You guys all know, if you happen to go to Mass on a regular basis, that the majority of faithful Mass goers are women…especially at daily Mass. Chances are, the parish is run by women as well, apart from the pastor. I remember my first assignment as a missionary and realizing there was only one or two women that would serve daily Mass. Where are all the guys?
Wait. Don’t get mad at these observations. Thank God for these women! They have been carrying the American Church on their backs for decades. They are heroes in many ways. But, the Church isn’t just for women…even though it can look that way.
If the Church wants to bring men back, and I hope we can all agree that its good without qualification (though some have quantified the need to reach men), She needs to actually reach the men. Pastors, preach to the men as a man. You are our fathers, not a preschool teacher. Music directors, facilitate music that moves the soul of a man at Mass. Usually the music isn’t even in keys we can sing. It really is that simple, and yet I am blown away at how rarely it happens.
Women are eager for you to reach the men. Just look at this website – Those Catholic Men. Written for men, by men…yet I guarantee dozens of women follow it as well. I would put money on the fact that if it were Those Catholic Women, you wouldn’t have a single male follower.
Why is this? Well, men are designed by God as the spiritual leader. When they live a faithful life, their family typically follows. On the flip side, men can be arrogant and lazy, and hence don’t like to follow. Without a challenge, they follow the god of their belly, as St. Paul put it (Phil. 3:19). If their wife lives a faithful life, sadly, children rarely imitate it. A study by the Swiss government confirms this – children will more likely follow the practice of the father over the mother.
I believe the Church is in a crucial time. We have unheard of pornography addictions, sexual harassment claims are shooting through the roof, broken homes, divorces, fatherless children, massive sex trafficking industry – the list goes on and on. All of these issues, I would argue, stem from the failure of men. The world, and for that matter souls, need men more than ever to live in the image of Jesus Christ. So, my dear Mother Church, try harder reaching the men. Be bold and courageous.
Preach the hard stuff – tell us about pornography and contraception and giving our entire life to Jesus Christ. Tell us about embracing the cross, and standing up in the public square to defend Christ and His teaching, to promote the dignity of the human person, the dignity of marriage and the marital act. Preach Christ crucified!
I am pretty certain the women will appreciate it too. After all, who likes being a spiritual widow on Sundays.