As many of you may have seen through links on other blogs, Cardinal Raymond Burke gave an interview recently in which he addressed the Church’s “Man Crisis.” You can find the full interview here. Reading the interview made me tentatively hopeful. There were definitely some good things said by the Cardinal, and a few that could seemingly be drawn from some Catholic “Red Pill” blogs around these parts. A few of his statements, however, showed that he still has some ways to go in understanding the present crisis. I cannot help but feel, however, that he is on the right track, and hopefully this is a harbinger of further understanding by him and the Magisterium in what is truly going on.
I’m going to use this post to very casually dissect his post, by highlighting what he gets right and where he could use further enlightening.
What Cardinal Burke got right:
- First, he understands that there is a serious problem right now with men in the Catholic church. A crisis even. Further, he doesn’t indicate a belief that the problem is temporary or in the process of being solved.
- He correctly identifies that radical feminism has caused a huge number of problems for men in the Church and throughout the general culture
- The Cardinal recognizes that the Church has been “feminized” in the last 50 years and this feminization of the Church has significantly impacted men in a negative way.
- He seems to recognize that Catholic men are not as “manly” as in the past, and that manliness is no longer taught or encouraged.
- The awful state of catechesis in the church is recognized and declared to be the severe problem that it is. I’ve seen first hand, and many of my commenters can attest to, the terrible teaching that many Catholics or Catholic converts receive.
- As part of the above, present Catholic teaching about marriage, outside Traditionalist circles, is terrible.
- He understands the essential and irreplaceable role of a father in the development of children.
- Cardinal Burke’s mention of how men in the 70’s were afraid of marrying the women around them was extremely potent.
- The home life for many Catholics now is lacking. He doesn’t say it directly, but I gather he recognizes that most Catholic parents don’t really ensure that children live their faith.
- His language concerning the Novus Ordo Mass makes me think that he recognizes that it is not very appealing to men. It can be satisfactory, as he notes, with good music and proper reverence. But this is often lacking.
- On the other hand, the Traditional Latin Mass is usually more appealing, as it lacks the bad music and is extremely orderly and reverential.
- He recognizes that there is a rampant denial of sin in the present environment.
- While he doesn’t go outright and say it, its clear that he views Vatican II as having caused some serious negative side-effects.
- His words about encouraging priests to be more manly were quite good.
Here is where I think improvement needs to be made:
- Cardinal Burke denounces radical feminism, but apparently fails to see that “soft” or “traditional” feminism can be just as damaging to men, and has been. Frankly, any “ism” can be dangerous, and the toleration of “good” feminism is ultimately more dangerous than radical feminism will ever be.
- He does not really talk about divorce and divorce laws and how they helped influence and set up the present “man crisis.” I suspect he does not fully understand the present divorce environment.
- Some of his language about men and service to the family is troubling. It very much seems to fit the “married man as a mule” approach that has been a core part of Churchianity for quite some time. In particular his mention of chivalry concerns me. I have every reason to believe that he doesn’t understand what it really is.
- Connected to the above, he doesn’t discuss or mention how fathers have lost authority and respect in the family- key incentives in encouraging this vocation among men.
- While he acknowledges how important fatherhood is, he doesn’t address how it is mothers who often sabotage it in the present environment.
- He talks about various things that push away men, yet commits one of them throughout the interview: he constantly reaffirms that he hasn’t forgotten women or their issues or their feelings. He even throws in some flowery compliments. This is something that almost never happens in the reverse, and is a powerful message to men that they don’t matter as much as women.
- When it comes to pornography the Cardinal gets is nearly all wrong. Yes, its a sin and a major problem. But pornography is a symptom of a greater problem, and reflects the distorted view of sexuality in the present environment; it doesn’t create it.
- One of the most important things that he doesn’t touch on, which is essential to understanding the state of men in the Church, is the role of women in shaping them. Men and women shape each other all the time. You cannot understand the “man crisis”, or fix it, without understanding the role women play in influencing men.
While I know I didn’t touch on everything, the above two lists are, I believe, fairly comprehensive. I invite my readers to offer their own thoughts on Cardinal Burke’s interview. Did I miss something in my post? Did I get something wrong? Have a different take? Feel free to voice your thoughts. As always, I ask folks to be respectful and civil to other commenters.
As an addendum, here is an additional article that is old and probably familiar to most of my readers, but worth re-reading- Young men giving up on marriage. It sort of ties in to the OP, and I may explain why in the comments later if time permits. Hat tip Mrs. ktc.