Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hopes for the Papal Visit

An old friend, Edmund Adamus, has just given an interview to the Zenit News Agency on his hopes for the Holy Father's visit ( Edmund is the Director for Pastoral Affairs for the Archdiocese of Westminster. He speaks very eloquently on the culture of death and the anti-Catholic (and therefore anti-life) attitudes that exist in our society.

Some of his comments on the "feminization of masculinity and the laddish culture that haunts the development of young girls and women [which are] not providing the answers to life's deepest questions" got me thinking along a different track - on the feminization of our worship. There is a famous and oft repeated story that Cardinal Heenan, on seeing a "dry run" of the new Mass presented to the Cardinals after Vatican II said:

"At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children."

His insight seems to have been perceptive for we now do have a majority of worshippers that are children and women (and middle-class men who might be more "gender aware.) Like the Labour Party which is concerned that it is losing the support of the ordinary working man, the Catholic Church in our country seems to have already lost that constituency. Could it be that (like New Labour) the touchy-feely holding hands style bears at least some part of the responsibility?

I still occasionally come across this sort of Catholic man - ordinary, working, good-living, yet not overly religious/pious, he doesn't talk about his Faith overtly but he actually says his prayers with his family and quietly bears witness to the Faith at work and among his friends and family by his speech and in his actions.

These are the men whom I have seen bring most influence to bear on those around them - in a school, for example, where such a man in the Sports Department does much more good for the Faith than the nun at C & A running around organising Red Nose Day.

These are the men whose empty places in the pews do the most harm to passing on the Faith.

Pray God they are able to hear the Holy Father speaking to them.

1 comment:

Richard A said...

I've just stumbled across this blog and I'd like to say thanks for taking the time to write it. Very informative. Especially the section concerning blessings and the eucharist. On the topic posted I feel that its not only the gender split that is very noticable but there is often at a large age gap between myself at 25 years and the rest of the congregation at mass. It can instill the feeling of being out of place in Church which is seriously detrimental to any person willing to give faith a go or rekindle an existing faith. Hard times indeed!