All this is true, but misses the elephant in the Church that Monsignor Pope writes about, the unspoken force that pushes men out of the Church. It is not enough for men to man up to manhood, but the church herself needs to man up and make room for these men being men. An unbalanced message that concentrates on forgiveness, love, receptivity, and niceness to the exclusion of other virtues and spiritual truths, does not make this room. Being shamed for their position of leadership in the home, in the culture, and in the Church, does not provide this space. Failing to equip men to assume their God-given role as husbands, fathers, pastors, priests, leaders, followers--ultimate responsibility for correcting this failure falls upon Church leadership, not on lay men.Women pretty much run the US Catholic Church in every position that doesn't explicitly require Holy Orders. Even then, I've seen some priests find creative ways to let women give the homily, usually calling it a reflection or a testimonial. My own diocese of Sacramento has a chancellorette. Priests are always loathe to bite the hand that feeds them, which makes it a bit rich when they deliver a bog standard "man up" homily. Why should I listen to a man who can't even stand up to a few ball breaking soccer moms or brassy old grandmothers on the parish council or liturgy committee?
Simply hectoring lay men to step up isn't enough. In fact, it's the opposite of enough, and it pushes men away when they see actions at cross purposes with words. Instead, when one looks at the faith traditions that are growing today--liberalism, Islam, evangelical Christianity, Orthodox Christianity--one notes a common thread connecting them all: An unapologetic assertion of truth and, for the latter three, clearly demarcated roles for the masculine and feminine.
To be fair, Monsignor Pope is a good priest and I can't really disagree with anything in his original column. I posted this on Facebook and the feedback I got from one girl got me thinking. Monsignor said that the men he's spoken with avoid the Church because it's feminized. This jives with my own experience and the opinions of a lot of other men I know. Would the opposite be true though: would women avoid the Church if it was a hardcore, ultra-masculine, Crusader-spirit, witch-hunting, heretic burning, hellfire and brimstone preaching Warhammer like organization?
Cardinal Burke (L) correcting Cardinal Kasper (R)
Of course not. If anything, the Church would see an influx of more women as more men flocked to its gates. Islam isn't known for being especially female friendly, yet more and more Western women who grew up as Godless heathens are converting and putting on the burka. Men need to be men of course, but it would be of great help if the Church supported us and gave us room to be men within her structure, whether as priests, religious, or lay men.