Saturday, August 22, 2015

Men and Liturgy

Modern liturgy has emphasized community, warmth, welcome, inclusiveness, accessibility, and being easily understood. Parishioners are often encouraged to greet those around them warmly, shake hands, hold hands, etc. Music has often become emotive and lyrical (rather than metered and march-like) and the themes emphasize welcome, intimacy with God, reconciliation, love, etc. 

None of these things are wrong in themselves, and there are masculine ways of expressing and experiencing these things, but there is a lack of balancing virtues that are often more appealing to men such as duty, call, honor, awe, reverence, respect, transcendence, sacrifice, spiritual warfare, and the struggle against evil.

Stirring, metrical hymns paired with equally vigorous verses describing virtues and themes such as adoration, obedience, faith, strength, hope, God’s power and glory, the ultimate victory of God and the faithful, tend to appeal more to men and masculine ideals.

It does not have to be one thing or the other in the liturgy; it really is about greater balance. Much of the modern liturgical fare in many (though not all) parishes is weighted toward aspects more often preferred by women. And while most men do not talk about it much, when asked, they consistently report being uncomfortable with and uninspired by modern liturgies.
It is no surprise then that men (according both to this and other polls as well as anecdotal observation) are on average more likely than women to prefer the solemn, formal liturgies of the traditional rites. The discipline, skill, and almost military-like precision appeal to many men. Tradition here need not refer only to the pre-conciliar forms, but also to newer forms that contain more traditional elements and formality. (Read more.)

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