Father makes an important distinction here. Exalting masculinity does not imply a put down of the feminine. Male and female are complementary. Feminism, in contrast, is in the business of putting down the feminine. They want to be more like men, which ends up making both men and women lonely and miserable. A feminized Church drives the men away, which further reinforces the feminine stranglehold on the contemporary Church bureaucracy.
Turning the priest around to face the people while celebrating Mass did more to wreck Roman Catholicism than the Protestant Reformation. Even people who are old enough to know better speak disparagingly of the bad old days when the priest turned his back on the people. Implicit in that assertion is the idea that the Mass is nothing but a communal meal, an exercise in community building. The priest turned his back on the people so they could all face God together. The priest is the father and shepherd of his parish. He is the intercessor, the intermediary between God and man.
One of my seminarian friends, who is now a priest, strongly recommended against ever studying the Novus Ordo Mass in any great detail. When I asked him why he replied, "Because it's depressing when you realize just how few priests do it according to the book." This isn't even a question of liturgical abuse, although there has been enough of that. The Novus Ordo Missal gives the priest enormous freedom in almost every aspect of the Mass. It takes a strong man indeed to resist the temptations to become Father Jimmy Fallon.
That sense of given-ness has been totally lost. Everywhere the liturgy appears to be something cobbled together by the community. The average Catholic volunteer thinks of the Missal as a skeleton provided by the Church, with the community free to impose its own preferences in music, prayers, and overall praxis. This was the impetus behind Pope Benedict XVI's hermeneutic of continuity: go beyond the letter of the law and join yourself with the spirit of the Church's traditional orientation.
It's ironic that, given the modern obsession with making sure the people "understand what is going on," there is probably much much less understanding of what goes on at Mass today then there was at the average suburban parish of sixty years ago.
It's astonishing that the anti-liturgical barbarians managed such a clean sweep of the Church's institutions in so short a time. Nearly two thousand years of accumulated liturgical development was tossed out overnight as the Church reckons time. Even when I manage to find a Novus Ordo Mass that is celebrated half-way reverently, I can't unlearn everything that I've learned. When I entered the Church, I was looking forward to worshipping the way my ancestors had worshipped for over a thousand years. But most Catholics don't. We worship according to a Missal designed by a committee of Protestants led by a man who died in exile under suspicion of Freemasonry.
Father, I could tell you stories. I was in the seminary from 2008 to 2010. Ten years before that a man who was seen wearing a cassock would have been expelled on the spot. Today it just gets you a stern talking to from the faculty who doesn't want any of their charges to have too "cultic" a view of the priesthood.
My father was the captain of his high school basketball team in the 1950s. Every weekend when the team was in transit, the Catholics had to find a place to go to Mass. Dad accompanied them. He didn't understand what was going on at the TLM at first, but he grew to appreciate it. After he graduated, dad did not set foot in another Catholic parish again until I was baptized in 2005. After it was all over dad whispered to me, "This is the Catholic Church isn't it?"
It's discouraging to think that for hundreds of millions of living Catholics the Mass of the Ages is as alien and unwelcome an experience as a Lakota rain dance. Sacramentally and juridically, the OF and EF are indeed two forms of the one rite. But with all respect to Pope Benedict XVI, the OF and EF have Grand Canyon sized chasms marking their differences in theology, spirituality, philosophy, and culture. To be more precise, I'm speaking of the OF as it is typically celebrated in the average parish. People always tell me that the Novus Ordo can be celebrated with a sense of reverence and holy awe, which is an implicit admission that in most cases it is not so celebrated. Ultimately it's God's Church and all we can do is trust that he knows what he's doing in allowing all of the chaos of the last fifty years.