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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

"The Church Needs a Theology of Manhood"

Excellent piece in First Things, very thoughful, and saying very much the same thing as the Holy Father has been lately, about prioitizing the laity fulfilling the role preper to them, instead of attempts at marthaing us all with new "jobs" in Church.
Almost fifty years ago, when the Catholic Church unveiled its new rite of Mass in the Sistine Chapel, Cardinal John Heenan, then Archbishop of Westminster, remarked that if the Church used the new liturgy in ordinary parishes it would “soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children.”
(Also, some shocking statistics)
study of Swiss churchgoers [insert snark here, something like, "there a re church-goers in Europe???!??] commissioned by the Council of Europe found that if a mother attends church regularly but the father is non-practicing, only 2 percent of their children will attend church regularly in adult life. If the roles are reversed, with the father attending regularly and the mother non-practicing, the figure for regular attendance shoots up to 44 percent (higher even than the figure when both parents attend regularly). Another study found that when an American mother converts to the faith, there is a 17 percent chance that the rest of her family will follow. When the father alone converts, this figure rises to 93 percent.
It is praiseworthy that despite falling attendance rates among men, many women have steadfastly kept the faith and have often made valiant (if sadly ineffective) efforts to pass it on to their children. But the way to ensure that future generations of women continue to discover the joy of life in Christ is not by making token appointments. It is by ensuring that the Church has an adequate theology of maleness and of fatherhood, by ensuring that daughters see their fathers going to church and living lives of faith—which, incidentally, is also the way to ensure that future generations of boys might find their way back to the churches that current generations of men are leaving in droves.

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