Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Men, faith and a liturgy with stubble.

Paul at In Veritate Ambulare made a couple of interesting comments. He asked - in relation to catechesis but I think it applies more broadly to the Church generally "where have all the men gone?" and followed it with "I know that teaching is ordinarily a woman's job". Hmm, I'm not sure I'd agree. I know at my parish (in Dublin, Ireland) it's the other way round. We have approximately a 4:1 men: women ratio in the congregation. But then we're the diocesan Indult location, and let's fact it, this kind of liturgy has stubble on it! As for teaching I was taught my prayers (literally) at my mother's knee; the content of Church teaching I got from my father, RIP. It was kinda fun when an Evangelical couple approached me on the street and tried to convert me to their way of thinking. We got into the old proof-text tango, and sort of reached a stalemate. Then they got on to what they thought of as Mariolatry, though they were polite enough not to call it that. That's when the wonderful lesson my old Dad taught me about dulia, hyperdulia and latria kicked in. They had never heard of any of it but once I explained it, it seemed to make sense to them. For those who think that the Diocese of Los Angeles never did any good, well that's where Dad learned his theology. While he was doing a PhD in Mathematics at Caltech. Those were the days when the LA diocese was really Catholic, and the parish clergy thought that the secularly educated ought to be religiously educated as well. (NB They were also the days when that diocese was de facto racially segregated.) However that may be, I have always thought of religious learning, especially expounding Sacred Scripture, as a masculine function, more precisely as a paternal duty. My dad, being a good Catholic father, taught his children how to believe rightly. For all that I've learned from my mother about how to be a Catholic (and it's a near infinite amount), it's still Dad's reasonable account of faith that I draw on every day. That, and I still read the books he left behind.

2 comments:

Paul said...

Your point is entirely correct, and makes even clearer the deficiency of masculinity in catechesis and large parts of the Church as a whole. When I said that "education is ordinarily a woman's job," I was alluding to the schoolroom, in which young children have traditionally been taught by women (including, at one time, nuns). But I would wholeheartedly defend the necessity of having men (especially priests and fathers) as teachers of boys.

Kieron said...

On the feminisation of the Church, check out http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2004/02/15/story730395567.asp