Almost fifty years ago, when the Catholic Church unveiled its new rite of Mass in the Sistine Chapel, Cardinal John Heenan, then Archbishop of Westminster, remarked that if the Church used the new liturgy in ordinary parishes it would “soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children.” In 1967, Heenan could proudly assert that in his country “not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men” regularly attended Mass.[Hat tip to G.N.]
Whether or not the liturgy played any role in subsequent patterns of church attendance, Heenan’s predictions have come true, and the drop in male church attendance has not been confined to the Catholic Church. Extensive research on English churchgoing habits, for example, shows that 65 percent of the average church congregation is made up of women and 35 percent of men, with the gap widening. In 1980, congregations were 57 percent female and 43 percent male, and since 1990, almost half of men under 30 have left the Church. If the current rate of loss continues, men will completely disappear from the Church by 2028.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Aaron Taylor, "Fatherless Churches" (First Things):