I am not always a Tony Esolen fan. He has his many moments. But I also think he can over-reach and take some overly-wide swipes. But then again, so can Voris and I really appreciate him.Anthony Esolen, "More Ways to End the Vocations Crisis" (Crisis, February 5, 2015). Very good.
So there is this piece, which I was ready to dismiss as breast-beating but is instead very on target when it comes to the gender problem in the Church. JPII may have OK'd altar girls, but that doesn't make the idea all that A-OK. Here are some very prescient reasons why...
My recent article on the self-inflicted crisis of vocations to the Catholic priesthood engendered a lot of discussion, from which I conclude that my suspicion is correct. Many Catholics are content with strategies of suicide, because they do not really want the Church to prevail in her war against a world deranged. Since in our day the derangement is most obviously about things having to do with marriage, sex, children, the family, and those differences between men and women that are attested and variously respected by every culture that has ever existed, in every geographical area and at every stage of technological development, that means that they want the sexual revolution to change the Church rather than the Church to defeat the revolution. They are anti-missionaries, come to preach the gospel of chic hedonism. In our time, when someone says, “I don’t agree with all of the teachings of the institutional Church,” you can bet your house that the disagreement has nothing to do with three Persons in one God, but rather two persons in one bed.Huzzah!! Read the whole article! There's even more that's better!
Do the obvious things that will attract men. You want men? Go get them. Tell them that you need them to do the job, which is true. Set up a men’s reading group, and read real works of theology and Catholic philosophy, works that are daunting in their significance for a deadening secular world....
Let them forge friendships in the vicinity of the sacraments. Announce a monthly meeting for men, for confession, discussion, and fellowship. Make sure there is food and beer.
The hymnals have been neutered. Get rid of the neutered hymnals. If you do not have the funds to replace Worship III, Gather, Glory and Praise, and others of that ilk with real hymnals, then incorporate into your worship some of the old manly hymns of the Church militant. We have copier machines; this can be done. At least once a month, sing one of those hymns. That is not much to ask! Sing Soldiers of Christ, Arise, or Fight the Good Fight, or Rise Up, O Men of God. The women will be happy to sing these too, if truth be known.
Return all attention at Mass to the action of Christ. What good and true man wants to give his life to a coffee klatsch? And Mass is not a coffee klatsch. It is not a comfy gathering of nice people with a taste for spirituality. It is the sacrifice of Christ, reenacted by the priest in persona Christi; it is the single holiest thing in the world. When J. R. R. Tolkien was writing to his son Michael, during the dark days of the German bombing of Britain, he told him to bind his heart to the Eucharist: “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.” Yes, Death, which on earth ends all, but whose foretaste in the Eucharist, says Tolkien, gives the dimension of depth and reality to all that we seek and love on this side of the grave.
So put the tabernacle where it belongs, in the central place of honor. Get every layman out of the sanctuary after the prayer of the faithful. Put the chair of the priest on the side. Get the singers out of the view of the aud –, I mean, the congregation. If you don’t have baritones, find one.
Semper fidelis. If you are teaching in RCIA, and you do not warmly embrace the doctrines of the Church, moral and theological, then you need to do plenty of praying on account of your confusion, and you should recuse yourself immediately....
You have to remember what boys are. If your worldly business depended for its survival upon attracting them, you would not be so foolish as to dismiss what your eyes tell you, not to mention the entire human race. You would say, “Since this is the job to be done, these are some clear measures to take.” Take them. The Lord who chose twelve men to be His apostles, and knew how to do it, will bless you.