Where Are the Men?

July-August 2006By Donald Tremblay

Donald Tremblay, who is the Public Relations Director for Main Events, a professional boxing promoter, writes from Brooklyn, New York, and can be reached at

"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray." -- Matthew 18:12-13

Over the years, in her zeal to create administratively efficient parishes and dioceses, the American Catholic Church has forgotten the above Gospel lesson. It is a lesson the Church better quickly remember since the future of Catholicism in this nation may hinge on recovering those men of the flock who have strayed from the fold.

How low are male Mass-attendance numbers? George Barna's Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators states the following: "Of Americans in the mid-1990s…women are twice as likely to attend a church service during any given week."

For years the American Catholic Church has operated with the attitude, "Our doors are always open," and "If people need us they know where to find us." Well, that approach has failed, and it is time the Church follow the evangelical examples set forth by Jesus Christ and by Pope John Paul II.

Jesus recognized that the only effective way to reach people is to meet them in their own backyards. Consider the recruiting tactics Jesus used. Case in point: Matthew's Gospel describes how Jesus visits the tax office of Matthew and eats with "many tax collectors and sinners" (Mt. 9:10). Imagine the shock and appreciation of those men and women upon realizing that this holy man was breaking Judaic law and risking slander in order to evangelize them. Needless to say, Jesus' outreach worked since Matthew became one of His 12 Apostles.

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Back to July-August 2006 Issue

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One can see a clear distinction between the male and female aspects of Catholicism by examining the documents from the Council of Trent and comparing them to those produced at Vatican II. The dogmatic documents of Trent were clear and concise and those of the pastoral Vatican II were wordy and flowery. It is simple. Men are attracted to well defined doctrine and containing eternal Truth whereas women and homosexuals prefer the softer, gentler, and more obtuse notions of truth that are most often being propounded in today's Church. Any wonder why solid men shy away? Posted by: gwolak
July 30, 2006 12:14 AM EDT
Not all women. I'd rather get hit between the eyes with well-defined doctrine and the hard truth. The soft, gentle stuff doesn't do it for me either. Posted by: Cyndy Wilson
August 20, 2006 05:04 PM EDT
I totally agree with almost everything.
In fact, holding hands during the Pater Noster is an litugical error: although we're praying together, it is the most radical "transcendant" lithurgical answer to the silent but real Presence in the Holy Eucharist - each stands personally before the Father. The confirmation of the community, united around Our Lady, comes later, at the "sign of peace" (which should be more than saying hi). Holding hands at the Our Father, it's as is we're praying "our mother"... Thank God I'm a priest, so I have a solid justification for not doing the soggy thing.
I prefer to pray in latin, but I also prefer the Holy Mass of Vatican II, because apparantly it uses some ancient prayers that had disappeared, in particular those with an eschatological meaning. I have noticed that "solid" but "angry" young men are especially interested in escatological aspects of our faith, that is, about the end of all things.
Finally, a word of thanks to Mel Gibson. He gave us back a true Christ. It's a pity, that after the resurrection there was no time left for the encounter with the stupified disciples, I'm sure Mel would have done a good job picturing that. But I don't blame him, for since I believe in the resurrection I'm always short of time too...
Posted by: Elias
August 29, 2006 09:01 AM EDT
Father Elias wrote,

"I prefer to pray in latin, but I also prefer the Holy Mass of Vatican II, because apparantly it uses some ancient prayers that had disappeared, in particular those with an eschatological meaning."

Father, if you see this post, can you please explain about these ancient prayers--what they are and where they occur in the Mass?

I refuse to attend the Novus Ordo because I am sick of not only the liturgical abuses but the general conduct of the attendees. They behave as if they were at a social gathering; total lack of reverence in both attire and demeanor. Etc., etc., well, I am sure you have heard it all.

Thank you.
Gerri in Brooklyn
Posted by: tradgirl
June 23, 2009 08:56 AM EDT
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