Monday, March 26, 2007
by Leon J. Podles
You may have noticed that, in general, men are not as interested in religion as women are. There are usually more women than men at Sunday mass, and there are far more women than men at devotions, retreats, and prayer groups. The men who do come are often there because wives or girlfriends have put pressure on them to attend. In fact, if men speak honestly, they will tell you that men have a general feeling that the Church is for women. They may add that women are more emotional than men are, or that religion is a crutch that a man doesn’t need, as Jesse Ventura, the candidate of young white men, said in Playboy.
In my book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, I examine the lack of men in the Western churches, which only the unobservant doubt, and I look at the possible causes and results of the lack of men. My thought has continued to develop, and I have slightly revised my thesis. In what follows I will first summarize my thesis that men stay away from the Church because they regard it as a threat to their hard-won masculinity. Second, I will explore how the Church has become identified with femininity. Third, I will consider how this feminization has undermined fatherhood, and how the Church can reach men and help them to be Christians and Christian fathers.
I think the lack of men is self-evident, but the reactions to my book have shown me that some people have not noticed and that others choose to deny the obvious because of a feminist, or, what has surprised me, a traditionalist agenda. Sociologists have gathered statistics about both practice and opinion, and the studies confirm the popular impression: religion, especially of the Christian variety, is largely a feminine affair in Western society. FULL ARTICLE