Is the Catholic Church a hotbed of radical feminism?

Raymond Leo Burke

Ordinarily, political issues within a particular religious institution are best left to those within that faith.  Secular politics are complicated enough; church politics, particularly Vatican politics, are on a whole ‘nother level.

However, in recent comments on the evolving roles of men and women in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke of St. Louis, has opened a door to discussion of larger issues revolving around gender, our blindness to privilege and how we human beings experience and respond to change.

The comments in question came in Burke’s interview with “The New Emangelization,” a project founded to “draw men into a more active life of faith in the Catholic Church” and to reverse “the exodus of Catholic men from the faith.” If you’ve attended a Catholic service recently and noted the ratio of men to women, you know that it’s a real issue for the church, as it is for many faiths.

And what might be causing that exodus?

As Burke perceives it, “it’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.”

“Women are wonderful, of course,” he tells his interviewer. “They respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the church. Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.”

That’s right, daughters of Eve. Once again, it is your fault. Men are drifting from the Catholic Church because it has been radically feminized, because women have been too quick to get involved and have made men feel unwelcome. Apparently, that male alienation isn’t lessened in the least by the fact that the entire Catholic leadership, from parish priest to monsignor to bishop to pope, is comprised of men and only men.

According to Burke, that radical feminization and marginalization of men starts at the very beginning, with changes in who is eligible to assist in Mass:

“The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service. Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural. The girls were also very good at altar service. So many boys drifted away over time. I want to emphasize that the practice of having exclusively boys as altar servers has nothing to do with inequality of women in the church.”

I find that last sentence particularly telling. Burke is being sincere when he says that allowing only boys to assist at the altar had “nothing to do with inequality of women in the church,” because he is that blind to its significance. He can place himself in the position of a boy who lost his role as altar server because a girl was better at it, and he can see that as a diminution of the male role. But he cannot place himself in the position of a girl who would otherwise be sitting in the pews, wondering why only boys get to perform that holy function.

Clearly, I’m not going to try to defend Burke’s statements. But I do think it’s useful to try to understand them, to see things from his perspective for a moment.

Burke is 66, which means that he grew up in a time in which the dominance of men was unquestioned, particularly within the church. That represents his normal — the state of affairs that he perceives to be natural and right and the gauge by which he still measures the world around him. And if that’s your understanding of the world, then yes, the power and authority and influence of men within his beloved church has indeed been undercut by what Burke perceives to be “radical feminization,” even if a lot of other people would say that process still has a long, long way to go. And as a male, you might indeed feel threatened by the fact that things were being taken from you that you once took for granted.

And as Burke tells us, it’s not limited to the church:

“I recall in the mid-1970s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage because of the radicalizing and self-focused attitudes of women that were emerging at that time. These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women. These divisions between women and men have gotten worse since then. “

It’s odd. In his interview, Burke speaks repeatedly of “manly discipline,” “manly character,” “manly virtues” and “the heroic nature of manhood.” I’m old-fashioned enough myself to still see value in those things. Yet time and again, the men whom he describes seem strangely intimidated by the notion that they might have to function — in the family, in the church, in jobs and elsewhere — on a more equal footing with women.

Given “the heroic nature of manhood,” surely that’s not more than we boys can handle.

But here’s the larger lesson:

If you believe that the world as it used to be is the world as it ought to be, then yes, we in the male gender ARE losing, and those losses go well beyond the exclusive right to be altar servers. Women today hold positions in politics, business, civil and family life that once were reserved exclusively for men, and yes, that has made it harder on those of us with a Y chromosome. And it’s going to get harder still.

However, that doesn’t mean that we men are being discriminated against or marginalized. To be honest, any red-blooded male who claims victimhood at the hands of “femi-Nazis” just needs to quit whining.

By that same standard, it is also true that white people are “losing”, that Christians are “losing”, and that straight people are “losing”. The advantages that once accrued automatically and invisibly to those of us in those categories are undeniably eroding, but a loss of relative advantage should not be confused with actual disadvantage, as some insist.

Do what Cardinal Burke has not done: Look around you, and see. He can sit in a Vatican that has been run by and for men for thousands of years, surrounded by male bishops and archbishops and cardinals, yet somehow see a “feminized” institution in which men have been marginalized and run off, discouraged from participating.

Yes, it’s ridiculous. But look at Congress, look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, look at the state Legislature, look at Wall Street, look at almost any institution that wields power and influence. What do you see?

The old advantages have not disappeared, but they have weakened, and that’s a good thing, for all of us.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

391 comments
MiltonMan
MiltonMan

The catholic church just needs to fade away.  Maybe most of the men that no longer attend were molested by those creepy scumbag priests lurking around the church

oysterworld
oysterworld

Don't know which catholic mass you go to Jay, but the ratio of men/women does not at all appear to be significantly less than 1 except for older women which may be easily explained by the longevity of men to women, but if YOU LOOK for a difference you will likely find it as will all who desire their biases to be confirmed..Show me some actual data. You gotta be able to find something better than YOUR pre-conceived observations. Give the guy a break, to generalize from an older priest is pretty pathetic and only serves to relate your own bias, pretty pathetic....

straker
straker

GaBlue - "we are not safe"


That kind of pseudoreasoning is known as a Red Herring.


It has no bearing on how bad things are for women in Muslim countries.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@straker Women in Muslim countries could thus find kinship with black Americans.  After all, I'll bet said women in Muslim countries have no clue how bad things are for blacks in the United States.

GaBlue
GaBlue

@straker

I'm not the one who insisted on making a comparison, straker. 

straker
straker

SFM - "so, you still don't get it"


That is not what I asked.


Is answering a question with a question the best you can do?

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@straker Ok let me try again.You obviously don't recognize a smarazz answer either.Or is just me?  LOL

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

SFM - "my sarcasm"


So, are you an unbeliever?"


So,you still don't get it? No surprise there.

GaBlue
GaBlue

@ Dynasty: "You don't have to actually live in a Muslim nation like Pakistan to know that 12 year old girls can be forcibly married off to old men for money- or to know that some who tried to refuse had ears and noses cut off and acid thrown on them. Or to know that adulterous women in Iran can be stoned to death."

______________

Give us a holler when children and women are no longer sold in America by p*mps, photographers, and traffickers, and when they are no longer stalked, beaten, and murdered by their significant others or wannabe significant others, despite having a meaningless piece of paper called a "restraining order."

Yeah, it's better here than many places on this brutal planet we live on, but trust: we know we are not safe.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@GaBlue


Those things like trafficking, spousal abuse, and p*impin are all illegal in the U.S. nd other Christian westernized nations and against social norms. In numerous Muslim countries official abuse and official discrimination of women is not only a social norm but perfectly legal. Hard to believe that your mind can't understand that distinction. 


Scale and proportion. It gets the kooks every time. 

GaBlue
GaBlue

@Dynasty

Weed is illegal here too. Does it still get smoked?

Tax evasion is illegal. Do our politicians, bankers, and CEOs still get away with it?

Kamchak
Kamchak

Erotic Liberty SHEETZ!

Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

I'm not Catholic, so I can't speak for why men are leaving their church. But it might have something to do with their requiring men to be circumcised.

Oh! wait . . . 

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@Soothsayer2 

Young doctors who broke into their profession doing circumcisions, originally did so because they saw it as an easy way to get ahead.  :-)

Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

OK I think we're stretching it a bit to expect Baptists to openly accept LGBTs. After centuries, they are just beginning to accept Blacks.

That's why there are "other" religions out there. I'm not going to be specific but many religions accept people of all beliefs.


TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@Soothsayer2 

But some of us feel we need to respond to their crap, Sooth , especially the ones (like me) who were raised in the Baptist theology and now recognize it as grossly incomplete.

straker
straker

Lenin - "when its hidden behind the crocodile tears of Western racists, it sure is"


No, that is not true.


If a statement is truthful, it does not matter how racist the person is who purports it.


The statement must stand on its own and is NOT false JUST because the person saying it is racist.

Kamchak
Kamchak

I wonder whatever happened to my good buddy, town crybaby.

Kamchak
Kamchak

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/pastors-sermon-in-the-georgia-house-instructs-lawmakers-to-end-the-erotic-liberty-of-gays/

A Baptist pastor who was invited to give a devotional at the Georgia state House on Wednesday urged lawmakers to fight against the rights of LGBT people, which he called “erotic liberty.”

According to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Aaron Gould Sheinin, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church’s Rev. Bryant Wright called on lawmakers to protect citizens “against evil.”

Penses
Penses

@Kamchak


Would this qualify as "erotic liberty"?


"Heterosexuals, legally, had lots of sexual outlets. They call them hotels, motels, lovers' lanes, drive-in movie theaters, etc. Gay people were told we didn't have any of that. And we had no right to such. Except for the few mob-owned bars that allowed some socializing, it was basically for verboten. And so we had to create these spaces, mostly in the trucks. And these were meat trucks that in daytime were used by the meat industry for moving dead produce, and they really reeked, but at nighttime, that's where people went to have sex, you know, and there would be hundreds and hundreds of men having sex together in these trucks."


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/transcript/stonewall-transcript/

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Kamchak "“erotic liberty.”"


Oh goody, a fun new phrase to use with my friends. 


"What do we want?"  EROTIC LIBERTY!!

"When do we want it?" NOW! OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! 


TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@Kamchak 

When "against evil" becomes "against love," I'm pretty sure it's the Baptists who are lost.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@Kamchak 

"The tree of erotic liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the power of D cell batteries."--Thomas "Vibrating" Jefferson

fedup52
fedup52

@Kamchak  rights of LGBT people, which he called “erotic liberty.”


Next they will label them witches ask the gov. to burn them.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Have all the radical feminists joined the Catholic Church ?  Seems to me

there are not enough around anymore. I miss the bra burnings.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

Can anyone explain why Jay allows LilBooger to soil his blog?  He is far more obnoxious than Doomy / Density.  And we all know that Doomy / Density has been given at least 1 red card.

Penses
Penses

@Tiberius-Constitutionus @Penses 


You technically get to do only what the AJC user agrrement permits you to do. And last I checked, personal attacks are NOT permitted. But, by all mean, add me to "your list" ;-) 

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@Penses @Tiberius-Constitutionus Erm, PNut, I think the so-called blog rules are a guide only.  The rules are not enforced by Jay at all.  Over at Kyle's, it's a different story.  Personally, I like Kyle's moderation and would wholeheartedly endorse it here. Alas, that is not within my control.

PS: Are you saying that you are, in fact, a racist and / or homophohbe and /or misogynist?

Your friend,

TC

straker
straker

Lenin


Telling the exact truth about the shameful way most Muslim women are treated is NOT racism.


If you're going to keep making up your own definition of what words mean, and ignore the dictionary, no one here will understand anything you say.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@straker

Telling the exact truth about the shameful way most Muslim women are treated is NOT racism.

***
When it's hidden behind the crocodile tears of Western racists, it sure is.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@straker "no one here will understand anything you say"

That statement is predicated on one giant, massive, humongously large assumption.  Which I'm going to posit is dead wrong.  Almost nothing of what the Ilyich-channeler has heretofore said has made any sense.