Friday, 1 August 2014

Men in the Church

Fr. Ray Blake has recently posted a thought-provoking piece about the appeal of the Old Mass to men, and more generally about current attitudes in the Church and how these relate to a masculine viewpoint. I recommend Father's article to you.

I agree with Father's views in that, as a bloke, I like things that are clear, well-organised, functional and, quite often, guided by strict rules. This is part of the appeal of the Old Mass, which is very structured, quite business-like, and allows me to focus on God and worship without forcing me to interact unduly with the rest of the congregation. This fits well with what much of current psychology says about gender differences in thought. Men tend to focus on single things, and, when in a group, tend to want to do things; when the talk, it is often about discussing a topic of common interest, problem-solving, or 'putting things to rights'. Women by contrast, tend to do multiple tasks, and set much score by relationships; their conversation is often about feelings and social interaction. Please accept my apologies for what I know is a drastic over-simplification ... before I provoke a great backlash from the ladies who may read this.

St. Ignatius -
 just giving the impression that you would want to pick a fight with him

It is interesting that Father posted this on the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. His experience as an ex-soldier are clear in his vision for the Society of Jesus, with elements of  'strong arm Christianity', extensive and structured training, and Spiritual Exercises to prepare the soul for spiritual battle. It seems that former military men often make good priests, possibly because they are used to enduring privations, have developed a belief in the strength of their own character, and have no trouble with a disciplined way of life and obedience, while still being able to show and use their own initiative.

Mass on a battlefield
Prayer for Generosity (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.


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