war against the working male

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 30, 2005

When you go to Mass tomorrow, take a look around you and notice what group is most conspicuously absent. Regardless of where on the face of the globe you are, the answer is obvious: missing are blue collar heterosexual males between the ages of 18 and 28.

Of itself that fact is unremarkable. It's probably true of most Christian denominations in every epoch -- spontaneous inclinations to communal worship are rarest among rambunctious young men without families. But let's do a thought experiment. Suppose you were a bishop, and suppose that you felt it your pastoral duty to REPEL such broncos as happened to stray into Mass on Sunday morning. Suppose your crusade demanded lowering blue collar male attendance from, say, 4% to less than 1%. How would you go about it?

You'd go in for full court stripe-to-stripe buzzer-to-buzzer gender bending. You'd choose your presiders from among swish counter-tenors. You'd coach them in theatrical prancing and homiletics. You'd pack the sanctuary with testy, power-suited women reading inclusive language in scolding voices. You'd choose the most sugary musical dreck you could find, and make sure it was performed in an unsingable register. You'd eliminate private space, forcing everyone into lots of touching and interpersonal contact. In short, you'd do exactly what our betters have done over the past 40 years to "renew" the liturgy, for which they ceaselessly congratulate themselves on their pastoral sensibility.

Now perhaps the Church believes it's a good thing that working men feel unwelcome. Perhaps bishops are possessed of some mystical intuition that welders and truck drivers and sheet metal workers -- should they be insolent enough to slip into Mass in the first place -- deserve to be firehosed with music they find repellent, language they find repellent, camp theatrics that make their skin crawl. Is the idea that, since roofers or firemen tend to be sexist, their discomfort is a salutary penance? Is the idea that, if they can't accept Marty Haugen, they don't belong in our Easter People anyway? Whatever the reason, we must admit that the "threshold of distaste" a normal working man must overcome in order to turn up at church and endure a parish Mass is almost conspiratorially high.

This week's Commonweal has two articles by Catholic academics entreating Pope Benedict to listen to his flock. And whom should he listen to? Catholic academics. We get the standard roster of upper middle class grievances. But in fact, if you consider the changes to Catholic life effected since the Council -- bracketing the documents themselves -- you see that almost exceptionlessly these changes have been made in response to the same constituency: prosperous Western liberals. Look at it this way. Take two non-Catholics on the fringes of their respective churches in 1965: a homosexual, Beemer-driving Episcopalian dentist, and a Baptist heavy equipment operator with a gun-rack in the back of his pick-up. Which of the two is more likely to have found his way into the Catholic Church in the meantime as a result of her "pastoral" initiatives? Which of the two is more likely to hear himself described as marginalized? Which of the two is more likely to find a hearing were the Pope to accede to our Commonweal authors?

Progressives would have us think they're being egalitarian in crying up an indisputably elitist agenda. Like the Cambridge matron who strikes a blow for world peace by putting an "Abolish Apartheid" bumper sticker on her Volvo, the rhetoric of inclusiveness allows one to mask self-indulgence as an imperative of justice. In fact, it's a dishonest yet socially acceptable way of excluding undesirables. It's not in doubt what the preferences of hourly wage-earners are. We know pentecostals have made huge inroads among blue collar Catholics; we know miners and steamfitters aren't flocking into the liberal churches; we know these churches have made zero accommodations in response. Let's call a spade a spade: the project of "Pastoral Inclusiveness" is designed to repulse all but the enlightened elite.

One prefers, after all, to celebrate diversity among one's own.

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - May. 04, 2005 1:03 AM ET USA

    Thank you, Diogenes, for the photo of and description of Roger Cardinal Mahony and his camp's agenda: to be traitors within the Church. The evidence is clear. Please, Pope Benedict XVI, please give Cardinal "Rajah" and his band of traitors early reitrement... And please name orthodox bishops who have unquestioned love and obedience, at all times and always, for Jesus Christ, for His Church and for you, the Holy Father.

  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2005 2:02 PM ET USA

    I suggest memorizing the applicable numerical reference to the Code of Canon Law that governs heresy such as this, and availing yourself of its immediate remedy, which is to walk out. I'll leave it to everyone's prudential judgement as to whether to go through the Bishop's office (after going through the pastor), or simply going to the new Vatican batphone which, I believe, is being installed as we speak. Arkham Asylum will come to an end one day. Until then, we in Gotham City must be vigilant

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - May. 01, 2005 1:47 PM ET USA

    by the way a good piece for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker ..1 of may. Saint Joseph pray for us.

  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2005 9:55 AM ET USA

    When the Temple of Diana rears its ugly head in Davenport, Syracuse or Fresno the proper response is to walk out (before the collection plate is passed). If the offense is more venial (banal) the envelope in the collection plate could have a kindly note recommending the pastor get back on his medication. And when the bishop is strong and the priests are holy men, give thanks to God and sacrifice more money and time to help them.

  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2005 7:44 AM ET USA

    Normnuke, To me, it dredges up images of the screeching Sibyl at Cumae in Petronius' Satyricon.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 10:49 PM ET USA

    We have such a Church 3 minutes walk from my house. My son and I go there 3 times a year when it is the last resort for fulfilling a true obligation, other wise we go to a real Latin Mass. My wife goes there most of the time. The only two times I've seen the head "nun" in the supermarket she, 70+ and wearing jeans, was cursing at the Pope (JPII). I frequently ask my wife how the heretic (the pastor) is doing. She gets mad but does not even try to correct me.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 8:14 PM ET USA

    Certainly there is a war against any sensible male. The same things, however, that repulse the working male also repulse any sensible women. Mass at times is truly painful with the polyester suited females swarming around the Sanctuary, and in and out of the tabernacle whenever they please. The music would offend anyone with even minimal aesthetic sensibilities. The marginalized are mature men and women who value the authenticity of the Catholic faith who dare to be offeneded by the infantile

  • Posted by: murph - Apr. 30, 2005 7:31 PM ET USA

    Hmmm....betcha you won't see such as described in a Traditional Latin Mass community. We have just as many men as women, and lots of large families. Thanks be to God!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 4:54 PM ET USA

    These are cultural issues, but important ones. Everytime I see girls in liturgical smocks dancing around the altar the thought "temple of Diana, ca. 300 b.c" pops into my head and won't leave. It's worse if the girls are comely, as these are. I don't go to church to be aroused. Also, I'm a baritone. Talk about being marginalized. I'm glad someone finally brought that up.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 3:16 PM ET USA

    When I attend mass tomorrow in our small parish, I expect to see 8-10 males in this age bracket. Since I know most of them I can tell you they make up in quality what they lack in numbers. Let us all pray that these numbers will grow under Pope Benedict's fishing expedition.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 1:42 PM ET USA

    Thank God for Diogenes. There is a real crisis of men in the Church which the hierarchy and the elites have ignored in order to foster the PC agenda. This also explains part of the vocations crisis to the priesthood. There are too many fops and counter tenors as Diogenes styles it. Let us pray for the real reform and let it happen soon under our new Pope.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 1:04 PM ET USA

    This agenda is not just in the Church. It's everywhere in our society. As the mother of three sons I fear for their future and know that the deck is stacked against them. As a woman, I can only raise them to reject those ideas and teach them about what is fair, but I am counting on their father, and the rest of the good men to lead the fight.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 12:57 PM ET USA

    The scribes truly have come back with a vengeance. They set up their selves as masters of the Church. As TV show “specials” on Jesus, the Bible or the Church are wont to say “scholars say”, setting them up as the ultimate authority on any faith matter, above and beyond the Magisterium of the Church, Tradition or the Word of God. Scholars have modified the liturgy, they rule which parts of the Bible are true, and they decide what parts of Jesus life are true or not.

  • Posted by: Remigius - Apr. 30, 2005 12:22 PM ET USA

    Uncle Diogenes, help is on the way. Pope Benedict XVI understands the situation. Dancing around the golden calf and associated outrages has no more cover as VII renewal. The Church is poised to purify its recent memory of offensive practices at Mass. Bogus liturgy is the expression of weak or non-existent faith. It draws no one to God, and repels the normal people walking around on the planet. All that is needed is the "charitable anathema" consigning such fraudulence to the dumpster.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 10:55 AM ET USA

    Forget about the "progressives" offending blue collar males with their gender-bending approach to liturgy. It offends me with a graduate degree, my four sons not yet in high school, any reasonable male who does not have a predilection for Andrew Lloyd Weber. It is a message intended to emasculate males into a purring feline state or drive them away entirely, all masculine men. Turn men into weaklings, so they cannot fight back. They can then have their mother goddess and YMCA priests.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2005 8:39 AM ET USA

    The photograph fosters the notion that liturgical dance may have its merits. Of course, most times it's performed by stringy Vegan space cadets. I can report (having purged), unhappily, that even in western PA, where I live as well, most normal males in Uncle D's demographic are absent from Mass. It seems to have more to do with the crumbling family structure than anything else. When young men do attend Mass, they are more apt to be in the company of their wives and small children.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Apr. 30, 2005 7:31 AM ET USA

    These comments are true in lavander parishes. There are still parishes where the pastor still fixes the wiring and whose big social event is the wild game dinner to celebrate the end of hunting season. At least in Western Pennsylvania, west virginia and Ohio.