Thursday, April 09, 2015

More reasons why men don't go to Mass. Seriously.

They will when they need to...

Fr. Z has a post up.

It's interesting.  The blame seems to be placed upon all the abuses generated by the Novus Ordo - leading to the marketable conclusion: Save the liturgy, save the world.

That's an idea!

But are men ever asked why they don't go to Mass or participate in church related activities outside of  a Wiffle Ball Tournament?  Are their wives ever asked?

I know some guys.

I'll list a few reasons I've heard.

"What for?"
Oddly enough, that's a real question.  The men work - more often than not, the wife does too.  They share housework, yard work, chauffeuring kids to various activities and events and are too tired to be bothered.  They are 'spiritual' and they make it to Mass on Sunday, they tithe and donate - they may even show up for donuts and coffee if they have kids in the parish school.  If they are really generous, they may even volunteer for the parish festival.  But that's a lot.  Men do more family-wise than men of former generations, they play with the kids, take them to the park - they do a lot.  Church isn't a priority.

"The sex scandal."
Like it or not, that's still a big one.  Men hold back donations and don't want to go to Mass because of it.  This takes us back to, "What for?"  Not a few lost what trust they had in the clergy.  

"All they want is money."
Because that is what it often sounds like.  Special collections for this and that and weekly collections ... This takes us back to "What for?" and "They lost what trust they had in the clergy."  They've also gone through too many remodels.  Then there are "priests online" who always seem to be upping their donation goal meter.  It's a pattern.

"Too many women involved.  Too many women running things."
Women with degrees.  They are everywhere - frequently religious women are indistinguishable from lay women.  Paid staff demands volunteer staff to direct.  They also need men to do the hard stuff - but the woman is in charge.  Kinda/sorta.  Women and men like them isn't a big draw for guys - unless dad still has kids in school and is required to participate in certain activities.  Church ladies can be loquacious.  Loquaciousness leads to gossip, complaining, rivalry and so on.  Men do that too of course - but  it's different - unless they've already been feminized.
"Church is a woman's thing."
See above.

The Liturgy and the homily.
Review all of the above.  Read: Banal?  Boring?  Just doesn't 'feel' holy?  Maybe.  So I think I can agree with Fr. Z to some extent.  Nevertheless - it can't be just that.  There is nothing wrong with the Ordinary Form properly celebrated, and there is nothing boring, nothing missing from the simplest Mass - men in the armed forces can attest to that. 

Guys may not say that it is secularism, but they will point out that you can do other things and still be a good person.  You can donate to charities, volunteer elsewhere; such as non-denominational/non-religious/non-profit organizations.  If you live a good life, help others, believe in God or some higher power, recycle and strive to live a green life - doing no harm to others - that's pretty good.  It's totally spiritual - and it's God-like. 

Go out to meet them where they are.


  1. I can't say why some men don't go to mass, I never would stop no matter how miserable it became because all those reason are accidental.

    But I really do detest the girlishness of it all. When it comes down to it, even most of the more manly priests are rather girly. Ditching the altar-babes, broads in spandex reading the epistle and handing out communion with a smile like they're serving a slice of cake as well as the smarmy music and smarmy priest antics would go a long way towards giving the Mass a manly dignity it now lacks.

    1. I agree - no matter how bad - I'd still go - #1 we owe God our worship and thanksgiving, #2 the Eucharist - the body, blood, soul and divinity.

      That said - the smiley face handing out communion like they are serving a piece of cake is right on.

      When I returned to my parish after going for years to St. Agnes in St. Paul - Fr. Z's home base - I remember being so disoriented by the commotion at Mass that when I approached communion, the young woman distributing smiled so big as if she hadn't seen me for a long time - while saying "Body of Christ" I actually responded - "Hi - thanks!" No kidding. It was like an auto reply when receiving change at a cash out.

      So anyway - I know what you are saying.

  2. This isn't a novus ordo problem. Read parish priest, biography of Fr. Michael McGivney, his response to men not going to church because it was too feminine was to found the Knights of Columbus. Z needs to step up his game.

    What about a St. Gabriel Possenti shooting team?


    1. You are absolutely right - you can't blame it on the Novus Ordo. I think a couple of priests actually have clubs like that - Fr. Duffner used to have a gun club or something.

  3. One of the things is..and I think this is kind of that I think women are just more contemplative and "spiritual," then men are. Not that there aren't men that are like that and not that they are feminine....(some are..okay..a lot are...doesn't mean they are gay..some straight guys are just girly too..but some aren't) but I think as a whole, women are more wired to be more spiritual. No matter what in Mass I think most guys are thinking "I have to do this or that.".instead of focusing on the that is how guys are made.

    And let's face it..sometimes..Mass is kind of boring and you aren't in the mood (doesn't make it right, I am just saying what a lot of guys would say) you work all week long and then you have to sit quietly (which guys arent good at,) when you could be sleeping, working out, playing some sports, working at home, or just drinking coffee and reading the paper alone with out kids or a wife rabbering on.

    I don't think the Latin Mass is anymore masculine then the ordinary ways it is more feminine as it is formal and theatrical, etc. That is just Z Pac looking for something to have a "Spittle Flecked Nutty" about and a reaction to the whole "gay thing," that people like he are obsessed with and need to somehow distance themselves from that and also as if all the ills of the world were created by Vatican II.

    1. Yep. Your second paragraph is a huge reason.

      The NO isn't the problem - in my opinion. The 'High Mass' with lots of stuff going on doesn't seem to me to be the answer either - way too long, too much going on, and a lot of fuss.

    2. Dear Mack,
      I have read similar comments about the old mass being feminine over at praytell blog, usually by self-avowed homosexuals. I take it you didn't follow my long URL out to the image, but it is of a fully vested priest on the battlefield at Iwo jima (perhaps too feminine in your opinion?). I really think defenders of the new liturgy owe it to all of us to explain why its advent brought with it à disastrous decline in mass attendance across all demographics (not just men)

    3. KC - the cultural/moral collapse was well in progress before the reform of the liturgy.

    4. Yes, Terry, I' m sure you are right about that :-(
      But by recognizing that you pretty much concede that the reforms were engendered by and reflective of the moral collapse, no? :-(
      Please pray for me!

    5. Of course I pray for you and will continue to - please pray for me as well.

      I'm not sure the Mass is to blame. You know St. Agnes in St. Paul always celebrated the Ordinary Form, in Latin, with great dignity and solemnity.

      Moral teaching failed in Catholic institutions and all of that - and serious abuses and innovation infected the Ordinary Form - so in that sense, yes - men and women abandoned ship. It's complicated, isn't it. It's an endless discussion.

      I was simply pointing out what I have heard from friends as to why they don't go to Mass.

      I love the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form - but I'm not at all interested in attending Pontifical Masses at the Throne or whatever.

    6. Dear Kneeling Catholic,

      I have no horse in this race...I like both Masses and avoid the weird Traddie vs. Ordinary arguments. Sometimes I like a Latin Mass sometimes I like a "regular," Mass. While I am an "avowed," homosexual (though I don't recall taking vows on it) I myself am a man and grew up Catholic and have many Catholic "avowed," straight friends who do indeed find the Latin Mass a little over the top. What is the "new" liturgy for you, is what we grew up with.

      I don't follow URLs that long and this is the first I think I ever saw of you so better safe then sorry. However, with your snippy comments you have indeed provided me with yet another example of the rabid Latin Mass group at least on the net, seem defensive,humorless, brittle, and yes..bitchy. That's not going to attract a lot of straight normal guys..(or any queens for that matter, there are no cocktails being served...)

    7. Mack, What can I say? I wasn't trying to be humrous, but neither was I trying to be bitchy! So I guess I'm batting 500? :-) At any rate I do apologize for the latter! Terry is already praying for me. Probably that i will someday learn humility and tact. I would be very obliged if maybe you could say one little Hail Mary for me (or one big te deum, with incense :-)! )

  4. +JMJ+

    I find it interesting that blog posts about "manly" Masses usually have images of military chaplains and all-male congregations. I get it, of course . . . but now that militaries all over the world are becoming feminist havens, we may lose this imagery as well.

    1. We like the image. No women allowed. It's a boy's club. LOL!

      Actually, most military chaplains I know are the ideal priest - in my opinion. For straight and gay and all types in between. A priest who is down to earth - like the Pope actually - is a big draw for ordinary men.

      Francis used to go into the neighborhoods and talk to ordinary people - he wasn't aloof - expecting everyone to show up at 'court' to seek his attention.

      He didn't ask for money or tell people, 'you can't be Catholic and _____."

      When I was little, my parents were always at one corner bar or another in the neighborhood. Every once in a while, the parish priest came in with someone in the parish and had a sandwich or a beer. He talked to every one. He was a very good, holy priest. The parish had men doing stuff in it, families donating everything. It was Italian - but I don't think that makes a difference - it was the relationships Father forged.

    2. Interesting you say that. and this is where Zzzzzzz misses the mark. He seems to always be trying to rub shoulders with this high ranking person or that one and taking pics of them and posting them and then taking pics of his food and raving about the expensive places he has gone (interesting I never really see a pic of him uh, being a priest) or as my Mom would say, "Putting on airs," and most "guys" are like..."Who cares?"

      Pope Francis, I can see sitting at my dinner table and having wine and talking about "stuff," for hours and he would have interesting things to say and be funny and self deprecating and you could discuss from different sides issues without him saying "Thou are going straight to Satan." Those are the types of guys that men are comfortable with.

      I grew up with priests like you are talking about..I grew up in a town where everyone really knows everyone and even non Catholics knew "Father Don," etc and my Dad who is not Catholic would go golfing and have a "beer or two," afterwards and he was not one to care if someone had a collar on just if they were "good men."

    3. That's what I'm talking about. Yep.

      I also think that is what the Pope is saying when he says: "The priest should smell like his sheep."

  5. Here's a good image

    1. That's a big URL and a fantastic image! Thanks KC!

  6. It might be a midwest thing because here on my home turf in So Cal. I have yet to see a Mass full of women only unless it be a retreat for women only. At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, it is all Spanish Masses and they celebrate eight Masses on Sundays and two every day of the week and I have never seen the Masses wanting for lack of men. The male parishioners have a thriving Usher program and Knights of Columbus too. They are all gentlemen and serve at Mass with what I have only ever seen as great respect and reverence. We have four priests and three deacons...who can we be lacking men of faith?
    Novus Ordo Mass too...all of them!

    At Church of the Nativity, more women than men serve there but I still see a good number of men attending Mass and some have been there for years.

    "Fr. Z has a post up"

    No offense but when I saw that it was all I needed to not got there. Nan and MM pretty much have said what I too agree with.


    I have watched a few Masses from the midwest - on the Internet - when I could not get to Mass on Sundays. The televised Masses full of women with a only few men. The women are looking into the camera all smiles and as if to say, "look at me." I have to close my eyes in those moments since I find it distracting and annoying. Most of the readers and servers are women too.

    As long as the Mass is reverent and faithful, I do not see that as a problem but it can make one wonder about the Midwest....where are los hombres? ;p

    If men are "bored" well, they need to do a little soul searching +or look to the giants of the faith and follow their example if they can get beyond that boredom. ^^

    1. Excellent - thanks Yaya! Eight Masses on Sunday - packing them in! Praise God!

    2. After reading your response dear Terry, this came to me:

      La Morenita draws men to herself much like she did San Juan Diego. The large image of the Virgen de Guadalupe in our parish is an exact replica of the original that hangs in Mexico City.
      I know that many hombres of faith love her dearly. ^^

      Have a wonderful day everyone!

      May the Virgin of Tepeyac keep you safe and faithful always!

    3. You are correct. "La Morenita draws men to herself much like she did San Juan Diego."

      I agree - Our Lady is the best Evangelist.

    4. I've seen it in Southern Cal.

      When I was in college years back I would on occasion attend the Mexican Mass in Santa Paula where the men would all stand around outside drinking beer while the women were inside at Mass.

    5. That is not the So. Cal I know and love. I bet if you came to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church you would have to delete your comment. The men of my parish as I have seen them since I was a kid, represent themselves as faithful, loyal, and devoted to our Lady and to our parish.

      BTW... Santa Paula is Ventura County not So. Cal. They do things different there from what I have seen and have been told. ;p

    6. Yaya, I read a lot of Z when I was finding my way to Mass. He has good, solid information but his combox is the snarkiest place on earth. He foments dissent because it's good for stats and donations. The only problem I have with him is that he goes out of his way to create controversy; the church has more than one form of Mass and there's no reason to look down on the more recent form unless there are liturgial abuses. Otherwise, his information is solid and when I didn't know where to turn and was terrified of the priests, his site helped me a lot.

      The more my catechesis developed and the more firm my foundation became, the less I liked his site. But he fills a need for those who feel they're alone in their parish, if not their diocese, in their preference for a more traditional Mass. Yet I've heard a priest, at a talk, allude to him and one of his catchphrases.

    7. I used to visit his site lots too, in the past, Nan. Your description is spot on. I left his "community" over a year ago and no longer visit. I stopped especially after Papa Francis was elected pope because I did not care for all the negativity as it did nothing to boost my faith walk and he really did nothing to stop the negative comments in his combox regarding our Holy Father.

      May those who seek him (Z) to fill a void, find Christ, the source and summit of all that is good.

  7. I've always found it interesting, this idea that the Church is "full of women" because of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and that somehow men can be drawn back if only the "Liturgy were saved". To those who have this view, I hold up the Liturgy as celebrated by the Eastern Catholic and, of course, our Orthodox brethren. Their various Eucharistic Liturgies have been virtually unchanged in over a 1,000 years, and are resplendent in many ways. However, attend any Liturgy in an Eastern Rite or Orthodox parish and you will notice that the (often vast) majority of people are...wait for it...women!

    I respect that Fr. Zuhlsdorf is trying to "save the Liturgy" but to propose the idea that the reason men do not attend Mass more regularly is because the Liturgy has been 'feminised' is both baseless and insulting.

    Like Yaya and Nan, I stopped visiting Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog. I was always a tad uncomfortable with his ecclesiastical history (asked to leave 2 seminaries, finally being ordained for an Italian diocese - but serving in the US rather than the people in that Italian diocese) and the un-Christ-like comments were a vexation to my soul. However, the icing on the cake was in the run up to last Christmas, when I read his 'wish list' for things he would like his fans to buy him. The man has very - and I do mean very - expensive taste. No wonder he isn't keen on the current Holy Father. I echo Yaya's prayer that those who visit his site may experience Christ; sadly, that was never the case for me.

  8. Dear Alban,
    >>> However, attend any Liturgy in an Eastern Rite or Orthodox parish and you will notice that the (often vast) majority of people are...wait for it...women!<<<<

    I'm afraid you are wrong about that,, the Russian Orthodox are undergoing a revival in Russia, sans guitars, sans pop music, sans versus populum liturgy, sans hand Communion.

    1. Dear Kneeling Catholic (love the name).

      I would love to have been proved wrong on this matter; truly. The brief video is beautiful. However, it would appear that the reason so many men were present was because it was one to which the military had been invited rather than a regular Sunday Liturgy. As they say, one swallow does not a summer make. You and I will, I am sure, agree that the revival of religious practice in Russia is something in which to rejoice (though, I have concerns about Tsar Putin's influence).

    2. Thanks for taking the time to watch! Your point is taken on whether or not one video is representative of the general situation. Really it was just a trick to see if you would be moved, as I was, by that video. There are many more, if we really wanted to investigate the matter further we could probably get an idea as to whether or not the orthodox revival is lopsidedly feminine.

      Pope Francis' favorite English author, R.H.Bension did remark in one of his books how the Anglicans (he was once one) were never able to reach the poor until the Anglo Catholic's reintroduced mystery and incense into Anglican worship. These things defy one sentence explanations, but it is apparent that formality, mystery, ritualism, rubrics have a much broader appeal than the VII iconoclasts--who have been running things for the past 50 years--have lead us to believe.

    3. Alban and all,

      Here's one more for Orthodox video for good measure... Since you mention the Putin effect, it speaks to that. Putin seems to speak spontaneously, without even a teleprompter, about visiting the church where he was baptized...around 8:20 of the video, you can see the crowds at an outdoor celebration called by the Patriarch, take some screen shots and evaluate for yourself if it is just a bunch of 'babushkas' :-)

  9. Self-reported reasons that people don't do things they know they SHOULD do are notoriously unreliable.
    Who's gonna say, "I'd rather drink a lot the night before, and then nurse my hangover"?
    Or, "Dang! PANTS??!??!?@?#?$???? on a SUNDAY??!??@?? No way!"

    "it is more feminine as it is formal"
    My opinion may be worthless on this, (I'm an XX,) but I think formality actuall lessens the girliness.
    Formality helps guarantee that participants know what the blazes is going to happen - nobody is going to ask you to get up and join in that swell song they used for the 1st graders "and they all loved it!", with the itsy-bitsy spider hand motions.
    Nobody's going to twirl down the aisle.
    Nobody will ask you to hug your pew-mate.
    Nobody is going to ask you to extend your hand as if you're a participant at the Congress in Nuremburg.
    Nobody will announce, "Today our second reading is taken from Kahlil Gibran."
    Nobody wil urge you to "pray to the Lord' in support of some whack General Intercessions the liturgy committee fabricated.

    The detachment that formality preserves is a God-send to us non-touchy feely types.


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