Thursday, September 7, 2017

Visible women and invisible men. . .

Reading through a number of traditional Roman Catholic bloggers you find a common correlation between the lack of priests and the visible role of women (and girls) in the chancel.  Actually it is more than that.  It is the blaming of girl acolytes and women reading lessons and acting as extraordinary Eucharistic ministers as the reason for an absence of men in the priesthood and in the pews.

While I am not justifying in any way Rome's choices or practices, it is naive and simplistic to assume that the presence of these women is the reason for the absence of men.  Are they related?  Of course they are.  But not in a simple causal way.  While it is true that some women have pushed and shoved their way into the chancel (radical equality and feminism are not without voice or influence), the source of the problem lies not with women but with men.

A long time before women showed up routinely as acolytes or in the extraordinary roles invented because of the shortage of priests, men began to absent themselves from the church and from their roles as the spiritual leaders of their families.  This had profound impact upon vocations to the priesthood for Rome.  It left a void that would inevitably be filled by well-meaning women.  The Church sought to deal with the need more by widening the services women could provide within the chancel rather than dealing with the elephant in the room -- renewing the role of men as husbands, fathers, spiritual leaders in the home, and spiritual leaders in the church.  It is far too easy to think that girl acolytes and women serving in assisting roles to a declining number of priests is the primary problem.  It is a symptom of a larger problem and it parallels the greater issue but it is not a simple cause and effect.

So I disagree with the post below.  The source is a Roman Catholic blogger.
Growing number of women in the sanctuary.  Shrinking number of ordinations to the priesthood. Is there a correlation?  Sure there is. It is not just the presence of the women, it’s the womanish attitude of the clergy which repulses young men who would otherwise consider priesthood.

There are legitimate concerns being raised but to read this as women bullying men out of their roles as leaders of the home and of the church would be simplistic and wrong.  Everyone knows Christianity went through a period of "feminization" in which feelings trumped doctrine and truth, emotion was mistaken for faith, and the focus of the faith was horizontal instead of vertical.  Were these contributing factors?  Yes, they were.  Were they causal.  Probably not.  Men did not step up to their roles in the home and in the church.  This is the problem, then and now.  Where men attend faithfully and frequently, where husbands are the spiritual leaders of their families, where fathers offer their sons and daughters a good example of faith, the children have a very high probability of keeping the faith and being active Christians throughout their lives.  That was and is the real issue.

Rome not only needs to remember this.  Lutherans do as well. 


Carl Vehse said...

"Rome not only needs to remember this. Lutherans do as well."

Bylaw 1.8 prevents an LCMS-rostered member from making the analogous statement: "Rome not only needs to remember this. The Purple Palace does as well."

Anonymous said...

Although the service direction (man to God, not God to man) is backwards, the same problem applies to just about every church and church organization outside of Rome and the other orthodox fellowships. I have nothing but personal observation, and the confirmation of a male or two I've queried. What I see is that men have for a long time looked at church as a place for women. Whether the chicken or the egg came first is open to debate. Did men abdicate, or did women push them out? Who opened the first vacancy? Whichever, it is now a spiraling cycle which we can only hope will end.

My observation? Men seem to back away from difficult tasks (and yes, the Liturgy and service in Christ's Church is demanding). If someone else will step into the position, they will move out. This seems to be true of non-church chores as well. When women see men unwilling to do, they will step in. I'm NOT saying women are blameless in this. The curse, after all was for the woman to want to take the man's place.

So it seems when men abdicate, women have no struggle to step in. When men stay in their places, women will do their darndest to push them out.

What we have here is a sinful result of the Fall, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Here is the truth of the matter:

The Roman Catholic demands a celibate clergy and forbids them to marry.
To forbid marriage to the priests is against the Biblical requirement
that the pastor must be the husband of one wife and know how to manage
his own household if he is going to lead a congregation.

In the 21st century young Roman Catholic men will not chose to become
priests, instead they want to be married and raise a family.

Padre Dave Poedel said...

Back in the early 1970’s I was a medic in the Air Force and a devout Roman Catholic. When I mentioned to the Roman Catholic Chaplain after Mass that I felt my vocation at age 7 and I was still pulled to seminary and the priesthood. My Chalain told me to become a Lutheran, that way I could become a priest and have a family. I had forgotten about this conversation until long after I became a Lutheran. Recalling the conversation, I remember the priest (Chaplain) telling me that the seminaries are not a healthy place for heterosexual men. Perhaps this conversation was a gift to me, and perhaps to the LCMS......