypically 'feminine' characteristics of gentleness, caring, nurturing etc. would be good things for a priest to have.

A priest is a father, not a mother, just Jesus teaches us to address God as Father, not as mother. Fathers also should be gentle and caring, but nevertheless fathers and mothers tend to "parent" differently.

Magdelaine

This subject is of a certain concern for me because I would like to see my husband be more involved in the Church, on a real, gut level, than he is. And I don't necessarily mean volunteering and such, but simply being "on fire for the Lord". I echo Jimmy's sentiments in Evangelical churches I see a lot more men who are comfortable, and, dare I say, militant about their faith than I do in the Catholic Church.

There is something to be said in that some of my favorite Catholic apologists, like Marcus Grodi, Scott Hahn, and (ahem) Jimmy, are former Evangelicals. They are not meek when it comes to the faith. Honestly, this "fire" is one of the reasons that my everyday prayers include a fervent desire to see all Evangelicals come Home to "the foundation and pillar of truth"; we need them!

It is interested what a pp said about the Latin Mass being more "masculine". I wonder if that will make a difference. I can certainly see it appealing to my husband!

Sparki

Interesting.

Personally, I have found Catholicism to be more masculine than the evangelical church I came out of. Daily Mass at the downtown parish I belong to is generally populated more by businessmen on their lunch hours than elderly ladies (thought we have those, too).

Here in the Diocese of Lincoln, I've never seen a female EME at Mass. There are some sisters who serve as EMEs, but that's for visiting shut-ins and hospitals.

And, this sounds silly, but I do find our priests to seem much more manly than the warm-fuzzy-loving evangelical preachers we used to sit under. Our priests like football and eat steak and drink a beer when they come over for dinner and some of them go hunting or hiking or play sports and stuff like that. Our evangelical pastors were tea-totallers who used to go to Promise Keepers and come back with that Kum-by-yah vibe...

Sparki

...Forgot to mention, we're the only diocese that doesn't have female altar servers. It's all guys up there, all the time.

letterman

Sparki, that's 'EMHC' (extraordinary ministers of holy communion), not 'EME' (or EEM, extraordinary eucharistic ministers or ministers of the eucharist). The ministry of the EM is administering communion; the word "eucharistic" is more directly related to the sacrificial and thus sacerdotal function.

Monica

I would venture to guess that a few generations of really bad religious art depicting Jesus with a permanent and rouge has repelled many men without their realizing it. The only people I know who like these images are women.

Kate

This discussion becomes very odd very quickly because its based on generalisations - about what it means to be male and female, as well as about the 'character' of different Catholic parishes.

While I would agree that too much 'touchy-feely' watered down liturgy will turn off men, it also turns off a lot of women. But not enough to stop me going to mass, thank yew very much. I'm not much impressed by 'man church' movements, as seen in some protestant churches, that seem to agree with the societal lie that men are all and only about sports and beer, and appealing to them requires booting women out of sight and making things more 'manly'.

My take on this is that a lot of parishes are not inspiring faith in men or women. Women will continue to go anyway, because a woman will still get something from being in a 'community' and being involved in the social aspect. But I would think that a return to challenging, straightforward and unapologetic preaching and teaching will appeal to both men and women, without alienating anyone save the 'social club' Christians who never wanted to be challenged to live the faith in the first place.

btw - about the old mass. I wouldn't gaurantee it'll 'masculinize' things at all. Too many of the chaps I know who love the old rite are 'swishy' types infatuated with the pretty smells, bells, and lacy vestments. Not exactly what we would consider 'manly' interests. :-) Not a slur on all traditionalists, but a humourous observation that even with the latin mass the character will depend greatly on whose involved and promulgating it where.

D. Martin

Jimmy,

Thank you for the article. I have read both books referenced. I am a convert, as well, and it has been and is a big concern to me that the Church is becoming more and more feminized. I too was in a more masculine form of protestantism and it was difficult for me to reconcile that with Catholicism. It is maybe the reason it took me almost a decade to convert.

I argued with a guy in a diocese I was in over whether "Church music" had been feminized, specifically in the gather hymnal and the music issues. My argument was, "who is singing and who is standing there with their arms crossed." I realize that this is a simplistic argument AND that it has always been tough in the US to get men to sing, but I have seen and heard it happen way to often in the protestant church to know that it is a problem. A major problem.

My question is where do we go from here?

Sancho

"While I would agree that too much 'touchy-feely' watered down liturgy will turn off men, it also turns off a lot of women."

Thank you Kate, I was about to say the same thing. The whole touchy-feely spirituality isn't feminine spirituality at all. Nobody would get turned away by a true feminine spirituality in church, but the whole touchy-feely youth mass kind of spirituality is just torture to listen to.

SDG

the whole touchy-feely youth mass kind of spirituality is just torture to listen to.

FWIW, my wife says the same thing. We used to go to a parish where Mother's Day meant a "family Mass" with kid lectors, etc. -- Suz always said if they wanted to do something special for mothers, why not give them a break from kiddie stuff, which mothers are immersed in all day long?

Fuinseoig

Mm - I might have been more sympathetic to the argument except for the bit where "it's being going downhill since the 10th Century, with their wussy girly sissy faith for softies like Bernard of Clairvaux!"

Yeah, sure.

If you're going to argue with the imagery of the Church as the Bride of Christ, then take it up with the Holy Spirit. After all, it *is* "He" who "has spoken through the prophets".

Mary Kay

It is saying that men and women are drawn to faith and express their faith differently. And the means by which people are being reached out to is geared more towards woman.

Mangy Donkey, I agree that men and women express their faith differently. There's a difference between spiritual fatherhood and spiritual motherhood. But that's a different (related, but different) issue than what the original article, Jimmy's post or many of the other posts, which is about "lay ecclesial ministry" and getting more men to be active in church. I wish people spend a little less time on gender focus and more time on the basics, like taking the log out of their own eye before grousing about the splinter in someone else's eye.


Matt
Just like the Dominicans and Jesuits have one Faith, they have different spiritualities, and of course so did St. Francis and St. Claire.

I thought of that afterwards and knew someone would bring it up. At the time, I was thinking of the difference between the physical presnce of men or women and spirituality/faith.

I guess the bottom line is reality, want more priests? Be part of the solution. It's not about "fairness", how fair is it for the women in a Church full of women, with no priest, and no sacraments? What a sad thought.

This is what bugs me about your comments. In this thread as in the other thread, you have a tendency to make unwarranted assumptions. Why do you assume that I don't want more priests? In a post specifically addressed to me, you tell me to be "part of the solution" as if I'm part of the problem. How fair is it for you to do that?


Mary Kay

Thank you Kate and Sancho.

Skygor
Mark: I would love to find out more about masculine spirituality, does anyone have any resources they know of?
This is an excellent Pastoral letter how Fathers (religious and lay) are to express the faith as they should in their Fatherhood-ness. Fathers Make Known To Children Your Faithfulness
Leo: I would have thought that the stereotypically 'feminine' characteristics of gentleness, caring, nurturing etc. would be good things for a priest to have.
The problem rises from confusion in sex--masculine, feminine, and gender are a grammar terms!!!--that comes form the Feminist movement of the past and homosexual trendiness of today. Both of these ideologies fail because they work for sexual ambiguity and androgynous living rather than appreciating the quality of being a Man and a Woman. (In the former, the Women just started acting like Men, and in the latter the Men are encouraged to act like Women.)

Yes, fathers should be gentle, caring, and nurturing, but this Western culture automatically wants a Woman's way. A Father should be gentle, by letting himself be called Daddy in private. He cares by striking those who would dare to cause harm to those he loves (even his own loves), and he nurtures by providing bread rather than the stones. There is strength and love, but His ways is expressed differently than Hers. More often it is done in silence and implicit action which often goes unnoticed.

Kate

I also want to observe that, as long as we're being anecdotal, the most evenly distributed (easily as many men as women, perhaps more) parish I've ever been to continues to be the charismatic Catholic parish I attended in Michigan.

Lots of clappy happy music (though very well done), and, if you wanted it, you could find enough hugs and community building for even the most touchy feely believer.

But the preaching was hard-core, the theology was smack-on and unapologetic, the Eucharistic Adoration chapel was never empty, the pews were always full, confession was well-attended, ministries in the parish and to the community abounded, the liturgy felt like liturgy, and the pastor was a harley-riding black belt (manly enough fer ya?)

Men (and women!) are attracted by the challenge set by a parish that actively and obviously tries to live out a challenging and counter-cultural faith. Once you have that, the parishioners themselves will set the 'charactor' of the parish.

D. Martin

Also, I can tell you from experience, it would be a lot easier to convert my friends if the music was not only feminine, but crappy; AND if the liturgy was more masculine and less touchy feely.

The mood is set by music, like it or not, and with most of the music we sing, I wouldn't listen to it in my car, in my house, at the office... it is not even appealing to kids. I just don't understand. Why have we done this to ourselves and why do we continue it when we don't have to.

matt

Magdelaine,

It is interested what a pp said about the Latin Mass being more "masculine". I wonder if that will make a difference. I can certainly see it appealing to my husband!

This is definitely my experience, since I began assisting at Latin mass. Unlike most Novus Ordo masses (60%+ women), it's much more evenly distributed, and the men are much more active. It's definitely a manly mass, and I think women appreciate that too.

Sparki,

Personally, I have found Catholicism to be more masculine than the evangelical church I came out of. Daily Mass at the downtown parish I belong to is generally populated more by businessmen on their lunch hours than elderly ladies (thought we have those, too).

Here in the Diocese of Lincoln, I've never seen a female EME at Mass. There are some sisters who serve as EMEs, but that's for visiting shut-ins and hospitals.

And, this sounds silly, but I do find our priests to seem much more manly than the warm-fuzzy-loving evangelical preachers we used to sit under. Our priests like football and eat steak and drink a beer when they come over for dinner and some of them go hunting or hiking or play sports and stuff like that. Our evangelical pastors were tea-totallers who used to go to Promise Keepers and come back with that Kum-by-yah vibe...

Posted by: Sparki | Jul 6, 2007 7:36:42 AM

You are blessed to live in Lincoln. You have no idea what it's like out here in the wilderness... :) God Bless Bishop Bruskewitz.

God Bless,

Matt

D. Martin

In light of some of the comments made I will say that the music I am talking about as "feminine" is the gingle sounding, "We love the way you fly", sounding, "Jesus is my boy friend" music.

There are some good hymns in the gather hymnal, but few and far between; and futhermore, I have not been to a parish that uses the "good stuff" on a regular basis.

Michael

There's little doubt the Catholic Church has leaned a bit too heavy towards a feminine mode of spirituality. Especially since the 1960's when the feminine felt more enabled.

Yet the ship rights itself when the masculine mode of spirituality which emphasizes action over dialogue begins to take a more defined shape.

When both the masculine and feminine spiritualities (in large numbers in the Church) feel comfortable in their shoes and turn to cooperating with God, as opposed to staking a claim in the World/Church, we're golden.

Different parts yet equal.

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27).

labrialumn

The problem is exacerbated with the removal of the more martial hymns by the 'peace and justice' crowd (which seem to have no proper understanding of either concept), and the removal of the more doctrinal hymns by praise choruses oriented at a different set of emotions and trances.

Then you have Mr. Eldridge teaching men to have a romantic relationship with Jesus, and that book being very popular with evangelical women. He also has written a book on femininity and one on masculinity ("Wild at Heart"). Considering his apparent homosexual tendencies, at least in his relationship with the Lord, I haven't read it, but from the title, I think he should read some Kipling. Perhaps starting with "The 'Eathen." (Real men are civilized, but not feminized, Eldridge seems to oppose both characteristics)

The existentialists changing of the definition of "faith" has been another problem. In the Greek it is something closer to "fealty" (which also addresses the faith/works issue) a word that is etymologically related to faith even in English, with something more like 'hope against hope' or "believin' what you know ain't true" - Twain, IIRC.

Christ as our King, Aslan as not a tame lion (but Good), The heavenly host being the War Host of High Heaven (as it is in the Bible) instead of a ladies' choir with wings, these are things we need to recover.

materfamilias

"The problem is exacerbated with the removal of the more martial hymns by the "peace and justice crowd. . . "

I wonder if there's any church in America that sings "Onward Christian Soldiers" or "Faith of Our Fathers."

Mike Petrik

"I wonder if there's any church in America that sings "Onward Christian Soldiers" or "Faith of Our Fathers."

At Mary Our Queen in Peachtree Corners, GA, "Faith of Our Fathers" is occasionally sung. Don't recall "OCS" though. Then again, we are a pretty traditional parish. While Father appreciates and accomodates the "Gather" types, our emphasis is clearly directed toward traditional hymnology and very proper liturgy.

I do agree with many of the foregoing posts. I know many guys who are turned off by what they perceive as the feminization of the Church. Not to be trite, but really, how many regular American men are enthusiastic about holding hands with another American man? A lot of guys view this as weird, though many do anyway as an accomodation -- but I'd venture to say most find it a bit uncomfortable. Women, on the other hand, feel much differently about such things. When my children were adolecents and teens, my son wouldn't be caught dead sharing his bed with an overnight male buddy-guest, whereas my daughter and friends thought nothing of it.
For those who are about to reply that to the effect that my son's attitude is some type of terrible social contrivance that the Church should combat, my response is -- "you, are the problem."

Bill

Reading the linked-to article - I find it funny that he ended with pay rates for men and women. I was just listening to an audio book by John Stossel (a reporter from CBS I think) and he was talking about the so called "women paid less than men myth".

A couple of things he pointed out is that on average, some jobs will pay more because of the requirements for the job. Longer hours, more physical work, a lot of outdoor exposure, hazardous jobs, etc. The typically pay a higher per-hourly rate than the opposite of these jobs. Men often have these jobs because they are willing to be away for their families for a longer period of time in a day, they are more willing to do manual labor, be outside, take risks, etc. There are women who do these jobs and on the whole, they are equally compensated.

But also - women tend to have babies. They tend to be out on maternity leave, they are usually the one who stays home when the kid(s) are sick. So pay can be commensurate with the work.

The other point he made was by another individual who at one time was a big supporter of this myth and proudly wore a button that proclaimed $0.75 - which stood for every dollar a man made - a woman made 75 cents. When he started to research it, he found it wasn't true and on top of that- he wondered why companies then didn't hire only women. If they could get away with paying a woman 25% less on every dollar for the same work, why would any company not hire women exclusively?

Another thing that I don't think is taken into account is medical insurance. On average, womens insurance is higher because of things like babies, etc. If you were to factor in total compensation - I wonder if the numbers would skew the other way and show women actually making more than men. Now wouldn't that be a hoot!

My two cents.

Some Day

Yes, women tend to be more religious than men.
The female orders always tend to grow faster.
Yet there is a problem when hierarchy is challenged.
I strongly disagree (as does the Pope) that women should have functions on the alter, esspecially in giving out the Holy Eucharist. Now this is not a shot against woman, but rather an analysis of the hierarchy and order God has established. Now I revieve the Eucharist from anyone, but it is not desirable for it to be a woman. Most woman, due to 500 years of revolutionary, gnostic and egalitarian idealogy, would say that this is anti-woman. It is not. God established an order and we must follow it. The King is father of his people, the Father king of his children, the servants clean the floor and the nobles go to war. God did not create everyone equal. He dos not studder. Everyone is different, and instead of wanting to be greater than everyone, we must admire what is superior in others and play ones role in society.

And definetly, the members of the Church have gone soft and have no combativity. Piety is not having your head disfigured to the side and slouching with a puppy face. It is harmonizing a life of prayer and fighting for God's glory, whether in the prosaic daily life or in the glorious future the times promise.

ukok

I have a concern that the Catholic Church today is in danger of--and, indeed, has already become--too oriented towards a feminine mode of spirituality.

In what way, may I ask, has the Catholic Church, in your opinion, become too orientated towards a feminine mode of spirituality?

SDG

In what way, may I ask, has the Catholic Church, in your opinion, become too orientated towards a feminine mode of spirituality?

As noted above, Jimmy has addressed this subject before in "The Loss of Masculine Spirituality - And Its Need for Renewal."

(Presuming to speak for Jimmy a moment, I suppose that "too orientated towards a feminine mode of spirituality" is a relative judgment that is interchangeable with "insufficiently orientated towards a masculine mode of spirituality." In other words, it's the imbalance that's the problem.)

caine

I would have thought that the stereotypically 'feminine' characteristics of gentleness, caring, nurturing etc. would be good things for a priest to have.

A priest is a father, not a mother, just Jesus teaches us to address God as Father, not as mother. Fathers also should be gentle and caring, but nevertheless fathers and mothers tend to "parent" differently.

The father/mother distinction is key to understanding so many things within our faith, and social interaction. It's also a testament to our incompete nature as individual beings. We were created with complimentary sub-natures to image the higher truth of the person's dependence on God (a la the famous Augustine quote).

Men image the distance and "otherness" of the father in their very bodies whether they father children or not. The nature of male involvement in the procreative act (actual or potential)is fundamentally a momentary event. After intercourse the father is distinctly apart from the process. In TOTB terms, this can certainly be seen to image the reality of the distance between the Father and creation - a distance made greater by sin.

The woman on the other hand, is intimately joined with creation, and mothers share a trans-natural connection with their children from the moment of conception on. The children are literally made from the flesh of the mother with her blood as the sculpting tool. Even women that never conceive children are physically joined with creation by a cycle of blood and pain which shares it's rythm with the moon and the oceans. That is profound. Pagan cultures fixate on this - Christians should give it consideration as well under the light of revealed truth.

Anyway, Christ came into this world to heal everything. This included the adversarial relationship between men (males) and creation that is our inheritance from Adam. And in the Incarnation we have the special fulfillment of the protoevangelical promise in Genesis 3. Therefore the "otherness" of the father within the family is now capable - via the Holy Spirit - to be fully alive in not just the Lordship of God, but Christ's Mercy as well. And with the restoration of true union between man and woman by gift of New Creation which poured from Christ's side, the mother can become a physical participant in truly building the body of Christ, both with her own flesh, and in union with the Mother of God, and the Church.

And when you throw in the mystery that "the two become one", our sub-natures share in the roles, responsibilities, and gifts of our compliment as we melt together in the love of the Holy Spirit. That's why it's true to view families (both biological families and the spritual family of the Church) as an Icon of the Trinity. There's mystery enough to go around.

Mary Kay

SDG, thanks for the link to Jimmy's article. It's one of the few balanced pieces I've read.

Fr Bill P

This has been a topic I have thought long and hard about. Whilst Catholic spirituality is what it is; there are both masculine and feminine (for lack of better adjectives) traits to that spirituality. For as long as I could remember, the feminine traits were played up and the masculine played down. Both need each other to bring about he fullness of our faith.

On the one hand, compassion, mercy, and empathy (oft labeled feminine) are a part of our faith and spirituality. However so are strength, self-sacrifice, courage, and perserverance. How often are the latter spoken of in homilies? Too often Jesus is portrayed as 'nice'...as if he were some Barney-like figure that was picked by the mean old scribes and pharisees. Scriptures show us he was anything but nice...nice people don't get crucified! Jesus is kind, merciful and forgiving; He is also tough, courageous, manly, and strong. WE would do better to paint a full picture of Jesus and of His Church.

Talking about the more masculine aspects of Chirst and His Church will resound with men in this country (especially as we seem to set land speed records in turning men into crybabies and sissies) who are looking for a faith that is worth sacrificing everything they are. You want to draw priestly vocations? Start emphasizing to young men the manliness and life of self-sacrifice required in the Catholic life as a whole and in the preisthood in particular. That priests have got start acting in all ways like men! That was part of the draw with young people to John Paul II. Say what you want about him but he was masculine in almost every good sense of the word. That inspires. But he also was a man who exuded compassion, mercy, and kindness without coming across as some as anything less than a man.

Both sides are needed. Usually only one side is talked about. That needs to be corrected.

Kate

Am I the only woman here feeling offended that bad music, poor preaching, and suspect liturgical practices are being characterised as "feminine"?

Mary Kay

Kate, that also occurred to me.

caine

On the one hand, compassion, mercy, and empathy (oft labeled feminine) are a part of our faith and spirituality.

Fr. Bill P,

Its a misunderstanding of mercy (as you point out) to label it "feminine". Mercy comes from the cross. It was the Son that died on the cross, and it was men who were exhorted by Paul in Ephesians to love their wives "as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her" This level of self-sacrifice is the source of God's Mercy, and it was truly a masculine endeavor.

caine

Am I the only woman here feeling offended that bad music, poor preaching, and suspect liturgical practices are being characterised as "feminine"?

Kate,

I think a better word to use is effiminate.

Feminine/i> is a positive adjective that denotes grace, beauty and strength.

Effiminate more accurately describes the pervesion of the masculine characteristics of the Church by men who have opted to pretend at femininity out of weakness and rejection of things representing the Fatherhood of God.

caine

oops

Esau

ITALY OFF!

D. Martin

Agreed, effiminate it is.

Janice

Jimmy,

I read your article and with all respect, I think you're wrong. It's too easy to pose a dicthomy like masculine vs. feminine or seeking the face of God vs. faith in action. And Mark Shea made the same mistake. I think it arises out of the stark difference between Catholicism and evangelical/pentecostalism. In Catholicism, there are many ways of seeking the face of God: one can do it through contemplation, through missionary work, through lectio divina, theology, catechesis, etc. All are valid ways to do this and none is especially masculine or feminine. You cannot incorporate the aggressive evangelical/pentecostal spirit without doing violence to Catholicism. And part of the so-called "feminine" aspect of Catholicism is its contemplative ethos, fostered by the liturgy. And that is intrinsic to Catholicism. It is something that evangelical and pentecostal bodies do not have. All they have is preaching and outreach, which, by themselves, are more aggressive or masculine, if you will. You cannot assume that the evangelical/pentecostal part is a valid aspect that can be transferred into Catholicism and that what you consider the "feminine" part is only part of the whole. It is not. The Catholic Church is complete in itself. It is what it is. It does not need to be supplemented by additions from other faiths or their methodologies.

TerryC

I'm a Knights of Columbus and we regularly sing both "Faith of our Fathers" and "Onward Christian Soldiers."
As for how numbers of men and women play out at the parish level I can say at my parish, where a number of Knights are very active, many positions are held by men and consequently many teenage boys and young adult males are also involved.
Strangely enough we have women EMHC and lectors, as well as cantors, but that doesn't seem to stop us also having males in those same positions. We do have a slight disparity between the number of alter servers who are girls and those who are boys, but I believe that is a demographic result of the fact that there seems to be more girls of the right ages in our parish families at this time. Strangely enough all of our ushers are male, at the youth Mass all are teens, as are the lectors. Our youth choir and adult choir both have a appreciable number of males, though in the youth chior they are more likely to be musicians than singers.
While most of our elementary chatechists are women about half of our middle and high school chatechists are male, a few just out of college, with no children of their own.
What I've found is that if men are involved, especially in the youth programs, and even more especially if they do not have children of their own in the programs, then male teens will be involved and contiunue to be involved during their college years and after.
Youg boys and teens will emulate what they see. If they see strong male role models practicing masculine Christianity they will too.
For the past two years we have had more young men than women attend the Franciscan University youth conference, out of a sizable group of forty teens.
My son is in college and I have continued to be active in the youth groups. Several other married and single men also provide good role models though thier participation.
I think this is the most important thing if you want young men to be involved.

materfamilias

TerryC,
I think you're right. When young men see strong role models they are more likely to get involved and stay involved. I'm very exited that our Gregorian chant choir as of next Sunday will have a dynamic young priest saying our masses. We're near a university, and we're hoping, God willing, that some of the students who come for a visit will stay because of the quality of the preaching.

D. Martin

The parish that I am apart of has strong priests who are guys and yet the Knights are floudering, the men do not participate in much of anything, but the ones who do are service guys who tend to be service over theology.

I guess you could blame it on the men in our parish... maybe that is a problem, but there is no doubt in my mind that the poor taste and arrangement of music have caused men to be disinterested at best.

The women do must of the education and leadership. The guys are the ushers and the women read. I counted 5 straight Sundays with ONLY Women lectors. I can remember weeks of extraordinary ministers that were ONLY women.

I am all for women being active parts and members of the parish, but they have filled the vacuum where men have departed. And, as many of us know in home life, if mom will do it why should I? Men are all too willing to allow women to do their job and without the right kind of encouragement, it will continue to happen.

My experience has been you cannot ask for voluteers to get guys to help, you have to ask them face to face, give them a charge, a task.

As far as music goes, we may have one traditional hymn per service, but I find the men don't even sing those because that is either the choirs job or for women. I believe we are in a real quandry and there is no easy way out, except to maybe over compensate the other way a bit.

Women, for the most part, will come and participate because they are more spiritual (I know it's true, so I don't mind admitting it). Who was at the Cross, young John and the faithful women.

Part of the responsiblity, if not most, falls squarely on the shoulder of men to be men again, but if the Church does not encourage this through song, liturgy and priest who are "guys", I have little hope for a revival of this sort.

Take for example the Orthodox. They have an ancient form of worship and their numbers for men are much greater than that of Catholicism and even protestanism.

Can anyone answer why?

Mike Petrik

Janice,
Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but are you suggesting that the aggressive evangelism performed for centuries by Catholic missionaries was somehow not Catholic?
Are you suggesting that this evangelicism remains as robust today?
I don't think you are suggesting the former, at least not intentionally, but it is an inference one can reasonably draw from your post. Perhaps you can clear it up.
As to the latter, it seems without question that our Church's evangelical impulse has in recent decades been somewhat moribund compared to the past, notwithstanding various notable exceptions and more recent promising renewals.
In any case, I really don't think that the overall theme of Jimmy's post is dependent in any serious way on a comparison to protestant evangelicism. One need only compare our current circumstances and practices with traditional Catholic experience to observe the phenomenon he describes.

Some Day

I'm a Knights of Columbus and we regularly sing both "Faith of our Fathers" and "Onward Christian Soldiers."

No offense, but those songs are still soft and worst they are protestant.
You need songs that speak of crusades and conquering the world for Our Lady.
Songs of the vengeanc of God!

That will counter that horrible, sugary and honeyish music and mentality out there. And ofcourse, true pious acts like the Rosary but without the soft mentality, and with true devotion, like asking in the 5th sorrowful mystery for the grace for the Perfect Seriousness, Love of the Cross and the Total rupture with the Sprit of the World. And I tell you from personal experience, Latin helps. One thing is praying to St. Michael in English and another in Latin.

Gregorian, Marches and Sacral Polyphonic.

Jarnor23

I'm afraid I'm going to have to largely agree with Janice. The unthinking brute force approach that masculinity entails in many minds really is an inferior way of approaching the faith to the contemplative approach which was one of the main things to attract me to the Church. The truth the Church teaches can be learned through peace and wisdom, "feminine" things in this society, it doesn't have to rely on loudness and bluster, which you constantly see in fundamentalist circles.

Also, what our society teaches is masculine has little to no place in the Church, unless you want Mass to be a homily about the current sports teams with the body & blood replaced by beer and pretzels. Most men in our society would think of anything the Church has for them as feminine as it teaches silly stuff like caring about others rather than using them for your own ends, which is what a "real man" does these days, I understand.

I disagree somewhat though, as I feel the Church CAN learn things from separated brethren, however I think we need to be very careful about what we want to take in and what to leave out.

Mike Petrik

Jarnor23,
I am torn between two unfortunate assumptions: either you did not read Jimmy's post or you did not comprehend it. I will assume the former since it is more charitable, I think.

SDG

No offense, but those songs are still soft and worst they are protestant.

How do the words "No offense" help this sentence? You really need to get over your knee-jerk anti-Protestant prejudice, Some Day. Not everything that comes from our separated brethren deserves your scorn (the Church has published a few relevant documents in this regard). In fact, we, and by we I mean you (since in my case as a convert it goes without saying) could probably learn a lot from a lot of them.

Jarnor23

Mike, quit being an ass. I am saying precisely what "masculine" and "feminine" mean in our culture in this day, and am claiming that the Church cannot be faithful and also pack in the isles with men being "manly", due to the modern definition being something equivalent to "The Man Show". If you want to dispute that, go ahead, but don't pretend I'm saying that the AUTHENTIC masculinity that few understand anymore is unwanted, or that I'm too stupid to see that's what Jimmy's advocating.

SDG

Jarnor23, if Mike misread you, please clarify: Do you agree with Jimmy about the need to regain authentic masculinity, or with Janice that... well, that Jimmy (along with Mark Shea, and FWIW me) is somehow confused on this point?

Esau

Mike, quit being an ass.

Jarnor23,

I don't think Mike Petrik actually was behaving like an arse.

If you would kindly re-examine Mike's post, he attempted to be as charitable as possible, attempting to point out to you that your comments do not reflect a correct understanding of the subject post.

Jarnor23

I postulate that using terms like "masculine" and "feminine" alone aren't going to help at all, because what they mean in our culture is wildly different from the concept that Jimmy's trying for. I don't think saying "we'll make the Church more masculine" conveys successfully what needs to be done and instead conveys that if we have a football night at each parish faithful men will come flocking.

I think better terms are needed here, because the old ones don't mean what they used to.

Jarnor23

I believe they do, Esau. Please show otherwise.

Brian Walden

If you want to get more men to participate in the Church start preaching the hard truths of the faith. Make the laity uncomfortable. Whether they agree or disagree with the pastor, men are more likely to be interested when the message draws distinictions rather than trying to include everyone. Men would rather be challenged than coddled.

On the same note, men like rules. Enforce the rubrics, chastize a few of the rule breakers, and men will respond.

Men will sing. Make the hymns about the awesomeness of God and not about the community (and oh yeah God's pretty cool too) like a lot of modern hymns. If you go to Adoration or 6:30am weekday mass where the hymns tend to be more traditional and you'll find men who are happy to sing.

Real men love their Mother. You can't go wrong with increased Marian devotion.

If I'm wrong, just substitute men with me. These guidelines apply to at least one man.

SDG

I postulate that using terms like "masculine" and "feminine" alone aren't going to help at all, because what they mean in our culture is wildly different from the concept that Jimmy's trying for. I don't think saying "we'll make the Church more masculine" conveys successfully what needs to be done and instead conveys that if we have a football night at each parish faithful men will come flocking.

I think better terms are needed here, because the old ones don't mean what they used to.

Of course, no one is saying that using terms like "masculine" and "feminine" alone is going to help.

OTOH, if by "better terms" you mean abandoning "masculine" and "feminine" to the cultural status quo and going for entirely new vocabulary, I should think it's pretty clear that's a non-starter.

A call to renew, reclaim or recapture authentic masculinity and femininity proposes a concept which is not in the least confusing or likely to be misunderstood. It will very easily be understood from this that you believe that the popular idea or practice of masculinity and femininity in some way distorts the proper understanding or reality of these terms, and it will be immediately clear that your program cannot be assumed to endorse popular ideas of masculinity and femininity (though the disjunction may not be by any means absolute).

The concepts Jimmy is going for can't be abstracted from the fundamental paradigms of masculinity and femininity. The work of reclaiming or rehabilitating the paradigms for sacred use may pose formidable obstacles, but I don't see that there's any sidestepping the issue, or throwing in the towel and saying "Yes, masculinity does mean drinking beer and scratching your belly while watching football games rather than going to church on Sunday, which is why we are going to talk about something other than masculinity."

Not that I'm saying you're saying that. But I don't know what you're saying, and I'm delimiting a parameter in the discussion.

Mary

What I really mind is the pop psycho-babble.

Now, you can't share your story with me. You can tell me about it, if you like.

Jarnor23

Perhaps calling what we are going for here authentic masculinity or femininity may work, as long as you make very clear to people what we are talking about. Because, honestly, both of those are a good thing, while the worldly concepts of them are what the Church needs to distance from.

Sadly I think the language has deteriorated the meanings of those words to the point where they need such a strong preface before advocating either as a thing to endorse.

Mary Kay

I agree with Jarnor's 4:22pm post, which probably makes for a minority of two.

Masculine and feminine capture an aspect but are insufficient. I can't articulate it better than that tonight but will take a stab at it tomorrow.

Kate

I have to say I agree with Jarnor. The terms conjure up a lot of baggage - which doesn't mean they are bad, but it does mean they need defining before they can be used.

And you need to be careful not to equate poor liturgy with feminine spirituality. It's insulting to women, and ignores the many ways in which women are not being spiritually fed in much of the current church.

What we can agree on - men are underrepresented, and it may take doing something different to bring them back. Leaving terminology behind, how do we propose to do that?

I think we've had a few good answers, buried under the commentary here.

1) Preach truth, unashamedly (this ought to go without saying already.)

2) Reach out to men directly. We are in New Orleans right now, attending a parish that is rebuilding its committees and ministries, and you know how they get men? The lone guy doing ushering just started asking guys in the pews to come up and help him collect the offertory. A few guys were talking about architecture and the state of the Church building, and ta-da, a building committee. We're still working our way up to other ministries (music, catechesis, youth, etc), but I have no doubt it'll happen. Men or women, the best way to get a volunteer is to approach someone and ask them to volunteer.

3) Give them a challenge. Really, this is just another way to say the first two.

4) Cut through the social intricacies. I think the complex social networks women can create in a parish turn off men. They don't necessarily know that Mary Jo has run the Christmas pageant for 2 decades and doesn't like new ideas, or that Becky Sue is the only person who can convince Mary Kate to consider using new hymns. Men seem to like a clear chain of command.

I've seen active men in all kinds of parishes, with all kinds of music and all kinds of ministries, respond to a good challenge from a good priest, or from his fellow men. Sometimes all it takes is one good guy to start issueing those challenges.

matt

I think many could benefit from reading Alice Von Hildebrandt on Christian Feminism. She speaks of the importance of balance between the masculine and the feminine. Without men, women are prone to certain excesses, without women, men are prone to certain excesses. What's happened in the Church over the last 40 years is a result of a lack of balance. So it is not fair to say that bad music and liturgy are related to authentic femininity, but due to unbalanced femininity caused by the actions of womyn, but especially men who favor the effeminate.

If we allowed the pendulum to swing the other way it would be disastrous. We need a balance. In order to accomplish this, the women have to step back from the exxagerated role they have taken in the Church, especially in the area of liturgy, this will leave a vacuum, and men will accept the challenge to fill this vacuum.

God Bless,

Matt

John W.

The biggest influence on me as far as going to church was that my own father went to Mass every Sunday and took our whole family. This more than anything instilled in me the importance of going to Mass.

I must agree that liturgy today especially the homily and music are geared to women. I know I have a lousy voice but I can't sing the trite, feel good music. The homily always dances around something abstract so that I wish our priest would just speak the gospel clearly and simply. I'm sick of stupid jokes and hearing about his opinion instead of what the Church teaches. This is not women's fault but may be more a reflection of today's society.

God gave us a wonderful example of John Paul the Great. A courageous defender of his people against the evils of communism and secularism but a tender, loving pastor devoted to Our Lady. A perfect balance.

Thanks, I feel better.

Janice

Mike,

I'm not suggesting, I'm saying that the Catholic Church is complete in itself, i.e., it has all the components it needs for missionization and it doesn't need to be supplemented using tactics or methodologies from evangelical protestantism. That's what "masculine" really means here: aggressive proselytism, using evangelical/pentecostal models. And this is anti-thetical to Catholicism. Read what Pope Benedict said in Brazil: the Catholic Church does not proselytize, it attracts people to itself.

JohnA

Whem I see music being given as a reason for a lack of Mass attendance, I know that someone is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. One doesn't go to Mass for the music... there's alway's better music elsewhere. The music is supposed to be an aid for us to pray - not a magical tone that causes our faith. Who do we pray to? To the Trinity that we believe, to the Father, to His Son that will give us His Body and Blood, to the Holy Spirit that we believe. Can you imagine seeing Jesus at Church with our eyes and ignoring Him because of the bad music? Most of the so-called male "preference" to football over church is the result of a missing faith that does not fully believe what the Catholic Church teaches but relies on secondary inducements which are never a real substitute for faith.

D. Martin

"I must agree that liturgy today especially the homily and music are geared to women. I know I have a lousy voice but I can't sing the trite, feel good music."

I agree 100%.

"Whem I see music being given as a reason for a lack of Mass attendance, I know that someone is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. One doesn't go to Mass for the music... there's alway's better music elsewhere. The music is supposed to be an aid for us to pray - not a magical tone that causes our faith."

Don't kid yourself. Crappy, insipid music does not inspire and it does not create an atmosphere of reverence. I am a convert and one thing that kept me away from Catholicism was because I could not find a Mass service where it was done with due reverence. I mean the ENTIRE service, music and all. And I can tell you it is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for my friends who think about converting but don't. It's not the only reason, but it does not encourage them to leave behind what they were raised in and have always known to come to something that looks as if the Faith is not taken seriously because the priest and the music perform poorly. But the music DOES set the mood, like it or not. If you sing "come fly with us" airline like jingles, people will feel that way. If you sing songs that are strong musically and have powerful, meaningful words about the Faith and not something like that the ditty, "Lord of the Dance," I KNOW you will see a difference. But you will not if the present course continues. You simply won't.

Jeb Protestant

Why is "proselytize" a bad word? Here is an on-line dictionary:

proselytize \PROS-uh-luh-tyz\, intransitive verb:
1. To induce someone to convert to one's religious faith.
2. To induce someone to join one's institution, cause, or political party.

transitive verb:
1. To convert to some religion, system, opinion, or the like.

Proselytize is formed from proselyte, "a new convert, especially a convert to some religion or religious sect, or to some particular opinion, system, or party," from Greek proselutos, "a proselyte, a newcomer," from pros, "toward" + elutos, from eluthon, "I came."

Leigh

Some Day,
"Faith of Our Fathers" =/ Protestant. Father Faber wrote it.

Janice

Jeb,

You can't just use a dictionary definition. There is always CONTEXT to a word's use. Pope Benedict is referring to the aggressive proselytism used by evangelicals and pentecostals and he is saying that the Catholic Church will not do that. For Catholics, it is the example of those who live out their Catholic faith that is important, not being all up in someone's face about their relationship with Jesus. You know, actions speak louder than words.

Jeb Protestant

Janice,

I didn't know that there was an evangelical approach that is "in your face." Could you give some examples?

Christians, however, do have an obligation to preach an unambigous message that without faith in Jesus, people are lost and going to hell.

In any event, if you read the Book of Acts, there was an equal emphasis on preaching and behavior.

Dean Steinlage

FWIW, I found myself more often "feminized" in Protestant churches than I ever have in the Catholic Church (when "feminized" is characterized as being passive and receptive) for the simple reason that (it seemed to me) most people in the pews were putting their faith in the pastor and what "pastor says."

After I got over most of my other hang-ups about Catholicism, I realized that it was the Catholic Church that had a real grasp on the complementarity of male and female roles. This clarity attracted, not repelled me.

The Knights of Columbus have a very positive effect on the men in our parish. New male parishioners are invited--personally--to join, and once they feel included and accepted by the other men, they have no problem responding to appeals for help with various projects and ministries. It's a great ministry, I only wish I saw more of the young men joining.

Dean Steinlage

Oops, this is Dean's wife, not Dean!

Janice

Jeb,

Check out the behavior of evangelicals and pentecostals. That is, by definition, "in your face" behavior, and it is inimical to Catholicism. The Pope said as much when he was in Brazil where these sects (his word) proliferate.

Jeb Protestant

Janice:

"Check out the behavior of evangelicals and pentecostals."

So all evangelicals and pentecostals? May we have some examples?

Is a protestant minister who, in India, and tells Hindus that their polytheism is leading them to hell engaged in offensive evangelism?

Janice

Jeb,

The protestant minister who merely tells Hindus this is offensive. Why doesn't he offer them charity, without counting the cost and without expecting conversion in return? This is what Benedict XVI said in Deus caritas est. This is what God expects.

Mary

Because any charity he can give -- food, clothing, shelter -- is trivial in value beside the truth?

Janice

Because our first duty is to be charitable. Our actions speak louder than our words. What use is it to harangue people to convert if we deny them charity. First we must satisfy their basic material needs, then we can go on to satisfy their fundamental spiritual needs.

Jeb Protestant

Janice,

I didn't say that was the only thing the protestant minister would say, just that it is an unambigous message that many nowadays consider offensive.

But I ask you again, what behavior by protestant ministers in Brazil do you think is "in your face"? To the best of my knowledge, they are also concerned about people's other needs.

JohnA

D. Martin: You write:

>> And I can tell you it is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for my friends who think about converting but don't. <<

I think this is missing the point. If your friends believe that the fullness of faith lies in the Catholic Church, how foolish it would be to deny themselves the Sacraments, Jesus' Body Blood Soul and Divinity for the sake of "bad music"! Can you imagine the early martyrs renouncing their faith because of a lack of inspiring music in the catacombs? Now before one has the Catholic faith, it's a different ballgame - but then it might take more than good music to lead one to believe where the fullness of faith lives. We should not be in a music competition with other denominations - we should, however, have music in our liturgy that will be an aide for us to pray. I have attended Masses where there is no music - it doesn't take away from the fact that at that Mass, there is a bloodless re-enactment of Calvary where Jesus gives us Himself. Of course, if everything else is equal (churches in union with Rome) then liturgy and music can indeed play a role as to which particular rite or particular church to attend.

Maureen

"Faith of Our Fathers" is Protestant?

Er, no. Not at all.

It was written by an English Catholic convert. It's about the Recusant Catholics being martyred and imprisoned. The original English version had a line about how eventually English would be Catholic again.

If there is a less Protestant song anywhere, it could only be a papal anthem.

Maureen

I do think that Mr. Allen is a bit naive about "lay ecclesial ministry", though. It's always existed; you just didn't call it anything but "helping out" or "doing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy".

"parish administration": the housekeeper, the people who ran the guilds and sodalities, and everybody's moms and grandmas.

"bereavement counseling and sick calls": Now there's a traditional female responsibility.

"sacramental preparation... catechesis, faith formation, and a host of other roles": the nuns, the sodalities, and the moms and grandmas.

"liturgical planning": Don't know about that one, but I'm pretty sure the organist and the choirs always had a lot to say about it. The mostly female altar guilds, too. And everybody was a critic.

D. Martin

You wrote:
I think this is missing the point. If your friends believe that the fullness of faith lies in the Catholic Church, how foolish it would be to deny themselves the Sacraments, Jesus' Body Blood Soul and Divinity for the sake of "bad music"!
DM:
I agree, that would be trivial of them; but if they are in the early stages of inquiry, which is where some I know are, and the place where they are has a more meaningful worship, specifically, where the music is done in good taste with content, then they may not be willing to inquire further into Catholicism. If you have never gone through conversion, you may not understand this or consider it a valid point, but it happens ALL the time. I was told that Thomas Howard who wrote, "Why Catholics Can't Sing," and is a convert who continued to attend Anglican services b/c the Catholic services were so poorly done. It is not trivial, it is a problem, like it or not. It is doable, I overcame it, but initially the current Mass was a HUGE turnoff for me and made me question. Should that be acceptable because they should convert for the TRUTH, like it or not? Some won't.

You wrote:
Can you imagine the early martyrs renouncing their faith because of a lack of inspiring music in the catacombs?
DM:
Of course not. But if the music and liturgy was poorly prayed some converts may have found it hard to convert. I'm not saying that the way we worship is just different, but that most Masses are poorly done in comparison.

You wrote:
Now before one has the Catholic faith, it's a different ballgame - but then it might take more than good music to lead one to believe where the fullness of faith lives.
DM:
That's my point! Some of the people I know do not inquire further because we look as if we do not know what we are doing. That is why so many Anglicans are converting to Orthodoxy. I could give you several names of people who would be Catholic if our liturgy could hold a candle to the Orthodox. The East is to be admired on this point. They have not let modernity change them; some for the worse, but mostly for the better.

You wrote:
We should not be in a music competition with other denominations
DM:
Agreed, but if the difference is great, we must do better, but our liturgy should not look like a protestant service anyway. It should be different. They expect it to be different. But they leave disappointed, and that is a shame.

You wrote:
- we should, however, have music in our liturgy that will be an aide for us to pray.
DM:
That is my point, currently it's not in most places! Wouldn't you agree?

You wrote:
I have attended Masses where there is no music
DM:
I would rather have no music at all if my choice is crappy, sentimental music.

You wrote:
- it doesn't take away from the fact that at that Mass, there is a bloodless re-enactment of Calvary where Jesus gives us Himself.
DM:
Agreed.

You wrote:
Of course, if everything else is equal (churches in union with Rome) then liturgy and music can indeed play a role as to which particular rite or particular church to attend.
DM:
I think this is a problem. We are called to attend and serve our PARISH, meaning the closest one to us. I do not parish shop or hop, I do my best in the parish I am in and try to affect change when possible. My parish right now is actually pretty good, we do sing some traditional hymns, but there are times the music is bad; however, we have 2 VERY good priests, so the sermon is ALWAYS rock solid and the Mass is done with due reverence.

Mike

GOD'S WAY VS. MY WAY (BON JOVI AT LIVE EARTH CONCERT)

Over this past weekend I was watching some of the Live Earth concerts on TV. I was watching Jon Bon Jovi sing a few of my favorite songs. One of them was called “It’s My Life” in which Jon Bon Jovi stresses to do things “My Way”. This is a highly energetic song and I like the music in the song but disagree with the lyrics/message. The lyrics state we should be living our life “My Way”. Is this really true?

I believe we are really supposed to live life “God’s Way” and not “My Way”. This is why I always disagreed with Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way” also. I really like the music in Sinatra’s song but dislike the lyrics. I believe we are supposed to pray to God to find out how we are supposed to be leading our lives. If God asks us to give up all our possessions and follow him, then this is what we are called to do.

During the end of Bon Jovi’s Song “It’s My Life”, Jon Bon Jovi raises both his arms above his head and then does a rousing finish by moving his arms to his side and ends up finishing in the form of a cross. How ironic! Jon Bon Jovi sings a song about us doing things “Our Way” but then finishes his song in the form of the cross (God’s Way). It sends mixed messages to his audience. Which is it Jon? Christ died on the cross for our sins. We need to carry our own crosses each day.

When Abortion is used we our doing things “My Way” and not “God’s Way”. Through abortion we are not accepting God’s gift he has already gave us.

Most Americans currently use contraception although the tide seems to be slowly turning to Natural Family Planning. Contraception is not open to life nor God’s Will. Contraception is living life “My Way” not “God’s Way”. We need to always be open to God’s Way and God’s Gifts. We should therefore always be open to life.

Last, I am really a big fan of Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra but I do believe they should change the lyrics in their songs to “God’s Way” and not “My Way”.

What are your thoughts?

Mike

T. Poynor

JohnA,

I think the real problem D. Martin is highlighting is the lack of evidence in our liturgy that this is the true Eucharist and that ours is the true religion.

The vast majority of people do not consult theological or philosophical treatises when deciding their views of God, Christ and the Church.

The liturgy could be a very effective tool for evangelization were it to exhibit to the senses (that realm in which most people intuit truth) the beauty and power of the Catholic Christian Faith.

I think the comparison to the Orthodox is well made. The Divine Liturgy is a place where, truly, seeing is believing. When it comes to making converts, how can we compete with that? Apologetics? Theological hairsplitting over primacies, infallibilities and jurisdictions? No. That is not where the ordinary person encounters God. Nor should it be.

Many of us in the Church cannot fight the feeling that the current state of the Roman liturgy is just wrong. Now, image the uphill struggle a convert experiences when he is offered the fullness of truth in this form.

Mary

Because our first duty is to be charitable.

The most charitable thing we can do is preach the truth. (Using "charity" in its proper meaning of "love" rather than "alms"; it is the first meaning that is our first duty.)

Our actions speak louder than our words.

Our act of feeding people rather than preaching the truth speaks louder than the truth when we get around to preaching it.
What use is it to harangue people to convert if we deny them charity.
You are advocating that we deny them charity by denying them the truth.

First we must satisfy their basic material needs, then we can go on to satisfy their fundamental spiritual needs.

Which adds up to it being morally wrong to try to convert anyone, ever, who is not in a state of abject physical need that we can provide for their basic material needs.

Eric

Because any charity he can give -- food, clothing, shelter -- is trivial in value beside the truth?

Trivial? The truth reveals it to be significant.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me... For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

"Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

As B16 said in speaking of the Church, "the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities, along with the administration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the word: love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word."

Using "charity" in its proper meaning of "love" rather than "alms"; it is the first meaning that is our first duty.

Love includes alms giving. It is not a matter of "rather than".

Jack

Do some men refuse to participate because of the word "ministry"? Probably coincidence but many more men were involved when we had an organist, money counters, and the guy that put out the doughnuts than when we had music ministers, ministers of treasury and hospitality ministers.

Maybe we should restrict the word to EMHCs.

ukok

SDG, I didn't read the prior comments before commenting myself,there aren't enough hours in the day for fun stuff like that. Thanks for the link though, the article made for interesting reading.

God Bless you

Some Day

Well, they still need more combativity.

Now I was wrong in attacking all protestant music.

Handel had a truly spectacular mind for music.
So far he is unbeatable. (I heard he might have converted)

Some good Christmas songs are protestant too.

But protestantism is evil, and you are obligated to HATE evil. SO, you should have a a healthy Perfecto Odio towards protestant. Those who's love of God does not redundate (translating) into a sacral hate of evil, has the love of a lukewarm person who eventually becomes a traitor.

There is plenty to learn from CATHOLIC SAINTS, rather than perfidious protestants. More than both of us combined can ever learn or imitate.

And most converts I know recognize that and hate the protestant elements that have slipped into the Church.

Mary

Using "charity" in its proper meaning of "love" rather than "alms"; it is the first meaning that is our first duty.

Love includes alms giving. It is not a matter of "rather than".

But you are using to exclude all else, as you have explicitly contrasted giving alms to preaching, and prefered the former.

Your Bible quotations explain that almsgiving is necessary. They do not explain why you are entitled to denounce a man for obeying another commandment, to go and make disciples of all nations.

Your quotation of Benedict actively undermines your case. You need a quotation that says not that almsgiving is "as essential" but one that says it is MORE essential, that it takes priority.

I note you do not explain how anyone could preach to someone not in need of material necessities.

Jarnor23

Gee, hate Protestant elements slipping into the Church. You say that with such venom I can't help but wonder if you're referring to converts as well. Or is that only if they don't agree with you that Protestants are purely evil and cannot contribute anything good at all? *sigh*

byrdele

I've been reading the many posts on whether the Church is more feminine in its approach or masculine. Actually, having been a cradle Catholic turned Evangelical turned Catholic again, I don't really find any gender spirituality in the Church. I think the Catholic Church has more to offer women than many Protestant churches. For one thing, we recognise The Blessed Mother as being the first Christian, the Ark of the New Covenant. We recognise wise and saintly women as "doctors" of the church. In the Evangelical churches, they seem to esteem women but want us in "our" place. The Catholic Church seems to encourage both men and women in every area except, for women, the priesthood and deaconate. I don't mind that. There is so much open for women in the Church that I figure that's enough, at least for me.

The first priests were men. One can argue that that was a cultural move, or that it was the way Christ set up His Church for good. Frankly, I am uneasy arguing the cultural side - what if it isn't? I'd rather stick to the true and tested.

Part of the time I was an Evangelical I was single and looking to date. Although women were "put on a pedastal" by the particular churches I was at, the guys were threatened by me because I am strong minded, opinionated and wanted to discuss topics such as philosophy and politics rather than high fashion (I do like to discuss high fashion ocassionally :) I did not fit their idea of the womanly mode. Now, in the Catholic Church, I feel like my ideas are welcomed and encouraged. I am respected much more as a person than I was in the Evangelical churches. So I guess that is why I don't really see any problem.

Although the touchy-feely part which someone mentioned - I am not physically demonstrative with people I do not know, and I really hate the sign of peace. I give it to as few people as I can because I just really don't want to be touched or touch people I don't know. It's not that they are "unclean", that is just the way I am unless it is a child. Then I am whoosey googley person who loves giving them the sign of peace. I just don't like the assumption that I want to do that. I am very private and am very private about my physical effusiveness. The same with holding hands when saying the Our Father. I resent the assumption when I go into a particular church that I want to hold hands. I don't. But I do it because if I don't, then it will offend people. Is this feminization of the Church?

byrdele

D. Martin

You wrote:
I resent the assumption when I go into a particular church that I want to hold hands. I don't. But I do it because if I don't, then it will offend people.
DM:
I agree with you on most that you wrote. On this point, I disagree with you. Don't do it, it only encourages it. I had a nun, one time, poke me all the way thru the Our Father, then she wouldn't give me the sign of peace. Gimme a break. I refuse to do something that I find as an unwarranted addition to the liturgy, particularly since Rome frowns upon it. And for that matter, so do most Bishops. I encourage you to not do it.

Is this feminization of the Church?
I was calling this feminization. I was using it in a pujorative way. I started using effiminate. But, I don't think your thoughts are effiminate or masculine or feminine... I think you are thinking clearly.

Eric

But you are using to exclude all else, as you have explicitly contrasted giving alms to preaching, and prefered the former.

No, Mary, I've expressed, as has B16, that "The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word." That is not an expression of preferring one over the other. My post expressed the importance of both, without seeking to make either "trivial" or express preference.

Your quotation of Benedict actively undermines your case. You need a quotation that says not that almsgiving is "as essential" but one that says it is MORE essential, that it takes priority.

You erroneously assumed I was saying alms giving is "MORE essential." The only "more" I used was that as B16 said, "The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word."

I note you do not explain how anyone could preach to someone not in need of material necessities.

Need comes in many levels, just as teaching comes in many forms.

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