ACTION ITEM – POLL – Card. Burke on Church becoming “feminized” UPDATE

Over Crux, the same-sex union between the Fishwrap and the secular Boston Globe (with all the same characters).

There is a poll, on the left side.. scroll down.


I, for one, agree.  Make up your own mind.

Results as of this writing…


Perhaps all of you could give them a hand over there.

UPDATE 19 Jan 2015 1623 GMT:

Well, well, well… look what happens when they get a broader base for their poll.



UPDATE 21 Jan:

It seems more people agree with Card. Burke.  It is only a small group of angry liberals who do not.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. clarinetist04 says:

    It’s so disheartening to see the awful responses to Card. Burke’s comments to the Emangelization interviewers. Any excuse to slam him and the Church – it’s getting old. I recently read two articles in the WaPo in response to the interview and it is obvious that (a) they have no idea what he is talking about or the context of the organization interviewing him and (b) did not bother to do any real journalism, that is, asking questions about things they know nothing about or researching what Card. Burke is referring to. It’s a real shame and indicative of the destitute state of modern American journalism. Let’s pray for journalists.

  2. Iacobus M says:

    The “yes” tally is now up to 42% , the “no” is down to 49%. I hope those fine folks at Crock appreciate all the traffic you’re sending their way, Fr. Z.

  3. goodone121 says:

    “Yes” has taken the lead, 46.52% to 45.90%.

  4. Michelle F says:

    I cast my vote, which was YES!, and the tally as of 10:30 p.m. EST is:

    Yes: 51.39%
    No: 41.52%
    The reality is somewhere in the middle: 7.09%

  5. Swanson says:

    Of course the church is feminized. This isn’t something that’s happened in the past 10 years, though. It’s been that way for my lifetime. Cardinal Burke does not help with his ridiculous clothing.

  6. arbogene says:

    Yes, is easy…after another 10:30AM “contemporary” liturgy of songs from the St Louis Jesuits I have decided to move on to another parish that uses the Adoremus hymnal…should try for the 12:30 EF but too late in the day normally for me. Thank you for directing me to the poll. Card. Burke could not have spoken truer words…I remember “discipline”, “black shoes”, “white shirt” underneath my altar server cassock, etc., having to memorize and recite my prayers at the foot of the altar for Fr. Keller before being given the “go ahead” to serve at Mass…and starting out at the 6:30am weekday Mass with my older brother at my side making sure I did everything RIGHT…those were the days!

  7. anilwang says:

    Obviously the answer is yes. But since western society as a whole has become more feminized, a more interesting question is, has the Church become more feminized than society at large?

  8. williamjm says:

    Hooray! 54.15% “yes”, 39.02% “no.”

    Ridiculous clothing?

  9. Bea says:

    As of 9 PM Mtn Standard Time I copied and pasted the following

    Your opinion
    Thank you for voting!
    The reality is somewhere in the middle

  10. Latin Mass Type says:

    Is Swanson (in the comment up topic) calling the traditonal vestments of the Church ridiculous?

    Images outside of Mass show his Eminence wearing a cassock just like the other cardinals.

  11. Jerry says:

    At 11:55 PM CST Sunday 1/18: Yes-61.61%; No-32.54%; middle-5.85%

  12. excalibur says:

    Just saw this, and voted.

    The ‘Z-Factor’ at work.

  13. Muv says:

    Fr. Z, I entirely agree with what Cardinal Burke has been saying, but am not convinced that feminised is the correct word. You appear to be unconvinced too, judging by your use of the inverted commas, and no doubt you have the article of Fr. Cipolla in mind, which you linked to some time ago:-

    Fr. Cipolla very eloquently shows how the word feminised is misleading and that the problem is one of emasculation, which he refers to as devirilisation.

  14. Lin says:

    Current stats…….

    Your opinion
    Thank you for voting!


    The reality is somewhere in the middle

  15. oldconvert says:

    Okay guys, I am a woman old enough to remember Vatican II as an adult, and what things were like then and what happened in the 1970s and ’80s. Even if Fr Z kicks me off his blog, I’m going to say this: Over at The New Evangelization there’s the full text of the interview with Cardinal Burke and the online comments. Of which I would say, Cardinal Burke seems to be the only one observing the “feminization” of the Church who doesn’t blame it all on the women. And I can’t resist quoting one of the replies:

    “I’m turned off by the fluffy liturgy, the experimentalism, the ugly music and especially by the horrible architecture and physical changes in churches where there is no sense of reverence or sacred.
    Maybe I am missing something, but why are women being blamed for this? It all started after Vatican Ii, and there were no women present.
    I think VatII was misinterpreted in so many ways, and it coincided with the rise in feminism, but men had the authority to make the changes, even if the ideas came from women.
    Calling VatII “ecumenical” made people think we were trying to be more Protestant.
    As a woman with no say in any of the things that are disturbing in the liturgy, I resent being blamed for the casualness, the “feel good” aspects, the outright blasphemy and mockery of sacrifice that passes for mass in some places, and if I did have a say, believe me, it would be to make the church a Sacred place for both men and women, and the Mass holy again.
    I see more of a giving in to Protestantism as the problem, more than feminism.
    If by feminists, we are talking about those militants who hate men, how did they ever attain enough political power to influence priests in the ways described by Cardinal Burke?”

    End of quote. I agree with all of that. If Catholic men don’t like the overly-obtrusive presence of women/women’s influence in the Church, then the remedy lies with them. Get off your rears and participate in parish activities (which can be extremely boring and tiring, which is possibly why women end up doing them). Get out of bed on weekdays for early Mass, and go to Church for Morning and Evening Prayers, Benediction, Adoration, Mass every Sunday and Holyday, instead of leaving it all to the women. Become a volunteer sacristan. Teach the Catechism classes instead of leaving it to the women. Go to Confession; the lines both at my Parish Church and at the Cathedral are, consistently, nearly all women. The reason so many parishes have altar girls is that they couldn’t get altar boys, and it’s hardly the girls’ fault that then even fewer boys then came forward, as Card. Burke acknowledges. In any case, surely grown men are confident enough to ignore ideas about “girly”activities, why aren’t they coming forward as servers? As for EMHCs, I won’t go there, because I don’t like them, but they were allowed because of a perceived need in some parishes, and guess what? 9 times out of 10 it is a woman.

  16. Matt Robare says:

    I don’t see how the Church has become feminized. It’s supposed to be feminine to a degree, as the Bride of Christ.

    On the contrary, I think that what’s happened is the masculinity in the West has been turned into a parody of itself. Nowadays there are only two types of men it’s acceptable to be: a hypermasculine overgrown fratboy “player” who preys on women and has no interest in family or culture because everything that’s not sports or porn is “gay.” Or, the stoner manchild with the same preoccupations at 25 or 35 as 15.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    There was a weakening of men before there was feminism. Women stepped into vacuums of power.

    That men were strong before Vatican II is a great myth. Those of us old enough to remember those days know this. A holy priest here in Ireland told me years ago that the Irish were acting like children before Vatican II, not wanting to take responsibility for the Faith, not studying, not reading, not becoming Catholic adults.

    The rushing of women into places of authority did not push men out, men either were not there, or easily stepped aside out of sloth.

    Sloth is the great sin of men here in Ireland, an Irish woman told me today, and it is the easiest thing for a man just to give up authority. That is THE primal sin of Adam. He did not take authority over Eve and caved in. Adam then blamed Eve–does this sound familiar?

    Too many men think their women will drag them into heaven-like those who do not go to church with the families, staying at home, watching sport and so on.

    I am convinced this is not a new problem but has come to a head.

    Even now there could be male leadership in parishes and in families. Where are these men?

  18. JDBenedictH says:

    The Church and the liturgy didn’t get so much feminized as neutered. When Catholics lost reverence for the Mass, the culture lost reverence for women. When the Church ceased having so many different roles for men and women, the culture sought to eliminate true sexual identity. The Church did lose masculinity, but that does not mean it gained in femininity. Now we have to work to regain both.

  19. Did my part to help the cause.

    Think Crud will take down the poll when they discover the results are not to their liking nor supporting their agenda?

  20. SS Union between Globe and Fishwrap, Bahaha! Brilliant!

    As of 1/19 10AM Yes flipped to 70%

  21. Athelstan says:

    oldconvert has a point: If this problem of a “feminized” or “effeminate” Church began back earlier in the 20th century, it was *men* who were in charge back then. And, for that matter, it is still, technically, men who are in charge of our parishes and dioceses.

    The problem has been that it has been, too often, a particular kind of man, and that has led to some rather different theological emphases in the lived reality of the Church, not just more women in the sanctuary. It’s the loss of the Four Last Things, the loss of the understanding of Sacrifice – both of the Mass, and what is required of us. And while that devolution harms both men and women, it is particularly a turnoff to men, especially young men. Just yelling at men to get their rear ends into church is not a solution, because it doesn’t fully understand the problem.

    The peripherals are just that – peripherals. Perhaps Swanson is right that excessive lace and cappas magna (I assume that these are the two things that bug Swanson) are not fitting for our age. But it must be recognized that the traditional communities where the most traditional and elaborate vestments tend to be used also have the highest vocations rates, and highest participation levels by men, from the pews on up. Something to think about.

  22. Imrahil says:

    Dear oldconvert,

    the Church did get enough altar boys when it was restricted to boys.

  23. Mike says:

    On one hand, nothing is new under the sun. Per Supertradmom.

    On the other hand, a culture is the result of innumerable choices, almost like a path in the snow trodden by many feet. In a good culture, the path leads to the light of natural reason and the light of Faith. In a corrupt culture, the path leads to a furnace.

  24. Indulgentiam says:

    Your comments denote an inept ignorance of Catholic Priestly Vestments and Catholic Tradition. If all it takes to rattle your masculinity is a Priest in a Cassock or Mass Vestments then sadly you have an underdeveloped Catholic Faith and a very weak understanding of masculinity.
    As to why the Church has become feminized I agree that men ceded the territory that was there’s to defend. It is going to take all of us working together to bring things back to the way GOD intends.
    Ladies lets not help the devil out by pointing fingers. There is enough blame to go around. Our men need our help as Our Lady so clearly models. Let us be more prayerful and less talkative. GOD will give light to the men. Let us encourage our sisters to take less of an administrative roll. No, that won’t be easy. As matter of fact that’s going to be the front line. We woman are going to get shot at, by our sisters, well…really by everyone, a lot. We’ll offer it up. I firmly believe that it is how we can do the most good. We can start by opening chapters of Sodality of Mary. Bring to spouses attention the Knights of The Altar Society. Then start a Rosary Novena with other ladies. We have the tools all we have to do is use them.

    As to the question posed above about; “where are all the men?” Their in the pews at the TLM. I see them every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation with their large families and lovely wives in tow. They give me hope. GOD bless them may their number increase! GOD bless His Eminence Cardinal Burke

    Here is a Knights of The Altar website.

    Sodality of Mary

  25. MrsMacD says:

    Okay so Supertradmum and oldconvert have brought up some good points but as a mother with boys, I can tell you right now that my enthusiastically serving sons, who attend daily 7am Mass with their Father, would not serve except that they see it as the man/boy thing to do. They also serve the NO sometimes but overhearing them talk among themselves, it’s not as ‘fun’ to serve the NO Mass as the EF Mass, and asking them outright, would they serve alongside girls, they blushed and said,”no.” They love their cassocks and my big boy one day pointed at an ornate piece of lace I bought for their play altar and said he’d like a surplice made out of that. These are tree climbing, sport playing, rugby loving, tree chopping, mischief making boys. So obviously it’s not a feminine thing. Boys can love beauty and still be boys.

    That said, if you read the life of Blessed Charles du Foucauld, you’ll see that men seeing religion as sissy isn’t a new thing. It’s a trick of the devil involving all the capital sins. Growing up in a supremely Catholic Québec my dad used to run around serving all the morning masses on his block, the congregation, even then, he informed me, was, usually, a handful of old ladies.

    Maybe they hit on a point maybe it’s not feminized so much as lazy. Father drops in at ten minutes to and chats about the sports games with the guys, shakes some hands, puts on a cheesy outfit to ‘celebrate the liturgy’ and old ladies warble kumbya as best they can while teenagers snicker, and everyone seems to think this is it, either endure or leave the church. Sometimes priests think the solution is to hire the musicians among the teens and have a teen Mass, with rock music or a children’s liturgy with stories. Father wants to promote some idea so he posts posters in the sanctuary and gets a projector to encourage participation. All this takes away from the sacred, from the sublime and people leave feeling as empty and unfulfilled as when they came in. It’s true women need to step down but men need to step up and I just can’t see it happening in the new form. Heck my four year old is being reprimanded daily for making fun of the new form. It borders on sacrilege when my boys play the new Mass but they increase their excellence, discipline, prayer and teach each other when they play the old form. It’s what naturally happens.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    For those commentators who say look in the pews of the TLMs, I answer that I was in a country for a while which has never had a regular TLM and which has had none for a year, and I have been in areas of Europe where one would have to travel 100s of miles to get to one.

    Sorry, that is not a good answer. There are too few TLMs. And, I remember a particularly excellent sermon at a TLM in 2011 when the good priest got up and literally yelled at the single men, of whom there were many, to either go into the priesthood or get married instead of wasting time.

    Leaders have to be in a place to be a leader, such as in a family or in a parish as a priest. Many young men avoid leadership on purpose. Even Catholic families are not creating men….see my many posts on peter pans, and this one on how to raise one.

  27. Uxixu says:

    But lest we all forget the purpose of the Cappa Magna:

    “The capa magna does indeed represent the finery of the world, its power and prestige. That is why after his entrance wearing it, the prelate is publicly stripped of this finery and humbled before the congregation. Then, vestment by vestment, the bishop is clothed in the new man of which St Paul speaks, including the baptismal alb, the dalmatic of charity, the stole of pardon and the chasuble of mercy. When finally clothed in Christ, the prelate makes a second entrance into the church to begin the eucharistic celebration in persona Christi, the visible head of the body, the church. ”

    It cannot be honestly discussed if divorced from that context.

  28. Uxixu says:

    Citation for the quote (Msgr. Patrick Brankin) via CCWatershed:

  29. Indulgentiam says:

    “There are too few TLMs.”
    Very true but that does not negate the fact that there are good men in the few TLM’s that exist. My point was that the world is not yet devoid of good husbands and fathers. They do exist.

    “Even Catholic families are not creating men…” well, that’s a pretty broad statement. As I’m sure you know that men are created by GOD. I assume you mean that not enough Catholic families are raising there sons to be honorable men of GOD. I agree that many are not. However there are a few that are.

  30. lmo1968 says:

    I voted for “The reality is somewhere in the middle.”
    Blaming the presence of women for a “feminized” church is unfair and demeaning to both men and women. Men are supposed to be so superior to women yet the presence of women is enough to drive them away? Men occupy all the power in the Catholic Church but the competence of women render men incapable of serving alongside them? And at the final judgment a man is going to tell God “I couldn’t go to Mass, too many women” and expect to get a pass?
    There are many spiritual problems today among both sexes: Sloth, lack of authority, desacralization, to name a few. These are complex problems that can’t be pinned on one group or another. Perhaps Cardinal Burke should have responded like Mother Theresa did when she was asked what was the biggest problem facing the Catholic Church today: She said, “Me.”

  31. Supertradmum says:

    IMO1968, sloth is huge….and a rarely spoken about sin.

    Indulgentiam, a reminder that just going to the TLM does not make a person holy. Holiness, which is necessary to be a leader in the Church, either lay or clergy, demands a full-time focus.

    The TLM can help a man or woman become holy but it does not make them such without much effort on their part.

  32. Indulgentiam says:

    I would never say that “just” going to the TLM makes one holy. I don’t believe my comments espoused such a view. However, it has been noted, by Church Fathers and Doctors, Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  33. Siculum says:


  34. SaintJude6 says:

    Over 72% now. Hurray!
    I know that at my former parishes the reason that everything had been feminized was due to the priests. Apparently out of some sense of guilt about women not being able to be priests, they hired a majority of females and put females in charge of every ministry. So all of the parish programs were not terribly appealing to men or boys, unless your boys were really into crafts and skits. (Mine would rather shoot, camp, and get dirty.)
    We now attend at TLM parish where the priests are doing everything they can to help men be men and women be women. For the Feast of the Holy Family father gave an amazing homily about what men and women need from their spouses (who says priests don’t understand marriage?), and during it he specifically talked about the need to not raise feminized boys.
    Attending the TLM doesn’t automatically make you holy, but I think it demands more of you. You are surrounded by people who are not there out of a sense of obligation (most of us have to drive quite a distance to get there), but who are truly seeking holiness. The priests are not afraid to challenge us and talk about the tough teachings of the Church. Someone who just wanted a warm and fuzzy, happy-clappy experience is not going to last long at a TLM parish.

  35. Siculum says:


    Actually, sad to say that there are a number of people out there who are at the TLM just for the silk, lace, gold, finery, music, and ceremony, maybe out of some sense of nostalgia. These same people not only shy away from, but also vehemently protest, any sort of sermon or discussion that actually gets down to the nitty-gritty of today, the “hot button issues,” the “tough teachings,” as you described them.

    Instead, these sort of people seem to just want the flowery and the happy, and want nothing that pricks their consciences at all. It’s their version of warm and fuzzy. Basically, it’s the “Church of Nice,” but in the Extraordinary Form.

    So beware. These are the sort of people that, with their loud voices, raise discord and threaten to make bad things happen for fledgling TLMs when things don’t go their way. These people are out there. And they bite.

    All I would say to you, in closing, is keep up the good work of what you and those you know are doing to serve as a counter-example to that.

  36. Siculum says:

    Hey, Uxixu. Excellent quote. Thanks for sharing that.

    “But lest we all forget the purpose of the Cappa Magna:
    “The capa magna does indeed represent the finery of the world, its power and prestige. That is why after his entrance wearing it, the prelate is publicly stripped of this finery and humbled before the congregation. [.etc. etc.] …It cannot be honestly discussed if divorced from that context.”

  37. Athelstan says:

    Hello SuperTradmum.

    There are too few TLMs.

    Yes…I think that is one thing we can all agree on.

    And as bad as it is in the States, we do have to remember that in relative terms, we live in what Luc Perrin likes to call “the Promised Land” of traditionalism.

    And, I remember a particularly excellent sermon at a TLM in 2011 when the good priest got up and literally yelled at the single men, of whom there were many, to either go into the priesthood or get married instead of wasting time.

    I expect I know what sort of young traddy man the good father had in mind, and they do exist – but I also wonder if he wasn’t painting with a broad brush (one hopes he knew his audience very, very well). If there’s a scarcity of good men who would make good Catholic husbands and fathers, there’s likewise a scarcity of good women who would make good Catholic wives and mothers. When I see young singles at a TLM I hasten not to judgment, because I know enough of us struggling to find someone.

  38. Athelstan says:


    Men occupy all the power in the Catholic Church but the competence of women render men incapable of serving alongside them?

    Sloth is a problem, to be sure. But if you have nothing on offer but therapeutic spirtuality – no discussion of the Four Last Things, no talk of sacrifice, none of the hard teachings – it’s going to be hard to keep a lot of young men in your parish. Men want and need to be challenged. (Women do too, but not always in quite the same way).


    Apparently out of some sense of guilt about women not being able to be priests, they hired a majority of females and put females in charge of every ministry. So all of the parish programs were not terribly appealing to men or boys…

    Alas, I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.

    I recommend reading Leon Podles’ The Church Impotent – available free online. It discusses how this kind of priest came to predominate in so many places, what forms him, and how it’s such a big part of the problem in the Church today.

  39. RJHighland says:

    The way I think we solve this problem is have a boys club in every parish, one like the Boy Scouts but not the Boy Scouts. One that is focused on an old School Boy Scout philosophy but infused with Traditional Catholic teaching. Back to the basics, physical fitness, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, wood shop, auto mechanics. Cutting trees down, building stuff and you couple that with all being required to participate at the altar and sing in the schola. They learn Latin, it is regimented and there is advancement. The Prior in a traditional monestary in my region once told me when young men come into his monastery. “First I must make them men, then I can make them men of God.” I call it the Dude Principle, no sissies allowed. I have the young men involve doing Roman greatings where you grap each others forearms, in our last outing we had 20 young men and their Dad’s hiking through the mountains. We make them realize real men are servants of God and His Church. It is not women that have feminized the Church it is effeminate priests and bishops that have feminized the Church and why so many dudes choose not to participate in Holy Mother Church. You have a masculine priest that boys can look up to and develope masculine altar servers in the Traditional Rite you will once again have a masculine priesthood. You keep letting your bishops develop effeminate priests the Dudes leave and your stuck with a bunch of altar girls and old ladies, most of which are lectors and extra ordinary ministers lead by Fr. Princess leading the NO mass in his pastel throw and Birkenstocks singing Kumbaya.

  40. Ben Kenobi says:

    “it’s hardly the girls’ fault that then even fewer boys then came forward, as Card. Burke acknowledges. In any case, surely grown men are confident enough to ignore ideas about “girly”activities”

    Curious. We start with, ‘women aren’t the problem’, and then end ‘surely if you were real men’, and then blame the men for refusing to participate. Let’s back that up a little bit.

    Would you be taken back if a man told you you were not a real woman? If you didn’t measure up to his model of what women ought to be?

    Would that make you more inclined to participate in parish activities if all the folks you worked with were men who said this to you? No, I sincerely doubt that would ever happen. You’d call for that man to be sacked, and would persist until he was. .

    I’ve seen plenty of folks just like you out there wondering “where are all the men”, when I’m one of the few involved and have to deal with you folks every day. Perhaps the solution is to start with affirming men rather than tearing them down. You are defensive because this struck a nerve.

  41. Ben Kenobi says:

    “when the good priest got up and literally yelled at the single men, of whom there were many, to either go into the priesthood or get married instead of wasting time.”

    Mhmm. How would you feel if he started pairing folks off, Supertradmom? Would you be offended?

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