The Catholic “Man-Crisis” Matters

saint joseph, jesus, infant jesus, father, parent

saint joseph, jesus, infant jesus, father, parent

There is a serious Catholic “man-crisis.” One in three baptized Catholic men in the U.S. have left the Church. Of those men who remain Catholic, only about 1 in 4 Catholic men consider themselves to be “practicing Catholics.”

The Catholic “man-crisis” matters for it hurts, men, women, children, parishes and society. Here’s why:

The majority of Catholic men are stuck in mortal sin.

Taking just one out of the seven deadly sins, Lust, two thirds of Christian men are viewing porn monthly; the numbers approach 100% for young men. While conditions can reduce a man’s culpability (e.g. addiction, formation, etc.), many men are in mortal danger. Four out of five men have not been to Confession in the past year and only one in fifty go to Confession monthly. Given there are six more deadly sins besides Lust, it’s clear that many of our brothers in Christ are probably on the highway to Hell.

The peace of Christ is missing in the daily lives of many Catholic men.

Only Jesus Christ can give true peace and joy but many men are far from Christ. Six out of ten Catholic men do not receive the Eucharist even once a month, leaving them futilely trying to find happiness in worldly things. Five out of six Catholic men lack bonds of brotherhood in their parishes, leaving them living without the faith-strengthening of Catholic fraternity. Men can’t find lasting peace without Christ Jesus.

The Catholic “man-crisis” hurts women.

Men (and women) have increasingly rejected sacramental marriages, with rates dropping by 41% since 2000. Faithful Catholic marriages are essential to uphold the dignity of women (and the dignity of men). To uphold the dignity of women, men must be challenged to heroic Catholic manhood in the self-sacrificing model of St. Joseph. Men also need to be convinced about the great blessing of living out sacramental marriages. The plague of pornography is major contributor in many divorces.

The Catholic “man-crisis” is having a devastating impact on children.

Men are essential in passing the Catholic faith on to their children. Sadly, half of Catholic men don’t know the faith and are not convinced their children should remain Catholic. Many aren’t — studies show that the majority of young Catholics are leaving the Church and not returning. The fruit of faithless fathers is faithless children, leaving the children to fall into lives of unrepentant sin and unable to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Catholic “man-crisis” hurts parishes.

Research shows that higher engagement of men leads to healthier parishes. Sadly, only one in five Catholic men participate in a Catholic activity outside of attending Mass, and one-third of Catholic men are not even members of a parish. Research shows that when Catholic men opt out of parish life, young men opt out too. The loss of so many young Catholic men will hurt vocations in the decades to come further hurting parishes.

The Catholic “man-crisis” also hurts society.

Faithless men are more likely to support abortion, to have children out of wedlock and to divorce. Faithless men are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, to commit crimes and to commit suicide. Faithless men are less likely to vote and to join the military. The faltering faith of Catholic men is contributing to the decaying culture.

The Catholic “man-crisis” is wreaking havoc on men, women, children, the Church and society. What is needed now is for all Catholics of good will, especially priests, deacons and men themselves, to commit to call our wayward brothers back to the fullness of the faith.

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80 thoughts on “The Catholic “Man-Crisis” Matters”

    1. Actually, if you follow the deep, woven thread of the author and his protagonists you will find that their dilemma revolves around the NO and EF liturgical forms of the Mass which I have to agree
      is a factor although it is neither here not there as the cause of the “crisis”. I think what is needed
      is a blending of the two forms to reinvigorate the rite to see if we can first attract the lapsed into
      experiencing a renewal and then its up to Rome to update the dogma to include true ecumenism
      in a universal way that draws the whole world in.

  1. In the article “The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass” by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil.(Oxon.) the author quotes Cardinal Heenan speaking to the assembled bishops after witnessing the then experimental Novus Ordo Mass:

    “At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would
    soon be left with a congregation of women and children.”

    This is exactly what we see post Vatican II. In the New Mass, emphasis is obsessively placed upon the human-centered “gathering” for community supper and the memorial instead of upon the Christ-centered unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary.

    The casual attitude of most catholics at a Novus Ordo mass is evidence for the fact that they do not understand the Sacrifice of the Altar. If they knew what God was doing there, they would fall on their knees in humble thanksgiving. Perhaps rather than bowing toward Mecca, as he did in his visit to Africa recently, Jorge Bergoglio could show some leadership and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.

    Real men understand sacrifice and will emulate it, primarily by taking care of their own families, but also in the wider sense of their Catholic brothers and sisters, the other families in the parish take care of each other. So when the Mass became a feminized love fest deliberately made acceptable to Protestantism by suppression of the Sacrifice, men left.

    The Latin language is an incidental point, it is the
    Traditional view of the Mass as a Christ-centered Sacrifice that is the most
    important.

  2. Here we go again.. whining about the man crises. Nothing will be done. The actual causes are never addressed because the Vatican II cult is totally incapable of addressing it. They are blind guides. Some of the real causes of the man crises are – in my opinion: the continued support, cover up and promotion of homosexual priests and bishops, the lack of any visible punishment for the homosexual child predators and their protectors in the heirarchy, the continued fawning over and pandering to “gays” like Cdl Schoenborn and Cdl OMalley do – instead of condemning that sin, a sin by the way that cries out to heaven for vengeance. The almost total lack of Biblical knowledge on the part of the clergy and the laity, the total failure of Catechesis, frivolous marriages and frivolous annulments, Universalism, altar girls, effeminate priests, liberal priests preaching left wing politics from the altars, lay persons all over the altars, myriad abuses of the liturgy, the disrespect to Our Lord by Communion in the Hand, the banal Novus Ordo mass, made by and for Protestants and appealing to women and children, which turned the Holy Sacrifice into a community picnic – in effect the cause of the lack of real men in the VII Catholic Church is the sum of all heresies which is thoroughly rampant in the Church which is Modernism. But this Church is too paralyzed by Modernism , which came to fruition in Vatican II , to do anything about it.

  3. Sadly, another article written by a young man, with good intentions, but married who believes he knows everything there is to know about everything, just because he is married and has children. Now being a Single , practicing Catholic, I don’t talk much about Marriage because I have never been even close to being married. But I have been SINGLE my entire adult life and I am fit to be tied that “Marrieds” like young Mr Christoff, just don’t care AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!:( IF he and other marrieds, as well as The Church hierarchy CARED we would have MORE not less Catholic families.!

    1. That’s another very valid point, Eddie. As we’ve discussed in other articles. But that’s not really the point of this one.

    2. Oh hi Larry, I thought I recognized you:) Yes we are all sinners…but I believe that Mercy is more valid than just plain old, everyday fire and brimstone…which does no good at all for anyone.

  4. But just keep pretending it’s not the Novus Ordo irreverance, the Bed, Bath and Beyond altar displays and horrifically bad, meaningless pop jingles masquerading as sacred music! This is what happens when you let old ladies exclusively run the parish because you’ve bought into the lie that Catholic women have been abused because they can’t be priests (as if I’m abused because I can’t be a nun).
    Bring back the proper Mass and this self-imposed crisis will end immediately!

    1. Matthew James Christoff

      Augustine

      You have hit the nail on the head. The liturgy has been de-sacralized in many places…and has become less atractive to men. There can be no renewal in Catholic men without addressing the confusion and disinterest in the Mass.

      Over one half of Catholic men also don’t understand the Mass and are bored. A major effort to teach men the Mass is needed. Am part of a team that is working to do just that.

      Men were and are moved by more reverent liturgy that is ‘vertical”, focusing on God led by a priest turned towards the Tabernacle and not the people. Women are more comfortable with the horizontal, the emphasis on community. The destruction of the Liturgy with its overemphasis on the horozontal is one of the major drivers of the collapse of the Church …it was a corruption of VII.

      See the Interview with Brian Williams on the Nee Emangelization website for a good discussion of this.

    2. “The liturgy has been de-sacralized in many places…and has become less
      atractive to men. There can be no renewal in Catholic men without
      addressing the confusion and disinterest in the Mass.”

      Those are opinions. Full of loaded and argumentative words. My opinion is, that no meaningful changes will happen when your premise is worded like that. Sure, it appeals to the reactionary fringe element, but that’s all.

      The more of these go-nowhere arguments that I see, the more I’m convinced that what it comes down to is that many of us prefer what we grew up with. I was raised in the 1970’s. No, not with butterflies and happy-clappy music… but in a small rural parish with traditional hymns that everyone knew the words to, and masses said by-the-book. And that’s what I seek out now… it may mean going to a 6 AM “quiet” mass but such masses are still easily found.

      Matt, you were not raised as a pre-vatican-2 Catholic. You should not have any need to opine about obsolete practices like veils and priests turned away from the people. So your preference for / recommendation of these things, is a mystery to me. Those things are gone, done, over with, forgotten. And you never knew them. Again, I think your agenda is being shaped by the fringe element. If you want to appeal to “all men” then you really do need to do exactly that.

      You asked for my opinion. There it is.

    3. Matthew James Christoff

      Thanks again for responding.

      The argument that the liturgy has become de-sacralizrd is being recognized by many and is resonating with men and priests. The new crops of priests are committed to making the liturgy much more reverent. The idea that we need a new and vibrant focus on men is also becoming clear to many.

      Based on the description of the kind of masses that attact you, it seems that you agree that reverent masses help attract men. Seems like we agree on this point.

      Any one who is not biased can look at the the list of 75 interviews and see that these are not men of the fringe. Your opinion is simply wrong. Not sure how you are reaching your opinions…but not based on the research presented at New Emsngelization.

      The ad orientum was not done away with and is done in many places today…in Novus Ordo Masses. You don’t like bowls for some reason. Ok.

      The Mass has been de-sacralized and it is one of the key reasons men give for disinterest. And Masses that have great reverence attact men. Again, looking at the survey filled out by 1400 men: Helping Priests Become More Effective….you can find it on Holimetics and Pastoral Review.

      You simply are not credible when you suggest anyone who didn’t experienced pre-Vatican II Masses can not think and speak about the faith. According to your litmus test, in another 30 years or so when all those who weren’t catechized before Vaticsn II have died, no one will be able to speak. Absurd.

      You seem like a man who loves the Church and is concerned about the cirrent state.

      Again: do you have a concrete set of hypotheses about how to rebuild the Church?

    4. Oh, that makes more sense then. Why don’t I like bowls? OK, never mind.

      It’s a shame that we continue to talk past each other. I am pretty much the only Catholic man in my age group, in my circle of friends. A circle which includes many ex-Catholics, by the way. And NONE of those ex-Catholics have mentioned lack of veils, or priests facing toward them at mass. Caring about those notions are way out at the fringe, I can’t make that more clear.

      You have fallen deeply into a trap that I once fell into. The trap of “if only everyone would believe what I believe… and have my preferences… then everything would be OK”. Life just doesn’t work that way.

      I didn’t say you can not think and speak. Don’t twist my words. You know what I wrote. You did not live in the pre-vatican-2 church. I didn’t either. But when I got online a few years ago and read article after article about the “good old days”, I talked to people who actually experienced them. No, it just wasn’t a Holy Wonderland of Reverence, as you want to insist. Priests mumbled through mass, the men (yes, the “men”) stayed outside and smoked, kids didn’t pay attention, and on and on.

      As far as “rebuilding the Church”. What I would love to see, is for parishes to be more “community”, to give their members more of a reason to want to “belong”. The typical parish in my area does nothing as a community outside of mass. Everything is a “ministry” with a paid employee leading it… young-adults, seniors, pro-life, you name it.

      We don’t need the army of Men’s Retreat speakers that were most of your 75 interviewees. Men’s Retreats are big into “praise-and-worship” style silliness anyway, so I would never attend.

    5. I am one of those “fringe elements” of which you speak. My priest does not “turn his back on the people” My priest faces the Tabernacle, as we all do, where God Himself resides. Would you care for your bus driver or your airplane pilot to be “facing the people”? The fact the Novus Ordo mass was cobbled together with the cooperation of Protestants to appease Protestants by de-emphasizing the Sacrifice of the Mass and turning it into a community “memorial” meal is a problem that goes to the heart of the “man crises” . It is not a obsolete issue, it is fundamental because real men understand sacrifice.

    6. I am sorry a real Mass would put you to sleep, but the 18 year-old and under crowd, which makes up 55% on average of the attendees at our Mass every week really seem to like it. Et cum spirito tua

  5. As a convert myself, I have to say I find the leadership of the Church to be its own worst enemy and literally driving men away. Starting right at the Top.

    I was a lifelong Protestant from a generally anti-Catholic heritage. I came to the Church because of my lifetime of reading the Scriptures and then studying the documents of the faith and finding the Church to be what she says she is, or did…

    But what I see in the Catholic Church is similar to what I found in Protestantism. Honestly, the leadership of the Church is so feminized these days and promotes a vague and chaotic message I don’t wonder at all why many guys are disgusted with the Church in general. The Church has lost its guts to stand up and take the tough road. Compromise and false semi-queer poorly defined “tenderness” {just what the heck is a “Revolution of Tenderness”, Pope Francis? Gobblygook…} just drives home the chaos of teaching and vapid and gutless inability to stand for something, you know, like the doctrines of the faith in the face of the many who seek to destroy the Church.

    Also, the Church doesn’t discipline its own and that alone is simply disgusting.

    The Church must earn respect it has lost over the last 30 or 40 years. That doesn’t happen by compromising with everything. Think about it; if all religions are the same and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus is no different than the nice parts of the Koran, most guys would rather be fishing than going to Mass. Why bother? I truly believe if men saw the Church actually take her teachings seriously and strongly set standards we would see them develop a respect they simply don’t have now.

    Look at the way the sodomite priest is and is going to be handled by the Funny Fat Man in New York and you tell me if normal guys can muster any respect for the bureaucracy of the Mystical Body of Christ.

    I thought the whole “Latin Mass” thing was a total joke until I actually got to know a TLM parish {FSSP} and now I drive almost 2 hours to get there. I have no idea how close to the “pre-Vatican 2” Church the FSSP is culturally, but I don’t care. They preach the Gospel and their Priests stand up for the whole Magesterium, not just the parts Oprah Winfrey, Gore Vidal and Justin Bieber would approve of.

    I encourage any man who still cares to read the Bible and get a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent and Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum and read them. See how far from “home” we’ve wandered theologically-speaking. Get in touch with teaching of the Church that isn’t fawning over trendy and queer modern sentimentality. Anyway, it would be a start.

  6. If men only knew what the Eucharist really is, and what awaits us after death one way or the other, the pews would fill in no time. These things need to preached loud and clear from the pulpit, non-stop…

    1. Excellent, let’s hear an exceptionally vivid and detailed description of the Beatific Vision. List all the particulars that men could relate to viscerally and pungently, like the smell of a bacon sandwich. Such specifics would be highly motivating for human beings with nerve endings and emotions.

  7. It is a crisis in the Catholic Church in general and is indeed affecting men greatly. Addiction to lust ful sins are a huge symptom of the greater problem, and contribute to the awful effects Matthew mentions.

    I was approached so much for help about conquering pornography compulsion that I created a video course to help Catholic men conquer the vice: http://catholicmenconquerporn.com

    1. Are you the same Devin Rose who wrote http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2012/06/25/single-catholic-guy-wake-up/ (which you also published on your own site at http://www.devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/2012/06/25/single-catholic-guys-wake-up , where comments are no longer accepted)? You wrote that single Catholic women are practically hanging from the trees, if guys would only start smoking pipes and reading Jane Austen and such?

      You’ll pardon me if I am totally suspect of your credibility, then. On that topic, or any other.

  8. I’m not sure which population has been included in the “studies” referenced, but it appears that they have missed an entire swath of the mid-Atlantic portion of the US. Just my personal experience, but in our parishes, most couples are still married, most of the families worship together, and the young men viewing porn approaching 100%? Well, I guess if you take “R” rated movies and “M” rated video games into account.

    1. Matthew James Christoff

      Jen

      Thanks be to God that you are in a vibrant parish with many beautifully married couples.

      As to “studies” see CARA’s basic data on the trends in baptisms, confirmations and marriages; Catholic marriages are in a free fall across the country (down 41% since 2000).

      Porn is a devastating epidemic; the data is pretty clear that huge numbers of men are looking at porn and young men are particularly hard hit. Even our future priests are in crisis over porn; it is a problem that many seminarians are struggling with.

      The USCCB has just released a letter on the porn epidemic; it’s real, it’s pervasive…and it is prevalent across the country. Of note, my interview with Jason Craig of Fraternus (apostolate that works with young Catholic men in the mid-Atlantic and elsewhere), Jason notes the huge impact of porn on huge numbers of young men. Listen to the interview on NewEmangelization.com under The Interviews tab.

      I praise God if porn is not a problem in your parish; but I suspect its there and needs to be dealt with.

  9. Mr. Christoff is a recent convert to the Church. I’ve read a lot of his writing and it’s the usual fond longing for the fantasized version of the pre-Vatican-2 church that never existed in the way that it’s imagined today. Christoff couldn’t possibly know.

    It’s become fashionable to bash and blame men for the state of the church today. But it takes two to tango. How many men have left the church to marry non-Catholic women… because women left the Church in equal proportions to men, and because the Church in recent years has made marriage prep a huge obstacle that many couples will not bother with (in my diocese, it’s a nine-month process).

    I have written elsewhere, that the rural parish of my youth expected all men to contribute to the life of the parish through maintenance, cleaning, construction… whatever was needed. We saw our fathers and grandfathers pitching in, and we learned by their example. Parishes today “hire out” all that work. There are no volunteer opportunities for men in any of the parishes I attend. Retreats and men’s groups are poorly attended because they are controlled by the embarrassing charismatical fringe.

    Lastly, Christoff’s site is a convenient one-stop-shop for all speakers on the “men’s
    retreat” circuit. What’s the real agenda? Follow the money?

    1. ” Retreats and men’s groups are poorly attended because.

      Modern men are very much into an expansive theology that transcends the Augustinian and Aquinas models.

    2. An expansive theology (study of or knowledge about God) consists in being able
      to synthesize ALL Christian theology with that of ALL other religions since God
      spoke truth in many different ways that do not contradict one another but need
      to be put together like a puzzle – hint: until we had an accurate picture of the earth it was impossible to know that Africa and South America were once joined.

    3. Syncretism: noun, the blending of various religions into one unified theology. For example, Islam is a syncretistic hodgepodge of Jewish, Christian, pagan Arab, and Zoroastrian beliefs.

    4. You’re correct, but it’s already happening. Unfortunately, I see a movement towards syncretism in some quarters of today’s Church in the form of false “ecumenism”.

    5. We need to call purgatory reincarnation and hell a really bad setback that can
      become permanent. The rest of the world would be turned on their ears and
      the CC could then begin concentrating on making Jesus’ wish that all become
      one a reality.

    6. A “baptized pagan” is a Catholic who was baptized, usually as a sentimental concession to cultural factors, who subsequently was never catechized in the Faith. James, rest assured that there are many, many nominal Catholics that fit this description. I teach adult religious instruction (RCIA), and every year I encounter individuals who have only received Catholic Baptism, and they are WOEFULLY uncatechized. In many cases it is easier to teach the Faith to Methodists and Baptists than these unchurched folks.

      Lastly, I am not a “trad”. The last time I attended a Latin Mass was about 45 years ago.

    7. Modern men are into amusement, entertainment, materialism and physical gratification….at least in the USA. Even casual church going men (probably dragged there by their wives) really don’t have any theology because they don’t think about that kind of “stuff”.

    8. It’s become fashionable to bash and blame men for the state of the church today.

      –Larry Bud

      Bashing and blaming men for everything is the feminist programme and the smoke of feminism has penetrated every part of our culture.

      The Church should be asking herself what has she done to drive men out the door. Her religious education teaches a childish faith not just to children but to young adults too. Maybe this works for females but if not by high school then certainly by college age the young men find their knowledge of the Faith to be inadequate, easily challenged, and ridiculous. They can’t believe in such a small god so they don’t and they leave the Church.

      That’s but one way the Church dismisses her men. Another is the frequent man bashing proclaimed from her pulpits. Every time a homilist or apologist reaches for an example of a failing marriage, the example is always that the man is to blame exclusively. Compare and contrast the homilies on the Sundays of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and the conclusion that gynolatry has invaded the Church is difficult to evade.

      The marriage prep problem is a symptom of the Church’s inadequate preparation of her young people. Marriage prep that starts when a couple is engaged and making marriage plans is marriage prep that is too late. Marriage prep must begin in childhood and I advocate that vocational discernment should be a part of the Church’s organized religious education during preparation for the sacrament of confirmation and continue afterwards. Marriage is a holy vocation and should not be treated as an afterthought. By the time a girl reaches her quinceañera all of her general marriage prep (exclusive of counseling as part of a specific couple proposing to marry) should be complete. A young man’s should be complete before he leaves home to make his own way in the world.

    9. Matthew James Christoff

      You make a number of good points. For an indepth review of what men think about priests, see the “Helping Priests Become More Effective in Evangelizing Men” study at NewEmagelization.com: over 1400 practicing Catholic men weigh in.

      Few priests evangelize men and men are very dissatisfied. Men have not been taught the basics of the faith. What the study also shows is that priests who do commit to evangelize Catholic men have great impact; men know and practice their faith more when a priest leads.

      What’s needed is for bishops, priests and laymen who love Christ to build Acts 2:42 parishes in which men are specifically targeted to re-engage in the faith. Christ’s call continues to be compelling to men; what’s needed is to specifically commit to evangelize men; large numbers of men will respond.

    10. One thing the Church could do to appeal to men and encourage them to “man up” is to also tell the truth about men’s rights as husbands and fathers, instead of only listing their obligations. For example, compare this line from Casti Connubii: “74. The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected.”

      with this line from Mulieris Dignitatem: “The author of the Letter to the Ephesians sees no contradiction between an exhortation formulated in this way and the words: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife” (5:22-23). The author knows that this way of speaking, so profoundly rooted in the customs and religious tradition of the time, is to be understood and carried out in a new way: as a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give “himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the “subjection” is not one-sided but mutual.”

      Pope Pius XI wrote Casti Connubii during the lifetime, and I think even during the priesthood, of the disobedient priest who became John Paul II. Then JPII went on to teach something completely different than what he was plainly taught by Pius XI, and which has been reiterated over and over by people JPII deceived. Most recently in the World Meeting of Families:

      “32. God’s love is captured vividly in Ephesians 5, where Saint Paul extends the marriage analogy to Christ and the Church. Paul urges both husbands and wives to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph 5:21, NRSV) Christian marriage is therefore not a negotiation over rights and responsibilities, but rather a description of mutual self-giving. It is far more radical than mere egalitarianism. Paul does write that “the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church.” (Eph 5:23, NRSV) But what does this mean in context and in practice? Paul calls husbands to a self-giving love that mirrors Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Undermining machismo and exploitation, and in profound contrast to other household codes in the ancient world, Paul teaches a dynamic in the image of God: “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Eph 5:25, NRSV) Drawing on Ephesians 5, the Church speaks of marriage as a sacrament, and summons couples to this kind of cruciform selfsacrificial communion.”

      No one who goes along with JPII’s destruction of the authority of the husband/father as the head of the family in Mulieris Dignitatem and elsewhere is serious about dealing with the “man crisis.” He’s still just sucking up to feminism and throwing men under the bus, like JPII, and at the same time trying to guilt trip men to action. Bishop Olmstead’s recent “Once more into the Breach” letter takes that approach.

    11. The seeds of the Catholic Church’s present woes were sown way back in the 1940s and 1950s, but the main instigators were not in the ranks of the laity. If anything, the laity was in a sort of blissful ignorance of what was brewing on the horizon (the late 1960s and the dreadful ’70s and ’80s). That is probably why the lay people were blindsided by the shenanigans of Bernardin, Weakland, Hunthausen, Hubbard, Clark, etc, etc… The Catholic laity was also programmed to obey their priests and bishops unquestioningly back in the “good old days”.

    12. Actually it was when Satan fell. Satan is the one who convinces men to hate the Church and love pornography and he’s been doing that kind of thing since before God put us here. (But I’m sure you probably believe more in absurd, secularist myths like that we all came from nothing for no reason).

    13. Not the present crisis. What we are facing today is a rebellion that is sexually based. The two big bones of contention are the Church’s stance on divorced and remarried Catholics and the recognition of homosexuality as being somehow “normal”, to include SS “marriage”. There is also a third threat in the form of female ordination, but that is not being vigorously pushed…at this time. Interestingly, the clergy that support these heretical things steadfastly remain in the Church. It would be better if they left like Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and Zwingli did

      The Reformation of Luther, Calvin, and the Tudor dynasty had a thin veneer of theology, but the main causes were economic, political, and military, as well as societal unrest among the commoners (both peasants and merchant class). Luther appeared on the scene at just the right time. If he hadn’t, he would have ended up suffering the same fate as Savonarola and Jan Hus. The rulers of Saxony, Hesse, Hanover, Brandenburg, etc.. wanted to bail out of their political and economic obligations to the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, and Luther was a convenient “tool” to use.

      Protestantism has run out of steam as an agent of change, and is not a threat. It is dying in the western world. Most Catholics who defect to Protestant denominations usually eventually drift away from any sort of Christian religious observance.

    14. ” Protestantism has run out of steam as an agent of change, and is not a threat.”

      Religion is no longer a threat and therein lies your “man crisis”

    15. Matthew James Christoff

      Mr. Bud,

      Your response lacked charity and reason…and I’ll respond briefly, not for my own sake, but because the Catholic “man-crisis” is real and needs to be honestly discussed…not dismissed.

      I suppose you sought to dismiss the writing, not with facts, but by trying to suggest that I am a recent convert. 10 years in April. During that time, I’m learning much about the faith and have been part of a group that founded CatholicManNight, a apostolate that has drawn 1000’s of men into a deeper love of Christ and brotherhood. Along the way, I completed a Masters in Theology with a concentration on Evangelization and Catechesis…and spent a lot of time thinking about why the Church is faltering. Men are a critical problem. After almost a decade, I believe I have some perspective on the the Church…that can’t be dismissed by saying I’m a recent convert.

      You suggest that you have read much and studied the NewEmangelization.com website. Forgive me, but I doubt it. You cast a dispersion that somehow it has a pre-vatican II longing. It does not. I have no idea where you have drawn your false conclusions; certainly not from the published work.

      What is that work? There are three parts to the NewEmangelization Project: a building of a fact base on the crisis (The Cathoilc Man-Crisis Factsheet summarizes some data), over 75 in-depth interviews with top men’s evangelists (and some women) that are posted on the website and the largest survey of Catholic men in recent memory (over 1400 men responded to the Helping Priests Become More Effective in Evangelizing Men Survey). Unlike your “opinions” there is a solid and powerful set of facts and commentary to support what’s argued in the article above.

      The reason there is a man-crisis in the Church has many drivers including things that have happened in the culture and mistakes made in the Church. What’s clear is that men have left the Church in disproportionate numbers and are much less engaged then women. Men, while I have no idea where your comment about fashionable man-bashing comes from, never the less must recognize their failings and to begin to actively evangelize other men. It will take committed Cathoilc men with the help of the Holy Spirit to reignite the millions of Catholic men who have left the faith and the millions who are lukewarm.

      Regarding that fraternity of Catholic men during your youth, it is missing in many places. I’d note the examples you use actually point to one of the drivers of the man-crisis; simply activity does not make Catholic men who know and can pass on their faith; obviously there was deep rot in the Church prior to Vatican II…otherwise the collapse would not have been so rapid and devastating. A couple of books to consider; Truth and Turmoil and Goodbye Good Men.

      Regarding the insulting innuendo that the web-site is a “one-step shop for all speakers on the men’s circuit” and to “follow the money”, that’s simply calumny. There are over 75 interviews from the priests and men who are actively trying to do something about the man-crisis. None were paid for their interviews. There is no advertising on the website. All of the materials on the NewEmangelization.com website are free.

      Certainly everyone can have an opinion; but we should respond with charity and reason. And men should actually do something to address the problem.

      The sole purpose of the New Emangelization Project is to confront the Catholic “man-crisis” and to draw generations of Catholic men to Jesus Christ and Holy Mother Church.

    16. “You cast a dispersion that somehow it has a pre-vatican II longing. It does not….”

      That’s too bad, because the Church has been in crisis mode since Vatican II, whose ambiguity was simply used as cover for the Modernists to run hog-wild for the last 50 years.

    17. Yeah sure, Mr. Matthew James, dismiss me for lacking charity and being calumnitous (?) and all that. This site has been publishing you monthly for quite a while now. I’ve
      commented before but this is the first time you’ve chosen to reply.

      I have read almost every article on your site. I’ve listened to your podcast appearances. Because I really wanted to see if you had a valid point to make, or what.

      I stand behind my assertion that your “research” is lacking. You are a Catholic of ten years; you simply do not have the personal insight to draw the conclusions that you have. It’s blatantly obvious that you’ve let the “everything was great before Vatican 2” whiners bias your thinking. Your March 9 article suggesting that if women wore veils to church again, that the men would return… was easy proof of that obvious bias, of something gone haywire in the simple cause-and-effect reasoning.

      And no, it is absolutely NOT clear that “men have left the Church in disproportionate numbers and are much less engaged then women”. In another twenty years, you will find empty churches with neither men NOR women attending. (Well, I’ll probably still be there… but the women still won’t notice me.)

    18. Matthew James Christoff

      Mr Bud

      Thanks for taking the time to review the site. I’m sorry that after such an in depth review that you find so little value.

      And I’m sorry if I’ve somehow offended you by not responding to comments you have made in comment sections. Nothing personal, but I don’t spend a lot of time in comment sections.

      Vatican II is part of the Magisterium and as a Catholic I accept it. Again, not sure where you are drawing the false conclusions about the New Emangelization Project having a pre-Vatican II agenda.

      The idea that a sign of piety by wearing a veil is somehow a negative is a negative…if a woman feels moved to wear a veil as she enters the presence of Christ, it is beautiful and a valid form of piety. Nor does wearing a veil necessarily mean that a women rejects Vatican II. Anything that can help return those in Mass to a greater sense of awe for Our King is something we should welcome.

      It is clear that men have left the Church in diproportionate numbers and they are significantly less engaged in the faith then women. See the Catholic Man Crisis Factsheet, the Pew research on “Nones” (the biggest single source is former Catholic men) and CARA study of the sacraments. You might also read Leon Podles “The Church Impotent.” Also, if you have listed to the 75+ podcasts, you have near unanimous agreement about the Catholic man-crisis.

      We do agree that without a significant change, the Church will be losing many more in the coming decades.

      You seem to have some litmus test about how long a person must be Catholic to express an opinion (you repeatedly assert that I should be silent for Ive only been in the Church for a decade). How long should a person be Catholic to speak according to you? What other qualifiers would you impose on participation in discussion?

      To be clear, the ideas put forth in the New Emangelization Project are not simply my opinions, but the opinions of the men and women from the interviews. I simply attempt to express what is being said. Admittedly, imperfectly. I’m doing my best to attempt to serve Christ. I pray for more wisdom and to better serve Him. I’d ask for your prayers too.

      I’m open to hear and incorporate ideas…that’s why there have been so many interviews.

      What is your hypothesis about what Catholics, especially men, might do to build the Church? Please be specific.

    19. I totally agree and I’m not sure if it was a play on words, but, just in case, it’s “cast aspersions”.

    20. So it’s a myth that the pews were full before the leftist infiltration of the hierarchy? The Faith came to dominate the world before the leftists convinced us we should be ashamed of the Church.

    21. Excellent point. When I was a child back in the early 1960s my parish had three Sunday Masses, and they were packed. If you didn’t get there at least ten minutes early, you ended up standing in the back. Fifteen years later I attended the 10 am Sunday Mass, and I don’t think there were twenty people there. A lot of Catholics run their mouths about the pre-Vatican II Church, and quite frankly, they don’t know what they are talking about. The “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd have the doctrinaire notion that the pre-Vatican II Church was some sort of hellish priestly dictatorship in which mean nuns ran around hitting kids with rulers, and other such drivel.
      Personally, I observed the bottom fall out of the Church in America in the early 1970s. The liberal outrage against Humanae Vitae was probably the first real battle between the orthodox and heterodox elements in the Church. The “Disco “70s” was the decade that the laity began it’s mass defection from the Faith. When abortion on demand became legal in 1973, many lay Catholics were dismayed and demoralized by the totally limp response from the bishops, which was very much like the bishops’ response to legalized SS “marriage” recently.

    22. Other than in a few parishes, not all…
      Single men need not apply! Marriage prep is for COUPLES ONLY…There is NO prep for Singles who wish to be couples!

  10. Listing a catalog of sins, reminding people they are mortal sinners and are condemned to hell, telling “good” men how they are destroying every fabric of life and society is hardly a way to bring people the joy of the Gospel…in fact, it will have the reverse effect and drive more away. Evangelization of men and people happens only when people are witnessing joy and peace and the fruits of commitment….try reading Evangelii Gaudium….it will give you a guidepost to bring the Spirit into peoples’ lives instead of driving them away.

    1. Yes-What did God know about bringing men to Him when he inspired His Holy Scripture?

      Yes- too bad you weren’t there back then to correct Jesus and St. Paul; not to worry, current and future “Synods” know how God got it wrong when He had St Paul say:

      “Ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

      And Jesus: don’t you think – until revision – all Bibles should be banned
      from motel rooms since they spew hate speech like this:

      Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50 “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

      Matthew 22:13 “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

      Matthew 8:12 “while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

      Maybe, just maybe, God knew what men need to hear to come to Jesus and to stay with Him. And maybe the men are not hearing this in the new AmCathChurch.

      Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

    2. Guy, seems like you missed the Pope’s sermon to the Bishops in DC about what admonishing the sinner means…

      “Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor; it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.”

      I recommend that you read his whole sermon…remember it’s the year of mercy..not hard and divisive language.

    3. I wonder what you will say at the last judgement, when Jesus divides the sheep from the goats. Will you stand up and quote the pope and admonish Christ for using such harsh divisive language?

    4. Golly gee wiz…I assumed that the Pope was Christ’s representative on earth; and I know (based on the parable) I will be with the sheep ….
      Matt 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God….

    5. Yea he just forgets to admonish himself and only goes after Catholics who, unlike him, believe all the teachings of the Church.

    6. What P Francis really said about admonishing the sinner…to his fellow bishops in DC

      “Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor; it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.”

    7. You think to admonish means to use harsh and divisive language? St. Paul said to speak the truth in love.

    8. “Old maid!”

      “Fomenter of coprophagia!”

      “Specialist of the Logos!”

      “Rosary counter!”

      “Functionary!”

      “Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!”

      “Restorationist!”

      “Ideological Christians!”

      “Pelagian!”

      “Mr and Mrs Whiner!”

      “Triumphalist!”

      “Rigid Christians!”

      “Modern gnostics!”

      “Liquid Christian!”

      “Superficial Christians!”

      “Slaves of superficiality!”

      “Museum mummy!”

      “Renaissance prince!”

      “Airport Bishop!”

      “Leprous courtier!”

      “Idealogue!”

      “Long-faced, mournful funeral Christian!”

      “Gnostic!”

      “Careerist Bishop!”

      “Sourpuss!”

      “Authoritarian!”

      “Elitist!”

      “Querulous and disillusioned pessimist!”

      “Sad Christian!”

      “Pickled pepper-faced Christian!”

      “Children! Afraid to dance! To cry! Afraid of everything!”

      “Asker for certainty in all things!”

      “Christians allergic to preaching!”

      “Closed, sad, trapped Christian who is not a free Christian!”

      “Pagan Christian!”

      “Little monster!”

      “Defeated Christian!”

      “Creed-reciting, parrot Christian!”
      “Watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christian!”

      “Inquisitorial beater!”

      “Seminarians who grit their teeth and wait to finish,
      follow rules and smile [who] reveal the hypocrisy of clericalism – one of the worst evils!”

      “Abstract ideologue!”

      “Fundamentalist!”

      “Smarmy, idolator priest!”

      “Worshiper of the god Narcissus!”

      “Vain, butterfly-priest!”

      “Priest-wheeler dealer!”

      “Priest-tycoon!”

      “Religious who have a heart as sour as vinegar!”

      “Promoter of the poison of immanence!”

      “Those closed in the formality of a prayer that is cold, stingy [who]
      might end up as Michal, in the sterility of her formality.”

      “Older people nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!”

      “Young people addicted to fashion!”

      “Pastry-Shop Christians!”

      “Luscious cakes, sweet dainties. Delectable, but not real Christians!”

      “Existential tourist!”

      Anesthetised Christian!

      “Christian hypocrites only interested in their formalities!”

      “They disguise themselves, they disguise themselves as good people: they make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen—they believe they are more righteous than others, they despise others!”

      ‘Mah,’ they say, “I’m very Catholic, because my uncle was a great benefactor, my family is this, I’m that… I’ve learned… I know this bishop, this Cardinal, this priest… I am this or that…’ They think they are better than others. This is hypocrisy!”

      “Sloth-diseased, acedic Christians!”

      “I think of many Christians, of many Catholics: yes, they are Catholics, but without enthusiasm, even embittered!”

      “They are people without light – real downers!”

      “And how many Christians are like this?” he asked, “selfish, out for themselves.”

      “Christians who do not leave space for the grace of God – and the Christian life, the life of these people, consists in having all the paperwork, all the certificates, in order!”

      “The theologian satisfied that his thought is complete and conclusive is mediocre.”

      “The theologian who does not pray and does not adore God ends up drowning in
      the most disgusting narcissism.”

      “This is an ecclesiastical sickness.
      The narcissism of theologians and thinkers does such harm; it’s disgusting.”

      “Your institutions are not machines for producing theologians and philosophers.”

      “There are Christian bats who prefer the shadows to the light of the presence of the Lord!”

      “Starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea!”

      We have heard of so many good Catholics, good Christians, friends and benefactors of the Church that – it has been revealed – acted for personal profit. They presented themselves as benefactors of the Church and made money on the side…”

      And in the Church there are climbers, people driven by ambition! There are many of them! But if you like climbing go to the mountains and climb them: it is healthier! Do not come to Church to climb!

      A simple numerary in this sect!

      Weathervanes! All of them!

      Rotting in the heart, weak, weak to the point of rottenness! Gloomy in the heart!

      Weak-hearted Christians!

      So much sterility within our Mother Church: when because of the weight of the hope in the Commandments, that pelagianism that all of us carry within our bones, she becomes sterile. She believes she is capable of giving birth… no, she can’t!

      Many times I think that in some places the Church is more like an entrepreneur than a mother.

      A discouraged, anxious, sad Church; a Church who is more spinster than mother; and this Church isn’t useful”, such a Church is no more than a museum.

      Christians in appearance! Made-up Christians, because when the rain comes, the make-up runs off!

      “So many ‘apparent Christians,’ collapse at the first temptation,”

      Appearances! Christians of appearance … they are dead!

      “Band of the chosen” in that “ecclesiastical microclimate!”

      I think about how many Christians prefer a spectacle to the silence of the Kingdom of God.

      “Have these people come to receive a Sacrament, to have a feast like at Cana in Galilee, or have they come to have a pageant, to be seen, for vanity?”

      A Christian without strength, without fertility”. “A Christian out for himself, to serve himself.” His is a “sad life”, “the many great things of the Lord” are “wasted”.

      Christians enemies of the Cross of Christ!

      “Pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, so as to appear like Christians, but pagans nonetheless!”

      “A pastor who opens the doors of the Church and stays there, waiting, is sad”.

      “There are bright Christians, full of light – noted the Pope – who seek to serve the Lord in this light” and ” there are dark Christians” who lead “a life of sin, a life distant from the Lord” and who use those four types of words that “belong to the evil one”.

      “But there is a third group of Christians”, who are not “neither light nor dark

      “”They are the Christians of gray areas. And these Christians of gray areas are on one side first and then the other. People say of these: ‘Is this person with God or the devil?’ Huh? Always in the grey area. They are lukewarm. They are neither light nor dark. And God does not love these.”

      Christians who live that way,” he continued, “for appearances, for vanity, seem like peacocks, they strut about like peacocks.”
      How many Christians live for appearances? Their life seems like a soap bubble. The soap bubble is beautiful, with all its colours!

      “Moralistic quibbler!”

      “Faraway contemplative!”

      Corrupt politicians, corrupt businessmen and corrupt clergymen everywhere!

      The “uniformists”, whose manner is to “‘uniformize’ everything: everyone as equals!

      “They call themselves Christians, they call themselves Catholics, but their rigid attitude distances them from the Church!”

      “Uniformists, alternativists and advantagists!”

      “Swindlers! We’ve seen many of them, he said, essentially “parading about as benefactors and in the end, under the table, running their scams!”

      “Proud, self-sufficient, detached from the people, intellectual aristocrats, who closed their doors and resist the Holy Spirit!”

      “A Europe which is now a “grandmother”, no longer fertile and vibrant.”

      Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticise itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”

      Working too hard. “Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good and should be taken seriously.”

      Becoming spiritually and mentally hardened. “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”

      Planning too much. “Preparing things well is necessary, but don’t fall into the temptation of trying to close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit, which is bigger and more generous than any human plan.”

      Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise. “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge.’”

      Having “spiritual Alzheimer’s”. “We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord … in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”

      Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the colour of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”

      Suffering from “existential schizophrenia”. “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”

      Committing the “terrorism of gossip”. “It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”

      Glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honour people who aren’t God.”

      Being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”

      Having a “funereal face”. “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”

      Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”

      Forming closed circles that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad scandals especially to our younger brothers.”

      Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”

      All quotes spoken by our pope. For me, much of it feels very harsh and divisive.

    9. Matthew James Christoff

      Adam Aquinas,

      I agree that we need to always call on all people to understand the Good News; the overwhelming blessing of Christ’s Mercy. Amen, brother, amen.

      Yes,Evangelii Gaudium is critical. But so it Veritatis Splendor. The Good News is based on Truth.

      Mercy without Truth is sterile. What has been missing for several generations is Truth. People simply do not know the faith and see no reason for giving themselves to wishy washing longings for community. For there to be Mercy, first comes Truth and then repentance. Christ’s Mercy is available to all who wish to receive it and His first preaching is to “Repent”. Less then 1 in 5 Cathoilc men go to Confession in a year; only 1 in 50 go monthly. But as the recent Pew Surveys show, the majority of those who are “Catholic” do not believe in many of the core Truths of the faith. What’s needed is a reiteration of the Truth (which includes Christ’s great mercy) to men so they can know it.

      A man with cancer needs to know he has cancer, that it is killing him and that the treatment for the disease includes, for example, radiation and chemo. Not telling him the truth of his condition lacks charity; it is a false kind of Mercy.

      The research from the New Emangelization Project suggests that men long for a clear articulation of the Truth and will respond when they are challenged to live up to their commitments. Men have no interest in giving themselves to vague warm feelings, especially if they don’t think that they need it.

      To address the Catholic “man-crisis”, we can’t shy away from the kinds of hard facts in the article and to recognize the devastating cost. It is a call to action, one that men need to hear.

  11. If the Power People of the church had not wanted these men to leave, they would not have left. If the Power People of the church wanted these men back, they would be back.These men would contribute money and be the reason others came and contributed money. It is no accident these men have left. The Power People – those who are in positions of power, including both males and females – do not want this kind of man active in the parishes, do not want this kind of man, speaking and speaking out at parish gatherings and events, and most certainly do not want this kind of man as one of them, one of the Power People. The fact that on the one hand they could get money from them, but on the other they run them off proves that this kind of man, in their eyes, is a leaven that they need to excise. Yes, you can lay part of this at the feet of the men who don’t stand and fight; but – do the Pooh Bear thing, think, think, think – if the Power People wanted them and/or wanted them back they would be enticed and welcomed, there would be no sin unforgiven, and a Synod On Men would be a huge success. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

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