Friday, July 20, 2012

INCREASING VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD, CAUSE AND EFFECT, FEMININE AND MASCULINE LITURGY




I'm not advocating that it will be easy to recapture a Catholic culture in this country that will be seen by Catholics as above the culture they live in, where they are more influenced by their Church rather than the media and popular fads and trends and where having a child within a sacramental marriage is viewed as a gift from God to be embraced and where the process of pro-creating is viewed with awe and wonder and great fear of being a co-creator with God of a new human life. Human life and conception are viewed as gifts to be properly experienced and not as diseases or maladies to be medicated, manipulated or truncated.

With that said, we must also say that the Tridentine Mass had an appeal to boys and men that inspired them to consider a priestly vocation. What is it about the Tridentine Mass now known also as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass that attracts young boys and men to consider a priestly vocation and in great numbers?

1. The ethos of the EF Mass is more masculine in "personality" compared to the Ordinary Form. By that I mean it is more regimented,military like, "solider like" "march like" and in sinc with masculine attitudes for better or worse. Men are more private about their faith, less flamboyant and not normally given to wanting to be the center of attention. They are more cut and dry, prefer precise directions and less prone to the openness of how females conduct themselves. Whereas females are more intuitive, more fluid in their approach to order and more spontaneous. Women are more touchy feely than most men. They are more emotional and center their relations on feelings. The OF seems to embrace the sensibilities of the feminine more so than the EF.

2. The cult of altar boys as a recruitment for the seminary and priesthood has been lost as well as forming a community of altar boys based upon prayer and carrying out the rites of the Mass and other liturgies with great precision and pride. For the most part this has been lost in most parishes and altar servers are not well trained, have minor roles during the liturgy and don't take what they do as seriously as is demanded by the right implementation the celebration of the Mass.

If we believe that the priesthood is key for the celebration of the Mass and that there will be no change in the discipline of who gets ordained, then we need to recover that which promoted and inspired young boys and men to consider the priesthood.

12 comments:

ytc said...

Post of the year?

Gene said...

But, we say this as we continue to parade altar girls around...

Robert said...

And this explains exactly why there was such a big drop off of men attending Mass after the N.O. took over. It also explains why many members of the priesthood seemed less masculine in the years that followed. Needless to say, it also points to the solution.

Joseph Johnson said...

Historically, both military institutions and the Church have known what it takes to draw the interest of boys and young men. The military has used fancy uniforms, impressive machines and weaponry, stories of bravery, and martial music. To draw the interest of young men (so that they might develop a greater love for the Lord and His Church), the Church used to allow only young males the privilege of serving in a liturgy which had developed slowly over centuries--it was richly clothed in externals (some of which had lasted long past their original practical purposes)and an ancient language, which, like military traditions (such as the modern use of ceremonial swords), is still very attractive to boys and men. For younger boys, the exclusiveness of this system (boys only) is very attractive while the allowance of girls in the group will dampen their interest and will often repel them. For older boys and young men, if done effectively, such things can even compete with the natural urge to have romantic associations with pretty young women!

There are, of course, other examples things that are so attractive to men that it will compete with their interest in women (sports, hunting and fishing, antique or high-performance cars, etc.). If you don't believe this, ask a wife whose husband has such interests. If the Church is more serious about vocations than it is about appearing politically correct in the way it treats females it should make a concerted effort to tap back into this male psychology. The EF Mass is like a really cool antique car. The OF (though it can be "souped up") is more like a Chevy Lumina with silver plastic hubcaps. You should get the picture!

Editor: Jay Boyd, Ph.D. said...

If we could just get a few bishops to understand the truth of this, and if we could get them to promote the EF Mass, we just might begin to see a return of Catholic identity.

Anonymous said...

Women tend to relate "face to face" and men tend to relate "side by side" (facing the same direction) -- psychology backs this up (e.g.http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200612/men-women-and-friendship)-- and so the NO would seem more adapted to/for women. My EF parish was mostly young men (20s to 40s), something one rarely sees; about half were looking for a good Catholic wife and the other half were interested in seminary or religious life.

Lewis said...

In comparison with the EF, the OF seems to be of a more social temperament. Rather than the focus, the object and subject of Holy Mass being a sharing of that divine occurrence, the OF seems more oriented upon the individuals attending Holy Mass. In the EF it is impossible not to lose awareness of the true Eucharist. In the OF, it is so similar to what liturgical Protestants use, the Eucharist almost seems tagged on. An adjustment to temperament via relearned ritual/rubrics would undoubtedly help.

Joseph Johnson said...

Father,
You mention the fact that most altar servers nowadays (as opposed to pre-VII times) are not very well trained. This is easily explained and it has to do with the more predictable uniformity in the EF and the different ways in which the OF can be celebrated.

As a boy, I served Mass in the early era of the Novus Ordo and have, at times, filled in as an adult server in more recent times (thinking back, that's forty years experience!). For two years while in law school, I served daily and Sunday Mass in the EF--so I am familiar with both forms. For many years now, I have also been involved in training servers at my home parish. Each time we would get a new pastor, I would have to adjust the training to suit the preferences of each priest--THAT is the problem!

In the EF, because it does not have the options that are found in the OF, learning to serve Mass is much more predictable and uniform across the board. Learn the prayers and learn the rubrics and you've got it! There is very little, if any, variation from priest to priest and parish to parish. In the OF, you have to know what your individual priest expects and, often, the best guide for an unsure server is to simply watch the priest for silent gestures and to what he wants you to do.

If you want servers to be better trained as they were in pre-VII times, the Mass needs to become more uniform in its celebration as it was in those days. Plus, kids do better when things are more predictable and there are hard and fast rules.

Templar said...

Oddly enough, the SSPX has no Vocation crisis. They are drowning in applications to their Seminaries. If their numbers were extrapolated across the Church Universal we would be picking up 23,000 new Priests a year world wide.

But hey....V2 baby....let's not admit when we're wrong, let's keep pretending it was right.

Henry Edwards said...

"No vocations crisis." The same is true in all TLM communities. The FSSP has 5 times as many applications for it's U.S. seminary as it has room to accommodate . In my own community, two of our first handful of altar boys when we started a half dozen years ago are now in the seminary, one in a traditional seminary and the other in the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Similarly for many other TLM communities. I suspect that the vocations production in TLM communities is about the same as in the vaunted pre-Vatican II days when the Church seemed flooded with more priests than it really needed. As a result of two factors (among others): (1) the TLM instills the faith. (2) to an altar boy, the role of the priest seems the most manly one he's likely to be aware of.

Supertradmum said...

The newer, Millenial generation of young men are more manly, for some reason. It is not the parents, as Gen X parents, one of the reasons I stopped teaching high school, baby their kids.

I think it has to do with not only the EF, but the last two Popes we have had-at least in the media, seeming macho and not afraid of looking strong. If our boys are going to be men, they need male role models. The FSSPs have provided that in their parishes.

Gene said...

I think rather than "more manly" I would say "less feminized." We have a way to go yet before we recover manly...