03Mar Why Men Dislike Going to Church

A discussion of this can be found on the website of Concerned Catholics of Montana. The author is Charles Horejsi, a retired University of Montana professor of Social Work. There may be some helpful discussion material for Ireland also.

He writes:

“Within Catholicism and other Christian traditions, males occupy the top leadership positions (priests, ministers, bishops, elders) but females are a dominant presence in nearly all other church ministries (e.g., education of the young, visiting the sick and elderly, preparing church meals, helping in soup kitchens, coordinating funeral dinners, the nursery, decorating the sacred space, etc.,). Men, if they are involved, are most likely participating in the finance and building committees. The congregation / membership of a typical Catholic parish and mainline protestant church is about two thirds women.

“Men’s loss of interest in Christianity is so consistent around the world that it cannot be explained by allusion to men’s pride, sinfulness, father issues, or career distractions. Neither can it be explained by saying that men are by nature less religious than women.

“What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away? How did a faith founded on a man and his male disciples become unattractive to men? The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus’ strong leadership, blunt honesty, courage, risk-taking and heroic sacrifice mesmerized men. Today’s church does not mesmerize men; it seems to repel them.”

The full article (3800 words) can be found at:

http://concernedcatholicsmt.org/why-men-dislike-going-to-church-a-discussion/

A PDF of the article is at:

http://americancatholiccouncil.org/files/2016/02/Why-Men-Dislike-Going-to-Church.pdf

Pádraig McCarthy

3 Responses

  1. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    The author makes an interesting point. But it may have answered its own question in the first couple of paragraphs. “The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus’ strong leadership, blunt honesty, courage, risk-taking and heroic sacrifice mesmerized men.”

    Where has this behaviour gone and do we need it more now than they needed it back then? I believe the answer to this question is that we need it more now, without any doubt. This behaviour, well it’s shown flashes in Francis’s communications. Since this is wholly limited to the ability for priests to deliver his message, this possibly makes his statements on the example of a dedicated Christian completely unknown. How are you emulating the Pope and how is his message delivered to your own parishes?

    Also, if there were someone out in the Christian universe who was so defiant of the powers that be and truly embodied what Jesus Christ stood for, what would Christianity do with him/her, with its leadership possibly leaning towards the less courageous, more conforming, unlikely heroic style management; the “let’s not rock the boat” kind of parish.

    Is this a huge problem? Are we not living in “more talk, less action” times yet might we be waiting for a leadership that is not emotionally equipped to lead the charge?

    Well I guess the only suggestion that I could make is dig deep to find the true prophets among you – those who are not afraid to work on the fringe and who are not afraid to make a statement – the louder the better. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zones to join these people or better yet, find a way to support their message. We all know that within the ranks of Catholicism, we have an over-abundance of omega but that it’s clearly the alpha that needs to begin to shine through. Find the courage.

  2. Kevin Walters

    “The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus’ strong leadership, blunt honesty, courage, risk-taking and heroic sacrifice mesmerized men. Today’s church does not mesmerize men; it seems to repel them.”

    It repels them because it does not challenge the valiant of heart.

    Taken from an article on this site “St Mark has a message for people on the margins” see direct link below with my Post @3
    “Jesus’ new reality is affirmed and announced on the margins, where people are ready to understand and to ask new questions. The establishment at the centre is seldom ready for the truth because it has too much to protect; it has bought into the system and will invariably protect the status quo”. https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2013/10/st-mark-has-a-message-for-people-on-the-margins/

    Radical structural changes are needed Ministry cannot be a career decision, but an urgent vocation to bear witness to the Truth in the real world in the market place, factory, tea plantation etc
    Please see my post Kevin Walters @23 in the link below

    https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2014/03/fr-john-shea-repeats-call-for-explanation-of-churchs-opposition-to-womens-ordination/
    Continuing from the above link
    There is only one hope for mankind if he is to avert the terrible consequences of global warming /pollution and that is to act in unity of purpose and this can only be achieved by serving the Truth as defined by Jesus Christ male and female working together in true equality. Time is of the essence there is too much at stake not to try, there are powers within the world that truly understand the full reality of the consequences global pollution but even with all their power they are virtually helpless to prevent the consequences of this, but they could put their considerable influence in supporting a Christian based solution based on sharing and this could be manifest in the public domain by the breaking of bread (the sharing of our endeavours) This is not only our best hope it is our only hope.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  3. John

    The message which men hear is the one preached by those who have a monopoly of preaching. The unhappiness of men seems real enough; it is impossible not to be struck by the heaviness and dullness of many parish Masses. It seems correct that men appear to be at home in large evangelical churches – do pay a visit to Holy Trinity Brompton when in London. Perhaps it’s because they are respected. I read the other day (in a book about the Reformation) the suggestion that the catholic population in Ireland and perhaps farther afield is divided between the devout and superstitious on the one hand and the educated but sceptical on the other; between those who are devout and accepting but have no real grounding in thought and history as against those who have been educated and studied and are very unhappy with the church as it is. And it seems that these two groups sit alongside one another in a kind of stalemate. Unless I am mistaken the catholic church has officially acknowledged that the breach with Luther was a mistake, that Luther really was a reformer, not a heretic. But the legacy of the breach and rejection lives on. There seems to be a failure on the part of the catholic church to recognise and respect men (and women) as they are. Perhaps an acceptance of the principle of the priesthood of all believers would help. Priests however, appear to fear saying anything that would provoke the devout and the unlearned, (and that authorities in Rome) so change is unlikely from that quarter. Elsewhere in this site the question is posed “Who will be break bread for us?” when there are no more priests. Those who feel the church as it is offers them little may well be baffled by such a question.


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