January 23, 2007

Men's Movement and Collaborative Ministry

I remember in the 1990's when the Men's Movement was at its height, many of my Anishinabeg family and friends were either really upset or bemused by it all. "Just a bunch of stoned white men wearing pelts, sitting around in sweat lodges, beating drums, pretending to be Native Americans. Rather, what they THINK a Native American is."

To be fair, that is not what the Men's Movement was really about. The Men's Movement was about, in a nutshell, getting in touch with your feminine side, being a better father, "channeling" love, not anger, supporting the feminist movement. It can be argued that the Promise Keepers are an offshoot of the Men's Movement too. The Promise Keepers is an evangelical group striving to get men to recommit themselves to Jesus and their families.

A male friend, who is about 20 years older then me, said to me about 5 years ago:

"Thanks G-- the '90s are over now I don't have to get in touch with my feminine side anymore"

About 10 years before that he said:

"Thank G-- the 80's are over so I don't have to keep pretending I"m a "sensitive" man".

I asked him once: What about the 60s and 70s? He said: "The late 60s and the 70s were all about "getting in touch with his feelings"". Whether it was through drugs, which he did a lot of, or some type of psychiatry or therapy.

I would argue that in the New Century we are in the era of the Queer Man-even if he's straight. Anyone heard the term: metrosexual?

What does any of this have to do with Collaborative Ministry?

I'm theorizing that we can see the results of 40-years of emasculating our men in many of our parishes today through the lens of "collaborative ministry".

I have friends who can recall the days when there were 6 priests in an inner city parish as well as a cadre of nuns. The religious did almost everything. The laity just showed up. I'm not making any judgements on who had the better part here just laying it out as I've heard it.

Thanks to a gradual shortage of priests and religious, laity were called upon and empowered to do more in the parishes.

I think the laity involvement is a good thing, if used appropriately. Obviously, the priest can't do everything. There are positive benefits to having lay persons run the Devotions, clean the church, help with the finances, decorate the church, answer the phones, staff fund-raisers etc.

However, somewhere along the line some of the laity too aggressively blurred the line between what someone in Holy Orders should be doing versus what someone with a Lay Vocation should be doing. Furthermore, some of our clergy just laid down and let it all happen.

It takes a strong MAN to be a priest. Not only does he have to actually believe IT, he has to be able to convey IT, and administer IT. He also has to be able to say: NO. I'm in charge. The buck stops here. This is a pyramid, not a circle, and I'm at the top. He should not be an dictator. He should actually listen and consider what his parishioners are asking for and saying but at the end of the day he is the final word.

Our priests have all matured through part, if not all, of the last 40 years. Some of our priests made it through with their manhood intact. Some didn't.

I have personally known some priests who I'm sorry to say, but I'm going to because you know me, are whipped.

I knew a priest who hid in his office before every Mass and did not want anyone to know he was in there because he did not want to face HER. The dreaded female liturgy director who literally told him where to stand and what to say during the Mass.

I recommend, in addition to the quizzes about homosexual inclinations to the man entering seminary, how about asking him if he's capable of being in charge? And can he prove it? Sensitive, yes. Learned, yes. But, can you stand up to the power pressure the laity is bound to test you with? If not, he should seriously think about spending his life on something else. The reality that some priests face when they arrive at some parishes must be, in some cases, appalling. Do they get tested for the mental cojones to stand up to that? If they aren't then they should be.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ray from MN said...

Great post, Cathy!

I kind of read it without breathing hoping not to see myself in it. I don't think I did.

It is obvious that St Peter and his 11 partners and their successors didn't succeed over the last couple of thousand years by hiding in closets.

I have an acquaintance who might very well be interested in a real woman's perspective on this. I will pass it on to him.

January 23, 2007 6:46 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Hey, is he single and 40ish?

Just kidding. Well, no, not entirely.

January 23, 2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

AMEN sister!

If a man doesn't have a backbone, he should NOT be a priest. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Period.

Personally, speaking as a woman, if a man can't stand up to me, then he's not worth my time.

If a priest can't stand up to the liturgy director, then he can't be a shepherd...for how often is the liturgy director actually the wolf? Pretty often...a wolf in a dress, smiling with shark-teeth and holding medicine circles.

And speaking personally as a woman, if a man can't stand up to my bull-headed temperment and just cows to my demands, then he's not really a man. Granted, I'm not like most women (Cathy, you know a lot of my history; I'm not a feminist but the movement has left it's marks), so I need to find a very strong man, and our culture has done an incredible job of turning perfectly good men into a bunch of whiny victimized women.

No wonder so many women aren't married.

And it has nothing to do with gender ratios.

January 23, 2007 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Terry said...

Very insightful as well as provocative post! Gosh! Why didn't I think of this?
Good call!

January 23, 2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger Angela Messenger said...

Oh I do love it when you get fiesty Cathy!!!

I wish you could meet our priest. He just comes right out and says to one particular troublemaker "why don't you just say what's on your mind?" It took the wind right out of her sails. LMAO!

I could NEVER be an Evangelical Promise Keeper's wife for 2 reasons. One, no sacraments and the other - these men are such SUCKS. Blech. Give me a red-blooded, bull-headed, opinionated Catholic man any day of the week! (heh...just described my darling hubby LOL)

January 23, 2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ha-ha-ha! Good comments! I love my readers!

January 24, 2007 4:13 AM  

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