Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Mass itself is made soft and effeminate – neither masculine nor feminine. - A. Esolen



Fr. Z endorses Esolen's latest article for The Catholic Thing, praising him for another clear-eyed piece about effeminacy in the Church.  I love posts like that.  Solving the problem of effeminacy in the Church - it's such an easy fix.  Academics seem to have it all figured out.

So anyway, one would think these guys would be able to point out the origins of the problem - but they won't do it - because Esolen needs to keep his job.  It's also more convenient to blame the homosexuals and the 'queering' of the Church.  It is a problem of course, but it isn't the only problem...

Yesterday I came across a post shared by Janet Smith on modesty in dress for Mass.  Dr. Smith posted this image she shared from another FB page:

Subsequent comments were interesting, and in the defense of pants for women.  I love posts like that - especially in contrast with posts such as Fr. Z's and Esolen's.  Among other women responders, Rachel Lu also commented on Janet's post:

Rachel Lu I normally prefer for women to wear skirts and dresses to Mass (which is what I myself generally do) but not because slacks are *immodest*. They are not. And I think they should get a pass sometimes for non-Sunday Masses and maybe on very cold winter days.
Other's said they never knew anyone considered pants to be immodest.  

Like I said, I love it when these discussions arise online.  On one level because people pay too much attention to what other people wear to Mass - if you live in really big cities, no one cares or notices, because those in attendance can be so diverse.  Small town minded folk pay a great deal of attention, and it's annoying to encounter them.  That said - 'who am I to judge?'  Better yet - 'who are they?'  I digress.

Can pants be immodest?  Yep.  But there is another problem, maybe more serious and culture changing and directly related to the pansification of Catholic men.  Two birds with one shot takes down both arguments.  Women want to wear pants, women and men want a masculine clergy and liturgy, women want a greater role and influence in the Church.  Women want what men are having...

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Or is there?  Because everyone bitches about it.  Trads and academics lament the gays and the limitations placed upon women who insist upon dressing and acting like men.  (And I laugh!)  It's true though - which is why I enjoy jumping on this subject with Cardinal Siri's notice against women wearing pants - or dressing like men.  It seems more relevant today than ever when men's fashions are changing and becoming more effeminate than ever.

Women wearing men’s clothing tends to corrupt the relations between the sexes.

Cardinal Siri spoke out against it before the pill was introduced, before abortion was legalized, before 'no-fault' divorce, and so on.  And way before LGBTQ rights.  Remember the time Professor?  "Do you remember a time, readers, when you could spend a whole day, actually a whole month, occasionally even a year, and not give one passing thought to the issue of sexual perversions?"

Remember the time?

Can't have it both ways - or can you?

Just saying.  I do enjoy throwing it back at 'them'.  I mean, what are they going to do about it?  How, what do they think these laments accomplish?  Was Cardinal Siri a prophet?  Trads think he should have been pope - others think he was pope - and haven't had one since.  (And I laugh!)  Seriously, what is blame game?  What does it accomplish?  Why such lamentation?

So let's review the Siri notice, and then explain why you think the Liturgy and the priesthood is so effeminate while the women in our lives wear (the) pants?  (And I laugh!)

Requiem for Cardinal Siri
Séminaire de Gricigliano - ICRSP
I'm thinking the ICRSP might agree with the following.

Cardinal Siri.

In 1960 Cardinal Siri advised the clergy and faithful of Genoa regarding immodest fashions for women, including wearing men's clothing - trousers.  In view of these adaptations assumed by women and how they dress, is it any wonder that gender ideology has emerged as a result?  Or transvestism by gays and lesbians?  Or the fact that women let themselves go and become morbidly obese - much like Burgermeisters of old?

I. The first signs of the collapse of civilization is the use of men’s clothing by women and girls, even mothers of families.
First, with regard to covering the female body, the wearing of men’s trousers cannot be said to constitute in itself a grave offense against modesty, because trousers certainly cover more of a woman’s body than do modern skirts. 
Second, for clothing to be modest, however, it must not only cover the body but also should not cling too tightly to the body. It is certain that some women’s clothing today fits more closely to the body than trousers, but the latter can also be tight fitting – and in fact generally are so. Therefore, wearing such tight fitting clothing causes us no less concern than exposing the body. Thus it is that the immodesty of men’s trousers on women is one aspect of the problem that must not be left out of a general judgment on the topic, even if it should also not be artificially exaggerated.
II. There is, however, another aspect of women wearing trousers that seems much graver to us.
The wearing of men’s dress by women primarily affects the woman herself, first by changing the feminine psychology proper to women. Second, it affects the woman as the wife of her husband by tending to corrupt the relations between the sexes.Third, the woman as the mother of her children loses dignity in the children’s eyes. Each of these points should be carefully considered. 
  • Masculine clothing changes the psychology of women
  • Women wearing men’s clothing tends to corrupt the relations between the two sexes - Read more here.*
 Song for this post here.


  1. Did any of you know that back in the 300's Catholic men on their way to Morning Mass were always accused of effeminacy by the Roman Soldiers because the Catholic Men would rather start their day off with Morning Mass than to participate in Roman war games. This bit of info comes from a dead Jesuit from the 1500's

    Nowadays everything thing is turned upside down.

    Any time I read from a Manly Rad Trad about manly man spiritual warfare I know they didn't get that from True Catholic Tradition.

    Heck Ann Barnhardt is even more Masculine than me!

    1. I was so tempted to post a photo of Annie.

    2. I did that! thanks to you...Ann in pants and Annie Oakley in a dress and something about Cardinal Siri...go to the usual place...

  2. I hate that passage by Cardinal Siri, and I hate even more that modern trads afflict it on people. Norms of modesty and norms of gender standards in clothing change. Period. People are always longing for a golden age that was 5 minutes in the past.

    1. I thought of you when I posted. I doubt anyone uses Siri's statement any longer.

    2. I do! I print out Siri's Notification Concerning Men's Dress Worn By Women into sturdy paper sticks then I hit the ladies upside the head as I proceed to my pew....

    3. You're the best. LOL! I just do it here - and on FB.

  3. She couldn't receive absolution until she closed down her clothing store that sold pants. What?

  4. BTW - Esolen's thought that the Mass is made soft and effeminate verges upon contempt for the Ordinary Form which is always the path to rejection - much like rad-trads. This statement is what prompted my post: "The leaders make common cause with ambitious women against their enemies: ordinary, healthy, self-assured, masculine men and the women who love and esteem them." Esolen has an ax to grind.

    1. "Esolen has an ax to grind"

      He does not appeal to me ... maybe that's why I don't bother reading his stuff.

      I am already trying to stay focused at Mass (that's already a challenge) so why am I going to start to bother with wondering "if this is too soft or effeminate? >x<

    2. I don't read his stuff either - just saw it on Z's. It is such a stupid premise on his part - which is why I post on the menswear thing about women. Oh well.

  5. I live in a small town. Nobody cares what you wear. We have people in shorts, track pants, jeans, etc. Very casual lifestyle here.

  6. Maybe the trad style was much more masculine? I mean REAL MEN got to wear real super-lacey white gowns and, if high enough up the chain of command, even long trains, fur linings, cool velvet caps and hipster slippers.

    1. Exactly. As if fruitcake wasn't served before Vatican II.

  7. Esolen, like his fellow literature lover Eugene Michael Jones, has a messiah complex. He ought to be more humble and rational in his analyses of a problem that has been brewing long before he was even born.

    1. I use Magnificat every month and never read his essays.

  8. Oh, for crying out loud. This same conversation comes up on a regular basis, and the same arguments go on.

    I have seen plenty of women wearing skirts/dresses/blouses/shoes that are more appropriate for a Vegas show than at Mass. And plenty of women who wear trousers modestly and elegantly (think Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, et. al.) The point is to wear what is appropriate for where you are at, with dignity for yourself and respect for others.

    I have to say, some men are not always respectable in their way of dressing for their surroundings, either. Perhaps we have all seen bow-legged men of a certain age (60+ usually) wearing shorts, dark knee socks, etc. to Mass. Or t-shirts with odd/inappropriate messages that have holes or are way too tight and show their chest hair. In fact, yesterday I encountered a 70ish gentleman, who a week before scolded my husband for not serving daily Mass and permitting a female college student to serve in his place (the horror - women serving on the altar). He was wearing a beautifully tailored sports coat, open-necked shirt, cargo shorts (yes), and sneakers to Mass. From the waist up, he looked like a model for a high-end men's clothing store, and from the waist down, he looked like a teenager on break. Not indecent, but distracting in its own way.

    As for the trad crowd - I have to say I am almighty sick and tired of them making veiled attempts to criticize the Novus Ordo, or Ordinary Form of the Mass. I happen to *LOVE* the Mass in the Ordinary Form, especially as it is prayed at my home parish, reverently and joyfully. I respect the preferences of those who prefer the Extraordinary Form. But for myself, having attended local Latin Masses to see if I was missing something spiritually, I must say I was completely at sea as far as following the Mass. And the people were quite distant and cliquish -not the usual smiling, friendly lovely parishioners I am used to. Apparently my modestly cut trousers, cardigan, and high-necked blouse (and no veil) were not up to standard. With great pleasure and relief, I returned to my home parish and never looked back.

    Sorry for sounding like such a crabcake and crank. I sometimes imagine my good St. Francis, maybe along with Jesus, up in Heaven, watching and listening to all this, holding their faces and shaking their heads. With all the very real danger to our Faith and to our brothers and sisters all over the world, this all seems very small.

    Ok. Now I will take several deep breaths and cheer up.

    1. LOL! - not at you though. But I usually only throw this stuff out there when uber Catholics bring it up without being aware of the weird double standard that exists when they defend their mode of dress but tell everyone else what's wrong with the Church and the world. I'm not sure I expressed that quite so well - but this talk about the Church being effeminate and the Mass being effeminate is absurd. The Church - we - are the bride of Christ. They love talking about the 'spousal' relationship in TOB and spirituality, so where do these profs get off complaining about an effeminate clergy and Church? Effeminacy is so completely different than homosexuality, and or women wearing pants or dressing in feminine styles. You are right about their 'veiled attempts to criticize the Ordinary Form.' I love the OF as well. Thanks for your great comment.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.