More Ways to End the Vocations Crisis

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.

You can flush the people out by observing their reactions to good news. Mention that the sisters of Our Lady Queen of Ephesus, in Kansas City, are devoted to the magisterial teachings of the Church, that they are joyful messengers of the Lord, that they celebrate the complementary virtues of manhood and womanhood, and that if their average age were too much lower they’d have to face a truant officer. Note the reply.

“Well, that’s good for them.”

“They’re just one convent.”

“If that’s their choice, I respect it. But their day is past.” I translate: Old-fashioned prigs!

“Correlation doesn’t imply causation.” No, certainly not. The rooster doesn’t make the sun rise. But the slogan is mainly used to duck the obvious. As I’ve seen it used, it means, in socio-speak, that if you take your kid fishing a lot, and your kid grows up with a hobby called fishing, we can’t conclude that there’s any connection between them. Young women filled with love for the Church and for Jesus do not naturally gravitate towards women who are filled with love for the Church and for Jesus.

Or say that priestly orders that maintain devotion to the mysteries of the faith are doing very well. Mention the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Tell about what a couple of priests of Opus Dei did to save a jewel of a church from destruction—Saint Mary of the Angels in Chicago. Suggest that something similar could be done in your neighborhood.

“That order attracts reactionaries.”

“Opus Dei is evil.”

“We have to become a new Church for a new time.”

A former student of mine worked for a year at a live-in women’s center run by bitter old nuns—by the Feminist Nunsuch. It was down the street from Saint Mary of the Angels. The sisters refused to allow the priests to come over to celebrate Mass there for the people. “We don’t need them,” they said.

Now, if that’s your attitude, I am not speaking to you, not in this article. Wellington doesn’t ask Napoleon how he should arrange his battle-lines.

If you do not believe what the Church teaches regarding the neuralgias of our time, I am not speaking to you. If you believe that women should be ordained, or that a man can marry a man, or that the government should permit people to snuff out their children before they reach a certain state of cuteness, or that the Pill is good for what ails us, or that divorcing men and women can call Solomon’s bluff, saw their children in two, marry their new squeezes, and be patted on the head by the Church for doing so, while the abandoned spouse is played for a chump all around—I am not speaking to you.

If it’s your worst nightmare that men might be kindled with ardor for the Church—the real one, not the mythical Futurechurch, known only to the illuminati, those who have taken a night school course in ecclesiology and who wear special glasses—then obviously we have nothing to talk about. You want the Church to conform to the world; you want the Church to suffer a shameful defeat. You want to deform the Church to infect it. I want the Church to cure the world by transforming it.

If you do accept the teachings of the Church but you are content with the status quo when it comes to vocations, I am not speaking to you. You’ve had things your way for forty years. Enough already. I want results. I want victory. So in that spirit I make these recommendations, to those who also want victory:

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. Read Romano Guardini, The Lord. Read Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture. Read C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man. Those, for starters. Invite teenage boys to join in, and treat them as absolute equals. Set up a weekly morning prayer in the rectory for the men of the parish, early enough to catch most of them before work. Let them pray on their knees, on the floor, as I’ve seen done at one extraordinarily vibrant parish in Connecticut. Let them hear a sermon that takes the truth to them and gives them their marching orders of the day. Notice how quickly and completely all the differences of class and education are forgotten.

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.

Do not reduce the Catholic faith to a political appendix. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Remember that human beings are unified only from above.

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. If you are teaching CCD, same thing. If you are teaching in a Catholic school, the moral burden upon you is heavy. Pray every day for your students and for the light to see what has been revealed to the Church and why. Your job is not to play Satan in the garden. Do not deceive yourself on that score. You must decrease, and Christ must increase.

If you have the wherewithal, separate boys and girls for certain units or courses in your Catholic schools; certainly for physical education, for the touchier elements of health, and perhaps also for literature and religion. Unless it’s an all male school, the boys will have mostly women for teachers. Then there should be some time during the day when they can be themselves, without social complications; reading Moby Dick instead of or in addition to Pride and Prejudice; arguing with one another in the company of a male teacher of theology, rather than holding their peace in mixed company. The girls will doubtless also enjoy the change of pace. They too will feel more at home during those times when they can be themselves too; and it will make the re-union all the happier.

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.

Anthony Esolen


Professor Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).

  • Jim A.

    BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO, Mr. Esolen! Thank you!

  • Guest

    EXCELLENT!!!! If you love them TELL THE TRUTH!!! The Church is the light guiding the world and NOT the other way around!!

  • Douglas Pearson


  • Vinny

    Refreshing! Give men a purpose to be a man, the protector and provider he is meant to be. Whether of a family or the Body of Christ.

  • Keith Cameron

    Laus Deo! I converted to Catholicism for exactly the reasons above. I want a Church with fire it its belly. A Church of tradition, faith and service. If I had wanted to join a golf club, I would have joined one.

    • Akira88

      That is the Church you describe! The neoCatholics tag those of us who follow Church teaching and tradition as “Traditionalists”. We’re not. We’re just plain Catholics, and we want our Church back!
      If I hear another fluffy sermon about some insignificant drivel — I’ll start walking out during the homily and return after.

      • Yeah, that “traditionalist” nomenclature is pure bull manure. That’s the term innovators use to marginalize the faithful.

        • jacobhalo

          In the gift shop of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash. DC, they have a book section which says, “For the nostalgic” Another words “for the Traditional Catholic” That is how they marginalize us.

          • Idiots. The Eastern Catholics don’t have this plague of addiction to novelty. But sure enough, when a Western catholic shows any fidelity to the Tradition, he’s just being a stagnant archaicist of the highest order. Idiots.

            • Aliquantillus

              The biggest scandal is that the present Pope supports these idiots and is hell-bent on suppressing and outlawing the traditionalists. His entire policy is a fundamental transformation of the Church and and to make this transformation irreversible.

              • Akira88

                I don’t know if Pope Francis does or doesn’t support these folks. I think he wants a unified Church, but has a different way of going about it.

                I’m not too sure about this push for more focus on women in the Church.

                The entire culture has this repulsive fascination in resurrecting ’60’s issues.

              • Albert8184

                Don’t sweat it. He’ll fail because he’s fighting against God on that one. The only thing that’s going to be transformed is the Body of Christ on Resurrection Day.

              • Alessandro Arsuffi

                Being Traditionalist means respecting the Pope and his authority. The Pope Francis of the newspapers isn’t the same of the real world. I don’t like him but I don’t label him an heretic. He’s just the Pope, let’s stop insulting him.

                • jacobhalo

                  The pope approved of the Relatio before the synod commenced. He has heretical views. He agreed with the heretic Cardinal Kasper.

                  • Alessandro Arsuffi

                    The Pope can’t be heretic. He’s infallible when it comes to ex cathedra decisions, and you know that. Don’t start telling the world this Pope is an Anti-Pope or even the Antichrist, Christ’s promise always prevails.

                    • jacobhalo

                      A pope hasn’t spoke ex cathredra since 1950 with the Assumption of Mary. When he speaks from the chair of Peter, then he is infallible concerning the doctrines of the church. If the pope agreed with Kasper both are heretics.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      Did he really “agree with Kasper”? Did the Pope say “gays should marry, people should divorce, abortion is allowed, contraception is good”? No. he just recognized that these issues must be faced in a way or another. Let’s stop arguing and let’s see what happens next year rather than just condemning a person for being too generic in his speeches. Also, the 1950 statement isn’t the last ex cathedra. According to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and its condemnation of woman priesthood is also ex cathedra.

                    • jacobhalo

                      The pope agreed with the relatio which called for communion to the divorced.

                    • Tim Danaher

                      The pope’s approval of the Vatican II documents was an infallible act when he acted in union with the bishops.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  I agree in principle, but it’s a lot tougher when the Pope himself doesn’t seem to respect the Papacy or its authority.

                  • Alessandro Arsuffi

                    Francis isn’t skilled as a Pope and this is clear. Tbh even Ratzinger wasn’t during his first 2 years. He made some errors in his speeches that turned many people away from the Church because he was a bad diplomat at the time. You can’t be born to be a Pope, you need to grow in the role for a few years until you understand how to perform your ministry. Re-read what Francis said on many occasions on traditional marriage, especially in the Philippines. Re-read what he said about his belief on homosexuality during his flight back from Brasil: he states he is a child of the Church and believes what the Catechism teaches, and the Catechism teaches that homosexual acts are disordered but gay people should be treated with love. The fact that this Pope underlines love and mercy more than sin and punishment doesn’t mean he’s heretic, he’s just having his own view of the Papacy. I don’t like it either, but I must admit the Inquisition time is over and repeating that sodomites are sinful doesn’t show the other side of the coin: no sin is impossible to win and be forgiven through God’s mercy. After all, how many Popes insisted on the Sacrament of Confession as much as Francis?

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I agree with what you’re saying, and I haven’t contended that the Pope is a heretic. I am troubled, however, by his apparent contempt for the traditions and rituals of the Papal office, such as his refusal to don the garments usually worn when a new pope is chosen or to live in papal residence. True humility would have consisted in wearing those items and living there anyway, in spite of his distaste. John XXIII, a very humble man, did not object to being carried in the Gestatorial Chair or living where popes had lived or dressing as they dressed. He even once gently chastised the congregation of a church where he was visiting for applauding him. We are in church, he observed, and one doesn’t clap here. More troubling still was the attempt to wire the recent Synod on Marriage and the family and manipulate the proceedings to a definite outcome. I’m trying to respect him and his office, but I can’t say I’m reassured so far.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      One may argue that he wears the vestments that are proper of his office. While I agree that some vestments have a wonderful tradition and should be worn, it’s not the vestments that make the Pope. The first Popes wore the same outfits as the other bishops, it’s their role as “bishops of Rome” that was more than enough to qualify them as Vicars of Christ. We may say that the first Pope who refused to look as a Pope was Paul VI as he renounced to the triregnum. Since then, every Pope has renounced to it. As I said earlier, the Pope can’t teach heresy. Even if he had some heretic views, the Holy Spirit guides the Church till the Second Coming of Christ, which means that whatever the outcome of the Synod, it’ll reinforce Church doctrine. As for me, I’m more for an Eastern-style Church and have come to my conclusions, but I love the Church as it is. And I must say that I returned to the Church as a Tridentine, but the Old Mass was just the gate to bring me back to Christ’s flock and I don’t see the Vetus Ordo Missal as a requirement to stay in the Church. I’m a catechist, chorist and reader in my parish priest (OF Mass alone) and I helped restoring some old practices in the New Rite Mass. That’s the continuity Benedict XVI asked for, and that’s essentially the only thing we need to do. That’s my opinion of course and I agree with you that sometimes Francis gets to my nerves for his equivocal speeches, but I know he’s thinking pastorally but also faithfully to the Church.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Well, I’m certainly hopeful for the Church in light of what you’re doing in your parish – please keep up the good work. As for the Pope, I’ll wait and see.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      I’ll try and do my best, as well as many other people in my parish. Fortunately I live in a little city (c. 6500 people live here) who have been a fertile home for new priests. We had some 10 priests ordained over the last 30 years, a permanent deacon and a few missionary monks and nuns. There’s some magic in the village I live in that helped go against the common fate of the other cities in the surroundings that haven’t had a priest ordained for 40-50 years. Then a young priest came some 15 years ago and changed everything for the worse. He was a maniac and even had a concubine, he ruined the oratory and many left the parish. Now that he’s gone and we’ve got a new young and good priest in charge of the oratory, things are finally getting better again. What I noticed is that the last men from my village who have been ordained had been formed during the good phase preceding that shameful priest, than there’s a sort of black hole with no vocations at all and we even experienced a lack of catechists. Some teens are now starting again to cooperate as catechists and this is a good sign and things are changing for the better once again. Sainthood inspires sainthood, after all.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Even one bad priest can do enormous damage, can’t he? But as I said previously, it sounds as if your parish is recovering nicely, thanks to the kinds of contributions you’re making. Keep at it.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      Yes, you’re right. That’s why we shouldn’t pray for more priests – we should pray for more saints in the priesthood. Sometimes a single saint preaching in the church can inflame the hearts of people for decades and inspire them to become saints.You know, I live in a little province in Italy, called Bergamo, whose patron saint was Alexander, a 4th century martyr once in the so-called Theban Legion, During his preachings, he inspired so many saints that we’ll never stop showing his greatness, such as st. Grata (who gathered his relics), st. Narnus (first bishop of Bergamo) and martyrs Firmus and Rusticus. I have this saint in my mind and I’m glad I was given his name at baptism. He reminds me that I must offer a good witness of Christianity to inspire the others to do the same. I hope I’m doing well.

                    • Tony

                      Alessandro, fratello mio — io ero in Italia in 1998, a Bergamo e dapertutto, per trovare i manoscritti e edizioni della Gerusalemme Liberata, di Torquato Tasso. Facevo una traduzione all’Inglese, in ottava rima. Da dove siete voi?

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      I’m from Bonate Sotto, some 10 minutes from Bergamo by car. That’s an interesting research, Tony… Have you found what you were looking for?

                    • Tony

                      Ma certo! My translation was published by Johns Hopkins Press in 2000. We stayed in “upper” Bergamo, which is a jewel of a place. I booked a hotel there, and when we arrived, exhausted, I asked the proprietor how far away the library was. He laughed. It was twenty feet away!

                    • Mary Clare

                      You have a gift within your discourse to draw people in with your words- well-reasoned and not patronizing or bitter.

                • jacobhalo

                  Being a Traditionalist means respecting tradition, which this pope doesn’t do.

              • Mary Clare

                Really? That is the biggest scandal in the Catholic Church?

            • Akira88

              That just sounds plain unkind.
              Why are you mad at the Church?

              • Oh, I love the Church. It’s the destroyers within I cannot abide.

                Why, what have I said that makes me sound mad at the Church?

                • Tpr1976

                  You see the Church as an exclusive club that shouldn’t bend, flex or change in order to be attractive to more people in the modern world. You view it as hypocrisy, unorthodox, breaking with Tradition, betrayal of the faith etc…..
                  One thing you need to stop doing is seeing those of us that appreciate modernity within the Church as destroyers. We are just as much a part of the Body of Christ as you. You do not get to exclude anyone from the Body of Christ because their views differ from yours. What you view as heretical is accepted by many within the hierarchy and (thankfully) even the papacy. (Grazie, Francesco!)
                  We are in the Church. You are in the Church. I need to realize and accept that you are nourished by older and more Traditional forms of music, prayer and spirituality. You need to realize that people like me study, learn, are nourished by and cherish our history AND we are inspired, moved and “set on fire” by some modern movements of the Holy Spirit within the Church and don’t see them as dangerous, heretical or evil.
                  And please, for the love of God, don’t assume that I want “Awesome God” and liturgical dance at every mass. That’s a stereotype.

                  • Glenn M. Ricketts

                    What are some of these “modern movements of the Holy Spirit” that inspire you? Are they generating priestly vocations?

                    • Tpr1976

                      Although priestly vocations are very important… that the litmus test for something being good for the Church?

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Priestly vocations are the subject of Anthony’s article, so I focused on that topic. But again, what examples would you cite as these “modern movements of the Holy Spirit” to which you refer? So far, I’ve got nothing concrete to respond to. Are people storming back to Mass in droves? What’s the good news, as you see it?

                    • Tpr1976

                      They are in my parish and we do not offer a Tridentine mass, only have altar boys or sing “Church Militant” style hymns.
                      We have a wide range of ages and races represented in the pews and the community is very VERY strong.
                      People are coming to church and they are not coming for the “stuff” Dr. Esolen is advocating for in his post. At least not in my parish. Perhaps there’s more to it than a yearning for the way things used to be.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      But I ask again: what do YOU advocate? My own parish has no EF Mass, and is dominated by altar girls. Men are largely absent from the pews. What are you doing that I should consider? I’m still in the dark about specifics, and I hope you’ll give me some examples of these Modern movements.”

                    • I suspect the answer will be, “There it is. You have the blessed fruit of Modernism!”

                      This should be good.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      At this point, it seems no answer is forthcoming. Left in the dark again, I guess.

                    • Well, that’s why all the best books are rooted in the worldview of pre-modernism. You can sustain a conversation on the insights of Aquinas and Hugh of St. Victor; the contrary worldview just has gooey sentiment barely fit for a girls’ pajama party.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Well, I’m more than willing to give our friend a chance to tell us what he’s talking about, but all we’ve seen so far is generalized mush. Not much we can do with that, eh?

                    • Nope. And quite a short temper to boot. I thought I was the only hothead around here.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Why not a bit of it – you’re the soul of reasoned Christian gentility. who doesn’t flinch from standing by the faith. Nothing hotheaded about that, old man.

                    • “Old” — love it!

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Good. Please do keep it up.

                    • Tony

                      When churches and schools are closing — YES.

                      We could put it in reverse form: Is coughing up blood a good litmus test for some food not being healthy for you? Yes, it is.

                      The Church has always baptized and elevated whatever a culture brings to her that is good or beautiful or true. But that presumes two things at least. First, that the errors and the grossness and the evil must be purged away; second, that the culture actually exists and has something to bring. I don’t know that the mass phenomena we now have — mass entertainment, for example — will qualify as “culture.” And as for the rest of it, what part that is NOT the residue of Christianity or a distortion of Christianity is the “culture” bringing? We have witnessed a breathtaking collapse of the arts — poetry, opera, painting, sculpture, even the popular art of cinema. What does this “culture” bring, that is comparable, say, to Roman law, or to the noble courage of the Germanic tribes, or to Greek drama and philosophy? We have built very little, but we have dismantled quite a lot.

                    • Maybe that’s the new move of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Esolen? If weren’t stuck in the 1200’s we’d see it.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Roman Law, table IV, #1: “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

                      Greek Drama is fine and good, but Hello Shakespeare, Ibsen, Miller???

                      Plato and Aristotle are awesome, but even among our own early Church apologists we have a better use of philosophy to enhance, explain and defend Christian teaching.

                      Humans have produced a lot of crap throughout history. It’s just more visible now with the Internet. We are still capable of producing the thoughtful, the beautiful and the profound.

                    • Tony

                      Good gracious, please READ. We are talking about what the Christian faith can do with what a non-Christian culture brings. I said that the faith CAN baptize what is best in the pagan culture, but what is evil in it would have to be scoured and purged away. So what you say about the evils of Roman culture are of no consequence. Then I said that we are now confronted with the “mass phenomena,” such as “mass entertainment.” Well, that is an ultra-modern thing, new in the world. It does not apply at all to Shakespeare, the greatest writer who ever lived. It does not even apply to the dour overrated Ibsen, or to that much lesser light, Arthur Miller.

                      What is left of culture out there right now is but the detritus of Christianity — that is what I said. So our task is not to baptize the noble features of a pagan culture, because what’s noble in the “culture” out there is what it has borrowed from us to begin with. It is to recover our virtues and reintroduce into the world what really will qualify as a culture.

                      CAN we still produce great works of art? Yes and no. Theoretically, yes, sure; and some great works, here and there, are being produced. But the soil of great art has always been popular art rooted in a shared religious tradition. When you don’t have that last, your soil will be very thin. Ours is very thin now.

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      The shallowness of your thought reveals that you MUST be a Franciscan University student.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Dominicans actually.

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      Yes, actually it is… an infallible litmus test. “By their fruits you shall know them.” Everything else comes along with vocations. A lack of vocations simply means a lack of following Christ most closely. That is why the “charismatic movement” is a fraud. It produces Protestants instead of priests.

                    • Tpr1976

                      I’m not into the Catholic charismatic movement myself. I get what brought it about. I think it’s completely unfair to blame it for the drop in vocations. One factor could be that some men might not want to belong to a group that many people in society associate with child abuse. Another might be the celibacy rule. A third could be just the pure lack of focus on the spiritual life we have among young men growing up today.
                      Even the army lets women join…..oh wait….we’re not supposed to mention that.
                      These are the upcoming leaders of the hierarchy of the Body of Christ.
                      They ought to be thoroughly prepared, psychologically stable, well-adjusted, compassionate, courageous, thoughtful, pastoral and kind men.
                      How much a priest compares to a lumberjack is not an important comparison. All these comment writers who want the “manly priest” who “I would want to have a beer with” are those who 15 years ago elected a president for the exact same reason. History can tell us how that turned out.

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      I’m afraid I can’t follow much of your thinking here, except that your post reveals your real issues: women priests, et al. The army? lumberjacks? beer with the president? Instead of all this pointless meandering and speculation, you should look at the orders that are growing and strongly attracting men to the priesthood. The one thing they all share is their traditional, orthodox spirituality, priestly life, and approach to the liturgy. That is why modernists like Bergoglio despise them. That’s why he destroyed the FFI, with 400 members, the ONLY thriving religious order in all of Italy.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Bergolio….you mean the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father.
                      You now must deal with a pope that does not fit into your mold of what you think the Pope ought to be. The Holy Spirit felt otherwise.

                    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                      The Holy Spirit does not choose our popes. If you believe He does, you have some enormously embarrassing pages of Catholic history to explain.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Well you’ve already passed judgment on his papacy.

                  • Don Lond

                    “You see the Church as an exclusive club that shouldn’t bend, flex or change in order to be attractive to more people in the modern world. ”
                    Bend, flex, change are not stand alone virtues. That sounds exactly like what a Luther might have said. Your fascination with “modernism” is to bring the Church down to it, when it need to be the other way around.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Why do you see it as the Church being brought down to the modern?
                      The Church’s stand against modernism did defend the Church from becoming irrelevant during the 17th-19th centuries and kudos for that, but it also led to a severe allergy among some of ALL THINGS MODERN.
                      Allowing un-circumcised Gentiles into the Church used to seem repugnant to Jesus’ own apostles. Thanks to Paul, the Church accepted the new, the different, the un-traditional.
                      The Holy Spirit can be found in modernity if you look with a discerning and open eye.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      Your argument is invalid. DOGMAS CAN’T CHANGE and some of the modernist issues are dogmas. Examples? Homosexuality as a sin, male priesthood and the indissolubility of marriage. Honestly, It doesn’t matter if you sing in Gregorian chant or play the guitar at Mass, what matters to me is that theology and morality don’t change and, you like it or not, “modernist” applies that and not to the style of celebration (even if they often come together, unluckily).

                    • Tpr1976

                      Aren’t homosexual acts the sin and not homosexuals themselves? That’s what the catechism says.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      I was simplifying. I’m Italian, not English. Sometimes writing in another language implies the necessity to over-simplify what you’re saying, and sometimes you get misunderstood. Still, I believe homosexuality doesn’t exist per se, it’s always a choice. A homosexual should look for asexuality if he can’t get straight.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Mi dispiace, ma non siamo in d’accordo in questa situazione. Non credo che e’ una scelta. Credo che Dio ha creato una persona cosi. It has been a while since I took Italian in high school.

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      I’m sorry, but there’s no proof about that. I considered myself a homosexual 10 years ago, when I wasn’t in the faith. Then I rediscovered the Church and became heterosexual again. Now I’m in a stable 1.5 years relationship with a girl I really love and live this according to the Church. No gene has been found qualifying a person as gay. It’s more of a part of psychology than physiology and everything coming from the mind can be changed with a good therapy. Even if you can’t change your orientation, you still can choose not to act your passions. It’s up to an individual to believe in the healing power of faith and prayer. Btw, your Italian is good, I’d like my English was as good as your Italian!

                    • Gina

                      Do you not think Homosexuality is a mistake of our genes, DNA
                      mistake? So, you say they are bad or evil Lets find more resurch for these problems. We are not being Christ like to condem them for being the way they are. Do we condem the mentaly handycapt,
                      the ones born with one arm or leg. Or with six fingers on their hands. When it comes to medical problems mental or otherwise as we can see the modern health MODERN HEALTH should we also go back to the old ways in health, and say that GOD made us that way and the old ways is good???????

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      Homosexuality has never been linked to the genes. NEVER. No study in genetics ever proved that. Sin is a choice, ALWAYS. Being handicapped isn’t a choice, it’s a genetic fact. In fact, the handicapped are considered to be innocent and can’t properly commit a mortal sin, in the same way that infants can’t sin. Saying that a homosexual person is condemned by his nature to love a person of his own gender.

                    • rabw

                      Whenever anyone says “homosexuality is a sin” and claims orthodoxy…I just shake my head. Homosexual acts are sinful, according to the teaching of our church. Homosexuality itself is not.

                      (What ARE they teaching them in these schools?).

                    • Alessandro Arsuffi

                      I was simplifying. Essentially because I believe that homosexuality isn’t a condition. It’s a choice expressed in acts. A person isn’t heterosexual or homosexual. A person has a sexuality that be directed towards the opposite sex or the same sex.

                    • Gail Finke

                      Yes, the Holy Spirit can be found in EVERYTHING. That’s given, at least if you believe in the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean that every part of a thing is of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Church has long adopted the good things of paganism, she must adopt the good things of today. But it’s not always easy to tell which is the good part and which is the part that must be discarded. Kindness and charity are good, indifferentism is bad. Which of these does today’s vaunted “tolerance” embody, and which does it mock? Embracing the wrong one is perilous, and our quest as followers of Christ is to make and act on that distinction.

                    • Tpr1976

                      That is a very sound and level-headed position.

                    • Seeing as how our exchange has quickly degraded, I wish to offer my sincerest apologies for offending you. Clearly we’re operating from two different places. I cannot accept your worldview, and will fight it to the death, but you are still in the image of God and deserve better. Pax.

                    • Gina

                      Yes, I think your words are what I would say!

                    • jacobhalo

                      Since the modernists have taken over the church since Vatican II, we have seen empty seminaries, convents, closing of Catholic schools and church at an alarming rate, non existent lines at confession, half of Catholics are pro-abortion, the watering down of church teachings, or just no teaching of those teachings with which the modernists don’t agree. It has become the church of “nice” all mercy and no justice.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Some might say it’s placed a lot of emphasis on justice and has produced many “warriors” for justice who have fought and in some cases died fighting for justice.
                      Sure there are lots of modern ideas that are harmful to religion and the spiritual life and they ought to be resisted, but not all modern ideas are of the devil.
                      We CANNOT be Catholic EVER EVER EVER AGAIN like they were in the Middle Ages. I would even go so far and say it’s sinful to get lost in yearning to be like the past when the present and the future are staring you in the face. God doesn’t want us to close our eyes and say “I wish we were back in the 1200s again!”
                      Nostalgia is fine, but not when you get stuck in it at the expense of the moment.

                    • “We CANNOT be Catholic EVER EVER EVER AGAIN like they were in the Middle Ages.”

                      Please, since you’re so knowledgeable about the Middle Ages (having “read it all”), pontificate what the poor, benighted Christians were like back then? And please, tell me why you’re substantially better than them?

                    • Linda Almaraz

                      Ever, ever be a Catholic like the Middle Ages! Gracious! Most converts into Catholicism come in because they recognized the unchanging Truth between early Christians, Middle Ages Catholic Christians and today’s faithful to the Church Christians. if many of us yearn for the past, it’s because we see clearly what Modernism has done to the Church and the world.

                    • Jeremy Tate

                      Dear Anthony,
                      Amen. Thank you for writing this, thank you for being bold. I am a convert to the Catholic Church, formerly a Reformed seminarian, and now I am a College Guidance Counselor at Mount de Sales Academy, a top 50 Newman Guide High School. This post makes me want to point as many of our study as possible towards Providence College!

                    • “The Church’s stand against modernism did defend the Church from becoming irrelevant during the 17th-19th centuries and kudos for that, but it also led to a severe allergy among some of ALL THINGS MODERN. ”
                      Really? Pray tell, describe this 20th century reaction, and by whom? Or is this just a one-dimensional rant based on your allergy to all things Traditional?

                      “Allowing un-circumcised Gentiles into the Church used to seem repugnant to Jesus’ own apostles. Thanks to Paul, the Church accepted the new, the different, the un-traditional. ”

                      Not only are you horrible at biblical exposition, your post-higher critical methodology is uncritically employed with the finesse of a chimpanzee with a pistol.

                      The problem of the apostles wasn’t their resistance to something new, it was their resistance to something entirely old.

                      What St. Paul was doing was applying the very hermeneutic laid down by the Lord Himself as found in the Gospels themselves.

                      The resistance by the party of the circumcision was counter to the revelation of Christ, whose purpose of the ages was to unite Jew and Gentile. And this was, as Paul shows, expressly pronounced back in Genesis. And notice Paul argues chiefly from Genesis to prove his point, not some “new move” of the Spirit never before thought of. Whatever God has done new in time is predicated on His plan before the ages — His timeless plan.

                      God isn’t against newness, but neither will He violate Truth, Beauty, and Goodness (for God cannot be against God) to accomplish something new. But the modernist hears “new” and thinks, “Oh, goody, we can dismantle those old structures.”

                    • Tpr1976

                      What about in Exodus 4 when God was approaching Moses and would have killed him for not circumcisions his son? You don’t think that the circumcision relaxation was a new thing?
                      I never said anything about God changing His mind or about His plan changing. It is man’s understanding of God’s will that changes over time. It was a SIN to not circumcise, plain and simple. Paul had to reinterpret the scripture to suit the time and the reality of the revelation of Christ.
                      Better to be a chimpanzee with a pistol than a douschebag with no manners.

                    • “Paul had to reinterpret the scripture to suit the time and the reality of the revelation of Christ.”

                      Wow, with a hermeneutic like that you don’t even need a Bible. You can just make it up as you go. Now I know you’ve not “read it all” and neither can you “teach it all.” My 8 year old has a better sense of flow and context.

                      “Better to be a chimpanzee with a pistol than a douschebag with no manners.” –> Well, I’ll give you a 6.5 out of 10 for the quip. Would have gotten a 6.6 if you knew how to spell.

                    • Tpr1976

                      “Pray tell”. That’s a good blog!

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Interesting to read sometimes, but very censorious – they spike far more comments than do this site or the New Liturgical Movement.

                    • Bluster aside, that’s actually funny.

                  • Well, this latest rant – I mean “reflection” – of yours is rich indeed. I think you’ve missed the mark on about every one of your points, but let me try to respond a bit more succinctly:

                    “You see the Church as an exclusive club”

                    Using biblical categories (it’s the best we untutored pre-modernites can do nowadays), the Church is not exclusive as touching classes of men and races. As touching scandal and heresy, I think you would agree that the idea of excommunication has built into it the reality of exclusion – by necessity. And moreover, the reality of eternal damnation (that old forgotten doctrine of perdition) is also an exclusionary thing. In principle no man is excluded per se. Men get excluded when they attack the peace and purity of the Church with philosophies not brought captivity under the Lordship of Christ.

                    “…that shouldn’t bend, flex or change in order to be attractive to more people in the modern world.”

                    The theological/philosophical presuppositions in that clause alone merit a discussion itself. I mean, isn’t that the rub? I actually believe the Church needs to assess the times soberly and make orderly and wise changes fitting to Her mission. I am a Protestant, whose Mass is in English. I don’t have a Hebrew or Aramaic Mass, I don’t recline on the floor to have communion, we use air conditioning and running water, electricity, and so on.

                    The “in order to be attractive to…the modern world” deserves some more thought than mere assertion. What is it you think the Church has not done prior to Her 20th century mega-shift to accommodate modern people? And what specifically in modernism was addressed by said changes?

                    Here I am, a product of modernity just like you, and I have all the conveniences of the times. I listen to raucous hard rock, punk, and heavy metal music, am decorated with tattoos [the wisdom of which I question to this day for a variety of reasons], I program video games as a hobby and a software developer by trade, yet my existential restlessness about modernity is different than yours. Why is that? Moreover, not just me, but a host of others, Catholic and Protestant, are restless about certain features of modernism. Why?

                    I don’t reject the modern era because it is a new era (newness or oldness in itself has no objective value apart from other considerations; you can have old errors). What most reactionaries to tradition don’t seem to appreciate is when people like me object to the silliness of the Modernism in worship, it’s because there’s a corrosive effect the philosophy of Modernism has had. The Church decided in the 20th century to make certain changes for the sake of modernity — yet that philosophy was already around for 300 year, and by all historical counts she had been making measured accommodations until then. But *what* was the difference in the 20th century? What is it about the temperaments and assumptions Modernism held to that the Church finally adopted (for to accommodate is a form of acceptance)?

                    You seem to think you’ve accomplished the Great Commission if you can roll with the times, but never seem to ask whether there are any limits or constraints to this. If there are, what are they?

                    You wrote, “One thing you need to stop doing is seeing those of us that appreciate modernity within the Church as destroyers.”

                    I laugh at this comment because appreciating things about Modernity is like appreciating fireworks. It has a certain charm that’s appreciable, but there’s also a limit to what it can and cannot be for us. You get there’s a time and place for setting them off, but to light them off inside your children’s bedrooms takes a special kind of ignorance. I cannot “stop” seeing those who advocate modernism as aids to the destruction of the church precisely because the deleterious effects of Modernism (easily proven) do not magically stop being so simply because we are inside a church building. On the contrary, it becomes all the more dangerous because there is a fundamentally competing/contrary world view, and something has to give. I’ll let you take a stab at guessing which is winning out and why.

                    “You do not get to exclude anyone from the Body of Christ because their views differ from yours.”

                    Oh brother, that’s just childish. Of course I get to, and you do as well. If I show up in a KKK outfit or come in wearing a swastika armband and say, “Hey everybody, my Nazism has some truths in it, and I’d like its core values to influence your worship,” you’d (hopefully) kick my arse right out to the curb. And rightly so. *What* the church can and should bear is the question of the hour, no? You’ve adjudged modernism as innocuous I’m assuming because of your boasted voluminous reading and teaching experience. I, being a manque philosopher and theologue, am horrified by the implications of the Church flirting with modernism as I would be if she were flirting with Nazism, Gnosticism, Pelagianism, or any other -ism that diminishes the glory and truth of Christ. What’s worse, we can palpably see and feel the effects of Her disastrous experimentation. And what’s even worse than that, people blithely continue on *as if modernism has wrought no ills*. Truly insane.

                    “What you view as heretical is accepted by many within the hierarchy and (thankfully) even the papacy.”

                    As *if* that were any consolation! It’s a laughable point because, you being so well-read and all, it doesn’t help your cause in the least seeing you can have idiots in high places. If you woke up tomorrow and read headlines that said, “Vatican en toto rejects modernism,” would you then automatically reject it too? Or will you on principle stick to your guns? The grand irony here is that I, on my inherited modern-influenced religion of Anglicanism, have the sense to critically assess whether their acceptance or rejection is a good for the church or an ill. And by the way, even if I listed popes and prelates who rejected modernism, I’m guessing it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference for you. It would be sheer futility because your starting assumption (modernism is good) filters the contrary opinions out.

                    Lastly (because I despise long posts if I can help it) this queer turn of phrase is proof positive you’re confused about things:

                    “You need to realize that people like me study, learn, are nourished by and cherish our history AND we are inspired, moved and ‘set on fire’ by some modern movements of the Holy Spirit within the Church and don’t see them as dangerous, heretical or evil.”

                    Only capital ignorance could move you to write this because you’re implicitly equating “traditional” with “nothing new happening.” Authentic revival or moves of the Spirit in the Body has never been my complaint, and to pretend it is somehow at issue reveals a paper-thin understanding of what’s at stake. You’re hung up on the fact that a different thing not done before equals modernism, confusing the philosophy of the age (modernism) with the natural human impulse to learn, grow, add, and experiment. Since you’ve given away your whole argument on such misinformed grounds, I should think we need a new thread or different forum to unpack more intelligently the true issues.

                    But I will end on this note: modernism has done in the church what it has done in the world. Its effects are demonstrably provable in the world, and only blindness or sinister denial could say the same philosophy doesn’t degrade the Body of Christ’s mission and worship and worst of all Her beliefs.

                    • Linda Almaraz

                      So much to unpack on your reply; strangely for me from an Anglican with tattoos. Recently I rereaded St Pius X syllabus condemning the errors of Modernists. As you pointed out, there is much confusion when the platform for Moderism and Tradition becomes the subject of discussion. St Pius X clearly saw what was coming and the damage it would bring to the Church as the 20th century was dawning. He engaged in a fierce battle against modernism during his eleven years of governing the Church.

                    • Tpr1976

                      So you’re a Protestant. Can I just say you’re going to hell for that? It’s very Trent-y!

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      But who’s saying such things, except perhaps the traditionalist caricatures of your imagination? No one here is. Oh, well.

                    • I’d have more respect for a Roman Catholic to tell me that. Grow a pair and own up to your dogma, sissy.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Being an obsessively self-righteous dick head must be exhausting.

                    • Now doesn’t that feel better? You’re hilarious, junior.

                    • Tpr1976


                    • Atilla The Possum

                      Typical of you. The Church of Nice turning nasty…

                    • Tpr1976

                      Jesus did refer to the supposed house of God as a den of thieves. He called religious leaders “serpents” and “broods of vipers”.

                    • Jude

                      I know Jesus, and you, sir, are no Jesus.

                • jacobhalo

                  Ang, I am on your side. I love the church dearly, but I hate what has been going on since Vatican II. Bishops discipline priests who preach about hell, purgatory, sin, etc. Now, we are not allowed try and convert people from other faiths to the Catholic faith. The pope called converting others “nonsense.” What is the idea of today’s evangelization? Don’t we want them to become Catholics?

              • Crisiseditor

                It looks like you are clicking “Reply” on the wrong posts. Make sure you select “reply” under the post of the person you want to respond to. When the post appears, it will indicate who the post is replying to to the right of your name.

            • Akira88

              You have an elevated way with words. It’s lovely.

              You’re defending the Church.

            • Keith Cameron

              Perhaps we should migrate to the Eastern church?

              • If the day comes no Western rite churches are left which honor their traditions, I will without hesitation join a Byzantine Catholic church.

                I attended one years ago for a season and absolutely loved it. I am just incurably Western so I consider that my last out.

                • Keith Cameron

                  I am being forced to consider the Eastern Church more every day.

                  • Wouldn’t blame you one bit. I’m a die-hard Augustinian, so my convictions about predestination and original sin would clash with their theological tradition; but if you can join them with a clear mind and both eyes open then you will have entered the realm of sane religion. I think Eastern Christians, even with their baggage, are light-years better off than 95% of the Western Catholics suffering their current plague.

                    Godspeed on your journey.

            • T.Procopio


              Why the ignoremuses do not dare to ridicule traditions in the Eastern Church?
              WHY in Hades do they rant on over same in the Roman Church?

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                Interesting question that I had never thought of before. I’ve actually heard some “progressive” Catholics extol the beauty of Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Rite Catholic ceremonies, yet still seek to make their own as banal and trite as possible. Go figure.

          • Benjamin Lewis

            I am sorry, but your information about the Basilica in DC is not correct. I work as assistant manager of the Shrine Shops and I can assure you that we do not have a section in our bookstore “for the nostalgic.” We carry lots of traditional books, including two different versions of the Extraordinary Form missal, but we do not have a section “for the nostalgic” and are not trying to marginalize anyone.

            Benjamin Lewis
            Assistant Manager,
            Shrine Shops

            • Could it be jacobhalo is speaking of some other time he went there? And how long have you been assistant manager?

              • jacobhalo

                I was there about 5 months ago.

                • Faithr

                  I was there just before Christmas. I do not recall such a sign. I go a couple times a year and have never recalled seeing this sign. Maybe you saw something very temporary or are mistakenly misremembering?

                  • jacobhalo

                    I saw the sign. It might had been temporary. I didn’t misremember because I was irate when I saw the sign. It might have been taken down because some people complained about it.

            • jacobhalo

              Benjamin, I saw a sign that said, “for the Nostalgic” I know how to read.

            • I was there in mid August 2014. I do not recall seeing any sign bearing the inscription “for the nostalgic”. In fact I remember no segregation of the offerings, other than a logical taxonomy.

            • Gail Finke

              Good to know! But it does happen. About 10 years ago I went into a small Catholic bookstore in an Ohio city and the CD section had a selection of hymns in Latin under the category “nostalgia.” I thought that was hilarious. The store is gone now but it was full of books by Fr. Richard Rohr, etc.

          • Akira88

            I’m not sure about that particular bookstore sometimes.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          I’ve been called an ultra-traditionalist just for asking some priests to stick to the authorized text of the Mass in the OF. It doesn’t take much to earn that designation form some people.

          • Priests can be jerks.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Especially, as I’ve learned, if they smile all of the time, wear jeans and sweats, and insist that you should “just call me Chuck.”

              • They despise their vocation and want you to join in the degradation.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  They really seem to crave popularity, at least with certain sectors of a parish. And I don’t think I need to elaborates their approach to celebrating Mass,do I?

                • jacobhalo

                  Anglicanae, Do you have a Traditional Latin mass near you? I attend the Latin mass and our pastor is great. We are in communion with the Vatican, but he does things and preaches like pre Vatican II. We hear sermons on issues that the Novus Ordo rarely tackles, such as abortion, same sex marriage, etc.
                  Listen to Charles Stanley and you will an idea how the clerics preached pre-Vatican II. He tells you want you don’t want to hear, unlike many of our jellyfish, Novus Ordo clerics.

            • Don Lond

              So can hand-picked apostles. Remember that Judas guy?

          • Depending on the Bishop, I’d call the Diocese.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Tried that. The bishop simply passed my letter back to the pastor without comment or reply to me. Things went nowhere, except to get still more unpleasant locally.

              • Next time, tell him in a confessional.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  He’s the one who needs to go to confession, unfortunately.

                  • I was thinking you’d be anonymous and he’d be bound by secrecy, but I get your point and agree.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I also have to wonder whether some of these guys would even respect the sanctity of the confessional.

              • Wow that’s an unbelievable stupid breach of confidentiality.

      • hombre111

        Traditionalists are plain old Catholics who want to stuff their rigidity down the throat of the rest of the church.

        • Why is it almost every post of yours is like watching The View meets Phil Donahue? Pathetic.

          • hombre111

            Personal attacks do not add much to a dialogue. Rebutt the points you disagree with.

            • It’s not personal per se. It’s an observation about your own attacks and line of reasoning.

              “Cram down the throats…” Yes, that’s a well-reasoned point.

              • hombre111

                I think you got me there.

            • Personal attacks do not add much to a dialogue.

              “Traditionalists are plain old Catholics who want to stuff their rigidity down the throat of the rest of the church.” (sic)

              • hombre111

                Hmm, maybe you got me there. I should be kinder.

                • Kindness (by which most people mean superficial and saccharine civility) is highly overrated. The problem with that statement is that it is hypocritical.

          • Akira88

            People are angry. Those who express anger or contrariness with the Church maybe don’t understand the Faith or are living in a way contrary to Her teachings and think the Church needs to “update” and be more inclusive? Isn’t that being uncharitable toward men?

            • Hmmm, let me put it in terms understandable to you: if you see somebody assaulting your mother, disfiguring her, insulting her, demeaning her, violating her sanctity, only a good son would want to punch the lights out of that devil. My rhetoric isn’t aimed at Roman Catholicism, it’s her detractors and violators I cannot tolerate.

              I consult with the faithful Catholics in her communion to challenge my own separation as a Protestant from her. The liberal nut jobs are no different than mainline Episcopalians to me. Why, I wouldn’t think twice about refraining from joining the See of Peter if all I had to go on was the “spirit of Vatican II” crowd.

              • Akira88

                Thank you for bringing the dialectic down to my level. Very charitable.

                Did you leave the Church because of the changes post VatII?

                • I have no idea who you think I am. I was born way after Vatican II.

                  I am an Anglo-Catholic Protestant seriously considering conversion.

                  My presence here on Crisis is because these are the folks (generally speaking) I think of when I think of authentic catholicism.

                  • Akira88

                    I haven’t heard that term before. Could you define that? It’s a sincere request.

                    I must have gotten mixed up again. I was posting to jac?
                    (Indenting each reply would be a visual asset).

                    • High Church Anglican (Anglo-Catholic) believes in the catholic priority of faith and practice. Our prayer book and formularies must be submitted to their most catholic interpretation, and Protestantism is only good insofar as she removes novel accretions but adheres to the unified faith and practice of the Church. Typically we embrace the first 7 Ecumenical Councils, believe in Apostolic Succession, and the 7 Sacraments.

                      A super simplified and unjust short history for you:

                      Anglicanism underwent a significant catholic revival in the 19th century under the influence of several luminaries from Oxford (John Henry Newman was one of them), to the dismay of the low church evangelicals within her ranks. They flourished in the late 19th in England and the U.S., until the general apostasy of the 60’s when the authority of Scripture and the introduction of the ordination of women (most Episcopal/Anglican churches nowadays are swarming with woman “clergy”) destroyed most of these great churches. In 1977 a general assembly of bishops and concerned churchmen made their stand against the apostasy and decided the See of Canterbury was of less importance than the fidelity to apostolic faith and teaching.

                      Some years ago the Holy See accepted Anglican Churches who wanted to be in communion with Rome, their worship and ethos, with very little amendation to the liturgy. So you will find some Anglican Use parishes around the U.S.

                      There is really nothing comparable to a High Church English Mass. I actually prefer these to the Latin Mass since they borrow heavily anyway from the rubrics of the Latin Rite; the language and prayers are indisputably exceptional. But, I love the Latin Mass too, so if I am to attend an RC church, it has to be a Latin Mass (EF preferably).


                      Here are a few examples of Anglican Catholic churches:

                    • Akira88

                      I am familiar with Anglicans coming into the RC Church and married Anglican priests receiving a dispensation from celibacy when ordained into the Catholic Church. Is your Catholic-Anglo Bishop under a Catholic Diocesan Bishop? Is the Sacrifice of the Mass offered with transubstantiation?

                      I found this site:

                      Maybe you could give some thoughts?

                      It’s funny that CS Lewis and Tolkein were friends. I’m kind of partial to the Screwtape letters.

                    • I’ve read that Catholic Answers piece before. It’s somewhat right, thought I’d paint a different picture. I don’t like using Crisis space to preach Anglicanism. I just let people know that’s what I am. I will always have an Anglican streak in me, it’s formed me at a very core level, even if I were in communion with Rome I’d consider myself an English Catholic.

                      St. C.S. Lewis (by my own personal devotion) deserves to be canonized and prayed to. I know, I know, he’s not Roman Catholic — I am partial myself.

                      Well, here’s a site to with tons of historical / theological defenses of traditional, orthodox Anglo-Catholicism:

                  • Glenn M. Ricketts

                    We’re praying for you and would love to have you, but also realize that you’ve got to walk that road alone. Hope you can find the right spot to drop anchor and raise your family.

                • jacobhalo

                  I left the church after Vatican II. I returned to the church about 15 years ago when I found a Traditional Latin mass, where they teach the truths of the Catholic church, not a water-downed version in order to appease Catholics who find some of the teachings too difficult to live or for those non-Catholics because of ecumenism.

                  • Akira88

                    So you’re back? Yeah!!
                    It’s a tough fight.
                    Vatican II didn’t really change any of the teachings. Liberal theologins found a way to bring in ecumenism, communism, and the like, but the teachings never changed. Some Bishops and Priest taught like they did, radical feminists invaded, and now …. there is a purging, a purification.

                    Welcome back.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Yes they did. Ecumenism and inter religious dialogue was condemned by many encyclicals. Any change in the mass was condemned by the Council of Trent.

                    • Akira88

                      That’s why the Church calls Councils. Sounds like you’re Pius X guy which means your affiliation is in schism with The Church.

                      Obedience is better than self righteousness.

                    • jacobhalo

                      No, Vatican II is schism with the church. I am not a Pius X member, secondly, they are not in schism with the church.

                    • Akira88

                      Vatican II was a legitimate council. Those with the intention of opposing are in schism with the Church. It is not my opinion.




          • Akira88

            It’s a very funny visual: “The View meets Phil Donahue?”

            It’s … hilarious!!!!!!!

          • Don Lond

            Post of the year!

        • Akira88

          If that’s what you think, then you don’t know the Church. Individuals displaying such dislike for the Church are normally angry at Her for some reason. Maybe there’s some dilemma in one’s life that isn’t reconciled within the Church.

          • imabitterclinger2

            The irony is that you personally attack Catholics and then tell us that personal attacks do not add much to dialogue.

            • Akira88

              I didn’t attack Catholics. Just standing up for the authentic teachings. Men belong on the altar. We need men in vocations. It’s a fact. That’s all.

              So … why are you angry at the Church?

              • imabitterclinger2

                My apologies Akira88. That comment was meant for hombre111. Please forgive me.

                • Akira88

                  No problem.
                  Good to know you’re not angry with the Church but defending her.

                • Akira88

                  Sorry, we already clarified.

                  So many posts!!!!!!

            • Akira88

              Where did I attack Catholics?

          • Sorry, I think our lines are crossed. I thought you were addressing me. Now I see you are addressing hombre111.

            Forgive me for the confusion.

            • Akira88

              No problem. There seems to be a bit of that going on here.

        • RufusChoate

          Traditionalists are currently defined as people who follow the meaning of Vatican II not the Spirit of Vatican II.

          • Tony

            You mean the Specter of Vatican 2. Or the Ghost of Vatican 2. Or the Ghost of Vatican Yet to Come …. And here we can agree with Scrooge after all: “You are nothing but a blot of mustard, or an underdone potato!”

            • RufusChoate

              Ahh yes…. Nicely done. Cheers.

          • hombre111

            One of the things I regret is that the Church did not put the whole Council on hold for a long study of what it was really all about. Instead, we just plunged ahead. In my diocese, we had a four day study week once a year on the subject. Not remotely enough. That is one of the reason for all the problems.

        • Jacqueleen

          I will be glad to pass along to Jesus that you called His church and Teachings “old Catholics” and stuffing their rigidity down the throat of the rest of the church of “NICE!” In truth, beyond the so called “Traditionalists” there are protestants and the luke warm so-called Catholics which Jesus said that he detests and wants to spew them out of his mouth. So, if I were you, Hombre111, I would be scared stiff and down on my knees begging Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus is merciful but He is also a God of Justice….and there is no wrath like the wrath of God.

          • jacobhalo

            Do you want rigidity? Here is what Jesus had to say. ” If you believe and are baptized you will be saved. If you don’t believe, you are already condemned.” To the Jews. If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your own sins.” Have you ever heard a cleric utter those words from the pulpit since Vatican II?

            • Jacqueleen

              No, sir! As a matter of fact, I have the pleasure of knowing one holy priest who courageously preaches about sin, purgatory, hell and more….He was reprimanded by the Bishop and told to stop immediately….why? Because a parishioner complained. Bishops want to appease….rather than save souls.

              • jacobhalo

                Jac, that is sad. I haven’t been to the Novus Ordo in about 10 years.

                • Jacqueleen

                  My merciful heart says that Jesus wants even those misguided shepherds saved….not one soul lost! We do this by our example and dropping seeds within their association. If we ostracize them…they will never learn.

                  Jesus spent a lot of time with the sinners, remember?

          • Akira88

            Be careful. The Catholic Church is Universal. It’s open to all. Our Lord desires Mercy. We don’t have to agree with hombre111, but we’re all working it out.

            You have great fervor. Let’s not beat him up. Okay? Please?

            • Have you read what he writes here?

              • I am suspicious of priests who have time for internet discourse, especially on sites they fundamentally disagree with.

                They should be studying Scripture, preparing homilies, visiting the afflicted, hearing confession, teaching the faith and modeling catechesis, praying the offices and for their sheep by name, instructing in evangelism, mentoring aspirants for holy orders, and so forth.

            • Jacqueleen

              Oh please…..I spend my day evangelizing and have for many, many years…..Some people like Hombre111 (I have read his posts) need a hammer to come down on them. However, God has told us if we know a person is sinning and don’t tell them…it becomes our sin…So, Hombre111 now knows that he is stepping on God’s toes…It is his sin not mine or yours…..Your welcome!

        • jacobhalo

          no, we traditionalists just want the true teachings of the church taught-not pick and choose what a cleric want to teach, or what a Catholic wants to believe, whether true or not.

        • Mara319

          As this article says, ” 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.”
          Hombre111, is that you?

          • No, he’s just an old guy covering up a red sash with a white collar, embittered because he though being a priest would afford him a a sinecure, a forum and a captive audience.

          • hombre111

            I think you are right some of the time about people who gripe. But me? I am just an old guy with one dog on the bed and another dog under the bed.

        • jacobhalo

          Those who believe and are baptized will be saved. Those who don’t believe are already condemned.” “If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your own sins.” What Traditionalists uttered those rigid teachings?

        • cestusdei

          My experience is that the liberals are the ones who shove innovations/failures down our throats.

          • And they never learn, either. Social re-engineering always leaves bodies all over their field of experimentation.

          • hombre111

            So, Iron Fist of God, what we need is a dialogue. What is the best you want for the Church? What is the best I want from the Church. What is my greatest hope, now? What is your greatest hope, now.

            • “What is your greatest hope, now.”

              The Cross. You shouldn’t have to ask.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              The subject of this article is priestly vocations, father. What do you suggest as an alternative to the author’s arguments?

              • hombre111

                In 1979, vocations began to implode. This was well into Pope John Paul’s era. I could see it coming and, with the help of a prof from a local university, predicted that the numbers in my diocese would go from a high of 107 during that year, to a low of about 52 by the year 2002, while the Catholic population tripled. So it has come to pass. Now our numbers are 43, with the help of 2o+ international priests. This was happening all over the Church.

                To put it simply: if the Church were a business, the CEO let his management collapse on its lower levels. But Rome did not even seem aware of the extent of the problem until around 2000. This means all those bishops with the ad limina visits were not telling the truth. To have trouble with finding priests would put a bishop in bad light with Rome. Many bishops have made the decision to solve this problem with international priests, but this is just one more example of the First World exploiting a needy Third World.

                Over the years, there have been a number of different efforts to drum up vocations. Some of this was work by the vocation director and parishes, some of it was part of a larger effort. Our diocese has never filled its own vocational needs, but now we are desperate.

                I think the author is right about a need for parish wide and diocesan wide spiritual renewal as a key to the effort. We have to do something about families. And yet the three vocations in my family were born in disruption and alcoholism. Catholic grade school and Catholic high school played a role, along with good role models in the priests and sisters.

                Efforts by campus ministers on both high school and college level seems to help. But sooner or later we are going to have to talk about married priests. We have made the “vocation pool” impossibly small, trying to convince immature young men to make this crucial step.

                One delicious irony: There seems to be a genetic basis to deep religiosity. I come from a huge family, mostly non-Catholic, that has generated a lot of different religious ministers at many levels, including sons, grandsons, and granddaughters. Two priests and a sister in my family is no surprise. But enforced celibacy is relentlessly getting rid of the religious gene. Go figure. An instinct for self-extinction.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  John Paul only became Pope in October, 1978, so I don’t see how this was well into his era. I’d say that the decline and mass exodus was already well along, and been occurring for some time prior to that. There are many, many factors that contributed to this, but many of them, as Anthony argues were wholly avoidable. Catholic life at all levels was chaotic and rudderless, and vocations not surprisingly took a big hit. It was also a time when many seminaries had a disproportionate number of homosexuals, often creating a very unfriendly situation for those who were not. A perfect storm, you might say, but i don’t see how it’s attributable to JPII – it was a mess that he inherited.

                  • hombre111

                    Good post. I gave John Paul an earlier date because his reign seemed forever to this old man. As I said in another post, we also have to consider the question of synchronicity as a huge part of the growing problem. For instance, the Church I grew up in was an insular Church. We gathered together in self defense against all those Baptists who surrounded us. But Catholics were moving out into the larger world and this could not be controlled. They began to imbibe a growing spirit of secularism that was all over America. And also, there was a trend away from organizations. Even the Elks and VFW began to have trouble recruiting active new members. Also, the parochial schools hold fewer and fewer Catholic kids. In this huge parish, it is one out of ten. The school was fine when it had all those nuns who taught virtually for free. They are now paying that price because they have no money for retirement.

                    Then there is the collapse of the American family. Saw something on NPR which showed the impact of growing poverty on families. Along with blaming the liberals for everything, we could go on and on about these other aspects to the question.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I myself don’t mention “liberals,” but you often respond as if I had. But since we’re on the subject, I do blame them for quite a lot, both in the Church and in secular society. In both instances, they effected many large scale reforms that were based on deeply flawed or simply erroneous ideas that a few people – glibly pushed aside at the time – accurately predicted would fail spectacularly. There’s nothing more trying to one’s charity than a bunch of know-it-alls who are dead wrong, but that’s what happens with intellectuals. It saddens me to read the analysis of secular sociologists – such Peter Berger – who cite the Catholic Church’s VII reforms as exhibit A for an instance of institutional self-demolition. Alas, so it was. And it did not have to happen.

                    • hombre111

                      I would appreciate a link to Berger. When I refer to a “liberal” comment, I am usually referring to the article that triggered the thread. I agree that liberals have to take their whack for what has gone wrong in society. I view “liberalism” as more of an attitude and, without it, we would not have a democracy, women would not have the vote, and there would still be segregation in the South. These are spectacular successes that conservatives (another attitude) resisted tooth and tong.

                      I look forward to reading what Berger had to say, because I want to contrast it with Brian Hall, who had great impact on my understanding of reality. He has great praise for Vatican II, seeing it as a move from a view that sees the world either as a frightening mystery or a problem that we solve via the energy and organization of institutions, to a view that sees the world as a project in which we participate. His thinking explains the limits of church to me, and the reaction of leaders like Pope John Paul. Vatican II could open the door, but he could not lead the Church through. This is perfectly understandable. The vast majority of Catholics see the world either as a frightening mystery over which they have no control, or as a problem to be solved by living within the boundaries and control of an institution and its leaders. They will stay, more or less, in that place. But some do go through the door toward independence and the law as a guide instead of a narrow rule. I just don’t want Church leaders to forbid people to go to that place.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      All the more reason why I avoid labels such as “liberal” and “conservative,” since they activate the reflexive mental filing system found in so many people – especially contemporary “progressives” – and the possibility of discussion quickly evaporates: Aha, you’re one of those. I’ve got you pegged. The terms have limited application in very specific times and places, but in my experience serve to obscure or misconstrue and again make the exchange of views well nigh impossible.

                      You can say that “liberals” gave women the right to vote if you like, but that imposes a contemporary lens on a time far removed from the present and ends distorting, or even falsifying it. The women’s suffrage movement, as I see it, was an outgrowth of the the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, The Crusade for Social Purity and similar organizations, along with the eager and overwhelming support of Protestant clergy, such as William Jennings Bryan. Like many others, Bryan was very eager to extend the vote to women – nationally, since they already voted in most state elections – because he believed that they would move the country in a more firmly “Christian” direction and improve public morality. Doesn’t make a very good match for contemporary feminist liberalism, do you think?

                      More recently, it was the Kennedy-Johnson “liberals” who launched the Great Society and also sent large numbers of troops to Viet Nam.

                      By all means read Peter Berger: he’s a Lutheran layman who’s perhaps the foremost sociologist of religion in the US today. But if you haven’t already, I’d read some of the stinging criticism of Vatican II leveled by the Protestant theologian Karl Barth, who basically told Catholics that they were eagerly replicating many of the same errors into which liberal Protestants had already descended, and he wondered why we wanted to go there. I also recommend the strong critiques of the liturgical reforms as they were just being implemented by anthropologists Mary Douglas and Victor Turner, the communications theorist Marshall McLuhan and by the then prominent Anglican theologian John McQuarrie, who was Lady Margaret professor at Oxford.

                      And finally, father, if anyone asks if you are a liberal or a conservative, I recommend the words of Popeye the Sailor: I yam what I yam and that’s all what I am.

                    • hombre111

                      Nice post. I think the basic liberal/conservative thing boils down to change vs. the status quo. Liberals, in general, push on the boundaries for change of different kinds, while conservatives tendot oppose. That is why I would call the vote for women a liberal movement. I would also guess that the whole notion of liberal did not appear until the Enlightenment, and here is where it assumes a sinister role with its emphasis on individualism. This (or so it seems to me) will find a tragic expression in the sexual revolution and the drug culture.

                      But so often, you see “conservatives” take up what had been a liberal agenda, while “liberals” go on to something else.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I still urge you to avoid those categorizations for the reasons given in my previous post. If I am a “conservative,” I am certainly not happy with the status quo, and I would change a great deal of it, whether in the Church or in secular society. I would be changing different things, however, with different assumptions about what it’s in my power to change,and the probable effects of such changes. Much as I prefer the EF of the Mass, I would also regard it as folly to simply impose it as the OF was by Paul VI with catastrophic consequences. Once upon a time, liberals such as Edmund Burke and Benjamin Constant took the lead in opposing the kind of massive expansion of centralized state power as they beheld in the revolutionary government of France, all carried out in the name of universal human brotherhood. “Liberals” at present are also eager to use the coercive power of the state to achieve whatever forms of “social justice” they consider desirable, and see broad-mindedness and intelligence in anyone who reaches the same conclusion that they do. Others, such as yours truly, are routinely dismissed as “bigots,” “reactionaries,” etc., etc., etc.

                      I’ve always thought it so unfortunate that the Church’s encounter with “liberalism” was almost exclusively with the utopian, coercive and bitterly anti-clerical version spawned by the French Enlightenment, with which we could not have made peace even if we wanted to. Too bad that it came much later to the far more realistic and tolerant Anglo-Scottish edition, which helped to shape the US Constitution and realized the perils of massive, coerced schemes of reform to which certain types of secular intellectuals seem addicted. That virus has also infected more than a few in the Church, unfortunately. And if you’ll forgive me recommending yet another reference, have a look at Robert Conquest’s magisterial Reflections on a Ravaged Century, which examines the phenomenon in some depth.

                      Finally, consider the very wise words once spoken to me when I was fresh out of college, and still working for a living as a fork lift operator and warehouse man, but eager to dazzle people with my knowledge and sophistication as a Man of Letters. As I came driving up an aisle, I came across an old material handler named Jim, with whom I was quite friendly, but took for a bit of a simpleton. So I thought I’d have a bit of fun with him. “Hey Jim,” I asked him. “Are you a liberal or a conservative?” He walked past without looking up at me. “I dunno,” he replied. “I think I’m a Pisces,” and kept on going. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better answer to that question!

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            And then expect our gratitude, as well.

        • Neophiles are pretentious old pseudo Catholics who want to stuff their redistribution down the throat of the rest of the Church.

        • bonaventure

          Please re-write the EXACT same sentence, substituting “traditionalists” with “liberals,” and you have a much better reflection of the truth.

        • Keith Cameron

          If you’re what passes for a Catholic today, then God help us all.

          • hombre111

            There are all kinds of different kinds of Catholics even within a single parish. There are all kinds of different priests, even within a single diocese. And the bishop we have had for the last few years is a lot different from the old saint who came before him.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Actually, father, I’ve always thought that it was my throat that’s being stuffed, especially when progressives start rhapsodizing about “openness.” It usually means that I’m about to be forced to do something I don’t want to do, and also to thank the people who are doing the forcing.

          • hombre111

            I think you have a point. I think that, as a younger priest, I looked down on the older priests, even though I did not have remotely their wisdom born of experience. Some of them deserved my scorn, I think, if they went on with their golf games and did not try to understand what happened at Vatican II. I confess I felt I was walking the high ground.

            But payback is payback. To my dismay , I watched Pope John Paul back away from much of the Council, especially collegiality. He began a deliberate tilt in the conservative direction. By 1979, I realized that vocations were collapsing. I was just coming into my own as a pastor then, and realized we would have to respond, first by working harder on vocations, and second by developing a pre-emptive plan in the face of the inevitable priest collapse. I also watched the conservatives gradually win the day in my diocese, and experienced a great deal of anger and alienation. I finally sympathized with the old priests who had experienced the same thing when the Vatican II guys came on the scene.

            Now, I simply put myself in the place of the observer, wishing everybody the best in my diocese. Leadership is long since out of my hands, if it ever was in my hands. Read a book on marriage once where the author said that 65% of the problems faced by married people have no solution. I have applied this to me and the Church. In large part, the Church is never going to be the smooth operation liberals and conservatives both hope it will be. The perennial problems will be there perennially.

            • “Read a book on marriage once where the author said that 65% of the problems faced by married people have no solution.”
              That’s because life isn’t about solutions, it’s about tradeoffs.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              I don’t think JPII turned away from the Council, but from the spurious innovations which were forced bureaucratically in its name. I agree with Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI who observed that the post VII era saw an unprecedented clericalism and demands for “obedience” from clerics who usually disregarded any restraints on their own behavior. Despite all of the enthusiastic slogans about the “age of the Laity,” I can’t recall ever being subject to so many commands from ecclesiastical bureaucrats who smiled perpetually through gritted teeth and told us to “obey, obey, obey,” even as they simultaneously claimed to be the tyrannized victims of Rome. The old-style clerics were indeed authoritarians, but they never claimed to be anything else, and they were also accountable to the authorities above themselves. VII “progressives” on the other hand, were apparently accountable to nothing and no one, save their own idiosyncratic readings of the “spirit” of the Council. The old guys were far from perfect, but at least you knew where you stood with them. I’ll take them any day, if that’s the only alternative to what we’ve got now.

              • hombre111

                The priests after the Council were a mixed bunch. A lot of it depended on our ecclesiology, but a lot also depended on their personalities. Extroverted A types with no doubts remained that way. In my Diocese, Many of those men saw themselves as kings and ran the ship. In the business world, they would have been top rank business executives. Others, like myself, saw themselves as servants, and operated with the help of their financial and pastoral councils. The current young priests emphasize their role as celebrants of Mass and administrators. The financial council, established by Canon Law, and the pastoral council are pretty much taken for granted now, and there are all these ministries unheard of before Vatican II. Without the lay people on parish staffs and in control of those ministries, the parish would not run.

                One thing I learned as the designated administrator: No matter what was said and done, somebody would be sure to disagree. Often enough, it would be the conservatives in the parish, although to tell the truth, I had my most painful trouble with the liberals! I felt it was my job to pastor the whole parish, not just those with whom I was philosophically comfortable.

                To this day, I can look out over a congregation and spot the conservatives, who are obvious by their body language. Usually, we get along because I am the old retired guy out of the decision loop. In fact, the conservative women are the ones who will be helping me each Friday as I celebrate Mass in the nursing homes.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  Perhaps it’s also easy to spot the “conservatives” since they’re the ones who still attend Mass.

                  • hombre111

                    No. It’s because they seem tense and in a critical mood.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Really, that could be just about anybody, wouldn’t you say?

                    • hombre111

                      Nope. Certainly doesn’t describe the 1,000 plus people who attend my two English Masses every Sunday.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Well in that case, I hope that some of them are enthusiastic enough to consider a priestly vocation. But I’d suggest that you not be quite so preoccupied with might one of those dyspeptic “conservatives,” lest you reach the wrong conclusion about someone who might simply be devout.

                    • hombre111

                      Thanks. I need that reminder. I really have no problem with conservatives. I live in one of the most conservative states in the Union! I have trouble with rigidity.

            • Gail Finke

              hombre111: I disagree with most of what you say, but thank you for being faithful to your vows and to the Church. I have nothing but empathy for ALL priests serving over the last 50-60 years. I don’t think I can imagine how it was and is to live and minister through any part of the upheaval that has been going on. I think that all of us younger Catholics owe a great debt to the priests who remained faithful, whether or not they are the “right kind” of priests (according to our own view of things). They are the consecrated priests of God. As a Catholic and a historian I know how many huge upheavals the Church has been through, many of them violent, and I have no doubt that she will weather this as well. But that doesn’t mean weathering it will be easy for anyone. I pray for priests daily.

              • hombre111


        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          My goodness! It took you 400 posts and replies above to craft one stale formula. Go back to sleep now.

    • M

      This article and yesterday’s one about rising IQs and the decline of the faith are remarkably intertwined. When you start losing stupid from the congregation, you need to lose it from the Church too. High IQ people tend to think abstractly rather than concretely. They are less inclined to take the status quo for granted and will analyze and question assumptions that others take for granted. They tend to be fluent, flexible, and original thinkers, meaning they are quick to generate a plethora of unconventional and innovative solutions and possibilities. All this leads them to develop a system of ethics rooted in integrity and conscience rather than in compliance and coercion. Trying to drag the Church back 200 years to a time when people were … well … stupider, is not going to magically drag modern society back to a former level of functioning. Catholicism got over the idea that slavery is moral, that the sun revolves the earth, and that non-Catholics cannot be saved. It will get over other types of irrationality too. Jingoistic hymns and shoving women to the back of the bus will only drag the Church down.

      • Jason Wills

        Anthony Esolen is not speaking to you.

        • Sir, I’ve perused your litany of severe and razor-sharp posts: and I’m a great admirer of yours. I too reject giving air-time to the follies of our age, and mocking the asinine philosophy mercilessly. My hats off to you.

      • “They are less inclined to take the status quo for granted and will analyze and question assumptions that others take for granted. They tend to be fluent, flexible, and original thinkers, meaning they are quick to generate a plethora of unconventional and innovative solutions and possibilities.”

        Some of us are expected to produce this on a daily basis.

      • As one of the stupid 200 year-old types, I couldn’t follow your line of thinking.

        You: “When you start losing stupid from the congregation, you need to lose it from the Church too.”

        Me: I agree with this. Stupid is a plague on modern churches.

        You: “High IQ people tend to think abstractly rather than concretely. They are less inclined to take the status quo for granted and will analyze and question assumptions that others take for granted.”

        Me: Oh, you’re confusing IQ with insight. I see and hear extremely gifted people daily who espouse status quo ideas uncritically. Their character seems to be the determinative factor in serious exchange.

        You: “They tend to be fluent, flexible, and original thinkers, meaning they are quick to generate a plethora of unconventional and innovative solutions and possibilities. All this leads them to develop a system of ethics rooted in integrity and conscience rather than in compliance and coercion.”

        Me: It doesn’t follow. A high IQ isn’t sufficient for this. Besides, ethics “rooted in integrity” requires more than cunning. Madmen are often geniuses of the cruelest sort.

        You: “Trying to drag the Church back 200 years to a time when people were … well … stupider,”

        Me: What do you blame the stupidity of people today on? Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. A Samuel Johnson is worth 100 Richard Dawkins if intelligence and social worth are the considerations.

        You: “Catholicism got over the idea that slavery is moral, that the sun revolves the earth, and that non-Catholics cannot be saved.”

        Me: The categories are a jumble. Did the Catholic church ever advocate forced, captive labor? What de fide dogma did she pronounce on the movement of the stars and planets? And finally, did she really “get over” her concern over the state of non-catholics? Seems there’s a spectrum of belief even there and some within your ranks who would argue very narrowly about who can be saved outside the Church.

        You: “Jingoistic hymns and shoving women to the back of the bus will only drag the Church down.”

        Me: As opposed to what? The ludicrous contemporary “hymnody” so cloying it makes the teeth hurt, and so lowbrow it’s positively Neanderthal in content and dignity.

        And as for the “back of the bus” silliness, I’d never advocate that. As far as I’m concerned, you should throw some of the old cackling bra-burning hags into the cellar where they can sputter their spite over bubbling cauldrons. The real holy women of the Church adorned with virtue and modesty naturally take the highest place of honor in our midst as reflections of Mary. We can’t praise them enough.

        • John200

          Good job, Anglicanae. You fixed him up, and gave him his homework for (my guess) the next year or so.

          Veerrrrryy good job, that.

      • Tim

        I seldom read Crisis anymore for that very reason. Many of the articles and comments are merely rants about modern culture. They reflect the authors’ hangups and have nothing to do with Catholicism. A more analytical approach is needed to convince. Hysteria and appeals to the gut are shallow and, as you say, stupid. If Catholicism is to remain relevant, it’s going to have to embrace the modern world in a meaningful way. Nobody is going back to live in a medieval dungeon, however much some of the Crisis authors would like to send us there.

    • Philip Sieve

      When you read the prayers of old, they were more charismatic, in nature, than clapping and speaking in tongues. Those prayers are without subconscious suggestion by a group, but substantial and egoless, as no one is seeking spiritual highs to validate their closeness to God. That’s what was perfect about the traditional Mass. While EWTN’s friars say a reverent Mass, as do many religious communities and priests on weekdays, on weekends, when most who still come come, the priest wasn’t tempted to MC, the music wasn’t tempted to work people into a frenzy and entertain and people were focused on the tabernacle and cross, That being said, we don’t seem to get much real soul-stirring inspirational prayers, poems or music from the practicing ordinary rite Catholics, little or nothing from the liberals, and also little more than apologetics for the old ways from traditionalists, who are too self-reflexive and need to make new material in the old way. We have the tools! We have the talent! We also have worship done in the way that inspired kids to go off to be martyred for Christ! We haven’t lost it, but are too comfortable to embrace the Holy Spirit and still be faithful to all given us by Christ through his spotless bride and be moderate in worship and do so in dark nights of the soul. Pentacostals and Catholics bucking due authority to follow alleged Marian apparitions don’t have all that. We need to show them real charismatic worship (though that doesn’t include privately raising one’s arms in the air when no one is around to mass-suggest such movements).

  • jacobhalo

    I’ve said this many times, but the goal of Vatican II was to bring the church into the modern world, and it is still the church’s goal. Secondly, we have had popes since Vat. II who don’t teach the truths handed down by our church forefathers. They only teach with which they agree. Thirdly, how many clerics preach against abortion, same-sex marriage, from the pulpits? Have you heard a pope declare that those Catholics who are pro-abortion, or pro same sex marriage committing heresy? Has a pope preached that so called Catholic politicians who are pro-choice or pro same sex marriage will not be allowed to receive communion?
    The Novus Ordo faction of the church would get many more candidates for the priesthood if they showed some force when it comes to disciplining its members. The Traditional faction of the church receives many more candidates for the priesthood because it teaches all the truths handed down by the church. It doesn’t pick and choose what to teach. Many of the Traditional candidates also revere the Latin mass.

    • lifeknight

      Jacobhalo: Haha. Looks like we are on the same page again!

      • jacobhalo

        Great minds think alike!

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The goal of Vatican II was not to bring the church into the modern world. It was to bring the faith to people in the modern world who did not have it.

      • jacobhalo

        Kevin, you are wrong.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          What I said is what the actual documents say. What you said is what the hijackers said.

        • Akira88

          He’s right. The New Catechism of the Catholic Church via PJPII interprets VatII the way it was meant to be interpreted. There is no dichotomy between the New Catechism and the Baltimore Catechism.

      • Modernity didn’t reject what it didn’t understand; it rejected clearly what the Church unambiguously stated.

        The incense from the strange fire of the age intoxicated many bishops and theologians in the upper echelons of the Church, and sold out to a vision at cross purposes with the purposes of the Cross.

    • Maria Gabriela Salvarrey Rodri

      I have one name for you, Benedict XVI.

    • Akira88

      Vatican II was a legitimate Council. There were liberties taken with the interpretation, but it was legitimate.

      As far as Mass is concerned, Our Lord is as much present during the consecration of the Novus Ordo Mass as well as the Latin Mass.

      The Lafebvre Movement is still in schism with the Church.

  • Christophe

    Excellent. We know how to solve the “vocations crisis,” we just don’t want to do the things (laid out by Mr. Esolen) that are required. That’s why there’s a “vocations crisis” in the first place.

  • lifeknight

    Wonderful ideas, however how does one disseminate these ideas without dismantling the tripe we have in 99 % of parishes and schools? It is almost a circular reasoning—-training more pious priests and more devout schools, laymen off the altar….all great ideas. Unless one exits to a TLM parish (VERY few available) and homeschools, you are stuck in the reality of nuns on the bus, SSA/SSM, and guitar Masses.

    The best of this article is your personal quote when Church teaching is sidelined:…..”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.”

    • Vinny

      It can be done. Parish by parish but it takes the pastor to be friendly but firm and uncompromising in changing things. Not being afraid to let people leave. 24/7 Eucharistic Adoration Personally hiring the Director of Religious Education. Bringing in proper mission presenters. AND great homilies that explain and back all this up together with homilies that continue to explain the love and mercy of Christ. Result, people coming in from other parishes, more families with children and larger offerings than before.

      • Cate

        Agreed! I don’t see any mystery in the correlation between lower enrollment in Catholic schools and fewer vocations. What will it take for us to understand that proper education of young people leads to vocations? Where else will they get it from? We expect young men to wake up one day and out of the blue decide to be a priest? Many people do not have the means or inclination to homeschool (we are currently trying to make this determination) so how else can we encourage our children?
        Young people need exposure to men and women religious to see that they are indeed human beings. I think that this is a struggle that many young people have- that religious are somehow super human to be able to lead the life that they do. To see that priests and nuns are just like them might lead some young people to at least *consider* religious life. And what better way to do this than in a school setting? Of course, as the previous commenters pointed out, this can’t be done with “nuns on the bus” nuns.

  • Kevin Aldrich

    One correction. The beautiful Church saved by some Opus Dei priests in Chicago is St. Mary of the Angels. St. John Cantius is a different (but equally good) story.

  • Michael Dowd

    Fabulous article. So on target, so needed but unfortunely so neglected. Are the Bishops listening? Do they care? Where did all their courage go? Where is Pope Francis on all this? Pope Francis and the Bishops have a different agenda which is to make modern culture and Catholic culture identical, to make it devil friendly so to speak. Why do they do this? Well, they will be liked and admired by the world for their accommodations. But what will Jesus say about all this? We must pray hard for Pope Francis and the Bishops. Thank you Anthony Esolen for another great article.

  • profling

    It’s those wimpy hymns sung by shaky-voiced matrons that deter men from attending. And as for reading matter, men should look at “Sexual Suicide” by George Gilder, a work that gets many “progressive” women furious.

    • Kathy Brady Cotta

      At my parish they sometimes play the song, “I can only imagine” a secular hit, during Communion. The lyrics are about meeting Jesus and how one will behave at that meeting. I asked a member of the music ministry why they would play that song during Communion when Jesus is fully present and we don’t have to “imagine” Him. The person said it is a beautiful song and is about when we will meet Jesus in heaven.

      • You need to demand a slew of impreccatory Psalms be chanted throughout the communion service, signaling the demise of the forces of darkness.

        That evan-jellyfish tripe is worthless. I’d rather listen to Iron Maiden during Mass.

      • Akira88

        What about “silence” during Communion. Those music people seem to feel the need to fill every moment leaving no time for meditation.

      • MotherGinger

        Knowing that I far prefer traditional hymns, I have to correct something. A song about meeting Jesus is NOT a secular hit. Protestant, likely. Secular, no. At any rate, when our church played it, it seemed clear to me that while the merit of pop music at Mass is debatable, the reality is that Christ WILL be present in Heaven in a different form that at the Mass (think of the Transfiguration for a minimum glimpse), and yes, I likely will respond very differently when I see Him face to face, even though I believe with my whole heart that He is present Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

        • Kathy Brady Cotta

          I see your point and I stand corrected. I still feel that the song is inappropriate for Communion when Jesus IS present.

    • Well if it infuriates “progressives”, it’s a must read.
      Slightly off topic, the description of matter as an illusion of vast empty spaces bound together by atomic forces described by Gilder in his book “Microcosm” somehow made me understand all is not what we peceive, and preserved my sense of mystery when it would have been so easily to discard such things.

    • LadyB

      Profling, I agree – excellent book!
      However, I take issue with your first sentence. (Forgive me if you meant it to be read in a sarcastic tone and do not actually mean it.) The Mass is for ALL Catholics. ALL. OF. THEM. Whether they have terrible voices or angelic, whether they are man, woman, or child. It is distasteful and un-Catholic to hold the idea that men can’t (or won’t) attend the Mass because there are (*gasp*) women. Old women at that! Old women who can’t sing!
      I am a 26-year-old woman and I do believe that men should be recognized more. As should women. However, the idea that men must avoid being around women because then they can’t be men is bizarre!

    • Akira88

      I guess I would be considered to be a repressed female instead of progressive female, so I’d probably appreciate the book, eh?

    • Akira88

      I can find the “music ministry” to be a little distracting at times. Okay, very distracting to the point I’m sitting in the pew wondering if the organist realizes it’s not a performance.

      I wish they’d go to simple chant that everyone can sing.

      • There’s nothing everyone can sing if I’m there. Some of us couldn’t carry a tune with a helicopter. I have tried to make a joyful noise, but it’s just an awful racket.

      • The Roman Catholic church I periodically attend is a blessing because it incorporates orchestral masses most of the year with a choir that sounds positively haunting and angelic. So all the best of High Church liturgy and classical compositions. Who doesn’t want to hear the joyous strains of J.S. Bach or the mesmerizing polyphony of Palestrina?

        But I agree: bring back the chant.

  • samnigromd

    The fourth estate needs to be dealt with….the Church has not coped with the press&media kidnapping many including nuns turned selfish know-it-alls. Suggestibility is original sin. The Church has not coped with the electronic-celluloid satan. Finally, the Church needs scientific metaphors to support the rest of the traditional metaphors for living–the kids need to know they are more in tune with nature and nature’s God by living the Church as she really is rather than the BS from the latest “what’s happening now” self-deluded Narcissistic arrogant show-biz wannabes.

    The Church…Ancient Secrets…

    By Dr. Samuel A.

    December 2013,
    August 2014, January 2015

    The Church seems to be the only
    organization committed to “Nature and Nature’s God” which gives it
    life and synchrony with the universe, so much so, that it is the only group
    which professes linkage with the pre-BigBang Eternity of a Loving Transcendent
    God waiting for our return enabled by Jesus if freely followed by each of us. The Church has not lasted over two millennia
    because it has done all the bad which the anti-s accuse. Even though criticisms are usually
    uncharitable and magnified, the Church rebutts all criticisms, but the
    complainers have proven so deaf that the Church rarely bothers with the same
    old stale attacks any more. And
    sometimes, the rebuttals fall flat, because the leaders are human and
    imperfect. Regardless, the Church
    somehow stays afloat with a big rudder and bumbling crew. As my father would always say, “The Church
    must be divine to survive even 50 years with the leadership it always
    has.” It does not help being filled with
    sinners trying to be healed by mercy and forgiveness. Maybe it has to do with Jesus creating
    it: Mathew 16:18 properly translated
    from Aramaic (to Simon Peter, “You are Kephas, and on the kephas I will
    build my church.”) or from Greek, “You are Petros (male word needed
    for Peter), and on this petras (“rock” is grammatically feminine in
    Greek), I will build by church.”
    There is no reasonable questioning the creation of the Church by Jesus,
    nor its identification with the Body of Christ from other about 22 other verses.

    A major characteristic of the Church
    is that it is the oldest organization routinely antagonizing all because it
    says there are “sins”, which means that one must assume responsibility for
    wrongdoing. It will speak up; it must
    speak up; it should speak up. It does so
    by a discrete clarity and gets condemned for both, i.e., trying to being too
    discrete and being too clear, depending on who is hearing—the Church is always
    “not enough” or “too much”. No one wants
    to hear such, so, not surprisingly, they attack the Church any way possible—it
    is sort of a “how dare you tell me I am wrong or right” kind of automatic
    reaction. Also, it is the oldest group
    doing this by synchrony with the environment, the animal kingdom, the earth,
    and the universe by commitments to Nature and Natural Law morality—and, again,
    people have an almost automatic tendency to
    pollute physically and behaviorally (original sin again), so they do not like to
    be told they are out of synchrony with the planet either (original sin as
    usual) especially by legitimate authority trying to overcome original sin. Also, the Church is the oldest organization
    promoting Life, Liberty, and
    Pursuit of Happiness, metaphorically at least as Father, Son, and Holy
    Spirit. It is the oldest Transcendental
    organization ever which promotes Being, Matter, Identity, Truth, Oneness, Good
    and Beauty. It is the oldest
    organization promoting Liberty and
    Love for all. It is the oldest democracy
    in the world electing its leader.

    From contemporary science which it
    created, the Church is committed to the physics of the Big Bang and to the pre-
    and post- Big Bang called “the Statimuum” (or traditionally the “Beautific
    Vision”). It believes in the “Big
    Bust-up” of Adam and Eve’s freedom to choose against biology and
    biochemistry, and thereby began the potential to sin in every human. The Church originated from and is committed
    to the “Big Bailout” of Jesus as Incarnation, at the Last Supper, on
    the Cross, and Resurrection. By the
    Sacraments, it brings a touch of the Pre-Big Bang into the world and avers that
    the miracles are examples of the Statimuum also. The Church tries to be transcendentally
    identical to Jesus as the Body of Christ by Grace and by the Seven Sacraments
    as “2 X 4s up side the head” trying to wake everyone up (and no one likes that
    either) in a peaceful and merciful way.
    The job is impossible given original sin, but it is the only
    organization so committed. The Church is
    a LOVEOLUTION…unique, ancient, mysterious–that there is more.

    In summary, the Church is an always
    sinking barque ponderously floating to a pre-Big Bang world advertised as
    “There is unbelievably more than this craziness in which we are living.” One-third of the Church crew is always in blundering
    mutiny (one in 12 is a traitor); one-third confused; and one-third paddling (with
    8 oars—Baptism, Penance, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Extreme Unction, Holy
    Orders, Matrimony, and Grace) like their lives depend on it, because it does
    for all including millions of passengers, of whom one-third are unwittingly or
    arrogantly poking holes in the hull; one-third are plugging holes; and
    one-third are savoring the ride by reliving the Last Supper, by Sacramental
    living, and by living the Last Words of Christ.
    In a way, the leaders of the Church do not really count and certainly celebrities
    are almost irrelevant no matter who they are—especially if they are
    non-believing teachers of “there is
    nothing but biology, biochemistry, and matter” (but they contradict themselves
    whenever they celebrate birthdays among other events beyond the capacity of
    subhuman matter-confined non-spiritual animals). Basically, the Spiritual messages are what
    count, especially the Mass Mantra participated in by actively phrasing 2000 year old words of ancient
    secrets, which somehow seem suppressed by the contemporary electronic-celluloid-ink
    culture of celebrity, violence, unNaturalness, disgust and selfish arrogance.

    Its most effective message is the
    Mass Mantra of: “Break the bread and bless the wine and join Jesus and all others so
    sanctified in a Statimuum of all with all and for all, Incarnated by Life,
    Sacrifice, Virtue, Love, Humanity, Peace, Freedom, and Death without Fear, in
    the universe received and receiving one time for all time praising God in
    unlimited Spirituality of Consubstantiation Transubstantiation. Amen.”
    Just listen and understand the words of the songs of the Church. Provided
    are “reality metaphors enabling the good life by knowing who you are and
    why” better than those from any other person or group. Without Christian virtues, overt or covert,
    as part of any culture, nothing will work because too many people will be no
    good and there will be insufficient traditional “family” love for
    civilized and pro-social living.
    “Laws” will be needed instead.

    Thus, somehow, criticisms of the
    Church fall flat over time, because the criticisms are from those who do not
    want to understand or have other agenda, usually fiendishly selfish and self-righteously
    denying of wrongdoing, while they encourage others to commit acts of varying
    degrees of evil (understood in physics as willful entropy). Usually
    attacking the Church is to distract from evil seductively promoted by the
    person attacking the Church–What lies have you heard about the Church? Was not the anti-Catholic bigotry learned
    from someone who wants to control you–by self-promoting deliberately dishonest
    bravado turning you into a robot-like mindless lie-driven promoter of entropy
    if not hate, and hardened your heart against the good and holy ancient secrets
    of good humanity at the same time?

    To get a better understanding of the scientific basis for
    all this may be found in my books, Everybody
    for Everybody and Soul of the Earth. Checking out Matthew 26, 26-29; Mark 14,
    22-25; Luke 22, 19-20; John 6, 41 -59; and 1 Corinthians 11, 23-26 will help.

    • Seamrog

      You have been asked by the editor to stop posting these ramblings.

      Why do you insist on shoving it in his face?

      Show some courtesy.

    • fredx2

      Shameless self promotion.

      Go get your own blog. They are free. Stop pestering everyone with these goofy posts.

    • Don’t you have some pediatric patients you need to attend to? Where do you find the time to bloviate mercilessly at those who don’t even care one whit for your unchecked logorrhea?

      • Akira88

        I don’t know what’s more entertaining the painfully long post or your response. (I can’t stop laughing)

        • It’s no credit to me since even a moron looks like a philosopher next to a donkey.

    • Akira88

      No offense, but with a post that loooooonnnnnggggg …… no one is going to read it.
      Leave the preaching to the Priests.

  • donttouchme

    Excellent. And one more thing: throw out JPII’s mistaken idea of “mutual subjection” of the spouses which is at the heart of everything he wrote about relations between the sexes.

    • Jason

      Donttouchme, Didn’t St Paul speak of this, also, when he said, “wives be submissive to your husbands…” then to the husbands, “love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave his life for her.” I’m paraphrasing. Mutual subjection is not the point, but mutual sacrifice, both spouses pouring themselves out for each other. You need to re read Theology of the Body.

      • donttouchme

        You probably need to reread JPII on the subject. He unmistakably teaches “mutual subjection” and torpedoes husbands’ authority, as far as I have seen. But do you know of any place where he delineates the rights of the husband and the duties of the wife toward him? He did the converse several places I know of.

      • donttouchme

        You might need to reread JPII on the subject. He plainly teaches “mutual subjection” and torpedoes husbands’ authority, based on what I’ve read. But do you know of any place where he delineates the rights of the husband and the duties of the wife toward him? I know of several places where he does the converse.

        • craig

          I think JPII and others of his generation took all that for granted; at the time he wrote ‘Love and Responsibility’ secular culture had not yet repudiated husbands’ rights or wives’ duties.

          • donttouchme

            I don’t think so because Pius XI was explicit about it in Casti Connubii. JPII taught the exact same things Pius XI says plainly are false: that wives don’t owe their husbands obedience, that the subjection of one party to another is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husbands and wives are equal. That’s why the “Pope of the Family” never anywhere discusses the rights of the husband and the duties of the wife, and it’s the same reason Pope Francis doesn’t either in his recent teaching on fatherhood.

          • donttouchme

            Disqus ate my comment it looks like…it also occurred to me that JPII had tons of opportunities long after he wrote Love and Responsibility to discuss husbands’ rights and wives’ duties and Pius XI discussed it way back in the ’30s. JPII was mainly just sucking up to feminism is the only possible conclusion. There’s no other reason the “Pope of the Family” who wrote extensively about the sexes could neglect such an essential aspect of the Family. He had to have done it on purpose.

    • Akira88

      “mutual subjection” = yielding to one another.

  • Nel

    How about, just ONCE a month, ONE priest in every parish mention in his homily: ‘The Church needs MEN!’ When I go to an American church (mercifully extremely rarely) all I seem to see is women, women, women: Women processing up the altar as altar-servers; women carrying the book of the Gospels; women reading the readings; women leading the singing (up front, in the spotlight, arms waving); women opening the tabernacle; women distributing communion. The only time I saw men ‘doing’ anything in a parish was a few men (in shorts and T-shirts and flipflops; it was California and everyone dressed for the beach) putting up the kneelers and putting the (neutered) hymnals back in order in the pews: men relegated to the role of tidying up, while the ‘ministers’ were all women.

    Oh, and the priest made me want to puke: more fear of feminists than fear of God. He wouldn’t use the word ‘father’ in Mass but changed it to ‘God’ and otherwise neutered the language. A LAME ‘homily’ about how his morning went: woke up late, forgot to put coffee in the machine, tripped over his cat, took a shower, dropped the soap and backed into the faucet (he really said that; he seemed to think that the Sunday homily was about ‘going for laughs’) and the great conclusion was that ‘Hey, we all have bad days, but Jesus loves us all the time – and maybe our cats love us sometimes when we feed them, yuck, yuck’ – yuck indeed.

    If THAT’S the standard of manliness being displayed by a priest, is there any wonder that the church was about 1/2 empty and filled with 90% women and children?

    As a woman, I’m disgusted by the weakness of such priests. But also as a woman I don’t understand why perfectly orthodox priests who have a real manly faith and manly approach to their vocations – who talk to me privately in such a way that I know they have no stomach for anything effeminate – refuse to speak up and ask, ‘Where are the MEN?’ They just sort of lie down when altar boys don’t show up, instead of saying, ‘We’ve got to make a major effort to attract and keep these boys at the altar.’ They admit altar girls – even while the women of the parish are up in arms and saying it’s a sacrilege, practically – and lament the loss of vocations, while never daring to say, ‘We need MEN in this church! Why are you MEN such wimps that you’re leaving the work to the women. No more women volunteers: from now on, if the MEN don’t do it, it will not be done. So women, light a fire under your sons and husbands and fathers and get them in here.’

    I would LOVE to hear just ONCE a priest preach a sermon about the calling of the 12 Apostles and have the courage to talk Jesus calling 12 MEN and sending out 72 MEN and saying, ‘Where can we find men of such courage today? Who among you sitting here right now has the manliness to get up and make a sacrifice for Christ, for your church?’

    • “Women processing up the altar as altar-servers; women carrying the book of the Gospels; women reading the readings; women leading the singing (up front, in the spotlight, arms waving); women opening the tabernacle; women distributing communion.”

      Why are you surprised? It was the women that showed up for Christ crucified, while the men hid and cowered. History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.

      • craig

        More likely it’s due to clerics of a certain age encouraging women serving at the altar to the maximum extent allowed by rubric (or beyond), out of a sense that the male priesthood is intrinsically unjust — that it’s all a hidebound Vatican policy than can be overturned with enough agitation. These are the same people who always say ‘sisters and brothers’ when the Scripture says ‘brethren’, who avoid the male personal pronouns (He/His) for God, and so forth. (Comparison to the current push for Communion for divorced-and-remarrieds is left as an exercise to the reader.)

        At the parish nearest me, Sunday Mass always has 12-14 EHMCs (80% women) for about 500 people attending. It takes one hymn’s worth of time to commune that cohort before anyone else stands up to receive.

        • Agreed. The gender-inclusive assaults on the Mass gives wrecks the liturgy aesthetically, theologically, and morally.

          Who knew the medium *is* the message?

          • Try an 1899 D-R.

            • Thought of that after I posted. D-R is good in my book, too. But really, I love my KJV with Deuteros. The poetry is remarkable.

        • Here’s the problem withyour thesis; whenever I observe a young person attending Mass alone, being reverent and prayerful, it’s disproportionately likely to be a young woman.

          I suspect many are making prayers of supplication regarding their state in life.

          The boys seem to be home, gaming or doing something else, worse.

          • craig

            Yes, well, it’s time for a rant. Full disclosure: I am not Catholic, not yet, but have been attending Catholic masses for the last ten years. My wife and son don’t share this interest, so I’m quite familiar with attending alone.

            From personal experience, boys aren’t there because they can’t see anything to be interested about. I can tell my own son that there’s something going on at Mass besides dull chat, syrupy music, and handholding — but that’s all his senses perceive. I fully expect him to end up an unbelieving adult, unless the Holy Spirit miraculously taps him on the shoulder (and I have prayed for it, God knows, to no effect thus far). Maybe if you’re already uber-devout you don’t care about anything else at Mass but the Eucharist, but let me tell you as someone who dutifully remains in his seat, if you aren’t receiving it feels like you wasted the hour most days. And I struggle with that.

            I admired John Paul and dearly loved Benedict, when there was a sense that the Catholic faith was a clear thing, unswaying, and able to resist the zeitgeist. (I’ve been Episcopalian, and don’t need to go back.) It has always been difficult to perceive any connection between that Church, terrible as an army with banners, and my local outposts of the Church of Nice. It has been damn near impossible since Francis. But that difficulty, more than anything, is what has kept me in the wilderness for so long.

            What motivates boys and men to follow Christ when the Church’s only message given to them personally is the weak tea of “be nice, don’t be macho, and support unlimited immigration and welfare”?

            • The beginning of an reassertion of masculinity in the Church is in the home. That starts with you asserting yourself at home. You probably can’t make your wife go to Church, but unless your son is emotionally and economically emancipated or under five, he should be taking orders from you, not his mother.

              • craig

                DE-173, I accept fault for not being constant in my own faith. I became resigned to the idea that a weekly battle over church (along with my wife’s anti-Catholic barbs) was just inoculating him against religion altogether. It was a strategic retreat with the hope of doing better by providing a patient example, but I won’t argue that it worked.

                • Does your wife have any religious practice?

            • Tony

              I understand and sympathize with your pain. Might I suggest a men’s Opus Dei group? You don’t have to join to take part in some of their activities, and teenage boys are welcome.

      • Tony

        Agreed. But remember, too — the Romans were not going to kill the women. If John was still a beardless youth, they weren’t going to kill him either. I don’t want to cast the apostles as brave, because they weren’t…

        • Bucky Inky

          Well said. The constancy of the holy women is a thing of sweetness, but it is not a fair comparison solely from this to say that the former are more constant, more brave, more courageous, etc. than the apostles, when the apostles had something entirely different to lose for which the holy women were not going to be answerable.

          The self-deprecating comparison (i.e., usually made by men) of the holy women to the apostles and the subsequent projection of the comparison upon the two sexes is overly gratuitous.

        • the Romans were not going to kill the women.

          Probably not, but they may not have known that. I’m not that well-versed on Roman custom to say whether they had any compunction in executing women.

          Even if they weren’t in fear of death, they still had to deal with the emotional upheaval and the grisly scene.

    • Akira88

      REally funny and awfully sad. I’ve seen the same thing, but I do know a couple priests who make no excuses and take no prisoners. They’ve been outed, unfortunately by the Bishop.

      I think it’s actually all about money and not the Gospel, not the Church, not the Blessed Sacrament, …. not the Truth.

  • WRBaker

    I have been very fortunate to have had three students tell me that they were thinking about the priesthood. These great events happened while I was teaching the upper grades of a couple of Catholic K-8 schools. Briefly teaching in a Jesuit high school and its small wonder that any vocations come from this arena.
    When you’re told that you’re too conservative in teaching religion, you know what is eventually to happen. You can’t fight city hall or, in this case, administrators and clergy who are more concerned with their own fiefdoms rather than teaching the Faith.

    • Louise Riccobene

      I couldn’t tell from your post if you are still teaching or not. Sometimes you have to get creative in certain arenas; anticipate the reaction of city hall so that it would be difficult for them to come down on “conservative” teaching. At a Jesuit school, teach the kids about the Jesuits – St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs. Fr. Walter Ciszek in the Soviet Union, etc. What boy does not want to learn more about the drama and adventure and ultimately the tragedy of the French Jesuits in Canada and New York. And while you’re at it, slip in the information about WHY these men felt driven to serve God in these dangerous situations. Fr. Miguel Pro in Mexico is another example. I would love for a progressive Jesuit to try and curtail that. If the school is not Jesuit but progressive and big on social justice, why not teach the kids about Dorothy Day? Mother Theresa? Go into true Church teaching on social justice. There are ways…and if they still want to get rid of you, make sure you go down swinging. I’m certain you made an impact, though.

  • Dan

    Excellent! I would only add one suggestion…
    Get rid of the ability of people to absolutely ruin the reputation of a priest with a mere accusation. At my brother’s parish, a priest was removed this past Sunday for something he allegedly did 30 years ago. Fine. They should have simply announced to the parish that Father was taking a brief sabbatical while the investigation was taking place. There is no need to even announce that there is an investigation, because if the allegations prove to be false, the priest’s reputation would have be spared.
    Did they care about the priest’s reputation? No. They sent in the Auxiliary Bishop to reveal to the congregation that Father was accused of “sexual abuse” 30 years ago. The Bishop scandalized the faith of so many children without even conducting an investigation first.
    Certainly a young man has to think twice about entering the priesthood when there is a real possibility that someone can level an accusation and then a Bishop come in and ruin his reputation prior to any investigation.

    • ForChristAlone

      Read the current on-line edition of Homiletic and Pastoral Review by Rick Fitzgibbons about the injustices done to priests by these accusations. It is very revealing. Bishops are concerned not with justice but with protecting themselves and their dioceses from lawsuits. Jesus Christ is not amused by this.

      • And not a word from the usual suspects about mammon.

      • Gail Finke

        It is, or should be, a scandal. But this is the advice the lawyers give and is probably good legal advice, if not good moral advice. If bishops had not gone too far the other way, they would not be going too far this way. Sad and wrong…

      • John200

        It sickens me to see what these dolts have done, and to consider that Jesus is waiting patiently for these worthies to come into His presence.

        Fervent prayer is in order.

    • HartPonder

      1 Timothy 5:20: “Reprove before all onlookers persons who practice sin, that the rest also may have fear.”

      • The_Monk

        There you go – hang ‘im quick, then give ‘im a fair trial! Hear! Hear!…

        • Romulus

          How’s the bishop’s vocations search going?

        • HartPonder

          No judgement, just answering the scriptural/public aspect of his concerns and asking a fair question related to the facts of the matter. I have found that there are uselly more then one perception of a matter, trying to give all the benefit of the doubt….

      • Dan

        Yes, as a matter of fact the Bishop announced to the congregation that “the allegation has not yet been substantiated, and Father has denied the allegation.”
        Children would be just as protected from sexual abuse had it been simply announced that this priest “has decided to take a sabbatical” period.
        Instead, the children in the parish were subjected to hearing about possible sexual abuse by this priest based on a claim that has not yet been substantiated.
        My point is, remove the priest, yes, but don’t say why until the investigation has been completed. Defaming a priest’s character prior to due process is unjust.

    • Jacqueleen

      Unfortunately, the Bishops take the stand of guilty until proven innocent! So, if you are guilty or not, you will be sent into exile like Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen who rightfully refused to pay off the Cardinal from the donations received from his Prime time TV program and then there is Father Corapi whose program saved many souls around the world, but never given a chance to defend himself of false accusations and then there was Father Frank Pavone who was investigated for financial mishandling of some sort….and sent to a convent cell in Amarillo, TX until Rome came to his defense that he is a priest in good standing in the church. So, with this record of corruption and mishandling, who in their right mind would want to be a priest. Looks like Satan is doing a good job of destroying the church!

      The problem lies with those liberal Bishops who have let their role in the church go to their heads…power and control….and turned the church into a business of making money and buying retirement mansions instead of saving souls. Lord have mercy on us all.

  • Dr. Esolen’s advice is, as usual, angelic and royal. Every man worth his salt should change the temperature of the church with his deliberate presence and a battlehardened mien; a spiritual gravitas more consonant with the celebration of Beowulf’s mead-hall should permeate the sacred space.

    When the velvet-skinned clergy and their angry feminist lackeys push back against such revolutionary steps, the faithful can expect a certain amount of persecution within the Church militant–from Pope to sextant.

    St Augustine once wrote, “There are many wolves within the Church, and many sheep without.” The battle is hottest where the holiest things are at stake.

    Thank you, Dr. Esolen. I am at the door of the recruiter’s office. Another stirring call to arms like that, I just might find myself signing up for the cause within the ranks.

    • Opportunity knocks but once.

      • Curse you and your evangelistic zeal! My defenses are all but gone, what are you trying to do to me?

        • ColdStanding

          Eek! I know it was in jest, but never a good idea to curse something that is good and from God.

          Lest there be a misunderstanding: God works with imperfect instruments. The work and glory is God’s.

          • It was a jest; I actually love it. It’s my whirlwind of conflict I am at odds with. DE-173 was just being a good catholic.

            • ColdStanding

              Hmm. I see material for an examination of conscience.

              “Lord, have I cursed thee” or some such thing.

              • I stand corrected. Thank you.

                • ColdStanding

                  I should have clarified. I meant for my self.

                  • No, I accept it prophetically on a providential level.

          • But in the interest in not being a stumbling block to others, I will redact accordingly.

        • I want your posterior in a seat and your hands on the oars.

          • Fine. This Sunday we’re going to the 7:30 AM Mass at St. Agnes and afterwards I’ll approach the priest-in-charge and inquire about any necessary catechesis to get the ball rolling. A good Catholic acquaintance of mine there assures me that, because my family and I are well-catechized Anglo-catholics with very little differences, we’d not be going through any real protracted instruction other than personalized instruction we would need to make up any deficiencies.

            My world is upside down. Thanks, Crisis.

            • By all means, do as you say, just remember, its a journey, not a destination.

            • jonnybeeski

              Soooooo . . . . what happened?

              • Got the conversation started. Stay tuned!

          • RufusChoate

            Hear Hear

          • It’s brotherly love, I got it. Received in all gratitude.

  • Chris

    All these suggestions are good, but without a serious reform of the liturgy then there is no hope. The sense of the sacred was rejected by the Modernists who hijacked the Church post Vatican II ( A valid council by the way) and the result is the Novus Ordo with all of its variants. Now the Mass is merely an expression of that particular priest. Either we go back to the Tridentine Mass ( which could be changed organicly to make it more accessable to the laity like doing the readings / gospel in the vernacular since the Liturgy of the Word is intended to educate the laity, and the rest in Latin ) and abrogate the Novus Ordo or abrogate both Masses and come up with a hybridized Mass. And no more Assisi love fests, either the Catholic Faith is the true Faith or it is not, lets proclaim that!
    Unless uniformity and the true sense of the Sacred is brought back into the Liturgy we will have nothing for the future.

    • Akira88

      In his Papacy, Pope Benedict stated the Church would get very small. That seems to be happening. The Church will not disappear but will be cleansed. It seems to be what’s going on in our time. There are some very small Churches around that practices what the Church teaches.

      It’s important to support our priests and not to beat them up. It’s very important to pray for them. The Church Militant doesn’t always mean yelling or insulting the priest but in silent prayer leaving them to Mary and her Son.

  • AsherLev

    I would agree that much of our parish life has become tragically emasculated, but this talk of it being a ‘self-inflicted’ wound whereby the Church just tabula rasa decided to feminise itself only tells half the story and risks attacking the feminine genius. Nell asks ‘Where are the MEN?’, well, there is a simple answer: they’re lost; lost in a world of corporate greed, of instrumental rationality, of computer-generated violence, of intoxicated debauchery. So, of course, all we ‘seem to see is women, women, women’ in Church, because men are absent without leave from their spiritual home, as well as domestic. We need to challenge, then, not only a sentimentalized liturgy, but also a world turned destructively male; with its dog-eat-dog economics, its free-lust ethics, its functionalized aesthetics and its war-in-the-womb eugenics. Only then will men return and only then will we truly be able live in Christ, since, as Edith Stein put it, only ‘in Him all bias and defects are removed, and the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed’.

    • ForChristAlone

      I would encourage you, if you are on Facebook, to review all of the entries posted by women vs those posted by women. Let us know your impressions about the mindset of women these days – what they find important and worth their time.

      And what’s this “feminine genius” notion?

    • Akira88

      Bashing men because they go out into the world to make a living for their families? The same could be said about some women working in corporate America.

      “Risks attacking the feminine genius.”
      That phrase is becoming tired. Isn’t there a masculine genius as well? Haven’t we emasculated our men enough?

      Feminists deride women selling them polyester instead of silk. It’s an ideology regarding manliness achievements as the destination.

      You want to see the result of the “feminist genius”? Look at any city or state governed by feminist (leftist/democrat) women and you will see abject poverty, crime, drugs, and disregard for middle class families. You’ll see women who want to chomp at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights instituting political correct terminology instead of common sense.

      In the Church, it is clear by its depleted numbers, that the fluffy feminism adapted – watering down of sermons, politically inserted phraseology, and women flitting all over the altar will not bring the Church to “renewal” but will continue toward devastation.

      The Church provides the definition of authentic feminism: Mary the Mother of God.
      She did not whine to her Son about not being ordained a priest nor being able to preach at his side. Her strength can be found at the foot of the Cross where we all – men and women – will be found at some point in our lives including the hour of death.

      Please, reconsider your anger against men. The solution is not within the boundaries of secular feminism, but in the Church.

      • AsherLev

        You seem to have misinterpreted my post. I have no anger for my fellow men beyond anger for our debased culture. My concerns are just that we can’t simply retreat into liturgical discussions, which are fine in and of themselves, but must also be open to challenging the mores of the world, which particularly punish women and children. Your equating of any talk of women and the feminine with liberal feminism (a movement more agreeable to the average male which actually dismisses the feminine as a social construct) just reveals the rhetorical advantage that has been gained by the prince of this world.

        • Akira88

          Sorry I was a little snarky there. After a good second reading, no. You don’t sound angry at all. I stand corrected on that.

          The culture is in radical decay, and your point on “liberal feminism (a movement more agreeable to the average male … etc” is poiniant. I think the target has always been the Church. Preists, men, are stewards of the Blessed Sacrament, and I think that is the real target. Men and women are casualties.

          So …. thank you for giving a kind correction.

          (I edited the above comment …)
          Have a nice day

  • Jdonnell

    I have enjoyed all those books mentioned above–probably long before the author of this article ever heard of them, yet I find that they do not lead to the kind of rigid Church he does.

    • ForChristAlone

      hmmm….rigid…wherein did he mention a rigid Church?

      • Jdonnell

        Hmmm all you want. Everything in the article supports a rigid church.

          • Vinny

            It is light AND fun and squishy.

            • Akira88

              Just like many of our Churches in America have become.
              It feels soooooo gooooood!!!!!

        • Akira88

          What are you interpreting as rigid?

        • ForChristAlone

          hmmmm…you’re wrong (again)

          • Akira88

            Why no response? I’m telling you, there’s some disquiet with Jdonnell.

    • BPS

      For Jdonnell “rigid” = against gay marriage.

    • Akira88

      Where did you get the idea of “rigid” from? I didn’t see that at all. It was just plain common sense.

  • ForChristAlone


    You should add to the list of those for whom these comments are not meant, the ones who are bereft of common sense. There’s no great mystery about what it will take to turn this Church of ours around and undo the destruction of the past 50 years – just a hefty dose of common sense. Those with common sense please step forward and be commissioned.

  • The_Monk

    Our Lord, Jesus Christ, set men to lead the Church. And he did not wander the halls of the local rabbinical seminary to find His followers, either. But look at the people in charge in the Church today, and look at the educations they have and at the schools at which they studied. We need strong, holy men leading the Church, not soft sophists….

    • Atilla The Possum

      … nor big girl’s blouses!

  • HartPonder

    And the the traditional latin mass…what say you?

    • Akira88

      Love it!

  • jxramos

    Well done!

    And just to share, as I like to say “Correlation does not guarantee a causal connection, but it does mean you’re close and looking in the right place. After all what is the likelihood that two perfectly unrelated elements should randomly happen to correlate with one another?”

  • “If you have the wherewithal, separate boys and girls for certain units or courses in your Catholic schools; certainly for physical education,”

    Indeed. There are too many girls growing up thinking that because they played socker with the boys prior to puberty and popular media likes to show some lithe 125 pound female decimating a group of males with martial arts, that there is now in our enlightened age physical equivalency between the sexes.

    • Tony

      Feminism, of course, denies not only the laws of biology but the laws of physics. A 125 pound woman can use martial arts mainly to disable a 175 pound man temporarily, so that she can run away. That is what it’s for. In my experience, the girls and young women who are athletes and who are the most comfortable with their sex are those who compete in a sport with a stopwatch. The stopwatch is what it is, period. So they readily recognize that if they did not have their teams specially set apart (as men’s senior teams are set apart), they would have no teams at all. Others can live in fantasyland, but the stopwatch rules that out. Then they actually get along very well with their male counterparts — there’s a lot of camaraderie.

      • I am a gym rat by nature. Have been for decades. You have to have blinders not to see the differences between men and women. I stay away from gyms where chemistry is more important than hard work. I’ve seen dozens of men who can bench press 400 pounds, but the biggest bench I’ve ever seen

    • Marie

      Yes, and there are tragic consequences. The doctor/writer Theodore Dalrymple had a patient who insisted that she could stay with her violent boyfriend because she could take care of herself. When Dalrymple told her that men were stronger than women, she told him, “that’s sexist”. I’ve known at least one girl that P.C., and there are probably others.

  • “Correlation doesn’t imply causation.”
    Exactly what I was thinking in your first article, and you still haven’t proven otherwise. Of course I support teaching correct catachesis. But I fail to understand what male and female liturgy.
    By the way, I normally agree with you Mr. Esolen, and with the Crises viewpoint. But here it doesn’t strike me as solid thinking. It’s the culture at large from which the average lay Catholic cannot escape. That’s the fundemental problem.

    • Romulus

      Culture comes from cult. It is the expression of what a community believes. You can’t fix culture till faith and worship are re-oriented.

      • i don’t see how that follows. The culture which effects Catholic families is probably made up of at least 80% non catholics and secularists. The church can do everything right and our children would not escape it.

      • Christopher Dawson would be proud of you. Thanks for standing for truth, Romulus.

    • Akira88

      The Culture war is elephant in the living room. It’s good that you teach “correct catachesis”. I think the “Male and female” liturgy has to do with the insertion of politically correct terminology that crept into our prayers, sermons, and hymns.
      For instance, the word “man/men” is now “people/others”. Women and lay men walk up to the altar during the “Lord I am not worthy ..”. The introduction of a cantor – who is normally female….gets up on the altar to sing the response after the Consecration. The last 3 things are distractions from the Real Presence of Our Lord.

      Many of these things were small changes introduced here and there. Mabye some didn’t like these changes yet noticed them. What do we do? We do the best and are told to “just accept” these changes. Many women at the diocesan level and some liberal nuns have pushed for these changes thinking they’d help the people to recognize women’s contributions.

      IMO, that’s all.

      • This sounds akin to the feminists arguements for patriarchy. They claim the language shaped women’s lives to be subserviant to men. frankly that’s ridiculous, and if the claim is that the liturgy language changes – for better or worse, I’m not taking a position on that – caused men to leave the faith, then that’s just as ridiculous.

        • You are woefully naive if you think the power and poetry of words do not shape identity and self-understanding and the general imagination of the culture and cultus of the community as a whole.

          We’re not arguing about the number of candles on the altar, or lacy versus plain surplices.

          • I am woefully naive? I wish i could turn off replies because I really don’t care what you think.

            • I get that. Welcome to my world. At least you get a respite away from orthodox Catholicism by just turning off your browser; me, I have to live in a world of liberals drunk off the “wisdom” of the age. By all counts I’m the odd man out. Positively torturous.

              • LOL, OK. But I am not a Liberal!

                • Hey, really, my “woefully naive” comment wasn’t meant to be a personal insult against your character. Maybe it was too strong a response, but my main point was the meaning of words for communities.

                  I never claimed to be an easygoing fellow. But I will accept correction if I go overboard.

                  • OK, I’ve been there too. Peace.

  • ColdStanding

    In the collection of sayings of from the tradition of Japanese medicine, derived as it is from the Chinese tradition, they say that many are lost on the veranda.

    The recovering sick start to feel their oats again whilst recuperating in the warm sun wrapped in a blanket, sitting in a rocking chair and think they can do more than they really can.

    In other words, don’t go off half-cocked. Do you really even know your faith? Serious question. There has been a revolution, friends, and the enemy has near total command of the field. God’s wrath has been kindled. The deanery is filled with crypto-communists, by which I mean Christian socialists. They hold the purse strings. Your priest has very likely ingested some very indigestible “theology” that leads to disorientation. They are caught up in endless rounds of meetings and exercises in dialog. Additionally there is all the work that needs to be done to edit the gospel message so as to not offend people that are not even paying attention.

    The Church is a very ancient and durable structure. It does not operate like a tablet computer. You can’t just reboot Her. She is a living being. Her means of communication are far slower than we are used to. None of this is a fault. We must slow down and sit at Her feet and let Her tell us all the things She has kept in Her sacred heart and meditated upon. It is the easiest thing to obtain reliable manuals of instruction.

    There is time for the sacraments and liturgy. These things will come back. They already are. However, we as a people are still on the veranda. Our strength is returning, but be realistic, can you say that you are strong in the Lord?

    Pray, fasting, and alms giving. Spiritual reading and meditation is a must. Maybe God’s wrath will be placated with you and your family and resume the flow of graces into your lives again.

  • mariadevotee

    Fraternus organization is instrumental in forming high school boys into manly men. Get it in your Diocese and see vocations soar.

    • ColdStanding

      Looks good. Thanks.

  • Utah Rose

    What happened to to the good men’s choirs we used to have? The men’s bible class or prayer is an excellent idea. Our church doesn’t have this yet, but thanks to two newer priest they’ve introduced more reverence for the Eucharist by introducing patens, Cossacks for the servers, and next kneelers and we are not a traditionist church. We have a continuing Bible Class that is encouraging genuflecting, Communion on the tongue and mantillas for the women.

    • ColdStanding

      Cossacks! Yeah! We need more of them.

      • Akira88


        • ColdStanding
          • Akira88

            That’s an easy out. I don’t particularly care for videos. Dialogue is much better.

            • ColdStanding

              I’m sorry, I must be misunderstanding you. Why did you post “mormon” under my post?

    • Akira88

      A good “baritone” would be a relief from the over active vibratos of sopranos.

      The hymns from the 1960’s should all be burned.

    • Max

      Cassocks, not Cossacks. Cossacks ride in on horses and bust everything up. Cassocks are black clerical garb. Those pesky vowels!


      • Tamsin

        cossacks in cassocks?

        • Athelstane

          That would certainly shake things up.

  • Akira88

    If the provisions mentioned above were truly incorporated we would have influx in vocations to the priesthood, women in religious life, and may well put rest the evils of abortion.

    I love your article! There is a concern though, when Pope Francis recently mentioned that men have to be less “macho” (not ver batim) and is having this conclave or something with women. There are too many women flitting about the altar already. Someone approached me in Church to be involved as : reader, Extraordinary Minister, and I ran it by a Priest friend. He absolutely not. I was relieved; up front and personal on the altar didn’t seem to be the right place for me or any other woman. You may disagree with that.

    It seems this feminist lust for egalitarianism isn’t egalitarianism at all (which in some aspects ignores the natural order) but dominance.

    Anyway … Great Article!

  • Max

    Get rid of Gather and Glory and Praise! Banish Haugen, Haas and Schutte!


    • Max

      Follow up: Not with torches and pitchforks should we eliminate the praise and worship music, but logically and while educating those who dig the beat of Eagle’s Wings and River of Glory, etc. You know, quietly. Spend some money and get the Adoremus hymnal. Twenty bucks says it will never happen in my parish.


      • Here’s an idea: form a men’s chant choir (you know, like an apostolate or a meet up group), even if it’s just three or four of you. Perfect the craft as best as you can and then ask the priest if you can “perform” in random locations around the church. Get the people used to hearing the old chants. Perhaps it will work its way toward the worship space by popular demand.

        If that doesn’t work, you can always lovingly sabotage the sound system.

        • Tony

          Welsh choirs, as I’m sure you know, were often men’s choirs. There is something about a men’s choir that is most impressive. We have “co-ed” choirs, and we have women’s choirs. Men’s choirs — that would be something. We are the odd ones, culturally, historically, in NOT having such.

  • We need no hymnals. That’s a protestant thing. The Mass has different entrance, communion and exit antiphons for each day of the liturgical cycle.

    • As an Anglican, whose Protestant hymnody heritage is unrivaled (the Lutherans excepting), I agree. Toss the hymns and focus on the propers and antiphons. Our Anglo-Catholic services have hymns, but we don’t displace the chants appropriate to the Kalendar.

  • littleeif

    Thank you, Mr. Esolen! What a mess has been made of things!

  • St JD George

    Beautiful Anthony, again. I hate to disparage the lukewarm (not that you were, entirely) because we truly live in a conflicted world and people are confused. People also respond to the behavior of others (sometimes positively, sometimes negatively) and if they were exposed to more people with passion … who knows, it might be contagious.

  • ForChristAlone

    I wonder if it follows that, if we could imagine a world where Catholics abandoned their adherence to contraceptive practices and doubled the number of children in their families, we’d also double the number of priests available to minister to the Church.

  • hombre111

    “You have had your way for forty years.” Not really. As soon as John Paul became pope, he began to reverse, rather than implement, Vatican II, divided the Church, and attracted to himself young people who would become the conservative “John Paul priests” who now rule in my diocese, along with a score of “international priests” who have come from Africa, India, the Philippines, and Latin America, preaching in their incomprehensible foreign accents, suspicious of women, and authoritarian to the core. Now we will see what this golden day will bring. Actually, not much, so far. Same old problems we faced, same mixed results. Seven seminarians. We had twelve last year, but five quit.

    I firmly believe the Holy Spirit is calling all the priests it needs. Unfortunately, we have limited the supply pool to teenagers and young people, those who have never married and are often emotional misfits, and a few divorced men and widowers.

    I believe Tony is right when he suggests spiritual renewal as a key to vocations. Spiritual regression to another era is not such a good idea. Expanding the vocation pool to include mature married men would be a better idea. Mr. Esolen implies that ordaining married men would cave in to immoral sexual revolution afflicting our society. Obviously, he does not have a very good opinion about sacramental marriage as a witness in a pagan age.

    • “Obviously, he does not have a very good opinion about marriage.”

      That’s just moronic. His book on the defense of marriage is priceless.

      Also, I know of no “traditionalist” who says married priests would introduce a flood immorality. I think married priests would be a boon to the Church in the West, but their absence is not what’s ailing Her. The mainline Episcopal church is full of married clergy; its illness is summed up in one little word: apostasy.

      • Athelstane

        The mainline Episcopal church is full of married clergy; its illness is summed up in one little word: apostasy.

        Indeed. Married priests has not caused the problems that ail (and are killing) the Episcopal Church, but they certainly have not arrested or reversed them.

    • RufusChoate

      Just one point of disagreement… I love and admire all of the Foreign Priests whether from Africa, South America, India or Europe, I have encountered and feel enriched by their presence and appreciation of the faith. It reminds me that we are a Missionary Catholic Faith not an insular American Catholic Church.

      You sound very parochial which is out of character for my idealized version of you which is bearded, beaded and birkenstocks with a faint aroma of hemp.

      • hombre111

        As one of the old guys in the diocese, I have gone out of my way to try to know and appreciate the international priests. But I see the problems some of them create. My pastor has a heavy Spanish accent, and so does the associate vicar. I went to our largest mission the other day and stumbled into a group of parishioners complaining about how hard it was to get their kids to Mass. It is especially hard for the older people, like my half-deaf sister. I bought her one of those gismos she can listen to during the sermon. She said she still can’t understand most of what is said.

        I really enjoy those two men. But they themselves say they are part of the problem. Both are trying hard on English.

    • Not really. The diocesan and parochial structures are still very much in place. As a matter of fact, it’ll be some time until enough SJPII priests become bishops. One such priest in our diocese became a bishop a couple of years ago. There’s much work to do to reassert the ever new Catholicism.

      • Yes, what with all his denouncements of “Anglo things,” he seems to be the only white guy here hung up on race. Then again, isn’t that the leftist way?

      • hombre111

        Well, actually, no. The J2 priest began to be ordained in the late seventies. By now, enough of them have been around long enough to be bishops. We will see how it works out.

        I knew I could not complain about the foreign priests without being accused of bigotry. But the fact is, there is a huge language and cultural problem associated with those men.

        • That’s just absurd! JP2 became pope in 78 and it took him about 5 years or so to reach the youth, specifically the first WYD in 85. From then to ordination, we’re talking about early to mid 90s. Only the youngest bishops being now appointed are JP2 bishops.

          Their culture is a problem for you because it’s not moonbat, bigot.

          • hombre111

            You’re right! I had JP2 pope a lot earlier. It just seemed like a hundred years. So, the wave of JP2 bishops has just begun. Stay tuned, I guess.

        • Athelstane

          But the fact is, there is a huge language and cultural problem associated with those men.

          Again: If you are producing enough vocation from within, you should not need to worry about foreign priests. Until the 60’s, the U.S. was producing enough such priests from within.

          • hombre111

            Actually, there were enough vocations until within the seventies, if you can judge by the number of men in my seminary. Unfortunately, my diocese has never produced enough priests. Today, we are now stealing priests from the Third World, and they bring severe limitations that burden every parish they serve.

            • Athelstane

              Actually, there were enough vocations until within the seventies, if you can judge by the number of men in my seminary.

              I’ll take your word for it for your seminary – that’s possible.

              I also grant that foreign priests for whom English (or Spanish!) is a second language face special challenges. No question about it.

              Either way, there’s a breakdown somewhere a couple generations ago. So how do we right the ship, so that you don’t have to steal priests from the developing world? Is it that the priesthood has changed into a vocation that is unattractive to young Catholic men, or is it that we have too few young men who are even well-formed enough to be potential vocations – or is it both?

              • hombre111

                We have to be able to say we left no stone unturned. And most of the men in any parish need not apply, because they are married. By the way, I have become a good friend of a man who is a K of C, and single, about thirty years old. I admire his goodness and love for the Church. When I suggested the priesthood, he said he did not want to live such a lonely life. He said I was about the third priest to aks him that question.

                • Athelstane

                  When I suggested the priesthood, he said he did not want to live such a lonely life.

                  That’s a worthwhile observation. I guess the question is: Is this a new objection? How often was this reservation held by men a hundred years ago?

                  Isolation of priests is a serious concern. And I think it’s more salient now because…we have so few priests. In the old days you might have three or four priests living together in the rectory. Today, it’s the reverse: you have one priest often spread over three parishes. He has no other priests in a common living situation. And he’s overworked. I think this is one reason why oratories (of St. Philip Neri) are mushrooming around the country in recent years – you have a group of priests, and you’ll be living with them for your entire life, in the same parish. It ends up being a kind of family. Obviously that’s not a solution for every parish, however.

                  I grok that the argument you are making is for a married priesthood in some form. It may happen one day. But I hope we end up doing it for the right reasons, and in the right way, and not just because we’re desperate to staff parishes. And I have talked to (and worked with) enough priests, Anglican converts or Eastern Rites, to know that it’s not the easy solution that some think.

                  • hombre111

                    All very well said. Before I retired, I was in charge of four parishes at the same time.

    • GG

      The state of marriage is tied to the state of celibacy. When one is in trouble so is the other. Mature married men under influenced by the same toxic culture as everyone else.

      • hombre111

        Excellent, excellent. On the Feast of the Holy Family, I told the people that I considered our vocations tied together.

    • Athelstane

      As soon as John Paul became pope, he began to reverse, rather than implement, Vatican II…

      Please. John Paul II had essentially *zero* effect on the actual, lived experience of the American Church for all but perhaps the last handful of years of his pontificate. Most of the bishops and clergy (and theologians and religious!) were out of sympathy with him, and they did what they wanted. The cries of more traditional Catholics were ignored or slapped down. When John Paul II left town after a big pilgrimage, it was still the Bernardin bishops and their men left behind, running our dioceses, parishes, seminaries, schools and charities.

      If you are unhappy about foreign priests, you have no one – no one!! – blame but yourself, It was YOUR failure to inculcate sufficient vocations that made this necessary. And this is not to even address what comes across as, frankly, some rather stark prejudice.

      Ordaining married men – which, yes, is a matter of discipline, not doctrine – carries as many problems as it does advantages. More problematic is the different theological conception of the priesthood that seems to come with it: too often, the expectation is that the priesthood is merely a part-time vocation.

      • hombre111

        By the time he died, Pope John Paul had named all of the bishops in the Church, and Pope Benedict followed his pattern. That is a huge, huge effect. I think you are right, though, about bishops more or less doing what they wanted, which is as it should be. And, lots of priests have been and always will be mini-bishops. These are usually the more conservative guys; liberals would be more in the servant model.

        But I do blame Pope John Paul for the vocation crisis. He refused to even discuss the topic, and it was rarely discussed by the national bishops in their meetings. I do take some of the blame for the lack of vocations, even though I cooperated with every new vocation program that came down the pike. Many the time I asked young men about a vocation, especially when I was campus minister, and they told me they considered the job too lonely, and wanted to a family.

        You are right about married priesthood as no panacea. There are pluses and minuses on both sides. The only ones really to know are the Orthodox and Uniate married priests, and Protestant ministers. But we watch them from the outside. I used to pray with seven ministers. They seemed happy, worked hard, and some of their kids became ministers.

        • Athelstane

          Pope John Paul had named all of the bishops in the Church, and Pope Benedict followed his pattern.

          The question is: Who did he appoint? One of the prominent criticisms of JPII is that administration and appointments were not a strong suit for him, either in Krakow or in Rome. As it is, popes generally defer to the terna lists given them, lists formed mainly by local conferences, nuncios and the Congregation for Bishops. Under JPII, especially until his final years, is that the men in those positions were usually well to his theological “left,” and worked to ensure that more like-minded would be appointed. Thus you see the seeming incongruity of JPII appointing (say) Matthew Clark, Ken Untener, Howard Hubbard, Roger Mahoney, Robert Lynch, Joseph Bernardin, etc (this list could be greatly multiplied) – all men whom no one would deny were a great deal more progressive than John Paul II.

          To the extent that offsetting conservative appointments could be identified, they are fewer in number, and concentrated in his final years. In part, this was simply because of what JPII had to work with – if he had made a conscious effort only to appoint very conservative bishops in 1979, he would have been hard pressed to fill some slots, or at least would have had to go well out of his way to identify them (oh, would that he had!). But it was also because he simply didn’t make it a great priority; he preferred to make his impact through public witness and evangelism. And the result, I repeat, is that for many years, the average Catholic saw no real difference in how his parish, his school, his diocese, his college behaved than he had under Paul VI. Liberals had a fairly complete triumph int he American Church by the 1960’s, and their grip didn’t really start to loosen until the last decade or so.

          I think, with all respect, that your experience (which I do not doubt is sincere) with vocations difficulties helps make the point I wished to make earlier: Vocations are more than just a question of asking or encouraging. There’s an entire formation, both at home and in the parish, that needs to be there to create that pool in the first place. When you suggest that JPII ignored the pleadings of American bishops to address the problem, the obvious riposte is that it seems too obviously a case of bishops begging the Pope to fix the problem they had helped create, by changing the rules (or indeed, even doctrine), sometimes deliberately. Especially given that more than a few of those bishops hadn’t been especially interested in getting vocations, if they didn’t conform closely to their own perspectives. Ken Untener openly discouraged vocations, by his own admission, because he wanted to put more lay and religious women in charge of parishes (and, he broadly seemed to hint, hoped to see them ordained); similar motivations seem to be true of Matthew Clark up in Rochester, too.

          • hombre111

            Pretty fair analysis, I think, although I don’t agree with all of it. One of JP2’s first actions was to fire the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.,who had emphasized bishops with pastoral experience over those with Roman and Church administration experience. From that point on different men were appointed bishop.

            I have filled out a couple of forms sent from the Nuncio about suggested candidates for bishop, and the questions made it clear no progressive need apply. For the record, I was in favor of one man and had to inform the Nuncio that the other man was an active homosexual.

            There is the problem of synchronicity, What else was going on in the society at large that also helps explain our quandary and is beyond Church contdrol? All over America, there is a waning enthusiasm for organizations of any kind. The only one I know of that flourishes is the NRA, whose members never attend a meeting.

            • Athelstane


              Actually, Jean Jadot (the Apostolic Nuncio) wasn’t removed until June 27, 1980 – which was actually about 20 months into JPII’s pontificate – not exactly one of his first actions (and those had been 20 very busy months). But this is a niggle: Unlike Paul VI, John Paul II was obviously not happy with Jadot’s work, and not unhappy to accept his resignation.

              There *was* something of a shift when Pio Laghi took over, albeit a very modest one, and limited to a handful of sees (ex: Law,O’Connor); there is only so much that a nuncio can do, especially in the face of resistance from local bishops. It is a mistake to overstate the shift in appointments between Jadot and Laghi. Bernardin and Untener were appointed during Laghi’s tenure, after all, and plenty of others not all that different.

              I confess I find vexing the emphasis on the Jadot bishops as having “pastoral” experience, and those after having none. In part, that’s because “pastoral” in this context is always a euphemism for very progressive views, and in part because their pastoral nature never seemed to extend to the conservative members of their flock (let alone traditionalists), nor to dealing firmly with serial sexual abusers under their administration – the Jadot bishops were some of the worst in this regard. The critics (such as yourself) of the identifiable “Laghi” men *do* have a point in suggesting that they tended to be an uninspiring bunch, outside of (say) O’Connor; the most that can be said is that the rate of auto-destruction of the Church was slowed slightly. Rarely did such bishops (not even O’Connor) change much in the way of key diocesan personnel under them.

              All that said, your final point is the most interesting, because it’s a common reason cited for the decline in the Church and its vocations – and because it does have some validity. I’m not one of those who imagines that had there been no Council (and all the changes undertaken with its writ), that all would have been well. The Church is not isolated from society, and in the 60’s, society at large went rather mad. That cultural revolution and the advance in technology *has* made for fewer “joiners,” more of us “bowling alone.” But I believe that it is essential not to stop the analysis there. Looking at external causes is far too self-serving. In too many instances, the Church has embraced worldly attitudes, desperate to stay relevant and liked; yet the irony is that in the places where it has done so most aggressively, it has also decayed the most rapidly (see the Dutch Church), just as has been the case with liberal Protestant churches. We *can* find parishes, dioceses and orders which have had success in difficult circumstances. One thinks of Msgr. Richard Schuler of St. Agnes St. Paul, who in 32 years saw 30 priestly vocations and vibrant lay growth, thanks not just to his personal gifts but his emphasis on traditional music, liturgy, and sound teaching. IF we find places that have had success, why not examine them and, where possible, imitate them?

              I think that’s the point that Tony Esolen is trying to make here. And I think it’s a valid one.

              • hombre111

                The man I worked with in South America was one of those Jadot bishops, and he was really conservative.

                My gripe about non-pastoral bishops is precisely that. They were never really parish priests and so they have a minimal understanding of what is really happening with the priests and the folks. And yet they have the —- to call themselves “shepherds.”

                I think back to the last three bishops. The first was a prof in a seminary, distant and aloof who rarely visited parishes. The second was an old saint who stayed around for many years. He was in every parish, but he never really understood or sympathized with the challenges his priests faced. He loved to go fishing, and so he would show up and drag a pastor like myself along. I dropped a pile of work to do that. Learned later that “pastors are not really busy, they always have time to go fishing!”. When he retired, he took a small parish as my neighbor, and he was flumoxed by the challenges and problems.

                Then there was the guy we have now A CEO who never visits any parish except for an occasional “core parish” for Confirmation, who has builtt up a huge wall between himself and his priests.

                • Athelstane

                  I agree: a priest should not be given a diocese, normally, unless he’s shown he can lead a parish. And no matter how busy a bushop is, he should be spending quality time in his parishes every week.

  • D Laviano

    Mr. Esolen, you are on a roll! Cheers!

  • Myshkin

    WONDERFUL article. Spoken (written) like an actual Soldier for Christ!! How refreshing.

  • SnowCherryBlossoms

    Incredibly great article!! All societies come to clash over issues such as these toward the end, shortly before they collapse. If these are not corrected, I fear we may end that way.
    “It is the sacrifice of Christ, reenacted by the priest in persona Christi; it is the single holiest thing in the world.” Amen!

  • Romulus

    Pastors: man up yourselves. Get serious about liturgy. Celebrate ad orientem at least once Sunday morning, at a family-friendly hour. If the x-form, if possible, otherwise using copious amounts of Latin and (if you must) only old-style, metrical hymns — avoiding 3/4 time. For this Mass use only male servers — adult or older teens, no small boys. Use incense, a crucifer, torchbearers. Find the best man in your parish and appoint him Master of Ceremonies. Put your trust in him and tell him to get to work, recruiting men, studying the liturgy and then teaching what he’s learned. Lean on him hard and make sacrificial demands of him and the other men he recruits. Give them something real to do at Mass, because it’s proper to a manly dignity. Take advantage of the Church’s calendar’s opportunities for processions and ceremony. Institute a monthly men-only get-together, perhaps Saturday lunch (after Mass), or another time where the pastor and the men of his parish can meet for liturgical planning and education and informal fellowship. Ask for invitations to the homes of your most active men. Take notice of men lingering after Mass, unsure about asking for more involvement, but ready to leap when asked.

  • Tpr1976

    So… book clubs+hymns that talk about manly men=victory???

    I thought victory was Christ crucified.

    Not Christ hulking out and ripping the cross apart with his bare manly carpenter’s hands as he swills a beer and sings “Soldier of Christ, Arise”.

    Also when you say
    “You can flush the people out by observing their reactions to good news.”

    that sounds suspiciously like an Inquisition.

    I think many Christian men are secure enough in the manliness that they can be exposed to newer hymns, books with female characters, girl altar servers and even the occasional use of “inclusive language” (gasp) and still be “Men of the Church”.
    Singing the hymn “You are Mine” doesn’t emasculate a man unless the man is uncomfortable in his masculinity.

    • GG

      I think women secure in their femininity can deal with only male altar servers.

      I think newer hymns are really just old 1970 style bell bottom Cat Stevens type pap.

      Any discussion of truth frequently leads some to label it “inquisition” for all the obvious reasons.

      • Well, they didn’t call the 70’s “the Me Generation” for nothing. The wrecked Mass breathed that air like a fish breathes in water.

        • GG

          I honestly think we are reliving the 70s in terms of Church history. It did not work then and it will not work now. Helen Reddy will be making a come back soon.

    • Tony

      You’ve had it your way for 40 years, and your way has failed. There is nothing wrong or stupid about those songs of the Church Militant. You have things reversed. I say that these boys and men can attend church for ten years of Sundays and not once sing a single hymn like Soldiers of Christ, Arise — NOT ONCE. Singing Soldiers of Christ Arise might inspire someone to be such a soldier. It will not cause women to curl up and tremble, either. You have an endless stream of either feminine hymns (which are good) and Jesus Is My Boyfriend hymns (which are bad). Nothing masculine at all. Nothing! Explain why the masculine has to be so thoroughly excluded, as if it were stupid or obscene.

      Inclusive language is almost always either unnatural, ungrammatical, or heretical, or it changes the meaning of the text.

      Inquisition, really? The point is, “Why are you disappointed when you hear about the new orders that are flush with vocations?” Because you don’t want those new orders around, that’s why.

      • Tpr1976

        The “Church Militant” crowd had had its way for 1,500 years.
        That whole Church Militant title is so medieval.
        What is this, Europe?

        • Now you’re getting it, genius. Give me the lively Discarded Image of the Middle Ages over against the maggot-riddled carcass of Modern Irreligion any day of the week.

          • Tpr1976

            Then you ARE living in the past. You cannot cannot cannot go backwards. The Holy Spirit does not have a reverse gear. I am against modern attitudes of irreligious and new atheism as well. BUT we cannot be the Church of the Middle Ages.
            If you are looking for that, you will wait in vain.

            • “Then you ARE living in the past.” — I take that as a compliment. You can’t offend a dinosaur by calling him a fossil.

              “The Holy Spirit does not have a reverse gear” — Neither does He have a fashion complex.

              ” I am against modern attitudes of irreligious and new atheism as well.” — Then we have no quarrel.

              ” BUT we cannot be the Church of the Middle Ages.” — Neither can we be the Church of heretical Modernism. I’ll take the Roman Catholic Church of the 1850’s, the 1750’s, the 1650’s, the 550’s. Any era but the 1950’s and following.

              “If you are looking for that, you will wait in vain.” — Thankfully I have a Roman Catholic parish that believes in the same values I hold dear. I feel sorry for you if you have to endure the new religion.

            • RufusChoate

              Isn’t it a bit odd that the “new” christians of your modernity look surprisingly like the old pagans of the Apostolic Age: Priestesses, Nature worship, Homosexuality, sexual License, Abortion, contraception Infanticide, toxic narcissism and every other vice that the Church work so hard to eradicate.

              One can read Aquinas and he is still fresh, new and wise while McBrien, Kung or Fox are dated and irrelevant anachronisms.

              • Tpr1976

                So you don’t think anything in Aquinas sounds a wee bit arcane?
                Aquinas is fantastic, but ideas like part of the joy in heaven is watching the suffering in hell, the reason eating fish on Fridays in Lent and the “Limbo of hell” sound a wee bit ………medieval.

                • “Part of the joy in heaven is watching the suffering in hell” — You are theologically and biblically illiterate if you don’t think the redeemed won’t be shouting Hallelujah at the justice God executes upon the unrighteous. Maybe if you drop the campfire guitar and pick up your Bible you’ll see the rejoicing of God’s victory over His enemies at the Eschaton.

                  How *do* you liberals read and pray the Psalms? And you can forget the Apocalypse of St. John.

                  • Tpr1976

                    I read and teach it all, snob.

                    • Sorry I don’t kowtow to your baseless reflections. If that’s snobbery then I am happy to be so.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Yeah…..Jesus’ emphasis on mercy and forgiveness is baseless reflection. You can’t embrace an Old Testament version of wiping out the wicked while ignoring Christ. He IS the New Testament.

                    • Having not “read and taught it all” myself, being an openly professed ignoramus on most if not all things, you will forgive me if I simplify your astounding assertions into manageable portions:

                      This is your argument:
                      (1) Jesus emphasized mercy and forgiveness.
                      (2) He IS the New Testament.
                      (3) Ergo, you can’t embrace an Old Testament version of wiping out the wicked while ignoring Christ.

                      I’ve not denied (1) or (2), rather I affirm them. I’ve not touched on (3) at all (again, I am slow, having not “read and taught it all”) since this sub-thread is about the Last Judgment and not about the conquest of God’s people in the Old Testament.

                      Quite the contrary, since you’ve completely taught the book of Revelation (“taught it all”), you’ll have to unpack its Old Testament imagery for me and tell me where the forgiveness of Christ is when His enemies are crying out for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from His face and judgment. Again, I’m an ignoramus, so use short and simple words. Thanks.

                • RufusChoate

                  Appreciating the just punishment of God for the damned is not that much of a leap of understanding when you consider that one is united with God in heaven with unity with God’s goodness and justice. The truly good abhors evil and values justice on earth so why not in heaven.

                  You can tell me how much joy you receive from my suffering in hell at some future date.

                  Have you read McBrien’s early work from the 1980’s far more anachronistic and not very interesting? Really, I find 19th Century Catholic apologetic considerably more current.

                  • Tpr1976

                    Joy that souls are suffering because they rejected God… I think it pains God to loose any souls to hell and it ought to pain us as well.

                    • RufusChoate

                      I don’t but then again I have a masculine demand for both justice and order. God is merciful but he is also serious like most true adults.

                    • Tpr1976

                      He is also the Father from the parable in Luke 15.

                    • RufusChoate

                      A good Father (which is the image of God) knows they have to punish their children in the interest of educating and directing them into the life of virtue but unlike Mothers a Good Father knows when their child is beyond education and guidance. He will then separates them from their other children for the protection the remaining children from the contagion of their evil, peace in his home and the family.

                      Much of feigned forgiveness of today is simply cowardice and lack of will… as in the infamous “who am I to judge” comment of a certain man who simultaneously engages in bitter and hurtful comments to others.

                    • Tpr1976

                      “Judge not and you will not be judged.” said our Savior. Neither Francis nor I nor most Catholics who appreciate the modern are advocating for allowing the poor behavior of our children to be left un-checked, un-disciplined and un-corrected. By all means a parent ought to discipline and correct an errant child.
                      You just showed a belief that is prejudicial. “unlike Mothers a Good Father knows when their child is beyond education and guidance.”
                      Really??!!?? A mother (simply by virtue of being a mother) is incapable of showing “tough love”????
                      “cowardice and lack of will”
                      Lack of will to do what? To merely condemn or to do more. Let’s say the Pope goes out at Santa Marta and says in his homily “All homosexuals are damned to hell because they are homosexuals.” Would you feel better? It certainly makes being a Catholic easier.
                      Nice and simple!
                      All these people are sinners and going to hell and we condemn them.
                      I belong and go to church and can be confident when I pass judgment upon them as a whole resting comfortably on my throne of self-righteousness.
                      Wouldn’t that be so easy. They’re damned, we’re saved.
                      Simple isn’t it?
                      I’m glad that you’ve found the key to simple, un-complicated, un-nuanced, brazen, un-ashamed, un-bending Catholicism.
                      Bravo to you!
                      You have outdone Augustine and Aquinas and have removed all doubt from the Body of Christ.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Typical descent into hyperbole. You apparently missed the first 1968 years of Christianity when all sinners in and out of the church were clearly informed of the consequences of their lack of repentance and reformation.

                      It appears you live in a self referential world where the silliness of the culture usurps observable facts. I never claimed to be saved nor do I condemn people but the real moral universe we live in, means we need as a matter of rationality, to avoid sin and the morally depraved for our own good and the good of all that we are charged with.

                      I am always fascinated by the inclusion of such an obvious abnormality as homosexuality in any ethical argument about condemnation of sin and not such obvious sins as envy, pride, avarice, gluttony, lust etc… that are committed by the majority of people regularly. I suspect that the level of moral depravity that a person must descend through to engage in Homosexual acts is already pretty comprehensive to not warrant further elaboration so it is a tacit shorthand for complete moral corruption.

                      I have made this observation from my personal experience that homosexual acts are usually just the small indication of a morally corruption that permeates the lives of its practitioners. It can be seen from the scandal within the church where many of men examined have a strings of offenses of theft, embezzlement, alcoholism,lying, drug abuse etc… What was up with that? I know the Left likes to default to Clericalism rather than toxic Narcissism.

                      It is greater charity to validate them in their sin and lie about their final judgement or to say clearly that you are hellbound without repentance?

                    • Tpr1976

                      And dang it if it doesn’t make you feel all cozy and righteous inside!

                    • RufusChoate

                      You might think so but I assure you I am more realistic about the improbability of my arrival in heaven than you are of my self righteousness. Realism is deadly serious and I recommend it to everyone.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Sometimes austerity needs a good fart joke to laugh at.

                    • RufusChoate

                      You might be right.

                    • Well, you’ve been just the ass stinking up the place, and I am laughing at you.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Get therapy my friend.

                    • Engaging you has been therapeutic. Thank you for putting up with my tomfoolery.

                    • Oooh, you mean like how righteous you feel about yourself? Stooge.

                    • “Judge not,” is a favorite among zeitgeisters. It’s cool because you don’t have to actually read the rest of the chapter to get at what is being said.

                    • Tpr1976

                      I have read the rest of the chapter and cannot for the life of me think of what “gotcha” line you are referring to.

                    • Matthew 7:5 and John 7:24 are conveniently ignored or not known among the “Judge Not” crowd. But since you’ve read all things and teach all things you would have already known this.

                    • Tpr1976

                      How are those 2 verses a reversal of the “judge not verse”?

                      The first is not focused on giving permission to judge, but on getting one’s own house in order before condemning anyone.
                      The second is saying to not judge by appearance, but to judge justly. Think 1 Sam 16….where it critiques man’s ability to judge because he only looks at appearance, but the LORD can look into the heart. We can’t do that.

                    • Sorry, forget to mention that reading involves more than your fortune-cookie approach to the sacred text. But that’s okay, liberals are used to deconstructing texts and butchering context.

                    • There’s that biblical illiteracy shining through.

                    • Tpr1976

                      Have you read Luke 15? That’s God the Son talking about the mercy of God the Father through a parable and He sounds pretty merciful, loving and forgiving. It’s human beings that crave this rubbing people’s faces in their mistakes. Or what about Matthew 20 where God’s mercy is upsetting to those who feel more righteous than others? Don’t bother quoting the Old Testament because Christ is the New Testament who is closer to the Father than any Old Testament prophet.
                      I love the prophets, btw, Amos is 1 of my favorite books…..but all Catholics need to read the Bible in light of Christ and His teachings. We don’t live out 1 Samuel 15 anymore because it IS barbaric and arcane. We interpret it through the merciful lens of Christ.

                    • Your exegesis is flawed because your hermeneutic is wrong. Your hermeneutic is wrong because you drink from the spirit of the age, and not the Spirit of all Ages.

                      For all you read and teach, biblical exposition isn’t your strong suit.

      • “Inclusive language is almost always either unnatural, ungrammatical, or heretical, or it changes the meaning of the text.”

        Exactly. It’s not quibbling over words, it’s fighting over the Incarnation. Christ was not the androgynistic savior of Gnostic lore. He was God made Man, archetypally the second Adam, the Father of the New Humanity.

    • That psychologizing is vacuous, it’s not even logical; and it sounds suspiciously like the sort of rhetoric feminists use.

  • St JD George

    I just read the anointed one’s off handed comment comparing IS with the ages of the inquisition and the crusades as if to draw some moral equivalency. Knowing him to be a sympathizer I’m not shocked at all to hear that he feels that way, but am totally outraged. His revelation of total ignorance may not help fill the seminaries as Anthony is discussing today, but if it doesn’t put fire in the bellies of some of our clergy I’ll be extremely disappointed (and I’m already preparing myself for that). Maybe the Pope can school him when he visits this Fall to address Congress.

    • ForChristAlone

      #1 He’s a totally inept statesman and now he’s trying his hand at being a theologian and historian. The man is certifiably insane. He’s cut from the same flawed character structure as one Adolph Hitler
      #2 He lumps the crusades in with the inquisition. I bettcha if we quizzed him, he knows nothing about either – just reads from the teleprompter what his handlers tell him to say.

      • Career politicians don’t need to get their hands dirty with messy things like facts, history, method of inquiry, logic, reason, integrity, virtue … you get my meaning.

      • St JD George

        I am speechless at how far we have fallen under this … Person. I am still waiting for anybody in the church to school him in the facts, but I don’t see anything forth coming, sadly. Where are our courageous church leaders?!!! If there was ever a time to cast aside doubt about cowardness, I can’t think of a better one.

      • St JD George

        I shouldn’t have brought this subject up responding to Anthony’s beautifully written column today. Please accept my apology.

  • FrJas

    100 Redemptoris Mater Seminaries founded throughout the world, the first in Rome under St. JP II, since 1987. Good things happen when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit. May all those growing realities in the Church continue to persevere amidst the persecutions, especially when they come from within.

  • Kansas guest

    I am a member of the Wichita, Kansas diocese. We have 62 young men studying for the priesthood! Our diocese practices stewardship — which means that all children regardless of income or race can attend our great Catholic schools at no cost. Their families and the extended parish family commits to tithing time, talent, and treasure to keep the schools running. It’s an amazing situation and since beginning a stewardship diocese, has resulted in increased seminarians. Also, nearly all parishes in our diocese offer Adoration. Most are 24/7, but some of the smaller rural parishes haven’t reached it yet but are working towards it. We also have a Drexel Fund in our diocese in which the richer parishes contribute money to help out the poorer schools. If your Bishops are truly interested in increasing their number of seminarians, have them contact our Bishop and find out what we had to do to start stewardship (back in the 1980’s). It’s not easy and it’s not always perfect. But I truly think our “free” schools open to everyone and our commitment to praying one hour a week with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament has us on the right path! God bless you all!

    • FreemenRtrue

      wow – wow and wow!
      but will the USCCB or any bishops give a darn?
      “Feed My sheep”. And somebody tell the pope sheep don’t stink.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Well, I am glad to see that things are improving. I lived in the Wichita
      diocese from 1989 to 1993, and during that time I could not find one
      decent place to attend Mass. Every “liturgy” I ever attended was an
      assault on Catholic orthodoxy and sensibilities. Whenever possible, I
      used to drive to Kansas City MO or Tulsa OK for a Latin Mass. And in
      rural communities, the shortage of priests made it “necessary” to have
      rotating Masses, once a month, with “eucharistic service” (generally led
      by nuns) on the other Sundays. Many Catholics would get a hold of the
      Mass schedule and drive long distances to find a Mass. When Bishop
      Eugene Gerber learned that this was going on, he stopped publishing the
      Mass schedule, so that rural Catholics would be forced to attend
      “Eucharistic services.” So my memories of the Wichita diocese are just
      one long nightmare.

  • Marie

    Preach it, Brother!
    I thought this hymn by Daniel Whittle was appropriate.
    “The Banner of the Cross”
    There’s a royal banner given for display,
    To the soldiers of the King;
    As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
    While as ransomed ones we sing.

    Marching on, marching on,
    For Christ count ev’rything but loss!
    And to crown Him King, toil and sing.
    ‘Neath the banner of the cross!

    Though the foe may rage and gather as the flood,
    Let the standard be displayed:
    And beneath its folds, as soldiers of the Lord,
    For the truth be not dismayed!


    Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell,
    Make the glorious tidings known;
    Of the crimson banner now the story tell,
    While the Lord shall claim His own!


    When the glory dawns ’tis drawing very near,
    It is hast’ning day by day,
    Then before our King the foe shall disappear,
    And the cross the world shall sway!

    Marching on, marching on,
    For Christ count ev’rything but loss!
    And to crown Him King, toil and sing.
    ‘Neath the banner of the cross!

  • steve5656546346

    Some quotes from Fr. Owen Francis Dudley (1882-1952) who was a famous writer, lecturer, and head of the Catholic Missionary Society (of England and Wales):

    – “When you see a Church that refuses all compromise, all soft sayings in the place of hard truths; when you see a Church that refuses to pander–know then that you see the Church of Christ.”

    – “[Humanitarians/modernists] purr forth soft sayings, for the liking of a soft generation. Stern facts are not for such as these. Truth comes, not softly clothed, but clad in mail. Those who would win her must face facts fearlessly.”

    – “Ask any Catholic bishop, priest, or layman in the whole wide world–what does your Church teach, what do you believe? You will get the same answer every time. It does not matter what nationality they may be, they each and all believe the same.”

    – “If certain things I shall say are resented, please believe me that it is not my intention to hurt, but only to draw attention to the truth. A quality of truth is that it hurts when refused; when accepted it no longer hurts.”

    – “I have endeavoured to present…an antithesis to that modern cowardice which manifests itself in the vogue for the vague and non-committal; the convenient dilettantism which questions everything, holds nothing, and funks the hard facts of truth.”

    – [A character converting:] “…I’ve come bang up against the Catholic religion here [at a monastery]–I’ve been watching it, and reading about it–and it’s an utterly different kind of thing. It’s real. It’s got authority; it’s perfectly certain of itself. It knows. It’s not afraid of the world; it doesn’t climb down and pander to you–it doesn’t lick your boots. It challenges you; dares you to deny! It’s a terrific thing! …And these Catholics love it–passionately; I’ve seen them at it. It’s what Christianity would be. It’s what those martyrs died for, I’m certain…”

  • jacobum

    Direct Hit! We have replaced the “Silly” for the “Sacred”, the “Effeminate” for the “Manly” and “Nonsense” for “Truth” over the last 50+ years. The Churches are empty and priestly vocations and male involvement in parishes are at crisis levels. Dah??? The Church has been overrun by “girly men” with effeminate attitudes at every level. Is there any wonder why men have voted with their feet? Go back to the future. Restore fully the Mass of Ages, our heritage and patrimony. Fix the Liturgy and you will fix the Church. If not then more of the same continues unabated. Let Priests be sacrificial Priests (and all that implies and requires) rather than Presiders at a “Protestant Communion Service”. Real Men will always be attracted to the Holy, Sacred, Reverent, Mysterious, Difficult, Challenging and Sacrificial. We are protectors by nature. We don’t do knitting and nonsense well. The last 50 years have proven it conclusively.

  • disqus_HSjqCQGjbz

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Anthony, for speaking clearly and directly. I am a Catholic woman who can often barely stand to enter a church for the pansy type of song, the overabundance of women on the altar, and the dearth of masculine leaders.

    • Women like yourself are a 1000 feet tall in my eyes. Truly the gems of the Church. May your witness brilliantly outshine the glaring idiocy of the clergy.

      • disqus_HSjqCQGjbz

        Thank you.

  • St JD George

    Here’s a thought, maybe if part of their program it were to include time where the young seminarians visited in parishes occasionally. I have seen this occasionally but it’s rare. I know it could be an awkward circumstance as well not knowing anybody and knowing that they will likely never see them again. However, there is an out of sight out of mind dimension to the problem in that most people take for granted that their pastor will always be there. A lot too are awakening to the hard cold reality that many parishes are being combined into districts as their priests retire and there aren’t any to fill the shoes. It might be better if only those who were the most self confident and outgoing were sent out rather than making it mandatory service, but if more people interact that way and have positive experiences, hear their stories and learn that their backgrounds were similar and why they responded to the calling, particularly among young people, maybe the spark would be lit for more, or a window opened where the shade was closed before. Too often we don’t respond until something is a crises, and this is about as close to a crises as you can get for our church.

  • Athelstane

    A very good essay, with which I offer only one small niggle:

    …”then incorporate into your worship some of the old manly hymns of the Church militant.”

    Or better yet, sing the Mass. Part of our problem in sacred music is that we got away from that, as St. Pius X was pointing out 112 years ago. There are simple plainchant settings for the ordinary of the Mass available in numerous places online; you don’t have to be singing Palestrina here, nor do you need a schola director or cantor with a doctorate in music to lead it (though identifying some reasonably knowledgeable music director who has familiarity with traditional sacred music should be a priority).

    Not that there is anything wrong with those old manly hymns. But they should not be a substitute for chanting the propers of the Mass.

    • Yes, if they can’t get skilled musicians, organists, and choristers, by all means the priest should be teaching the sheep to chant the Mass regardless. After all, liturgics is part of priestly formation. If he can’t chant the Mass *in Latin* as well as English, he has no business up there.

    • Well, our music director does have a PhD and we chant the normative antiphons and propers during Advent and Lent. If it depended on him, we’d do it all year round.

  • bty

    It would be nice to actually have a discussion, rather than the useless venting that one gets in these posts.
    Anthony, I have appreciated your posts, and perhaps this more than any. It is just common sense. But I fear that most American Catholics belong more to the current secular culture than to the culture of Christianity. It is simply true that religious congregations – and parishes – that preach the gospel, promote men as men and women as women, subscribe to “traditional” sexual morality (and by the way, “traditional” is a very positive term in Catholic theology; I recommend Congar’s “Tradition and Traditions” for those who are not familiar with its theological meaning) and understand what “reverence” for God is, grow. They grow, even today.
    I think I agree with every point in your proposed agenda.

  • Steve Hansen

    Just awesome. Real men have to take up the standard. “We are Church” too. We can be silent no longer. Francis wants Catholics to make a mess, so let’s make a mess of this and then fix it. Call out the heretics as heretics, and tell them how they are so by definition. When they raise their voice in protest, raise your in condemnation of their heresy. When they push, give them a shove. We ain’t leaving! Don’t let priests or bishops get away with watered down expressions of faith. Call them out. Demand the proper music. Demand that the rubrics are followed and don’t give a dime to any collection that we know is being used for funding “organizations” that seek to further evil and anti-Church “social justice” crappola. When women demand priesthood or another men’s role, tell them strongly why not, and don’t be silent. When you are to kneel at Mass, kneel, even if no one else does. Soon you will notice that other men are kneeling with you. Receive Communion on the tongue and not in the hand, soon you will see other men do so too. Be the example of what is supposed to be. Remember that real priests wear their collar just about everywhere and real nuns wear habits, and remind those that don’t of the real ones who do. Write a blog and call out the stupidity and heresy and put a spotlight on it, and watch the cockroaches scurry.

    This may be a grave time for the Church, but there’s something big happening among faithful Catholic men. What has happened with the synod last October and continuing now has poked the sleeping bear and he’s awoken and he isn’t going away.

    • It’s probably an over-used symbol, but I love the Danish legend, hero, and warrior Holger Danske who promised the cries of the Danes would awaken that sleeping warrior from beneath Kronburg Castle. I for one would get a tattoo of this as a sign against the Church Effeminate.

  • Craig


  • Ladasha Smithson

    To end the vocation crisis, start with the marriage crisis. Single adults now out number marrieds. If we want to produce more vocations we need to create stable homes for our future consecrated to be born!

    • Yes! It’s a crime to see Catholics with one or two kids. Here in my neck of the woods it’s not uncommon to see a train of four to six little ones in a Catholic family.
      But over all American Catholics have incrementally adopted the 20th century breeding habits of the “free love” culture they supposedly reject.

  • Atilla The Possum

    AMEN! At long, long last!
    This is the Real Deal! This is what we’re talking about! Way to go! Bring it on!

  • Atilla The Possum

    How about parishioners getting back into the practise of kneeling down and receiving Christ Our Saviour on the tongue at every Mass!
    I am sick and tired of old people (yes, you – OLD PEOPLE) treating Mass like a night at the local pub before the towels are off the pumps!

    • And kneeling at the “Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est,” in the Nicene Creed.

      Also, bowing the head at the Name of Jesus and our Lady.

      You know, good old fashioned reverence for our betters.

  • NotHiringPriestsToday

    Esolen for bishop! Great ideas! yet only a small number of American Bishops are of like mind. Always amazed that the largest, wealthiest diocese in the world, Los Angeles, can only field a few priests every year, and almost all of them non-American born!

    • Esolen for Pope! Hey, it worked in the early church — people getting quickly elevated under exceptional circumstances. I’d overhaul the celibacy rule just to get Dr. Esolen in the chair.

      Alas, it will never be. He has a more profound reach being a tutor and teacher than lofty pontiffs ever will.

  • Catinlap

    “What copiers are for???” Not unless the songs are in the public domain!!! We writers copyright our work in order to make a living!

    • Tony

      All of those songs have long been in the public domain. No worries about that.

  • Albert8184

    “…. and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”…

    Press these words close to your heart. Great article.

  • Julie

    Interesting article – I agree with a lot, can’t relate to some since I am a woman, but it seems to me the vocational crisis could be simply solved by returning to allowing married priests as it was in the beginning for centuries including St. Peter. This also allows women to support priests more.

    • ForChristAlone

      Married priests is not the answer. Contact Fr Dwight Longenecker, a married priest, and he’ll tell you that.

      No what we need is for Catholics to end their use of contraception. Then the pool of available priestly candidates will have increased.

    • GG

      Celibacy was the norm from the start.

    • Tony

      No, not really. It’s a false hope. Catholic priests have to be available to their parishioners all the time, for hospital visits, confessions, and so forth. Parishes would have to support the minister and his whole family. Many Protestant ministers therefore have to have a “real” job to make ends meet.

      There’s no harm trying what used to work ….

    • ForChristAlone

      Let me present you to you the human dimension of a married priesthood. Such a man would be expected to believe and practice all that the Catholic Church teaches (unless he lies at the time of his ordination). That means that contraception would not be part of his marriage and that he would be open to life. The consequence in most cases, presuming healthy sexuality on the part of the priest and his wife, would oftentimes eventuate in 5, 6, 7, or 8 or more children. What would it cost to feed, clothe, house, and send all these kids off to college? A salary commensurate with the cost.

      So would all those Catholics pining for a married priesthood be willing to tithe to support such an arrangement? That means that a Catholic family making $100,000 a year, would donate $10,000 to the support of the Church. That comes to almost $200 per week in the collection plate. And, if the married priesthood really takes off and there are more than one priest per parish, you can double the needed contribution. How will that compare to the $5 per week on average currently inserted into the envelope?

      • Athelstane

        All valid points: I know Pastoral Provision and Ordinariate priests with large families, and they DO struggle to get by – not just financially, but emotionally, too. They’ve undertaken a heroic sacrifice.

        To the extent that this danger is recognized by advocates of married priests, the solution often put forward to is to ordain viri probati – older, proven men, who presumably are empty nesters, or near enough. Certainly that solves one possible problem, though it opens up another: with older ordinands, you are get 2-3 decades less of possible ministry from them, given their age. That’s not an absolute objection, but it is a caution. A lot of time and resources go into the formation of a priest, and this is a key reason why younger vocations have always been preferred.

  • Albert Romero

    From what I have seen, nothing has changed, still perversions within seminaries, still same sex attractions, homosexuality, liberals etc…..clericalism is rampant and sexual abuse still happens….hid by bishops monthly…..its pathetic. and who pays? the flock does. these men who run the Church could care less, all they care about is power and Church politics, everything contrary to the Spirit of Christ, but in the end…they will answer to Him.

  • Antonja Cermak

    My understanding is that the priest acts in the person of Christ which is why only men can be priests. This does not apply to the office of reader, altar person, EMHC etc. so why is there so much objection to women doing these things?

    On the other hand, a survey of Chicago Catholics has just come out showing that there are 4 ex-Catholics for every 10 active Catholics and that the average ex-Catholic is younger and more likely to be female than the active Catholics. This means the gender imbalance should work its way out over time as younger women change churches or leave religion all together.

    • Athelstane

      And yet, the demographics on display in the average Catholic parish remain just what spurs Esolen’s concern: Mostly older, and mostly female. And this is true in much of Chicago, as I know from priests serving there.

      I don’t dispute that young women are checked out of the Church in growing numbers. What I am suggesting is that, based on who actually shows up, young men are checked out in even higher numbers.

      • noterroristsallowed

        I’ll be honest with you. It’s a difficult and scary experience for a young woman to walk into a church on her own. It’s awkward.

  • linda daily
    • You get an A for the cool reference. Love the Li’l Rascals.
      You get an F for application. But then again, the traditional canons of reason are just holdovers of repressive, patriarchal (and white! can’t forget race!) domination, right?

      • linda daily

        No, simply pointing out what this conversation sounds like to Catholics outside the Crisis bubble. Glad you enjoyed it.

        • How do you hear us all the way inside your bubble?

          But then again, you would write that because you’re just a stupid, icky girl! Am I right fellas?

          • linda daily

            I’m not a bubble dweller, sorry. Just an average Catholic, far below your standards, I’m afraid.

            • Madam, your lack of standards is no grounds for attacking that which evidently is above you.

              Clearly you must be fascinated with our little bubble enough to step into it (thank you for condescending!) just to let us know how we sound. Interesting isn’t it?

            • RufusChoate

              There is an unspoken and inconvenient reality about the crisis in vocations that is often overlooked in the West. The collapse in vocations to religious sisters was even more precipitous than for Priests. It is not that teachers, nurses and contemplatives are no longer needed but that Catholic Women don’t want to be teachers, nurses or contemplatives but Professors, Directors and Bishops. There has also been a drop in woman training for service oriented roles like Nurses and Teachers among the secular job market (until the recent economic crisis).

              Pushing Girls into Boy’s role is cut from this same “Non Serviam” and is sourced like the original speaker from pride.

              Woman in the church today covet male roles in the Church with the standard will to power that the brings to everything they corrupt.

              As I have frequently tell progressive nuns demanding ordination: “When your cause and convent are filled with aspirants you might have a valid point but your order is dying because it isn’t true and good. “

              • linda daily

                I think you speak in generalities. I’m a geriatric care nurse and know many faithful Catholic women who are as well. I also know faithful Catholic women who are professors. You can’t generalize otherwise you lose sight of the God’s unique call to each person.

                • RufusChoate

                  That is good and you’re probably a fine catholic woman with many great gifts but your observation is limited in scope.

                  Actually nearly all knowledge is generalization if it is true.

                  Generalizations are not untrue because they are broad but narrow personal experiences aka Confirmation bias are frequently not true.

                  My Mother who lived with my Wife and I, would frequently claim how all the people in the state we moved to for work were just wonderful good people and I, being a bad son, would remind her that most of the “wonderful” people she knew were from the daily mass she attended and not representative of any larger group.

                  My family is filled with nurses and Doctors and the reality of reduced number of woman is what they tell me about the current nursing graduates being lazy, mercenary, uncompassionate and few. That is also Confirmation bias but the wider statistic prove them valid.

                  • linda daily

                    An old cliche, probably too feminine for Crisis: look for God in each person and you will see beauty.

                    • Found your t-shirt.

                    • linda daily


                    • I had to actually edit the profanity out of that picture. It was funny.

                      Good day to you.

              • Amen.

              • noterroristsallowed

                I’ve been to many hospitals, and I’ve worked in many hospitals. By far women are the majority workers in the health care industry. Sorry Rufus, I don’t believe your post, and I’m a city girl too.

                • RufusChoate

                  You’re suffering from a profound case of Confirmation bias where you see what you wish to see. The number of Female workers increase in the West because the comprehensive Leftist socialized state discourages and disparages the most appropriate roles of Women in a healthy Civilization as Wife, Mother and stabilizing influence. Your Female workers are little more than wage slaves.

                  • noterroristsallowed

                    Not necessarily a slave, Rufus. I earned my living, and not every woman is a wife or mother.

                    • RufusChoate

                      The salient point is the West is a dying culture and you on the Left seems to believe that is okay as long as you can pretend that you have a career. I have worked in the Fortune 10 for most of my life and have never found the “contributions” of Women to the business enterprise anywhere in proportion to the damage to the civilization they inflict.

                      Their children if they bother to have any are largely disastrous failures.

                    • noterroristsallowed

                      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Until then I would agree if it ain’t broke then no need to fix it. It’s the M.E. that is crashing and burning, and plenty needs to be fixed back there; it’s just too bad they keep voting in the extreme trad’s (the ones that makes laws against women empowerment)

                    • RufusChoate

                      Islam is a special case and profoundly inhuman while Africa is afflicted with Socialism and barbarism.

                      No one votes in the Islamic world except once to enslave themselves more closely to Islam.

                      Northern and Southern Asia are bot more patriarchal than the west and is the rising Industrial power and thriving what is going on there?

                    • noterroristsallowed

                      But Islam became more moderate up until 30 or 40 years. A change came about a few years ago. The Arab spring, I believe.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Islam was never moderate.

                    • noterroristsallowed

                      My correction then, the west was hoping the Islamic countries would become more moderate so that children & women would have more rights. This was a complete disaster as we know it backfired and as a result women have been more suppressed than ever in those countries. They don’t want to become liberal, that’s fine, just don’t bother us.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Islams problems have nothing to do with the West in any meaningful way unless the neutering Islamic militarism and the containment of Islamic expansion in the 17th Century is considered a negative.

                      In the 21st Century Islam behaved as anyone sane and with a modicum of historical awareness would realized it would. Islam default to its violent, barbaric and atavistic origins. The cultural relativism of the Western democracies sought to impose a completely inimical political organization on a Theocratic society and culture.

                      The first and only Gulf War should have be fought to the extinction of the Baathist regime and the extermination of Saddam Hussein and his regime’s military capabilities then the territory abandoned with a stiff program of reparations to keep them subjugated.

                      The Second Gulf War was only a breaking of 12 year old Cease Fire.

                    • noterroristsallowed

                      Islam is a problem in itself as it is political. Christianity has a place in western politics since Christianity is based on free will. There was a time when I would associated myself as a traditional woman as I really thought I was, but that is not the case anymore. To be a true traditional woman, I understand I must be like Mary, the Mother of Christ but I can’t.

            • Athelstane

              Bubbles come in many forms.

              • linda daily

                I agree. I suppose just being Catholic is a bubble to many people.

                • I’m just being Catholic. What’s your objection?

                  • linda daily

                    No objection, I just know many people consider my faith a bubble. Agreeing with the comment above.

                    • I’ve never thought or said, “Mere Catholics live in bubbles.”

                    • linda daily

                      I wasn’t responding to you, see above.

                    • Clearly you were. See above. Here’s a pic if it helps.

                    • linda daily

                      Check higher up.

            • ForChristAlone

              no one is against girls…straw man alert

          • ForChristAlone

            Girls are icky to boys from ages 8-12. Then they start looking appealing.

        • RufusChoate

          Don’t you post at the National Catholic Reporter? Isn’t the uniformity of the effeminate opinion a little tedious?

          • linda daily

            Not me.

            • RufusChoate

              Very well, my apologies.

    • ForChristAlone

      Is this what you had in mind?

    • RufusChoate

      Funny but true today as it ever was except for the confused cultural proto-lesbians who think they need to remold their daughters into little boys and their sons into little girls.

      It is almost like you don’t have any interaction with authentic normal children and weren’t one yourself.

      • linda daily

        No I was hatched from an egg.

        • You must have been: you cackle like an old hen.

        • RufusChoate

          I suspected as much.

    • What’s funny about this video is it illustrates the dead-end path of feminism. It’s entirely normal for boys to want to have their own club sans female encroachments. They need this.

      The bra-burners and Birkenstockites cannot abide the glory of a boys club. Furthermore, the Li’l Rascals introduces the normal effects a fair, authentic feminine, and beautiful girl has on boys (Darla, anyone?)

      My boys love the Li’l Rascals. My wife loves that they love it. She, a fine woman, encourages their swordplay, blood, mud, aversion to icky girl stuff, and rough and tumble antics. What with the demise of the Boy Scouts (R.I.P.) I say, God bless the He-man Woman Haters Club. We need more of them.

      • linda daily

        You seem to enjoy name calling.

        • You seem to enjoy our bubble. If the name sticks, own it with pride.

        • Serving the Lord as a man or a woman requires functional men and women. The dogmas of our age emasculates men and tears down authentic feminine beauty. I fight hard because the lies are demonic.

          • linda daily

            I thought it was funny, but sorry to offend.

            • *I* wasn’t offended as such. I openly confess I would be labelled a chauvinist by today’s standards. It actually made me smile. The philosophy that would reject boys having such a club is what I find repugnant.

        • ForChristAlone


    • GG

      That is called being normal.

  • Louise

    This writer is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine!

    “The women will be happy to sing these too, if truth be known.”


  • Jenny Tomsic Bioche

    Amen, Amen and oh how refreshing times two with the original article. Thank you, Professor Esolen. But good luck getting the lay people off the altar, that means no more Purell parties during the Agnus Dei. Seriously my husband and I have talked about letters to bishops, talks with the pastor, but the few talks we’ve had with our pastor don’t bear fruit. Any ideas how to specifically implement these ideas?

  • Marie

    Esolen is right that guys clam up in co-ed classes. My church has men’s and women’s Bible classes, and the women say that they are glad to have a separate class, because they know that in a mixed Bible study, if the women make many comments, the teacher will soon be almost the only male in the discussion. A lot of women like to have separate studies, because then we don’t have to choose between keeping our questions to ourselves and making the men shy by talking. My mom has sometimes been asked (by women) to teach a ladies’ Bible class for that reason.

    So I agree about having separate classes. No need to make the men shy, and no need to make women face that choice.

    • Men shied by women are wussies.

      • Tony

        Not always … and remember, these are boys, not men. Sometimes they just aren’t interested in quite the same things. Sometimes they adopt a “cool” attitude of nonchalance. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not being on the same wavelength, so to speak.

  • Don Whicker

    Deo gratias!! No, double deo gratias!!

  • Joe

    It must be a matter of regional culture about boys being awkward in co-ed classes. In the lit classes I had, the girls had trouble getting a word in edgewise unless the teacher made a point of calling on them.

  • Michael Dowd

    To Professor Esolen:

    Considering all the comments I wonder if you could do a follow-up article that would summarize the pros and cons and suggest more next steps to improve the vocation crisis. Thanks again for your timely and courageous article.

  • 1rosemarie2

    May our mind and thoughts be renewed in Christ Jesus! acknowledging what displeases God or what is approved of Him does not mean rejecting the sinner, but the very sin that crucified the Son of God.

  • Charlie Noel

    Restoring the freedom to marry to the diocesan priesthood or conversely adding the vow of poverty for all priests are the only solutions that can actually restore ordained ministry in the Church. The current culture of the pseudo monk has been a failure as it is an unworkable compromise between evangelical freedom and monastic life. It has to be one or the other. Personally, I believe Eastern Orthodoxy has this almost exactly right. Look at the resurgence of both married priests and celibate monks in the Russian Orthodox Church. Fantastic!

  • Paul Slobodnik

    When St. Pius X was ordained bishop of the diocese of Mantua, there were less than ten seminarians. When he left his diocese there were over a hundred. He made the seminaries one of the focuses of his reign as a bishop and was obviously very successful. He weeded out men he didn’t think had a vocation or had enough virtue. He emphasized piety over education and actively pursued men he thought had vocations.

  • Dennis

    As a life long Catholic the Traditionalists and the Current Catholic debate is interesting. Stop worrying about traditions and start working in ministries. It is hard to worry about the music when you are working with the poor. Just a thought – move on

    • GG


    • Tony

      Since when do the poor not deserve good music and strong schools and a nearby priest?

  • Moby Dick

    What good and true woman wants to devote her life to a coffee klatsch either? Daunting philosophical/theological literature, food, beer, old hymns… I’m a woman, and these happen to be a perfect description of my ideal discussion/fellowship group, and one that would attract most of the people of either sex in my acquaintance.

    I am confused. The unspoken corollary to this description seems to be that a women’s study/fellowship group would involve reading easy, probably sentimental literature, drinking lukewarm coffee on overstuffed floral upholstery, working on cross stitch wall hangings that say “Bless This House”, and singing “Gather us in” and other church songs from the 70s. All of which would make me, and all my female friends, puke.

    Is this picture of women’s groups true? It’s been 15 years since I attended an Opus Dei girls’ group, and it did involve sitting around doing cross stitch, which I loathed. I found the talks and the social and physical atmosphere (which featured a generous amount of floral upholstery) stifling and wilted. I did not feel “at home” or that I could “be myself”. My favourite part was when the meeting was over and we got to play ping pong in the basement while our moms visited upstairs (over coffee, as it happens. Though it’s interesting, they never forced themselves to do cross stitch.).

    I think it’s a great idea for a men’s group, for the record. I just resent this claiming of robust, challenging, human, and rich intellectual and cultural traditions for men, as if there were something inherently masculine about them. Moby Dick vs. Pride and Prejudice? Debating Theology vs. Not Debating Theology? These are the difference between the sexes?? Ok, as a liberally educated woman who pretty much lives for philosophical/theological/spiritual debates and “heavy” literature, now I’m a little miffed.

  • Philip Sieve

    They slap themselves on the back for a job well done, regarding Vatican 2 and the “ordinary form”, yet they let the opposite, minus fanatical ecumenism (where we mix it up with non-believers, despite poor catechesis, which has led to Catholics thinking non-Catholics should receive Jesus as the Eucharist, because they believe it’s not nice to do otherwise, and that we need to dance and clap and worship as the unbelievers do, which is taught against in Scripture), go on in Catholic parishes and “Catholic” places of higher education. I used think the third world gave us lesser minds, as we haven’t had a Thomas Aquinas or Archbishop Sheen from there, but I have realized, thanks to the synod, we need exactly them–or at least ones like the African bishops (are most the Latin ones liberation theologists?), in they say what needs saying.

  • BXVI

    I need to know what the “real” hymnals are. Can’t stand “Gather.” Help me out here.

    • Tony

      At our parish we principally use the 1940 Hymnal, reprinted with supplementary hymns in 1985 (?); no revisions to the texts in 1940. It is an Episcopalian hymnal, and that means, alas, that it is ten times more Catholic than Worship 3, and a hundred times more Catholic than Gather. The St. Michael Hymnal and the Adoremus Hymnal are good, but I think still too thin when it comes to the number of hymns and their variety. Most people seem to think that the 1940 Hymnal is the greatest in the English language. ANYTHING printed before 1970 would be an enormous improvement.

  • FYI: I cited you in my blog this week on the solution to vocations and youth ministry.

    • Tony

      Dear Father: Thank you for your gracious (and helpful) criticism.

      I’ll reply by saying that we can see these things in two ways, depending on which noun in this sentence of Thomas’ we emphasize: GRACE perfects nature, or Grace perfects NATURE. When St. John Bosco first attempted to evangelize the street youths of Turin, he began with nature, that is, their nature as boys. It was the means he took to get them to the door, so to speak.

      Many of the foolish things we’ve done to boys and their opportunities to meet Jesus are matters of carelessness. We’ve put unnecessary impediments in their way, or we’ve neglected to invite them in a way that they would find inviting.

      • Exactly. I don’t want to say your ideas are dumb. All I want to say is that the 1st thing when dealing with vocations needs to be Jesus. Yet many blogs give a dozen good practical ways to promote vocations without mentioning this central way specifically.

        • Tony

          Dear Father Schneider:

          Here’s a hymn that combines my advice (preambles to a vocation, I guess) with yours (calls to the priesthood properly speaking). It is attributed to Saint Andrew of Crete (660-732), and is sung to a splendid minor-to-major melody of that name:

          Christian, dost thou see them
          On the holy ground,
          How the powers of darkness
          Rage thy steps around?
          Christian, up and smite them,
          Counting gain but loss,
          In the strength that cometh
          By the holy Cross.

          Christian, dost thou feel them,
          How they work within,
          Striving, tempting, luring,
          Goading into sin?
          Christian, never tremble;
          Never be downcast;
          Gird thee for the battle,
          Watch and pray and fast.

          Christian, dost thou hear them,
          How they speak thee fair?
          “Always fast and vigil?
          Always watch and prayer?”
          Christian, answer boldly,
          “While I breathe I pray!”
          Peace shall follow battle,
          Night shall end in day.

          “Well I know thy trouble,
          O my servant true;
          Thou art very weary,
          I was weary too;
          But that toil shall make thee
          Someday all mine own,
          And the end of sorrow
          Shall be near my throne.”

          Imagine a choir of men and boys singing that. Or, why should we have to imagine it? Why do we always have to starve this one side of our humanity?

  • Bruce Ludwick, Jr.

    I think tarring Worship III with the same brush as the other hymnals listed is rather uncharitable, inaccurate, and unnecessary. Its editor was the most highly regarded Catholic hymnal editor of the post-Vatican II era. In addition, I would be careful to paint too rosy a picture of traditionalist orders. One recently banned a hymnal compiled from the London Oratory for not being “Catholic” enough. It is most helpful to remember than any hymn in place of a processional antiphon in the Mass of the Roman Rite is a significant, if legitimate, departure from the mind of the Church regarding the sacred liturgy.