Fr. Blake on “Manliness”. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

traditional-latin-massMy friend Fr. Ray Blake, PP in Brighton, made excellent comments about “manliness” on his blog.  HERE

I have been at a major church three times recently for some pretty important occasions, and each time only women read, and every time the female ‘music minister’ sat enthroned above [Ain’t it da truth? Sickening.] con-celebrating clergy as some sort of demi-bishop signalling to the people to turn their attention from the altar to her and join in the music, even when the celebrant sang things that would of themselves demand people participation, like “The Lord be with you”. No, I didn’t check, there might have been very good reasons for the exclusion of men from lay-ministerial positions but the fact it happened on three successive occasions just seemed to be making a point. Just so no-one can question my feminist credentials I only tend to use the Roman Canon and I always include those women at the end of the last list, chauvinists often just use EPII/III/IV, which only mention Our Lady. I don’t know if this is what people mean when they speak of feminisation of the Church, actually I think it might go deeper.

Looking around my own parish I see a lot of men who want to be manly but don’t actually know how to carry it off, the problem is mainly one of society, and the Church reflects society. However the Church does have the answers, as I said to one young man, after he had attended a friends raucous ‘Gay Pride’ party a few years ago and fled, ‘If you want to know want to know what manly love is like look at the crucifix’. Jesus is always the answer, though we might not be yet be able to form the question.

[…]

Certainly there seems to be a need to form men in the Gospel, and men today need Christ’s healing, and men feel alienated from the Church. At the back of my mind is an old adage: evangelise a mother, and she will bring with her her young children, evangelise a father and he will bring his wife and his sons and daughters and they will remain faithful.

[…]

There is a lot of risible B as in B, S as in S out there about a supposed “war on women”.  Feminists fling that manipulative rubbish out there constantly.  The real task we face is to fight the war on men and boys that is going on, in conjunction with the rise of unnatural (propagandized and manufactured) sexual “identity”.

Even if we stipulate that there is a war on women (in sense that girls and women are barraged with images that degrade them constantly and force them to conform, to become slutty or angry or coarser than faux-male), we have a war to fight on two fronts.

Men and women need to help each other be who they are meant to be!  This is especially important, I think, in the role that women have in civilizing men and helping them, inspiring them, even provoking them to be who they are hard wired to be.  If and when that breaks down, as it has nearly done now, the results will be even more horrific than we are seeing now.

The demonic division and confusion of the sexes will lead countless souls to Hell.

We must reclaim the image of God.

Our action as Catholics has to be both ad intra and ad extra.  For the ad extra dimension, what we do in our homes (the domestic church) and in the public square, we must – among other things – resist every attempt to blur improperly or unnaturally God-created gender roles (e.g., same-sex “marriage”).  We must defend the family.   For the ad intra, we must also defend marriage and family – how weird is it to have to write that – even from the church’s shepherds along with certain (especially German – it’s almost always German) theologians.

Furthermore, let me put this bluntly, we should promptly and firmly invite and guide girls and women out of our sanctuaries.

We need a return to male-only service at the altar together with ad orientem worship which underscores the transcendent aspect of our divine liturgy.

Our worship has been deeply and diabolically compromised in way that should keep all of us awake at night, apologizing to the Lord with a shiver of dread.

We are our rites.  No undertaking of renewal within the Church – at any level, including the parish – can succeed unless and until we revitalize our liturgical worship of God.  That is where we must begin.  That is what we must constantly foster and defend.

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33 Responses to Fr. Blake on “Manliness”. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

  1. Auggie says:

    Amen.

  2. Joseph-Mary says:

    There is another great article by Fr. Mason on this topic: effeminate in seminary, the forgotten vice:
    http://www.hprweb.com/2015/07/the-forgotten-vice-in-seminary-formation/

  3. Catholicity says:

    The longer the ‘war on liturgy’ drags on, the more I’m convinced that things will only change when the minds of our priests are changed. Is that slowly happening? I believe so. Easy access to good liturgy won’t happen in my lifetime, though. I just turned fifty. I remember 07/07/07 with fondness, and thought it would be a game changer overnight. The desire simply wasn’t there with the majority of priests to WANT to celebrate the “extraordinary form” and until that happens on a large scale, that good liturgy won’t be able to reform the “ordinary form.” The liturgy is the domain of priests. I sincerely don’t believe that things will get better until priests make it better. I expect that things eventually get better because the pendulum always swings back. But it won’t be a fast process.

  4. Sword40 says:

    I remember 7/7/07. I told our small Latin Mass group, “Now the fight begins in ernest”. They thought the battle was over. So here we are 8 years later and at last we find we’ve made some headway.

    Still too many diocesan priests are afraid to make the move to an ocassional EF Mass. I am constantly told that the parish isn’t ready yet. (and no effort is forth coming)

    So we travel 80 miles each way to support the FSSP. We have found that what few diocesan priest that do offer a once a month EF are soon transferred to another parish and their replacement has no interest in doing the EF Mass.

  5. Mike says:

    The liturgy is the domain of priests. I sincerely don’t believe that things will get better until priests make it better.

    They’ll make it better if we laity encourage them to by asking for (and attending) the Traditional Latin Mass, by supporting — in word and deed — the parishes that offer it and the faithful Catholics who crave it, and by witnessing to its timeless authenticity to a world that so very badly needs it.

    Having been baptized three days after the beginning of Vatican II, I am prone to impatience regarding the restoration of the patrimony that had been every Catholic’s birthright. But if the Holy Ghost deigns to challenge the faithful to restore the Mystical Body of Christ through dogged effort and even occasional tears, how can I say Non serviam!?

  6. Michelle F says:

    Kudos to Fr. Z for having the courage to say that women need to be invited “out of our sanctuaries!” Women need to understand that beginning from the time of Adam and Eve, when we see their sons offering sacrifices to God, all the way through the millennia to 1980’s Inaestimabile donum, the One and only True God never called any woman to serve Him at His altar.

    In fact, this is one of the things that distinguished the ancient Jews from the Gentiles: no priestesses.

    The Bible tells us God never changes (St. James 1:17), so there are no grounds to believe that after several thousand years, God suddenly changed His mind sometime between 1980 and 1983 (0r 1994).

    Some women seem to see gaining access to the sanctuary in political terms, as part of taking “power” away from men. Others seem to be sincerely mistaken, thinking that God has given them some kind of “calling” which they interpret as a call to serve Him in some capacity related to the work ordinarily done by men in the sanctuary. The Russian Orthodox have a term for this latter problem: it is “prelest,” which usually is interpreted “spiritual delusion.”

    Either way (power or prelest), women need to understand that God has never called any one of us to serve Him in His sanctuary (or as an EMHC who takes Communion to the sick, for that matter). Men and women are not identical; we are not interchangeable. Women need to encourage other women to give up these roles, and encourage men to take them.

  7. joan ellen says:

    Catholicity: “But it won’t be a fast process.” Agree. As a woman & a widow I need & expect men to be men…and gentlemen. They have been gentlemen for how many years now? We do need them more than ever in this chaotic world where only men know how to come to our rescue.

    In yesterdays homily Fr. said “Men need to love their wives, and that means to do what…” as he pointed to the Crucifix behind “…He did.” Many men, have done that for women. Admirably.

    To get the women out of the Sanctuary so that the Mass can reign supreme…Fr. says: “…promptly and firmly invite and guide girls and women out of our sanctuaries.” I have…told…not invited, & that’s probably the problem…how many women…for how many years we need only men in the sanctuary. They tell me I make them furious. And they dig their heels in.

    From that experience, it seems better that men do the inviting & guiding… I am going to ask the Saints above to quickly intercede for this process to happen…asap. Like this: All you angels & saints who have interest…please help men to “…invite and guide girls and women out of our sanctuaries.” sanctuary by sanctuary…asap. Thank you, again, Fr. Z.

  8. priests wife says:

    “Jesus is always the answer, though we might not be yet be able to form the question.” – isn’t that the truth!

    and about those lay people (not just women- but I understand where you are coming from) ‘swarming around’ the altar and tabernacle- can’t we do the jobs off of the altar that need to be done- and it seems like many priests give away their obligations to the altar and micromanage those things that lay people could do. It seems like everyone is trying to be what they are not

  9. Yes, Father Z. You got it.

    I can’t stand women in the Sanctuary. Its not their place. They have not that kind of authority [its elsewhere]. egad. If I see one more woman in pants, head uncovered doing the reading…I’m gonna ….gonna … keep saying the Rosary.

    Do women have to do EVERYthing? Lazy, spineless men. “let a woman do it”. These kind of men both resent the influence of women but they never step up either.

    The devil knows how to destroy society – this has worked since the Garden. Adam abdicated his authority and did what Eve, deceived by the devil, told him to. yawn. what’s new. What would have happened if Eve had turned to Adam and said “what should I do?”. lol.

    Rather than do it themselves [which I totally understand can be easier haha], great female saints pushed men to do their job, think about it [St. Catherine and the Pope, St. Joan of Arc and the King of France, come to mind]. Yes, its not just the men that fail, its the women who fail to support and encourage men in their right role.

    Admittedly, we are so far gone, how do we get back to where we were? Ah yes. Pray the Rosary. Look to your own spiritual growth, save your own soul. Pray. Pray without ceasing.

  10. joan ellen says:

    Michelle F: “In fact, this is one of the things that distinguished the ancient Jews from the Gentiles: no priestesses.”

    “The Bible tells us God never changes (St. James 1:17), so there are no grounds to believe that after several thousand years, God suddenly changed His mind sometime between 1980 and 1983 (0r 1994).”

    “Some women seem to see gaining access to the sanctuary…as part of taking “power” away from men. Others…thinking that God has given them some kind of “calling” which they interpret as a call to serve Him…” “The Russian Orthodox have a term for this latter problem: it is “prelest,” which usually is interpreted “spiritual delusion.”

    “Either way (power or prelest), women need to understand that God has never called any one of us to serve Him in His sanctuary (or as an EMHC who takes Communion to the sick, for that matter). ”

    Thank you much, Michelle.

  11. Cantor says:

    A few months ago I attended Mormon services with some friends. It was, of course, different, but it was during refreshments afterwards that my jaw hit the floor: their bishop had a mop in his hands and was cleaning the floor! I’ve not seen the like in more than six decades of Catholicism.

    Where is the example for our young men if those in collars avoid the hard work?

    When as kids we installed the football field in our new high school, the Brothers dropped by for encouragement, but (with one exception, the custodian) it was dads and boys who put it in. When it was recently replaced after half a century, they used contractors.

    At my new parish, the annual fall festival has been announcing the need for men to help with the heavy lifting. Last year, as the stupid newbie, I was the only guy there. No priest, no other men at all. Just a lot of mostly-older women who did a man’s workload.

    In my previous parish, the music director and my fellow cantor were both women who did phenomenal work. Three-fourths of the choir was women. And the bar-none best servers I’ve ever seen were a brother/sister pair of high schoolers. Personally, I’m all for the best qualified person doing the job.

    And for the record, at my current parish, when they say the rosary before Sunday Mass, it’s almost all women.

  12. Sandy says:

    Couldn’t agree more! I too saw the article Joseph-Mary mentions. I am quite confident in my womanhood, after all these decades, to be totally content to let men do the jobs they should do. Every weekend especially, women swarm the altar at various times during Holy Mass. How I often cry out to the Lord to give us back what we have lost!

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    To be totally fair, during the history of the Church, not all readings were read in the sanctuary (the ambo and the pulpit were usually well off the altar), and abbesses and some of the higher convent offices did readings fairly often (albeit in convents, and more for the Office than for Masses).

    Also, the obvious move is to bring back the clerical positions or have instituted lectors (male) who are preferably also good singers (because all the readings are really supposed to be chanted, and the psalmist is really supposed to be a good male singer who chants the psalm beautifully and brings out the meaning, because he knows the Bible well).

    That said, it is relatively easy and useful to have the choir somewhere that is obviously outside the sanctuary. If you’ve got a loft, they should be there (unless there’s some really good reason, like the floor falling apart or the acoustics of a foam box). Unless you’re singing the psalm reading, there’s no reason for anything to be sung up on the altar, even if you’re singing up front for some logistical reason. You can have a microphone set up somewhere to the side and down the steps.

    Also, I think women who hold themselves with formality and dress formally can vanish into the Mass and just make God’s message heard, rather than putting forward their own personality. It might not be ideal, for various reasons, and I do think laymen are able to pull this “vanishing act” a little easier than laywomen; but I don’t think they’re automatically bad.

  14. Federico says:

    There is a war on women.

    But it’s not in the West.

    As the Western world convulses over a dentist killing a celebrity lion, almost nobody bats an eye over the true horror of the true war on women in the Middle East.

    Of course, in the West, I would argue that a war on men is a war on women. In my opinion, men who don’t understand their true nature much more likely to be violent towards women. But, of course, the West’s answer seems to be more feminization.

  15. Bea says:

    4 females and 1 male at the altar this Sunday.
    Drives me crazy.
    2 altar girls who flip their pony tails and look at the audience (parishioners attending Mass) to see if they’re being watched or look at each other and smile as if to say: “aren’t we cute”,
    1 female reader,
    1 female extraordinary minister and
    DRUM ROLL
    1 male priest.
    At least the priest was a male.
    I feel like I’m watching “Outnumbered” on Fox News.

  16. jameeka says:

    These points have really hit home for me lately.

    I have had the privilege in the past 3 weeks, because of the annual WIlliam Byrd Festival in Portland Oregon, to attend 4 special masses, other than regular daily masses. One was a Pontifical High Mass- EF on the vigil of the Assumption, and the others were Pontifical Masses (a Requiem Mass and two other Latin OF masses ad orientem, chanted Epistles and Gospels)–I don’t know all the technical terms.

    WOW!

    When there is an all male sanctuary, what a wonder! There is reverence, solemnity, and a clear chain of authority. There is deference to the Bishop, but also tender attention to him. And the men all point to God.

    What a great example! Maybe it’s just me, but I love watching men “work”–and the liturgy is work too.

    Yes, in the past, I have seen priests and male cantors who have been flamboyant and effeminate–they do not attract anyone, especially other males, as they are not pointing God but to themselves, even if they seem unaware.

    So, to echo Auggie, Amen.

  17. Felicia says:

    One needs to explain *why* it is not proper for women to be in the sanctuary. For years we have been told by the Church that we must have “full active participation” which has been interpreted as the laity *must* take on as much of the priestly roles as possible, readers, EMHC, pastoral councils, etc. If you are a real, on-fire, Catholic you will participate in as many of these as possible; simply to sit in the pews, we have been told, is to be a second-rate Catholic. What is the value of being a pew-sitter? This needs explaining. Perhaps we need a “lay pride” movement!

  18. oldconvert says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Cantor and the others who point out the lack of male volunteers. I personally dislike women in the sanctuary, particularly women EMHCs – especially when there are only three or four in the congregation anyway! But, and here’s the rub, in the churches I know, the parish priests have made repeated appeals, both verbally and through newslewtters and the internet, for volunteers and it is always women who come forward. Yet these parishes are full of retired men, atleast some of whom presumably could easily spare the time. And it is the girl altar servers who come in regularly for weekday masses during their school holidays, not the boys, who appear only on Sundays or for the Saturday Vigil masses.

    Look, guys, if you want Father to disinvite these females, be very sure you are willing to step up to the plate yourselves, or Father will say Mass unassisted, and will probably end up laundering the altar linen etc by himself too.

  19. catholictrad says:

    Martha versus Mary. Who pursued the “better part”?

    Actively listening and actively praying ARE active participation.

    How do I participate? I have Father’s ‘six’, praying that he be the priest that God demands and that we need. And pleading with God that others have the same kind of priest that we are so thankful to have. Praying that God will accept our humble sacrifice with Christ.

  20. @ Felicia, who said, “One needs to explain *why* it is not proper for women to be in the sanctuary.”

    Maybe this article will help.
    http://www.onepeterfive.com/should-women-be-lectors-at-mass/

  21. The Astronomer says:

    Right on target. I’m fortunate enough to have an EF parish about 20 miles away. My local OF parish is only 5 minutes away; however, each time I attend a service there, I squirm. The female cantor assumes the role of a frustrated opera diva, singing in a soprano-alto voice and yearningly gesturing with her body language for the congregation to join her. the result? Elderly couples mumble along and some women in the church join with her singing “On Eagles Wings” or “Hear I Am, Lord.”

    The men??? They’re usually only there because their wives poked them out of bed along with the kids. The guys have the battlefield thousand-yard-stare on their face, usually daydreaming of the afternoon ESPN schedule. Manliness and virility are absent in 99% of OF parishes. When I’m forced to confront OF silliness, I usually sit in the back with my combat Rosary and skeedaddle when it’s over.

    I’m constantly spiritually troubled by dwelling on the following question after attending this disrespectful silliness: am I consoling the Lord Jesus by quiet, respectful presence in the midst of the effeminate silliness or am I silently participating by my attendance at a spiritual version of the Scourging at the Pillar???

  22. frjim4321 says:

    Or you could just go all the way and simply stop baptizing them.

  23. For years we have been told by the Church that we must have “full active participation”

    Perhaps we need to be reminded that the term “active participation”–actuosa participatio as introduced by Pius X and recommended by Vatican II–referred not to moving around and doing things, but being prayerfully engaged in the Mass, uniting oneself fully with the prayers of the priest at the altar.

    Is not moving around and doing things actually a distraction to interior prayer, and thus to “active participation”? For instance, I’ve always found it difficult when serving at the altar in the TLM to participate as when praying the Mass in the pew (because of the other things an altar server or MC must concentrate on). Even just serving as usher and taking up the offering may prevent one from praying the offertory prayers. I recall hearing a choir member saying that, in addition to serving at one Sunday Mass, she often attended an additional Mass so as to participate prayerfully, as she could not when singing.

  24. Worm-120 says:

    I was raised by my Mom in the faith, and I never really gave this topic much thought until a devout family friend became more involved in my life. My Dad is a good man but he’s not religious and its immposible to talk to him about my doubts, struggles and confusion, because he doesn’t have a lifetime of living the Faith, and he’s coming at it from a completely different angle. It’s the first time I’ve had a man teaching me about the faith, and while it was definitely shelshocking, ( seriously I don’t think I’ve ever been so bluntly informed that we’re going to confession period), it did fill a void for me, so you might need a logical discussion to convince the older generation, but for the younger generation all you really need to do is fill in for a Dad that can’t or whon’t fill that void.

  25. Michael_Thoma says:

    Felicia,

    In many places in the Catholic and Orthodox world, there are precisely that, ‘Lay Pride Parades’ – pride in their Apostolic Church, the Saints, their faith proclaimed (gasp) publicly! Lay men, lay women, children all lead the ‘outside the Church’ parts and do so with fervour: http://www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2014/05-05/inthisissue19.htm

    Rarely, this is seen in the US, among Eastern Catholics, many Hispanic and Italian and Philippino cultures, among Orthodox:http://youtube.com/watch?v=_hVfTdQ7E5E

    One finds much less amusement among laity and unconsecrated persons wanting to play the priest’s role among these, since they already have an outlet for their expression of faith.

    In fact, clergy could never organize as well as laymen, in these processions and public events. Priests and bishops can do better within the Liturgy, should they retain any sense of beauty. Leave the clerical stuff to the clerics and the lay stuff of laymen and all is well.

  26. Bea says:

    When “active participation” was first pointed out (I’m giving my age away), it was to teach the laity that they must follow the Mass actively in our prayers. “They” were trying to dissuade people from saying the rosary or doing novenas or following their own personal devotions during Mass time, but to actively participate in the Mass by following the prayers of the Mass and immersing themselves in them and the true purpose of the Mass and its prayers.

    So much for original intent of movements.
    This also holds true for so many Orders that have lost their way by not following the intentions of the founding fathers of their Orders .

  27. Nan says:

    My active participation in Mass used to be in assisting to launder and iron small linens used for Mass, such as purificators, corporals and amices. I haven’t done that in a few years for many reasons but I was asked to iron one evening and agreed, reluctntly, to do so. At the time, my mom was in a coma after having a stroke and I was stressed out and didn’t want to be in the Sacristy. By the time I had ironed my last purificator, I was relaxed and happy that I’d ironed; I was left alone, behind the altar where Christ was in the Tabernacle.

    My parish is always looking for more EMHCs and readers for Mass, especially the Mass I go to. It’s a big parish so there is a need; however, I haven’t stepped up to assist because I don’t think women belong in the Sanctuary. The only thing I can point to is that isn’t how it was done when I was 7 so I’m not interested.

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  29. WYMiriam says:

    I think the best quote from Fr. Blake is this (my ellipsis and emphasis):

    “However the Church does have the answers, as I said to one young man, after he had attended a friends raucous ‘Gay Pride’ party a few years ago and fled, ‘If you […] want to know what manly love is like look at the crucifix’. Jesus is always the answer, though we might not be yet be able to form the question.”

  30. chantgirl says:

    Cantor- One could argue that Mary would have been the best choice for a priest because of her holiness, yet Jesus did not ask. His female disciples showed much more loyalty, courage, and compassion during the Crucifixion, and before the Resurrection, yet Jesus didn’t ask them to be priests. Before anyone says that Jesus was just following social conventions of the time, Jesus broke with other conventions right and left, so I don’t think that argument holds any water. Jesus chose physical things to give grace to us in the sacraments when He could have given us grace in an invisible way. He chose to have us confess to creatures instead of just uttering silent prayers to God. We are physical beings, and it appears that sometimes God sees more importance and significance in the physical than we really understand. The secular world rejects the physical realities of life as inconsequential- arguing that there is no difference between men and women, that people may choose their own sex and manipulate their bodies like clay to that end, that it does not matter what people do with their bodies behind closed doors, that men and women are interchangeable as parents, etc. Jesus taught His disciple to pray to God as Father. There must be more significance to the physical world than we really understand, and that includes the spiritual differences between male and female.

  31. hmf10 says:

    Adam was created first. He IS the species. Eve is the companion, the helpmate. Men are just plain taller, larger, stronger, have deep voices. Physically, they are the best representatives to lead. It’s easy to see why men alone most fittingly fill the role of the priest. They must try to bridge the gap between all of us and God. A true representative offering sacrifice must play the active role, BE the species, lead the people. Naturally it has to be a man. Surrounded by men, who all hopefully really know what they’re doing. This says nothing, of course, about how holy women can or cannot be. It just says our holiness does not consist in being in the Sanctuary. So what? I never understood all the fuss. If you have a problem with only men in the Sanctuary, then what you really have is a problem with God and how He created us (male and female). Good luck with that.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Physically, they are the best representatives to lead. It’s easy to see why men alone most fittingly fill the role of the priest. They must try to bridge the gap between all of us and God. A true representative offering sacrifice must play the active role, BE the species, lead the people. Naturally it has to be a man.”

    Actually, the Pulitzer Prize winning author (and Catholic convert) Annie Dillard wrote:

    “On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.”

    “The higher Christian churches–where, if anywhere, I belong–come at God with an unwarranted air of professionalism, with authority and pomp, as though they knew what they were doing, as though people in themselves were an appropriate set of creatures to have dealings with God. I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed. In the high churches they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a strand of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it any minute. This is the beginning of wisdom.”

    The reason men are called to lead is because they are the portion of the species it is best to allow to be killed, should something go wrong. Each woman is responsible for one child (usually) at a time during conception, but one man can cause the conception of 200 children in the time it takes one woman to have a child, if he is promiscuous – no matter how promiscuous a woman is, she can only cause the conception of one child at a time. Therefore, men aren’t really all that important, from a particularly selfish point of view. That is why men are the natural ones to offer sacrifices – not because they are the strongest, but because they are the most expendable.

    The Chicken