Cardinal Raymond Burke has recently laid some of the blame for the precipitous decline in priestly vocations upon the feminization of the liturgy. His assertion prompts two questions. What would qualify as “feminization”? Have we in fact done that to the liturgy? The question that the assertion should not prompt is, “Would a feminized liturgy actually cause young men to turn away from the idea of the priesthood, in indifference, perplexity, or bemused contempt?” For example, would a sight of two priests twirling a-tippytoe like big-bellied ballerinas at an Easter Vigil service, along with a troop of girls waving scarves and sashes, for six minutes and more, to Aaron Copland’s arrangement of The Lord of the Dance, have any natural appeal whatsoever to the overwhelming majority of boys and young men who know to what sex they belong?Wherever there is a priest shortage, it is a 100% manufactured problem that dioceses inflict upon themselves. No one held a gun to their heads. No one forced our bishops to transform the Catholic Church in America into the stripped down, watered down, Protestantized, secuarlized, rationalized, liberalized, and feminized machine that it is today. The bishops, by and large, chose to make the Church in America what it is. They chose to welcome effeminate and homosexual men into the ranks of the priesthood. They chose to concentrate more on saving the planet than saving souls. They chose to become CEOs more than shepherds. They chose to turn Catholic schools into public schools with crucifixes in the classroom, and sometimes not even that much. They chose to teach that pretty much everyone not named Adolf Hitler goes to heaven. They chose to make the faith something warm and cozy and above all easy, instead of the demanding matter of eternal life and death that it is. They chose to make "man" a dirty word and to hire women for every position that doesn't explicitly require Holy Orders, and even then it's not uncommon for lay women to deliver the homily at my parish.
Rather, that sight would pretty much guarantee that those fellows would be stifling laughter, or staring at their knees while waiting for it all to stop, or glancing toward the doors. And just imagine if one of the boys had made the dreadful mistake of inviting a non-Catholic friend to the service, or someone wondering why anybody should take religious faith seriously.
The bishops did all of this, not some vague "secularization" that has afflicted the culture for which no one is ultimately responsible. They ask us to pray for vocations despite doing everything humanly possible to discourage young people from pursuing the priesthood or religious life. You really have to wonder if they're intentionally destroying a Church in whose truths they no longer believe, or if they're just that cowardly, arrogant, and incompetent.
If I sound angry, you're goddamn right I'm angry. If the Church were a secular corporation, you could at least laugh. Coca-Cola executives had the common sense to drop the New Coke experiment after its catastrophic failure. Whether out of professional pride, pure cussed stubbornness, or something worse, the bishops continue clinging to a strategy that everyone with a lick of sense can see has been a failure. And when the bishops pursue failed strategies, souls are lost. Men who are called to be priests don't end up as priests, and men who have no business anywhere near the priesthood end up getting ordained. I suppose God created all of us to live during these times to teach us the meaning of charity, because the bishops are going to need all the prayers they can get whenever they pass on to their eternal rewards.