The Problem Before Us And The Problem Ahead Of Us

Today’s post features two related but different subjects. Both relate to the Church, but one is focused on the present and the second on the future. The latter gets most of my attention today.

No Place for Men

Rollo, of the Rational Male, left quite a comment recently in Dalrock’s latest post. It is too long to post in its entirety here, so I will instead post just the beginning:

I think it’s high time men acknowledge that modern Christian culture simply does not have men’s best interests as part of its doctrine anymore. Christianity in particular is for women.

Church culture is openly hostile towards any expression of conventional masculinity that doesn’t directly benefit women and actively conditions men to be serviceable gender-loathing Betas.

I recently read a study that our current generation is the least religious in history and I think as far as men are concerned much of that disdain for religion is attributable to church culture’s constant and open ridicule and debasement of men’s endeavors or anything characteristically masculine.

That’s not an indictment of faith, but rather a fairly measured observation of the way feminine-primary church culture has shaped that faith. In the future, any man with a marginal capacity for critical thought will avoid the church and religion for the obvious misandry it espouses; the only religious men you will find will be those raised into a life of religiously motivated Beta servitude.

While Rollo and I disagree about a lot, I agree with him that most churches are hostile to men. Even further, I agree that women have, to a large degree, captured  most churches and re-purposed them to serve women. Most understand this, to one degree or another, and this is partially responsible for the disdain that most men hold for Christianity.

At the same time, I disagree with Rollo that “any man with a marginal capacity for critical thought will avoid the church and religion.” While most churches are like that, not all are. I happen to attend a Church that is anything but anti-male. Masculinity is not only accepted, but celebrated. Women serve the Church, not the other way around.

Mine is not the only Church like that, either. As a Catholic, I can say that most Traditional Latin Mass Churches and Eastern Catholic churches will be a very different experience from what Rollo describes here. The same can be sound for most Eastern Orthodox Churches. The reason why is such churches are, by their nature, counter-cultural. They are deliberately set apart, and this has helped preserve them, to a degree. If a man is looking to sate his thirst for righteousness, I would encourage him to look there.

But in the meantime, I definitely think that most Protestant Churches will be a hostile environment for men. Nor do I see that changing anytime soon. Mainstream, i.e., liberal Catholic parishes might not have that hostility, at least not yet, but they are getting there. Further, they are already geared up towards serving women.  So avoid them guys. Really, just stay away. As Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

The New Catacombs

This brings me to my next subject, the future.

I will be honest with you, I think the near future is going to be very dismal indeed for devout Christians. Persecution is coming. The Church is going to contract greatly as people flee it for the comforts of the secular world. In fact, I suspect that the worst persecutors of the True Faith will be our “fellow Christians”, who will use their zeal to bring us down as proof that they aren’t like us.

Now, the Church has survived persecution before. More than survived, it has flourished there. So I don’t really fear it, both in an abstract sense and in a visceral literal sense of what I might experience.

All the same, I am worried. You see, it is more than just persecution that threatens the Church. It is also a dangerous rot within. This rot has many forms, but what concerns me most is the danger to marriage and the family. Those two, which are really just one and the same, are under attack by the general culture. And that attack has been largely successful, even within the Church.

I have seen for myself, and have heard it from plenty of others (through this blog and off-line) the damage that has resulted. Very few young Christians take marriage seriously. Many express little desire to marry. This is especially prominent, from what I have seen, among Christian women. And this isn’t merely limited to “mainstream” churches, but even more traditional ones too.

The Church had to adapt to survive before. For many Christians, that meant huddling in the Catacombs. Well, that option isn’t really available to us this time. Hiding from the secular world won’t help us when we bring their ideals with us. Before the Church had to adapt to a society that wanted to crush it. Now it has to adapt to deal with a society that has struck at its foundation- the family.

How does the Church manage when many of its youth don’t want to, or can’t marry? For the confessional faiths, Catholics and Orthodox, where will the next generation of clergy come from? Conversion might bring new people in, but rarely are they young couples with a growing family. No, what conversion might do is slow the Church’s shrinking. But until this marriage crisis is resolved, I don’t see it stopping, much less growing again.

I was talking with a priest recently, and he remarked that what the Church needs to turn it around is more good men to marry a good woman and raise a large family of devout and orthodox Christian children. He mentioned that men need to take charge of their families and demonstrate how the faith is meant to be lived out. I agreed with him on this. But then I asked how can we expect things to turn around if good men *can’t* marry good women. I pointed out how few women were actually interested in marrying. He acknowledged this, and really didn’t have an answer for me.

And that really is the crux of it- there is no answer for this. Not now, anyways. We are off the map now, in uncharted territory. The Church needs to find that answer, and soon.

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21 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Civilization, God, Marriage, Temptation, The Church

21 responses to “The Problem Before Us And The Problem Ahead Of Us

  1. Things do look very bleak, that’s for sure. But while I was reading this post, I thought of what Jesus said to Peter:

    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. …. (St Matthew 16:18)

    No matter how bad things look to us here and now, the Church will never be beyond repair. Jesus said so. That is encouraging, to say the least.

  2. Novaseeker

    I expect we will continue to muddle through and there will be a winnowing effect, whereby the church shrinks over time, and becomes increasingly marginalized. I generally don’t agree with the natalist perspective that the faithful are vastly outbreeding everyone else and that all of their children will be faithfully orthodox such that the current issues are an exceptionally temporary thing which will be outpaced by a restoration of traditional values in one or two generations. Perhaps I will be wrong. We will see.

  3. @ Novaseeker

    I used to agree with the natalist view of things. Not anymore. Not after what I have seen and heard in and off even traditionalist circles.

  4. Michael Kozaki

    I disagree with Rollo that “any man with a marginal capacity for critical thought will avoid the church and religion.”

    Chuckling on this one. I’ve read Rollo’s blog for years (and his books) so I’ve a fair idea of his IQ. And know religious men (at least 10) who have testable IQ’s above Rollo’s. Lawyers, engineers, scientists, testable in the top 5%. No moderately intelligent guy could say anything so stupid (and disprovable), and Rollo’s usually fairly bright. “Marginal capacity for critical thought”? He’s losing it, I’m afraid.

    I attend a Church that is anything but anti-male. Masculinity is celebrated. Women serve the Church, not the other way around…most TLM and EC will be a very different experience from what Rollo describes. Same for most EO.

    True, And there are more “pro-male” churches than that. Mennonites, some Muslims, some Mormons, some radical prots, etc. I don’t even attend TLM and my parish is pretty fair on male issues.

    I wonder if Rollo knows RC churches remain the last large (25% US Christians) and unapologetic institution in the US to deny women leadership roles, abortion, and birth control. I’m not sure how an organization with only male deacons, pastors, and bishops (women get no say at all) could be more anti-male than the society at large. One could logically see women boycotting though since every woman RC woman is under obedience to men at every layer.

  5. A Visitor

    Good post donal.

    I couldn’t help but laugh when I read Rollo’s comment on that post days ago at Dalrock’s. Critical thought, eh old boy? *laughs* Although Rollo has done interesting work over the years on inter-sexual relations, the whole mindset and prescriptions he offers are alien.

    I went to Byzantine Divine Liturgy yesterday for the first time in some months. The homily was quite good and succinct: starting off on a point on the Gospel reading, the priest quickly dove into how it’s an American heresy that religion has no business being in the public square. He furthermore explicitly stated how society and the government increasingly hate us. Yes, he used hate.

    “I will be honest with you, I think the near future is going to be very dismal indeed for devout Christians. Persecution is coming. The Church is going to contract greatly as people flee it for the comforts of the secular world. In fact, I suspect that the worst persecutors of the True Faith will be our “fellow Christians”, who will use their zeal to bring us down as proof that they aren’t like us.”

    This would not surprise me in the least. As has been said elsewhere, the Church will be leaner and more devout. I do feel true sorrow at those that will leave, as it may end up being a faustian bargain should they die in the state of mortal sin.

    “All the same, I am worried. You see, it is more than just persecution that threatens the Church. It is also a dangerous rot within. This rot has many forms, but what concerns me most is the danger to marriage and the family. Those two, which are really just one and the same, are under attack by the general culture. And that attack has been largely successful, even within the Church.”

    Amor Laetitia is a perfect example of the rot. One of the truly disturbing parts was paragraph 301 (excerpt): “For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised. The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

    Words cannot even express my disappointment in that. The priest at my home parish said he’ll be addressing it next Sunday.

    “I was talking with a priest recently, and he remarked that what the Church needs to turn it around is more good men to marry a good woman and raise a large family of devout and orthodox Christian children. He mentioned that men need to take charge of their families and demonstrate how the faith is meant to be lived out. I agreed with him on this. But then I asked how can we expect things to turn around if good men *can’t* marry good women. I pointed out how few women were actually interested in marrying. He acknowledged this, and really didn’t have an answer for me.
    And that really is the crux of it- there is no answer for this. Not now, anyways. We are off the map now, in uncharted territory. The Church needs to find that answer, and soon.”
    How do we fight the liberalism and feminism that is in the air we breathe, day in and day out? As a commenter at Vox’s said of his experiences growing up in a Catholic school that they weren’t too different from his counterparts in public school. In terms of a long term solution, that (feminism and liberalism) need to be dealt with. Only then can women be encouraged to marry young (18-20 range) and it be accepted by their wider peer group. In the short term, persecution is coming. Who knows what the future holds for any of us (beyond God of course)? Stayed confessed and buckle up.

  6. Michael Kozaki

    I generally don’t agree with the natalist perspective that the faithful are vastly outbreeding everyone else and that all of their children will be faithfully orthodox such that the current issues are an exceptionally temporary thing which will be outpaced by a restoration of traditional values in one or two generations.

    I’ve never heard any natalist claim such nonsense. It’s demographically disprovable, in fact.

    Most natalists I know merely acknowledge: 1) the world belongs to those who show up for it, and 2) families who average 5 or more children over three generations eventually take over, while those who average less than 2 over three generations (e.g. liberals) get invaded.

    Study the following graph from 1950, when Europe lead the world, to today. It’s not religion, it’s culture. This change was a mere 50 years. That’s all it takes. This isn’t theory, it’s reality.

  7. That comment was inspired by reading the countless posts from Dalrock that essentially tell the same story over and over – the FI has assimilated the modern church. Even when you look at the saturation the FI has made into sects like the Mormons you see the writing on the wall.

    Imagine you are a reasonably self-confident, relatively intelligent, unchurched man of about 25 years. You’re not unreligious, but somewhat reserved about committing to a faith, and you’re open to spiritual exploration.

    Would you seriously join a church that espouses the open hostility towards conventional masculinity that the contemporary church culture does? Name one thing that would convince a man that this church has his best interests in mind?

  8. Scott

    Imagine you are a reasonably self-confident, relatively intelligent, unchurched man of about 25 years. You’re not unreligious, but somewhat reserved about committing to a faith, and you’re open to spiritual exploration.

    Would you seriously join a church that espouses the open hostility towards conventional masculinity that the contemporary church culture does? Name one thing that would convince a man that this church has his best interests in mind?

    Agreed.

    However, take heart.

    Recently, I was having a discussion with my priest about a particular decision I wanted to make for our family. I do this from time to time. The decision was a financial one, and I was seeking wisdom and guidance.

    I made it very clear that I would be unilaterally making the decision, and I was already aware of my wife’s wishes.

    He did not bat an eye at this, and the presupposition that it was my decision to make was all over the rest of the conversation.

    He never once questioned my notion of being the decision maker, and went right along with it—using examples from his own marriage.

    Orthodoxy (and probably traditionalist/eastern Catholic churches) is the answer.

  9. Pingback: Persecution, Marginalized men, Dating . . . | To our bodies turn we then

  10. It’s true that the dominant voice in the Church and in Catholic culture is feminist. There is no mention anywhere, ever, about the rights of a husband and a wife’s duties toward him. There’s only a deliberately-undefined notion of “mutual subjection” and sacrifice paired with explicit lists of things men are failing at and need to do better and more. That’s the basic climate. Men in general aren’t interested in it, but neither are women.

  11. Maea

    This isn’t necessarily a Christianity-wide problem. It’s a problem within the Occident, and we already knew this.

    Michael Kozaki’s chart reminds me of how it’ll be Africa and Asia that saves Christianity from dying out. I don’t think the West will die out; it’ll have significantly less influence and power.

    Recently, I was having a discussion with my priest about a particular decision I wanted to make for our family. I do this from time to time…
    He never once questioned my notion of being the decision maker, and went right along with it…

    This family culture only works when the culture already exists. How many families function within this culture in North America? Do a lot of men know what entails making unilateral decision in marriage? Do women know what marital submission means? When people hear the word patriarchy, they shudder and think of a weird compound.

    The Church needs to find that answer, and soon.

    I’m not holding my breath. There are too many issues being tackled with no sense of order to address each one. They can’t be resolved all at once.

  12. Michael Kozaki

    I’m with Maea. I would only add that the Church already had the answer way back at Vatican II: ditch European culture & customs, focus East and South, and let the dying Occident cultures die. You can’t save a divisive people who don’t want to be saved. But it is amusing to watch everyone squirm in the face of undeniable data.

    Scott, Orthodoxy (and probably traditionalist/eastern Catholic churches) is the answer.

    No. Not by the data. Orthodoxy growth rates have shrunk compared to nearly every other religion since the split…primarily because they don’t evangelize much and hang in Europe. And trad RC, like EO, is still small enough to be a demographic rounding error. I note that in the few parts of Africa EO or trad RC does exist,they are doing great! As are Muslims. As are Prots. As are RC. As are Mormons. And on and on.

    I repeat: it’s not religion. It’s culture. The root word of culture is CULT. In other words, it’s not what people “say” they believe that matters. It’s how they LIVE. Faith without works is dead. And the West is a dead man walking.

  13. jack

    I do not plan to try and raise children that the modern world will try to take from me and corrupt.

    Instead, I will be an old man and a pastor to the generation coming in the future who will overthrow their secular, corrupt parents and grandparents.

    Remaining single will allow me to protect myself better and preserve my knowledge of truth until such time as there are those willing to hear it.

    As far as the current generations, they are welcome to sacrifice themselves on the altar of their lusts and conceits.

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  15. Novaseeker

    Again, I don’t particularly believe in the demographic/natalist view that some are so apparently fond of. Good luck.

  16. Novaseeker

    Orthodoxy (and probably traditionalist/eastern Catholic churches) is the answer.

    I’d say in North America, it’s (1) traditionalist RCs, (2) traditionalist ECs and (3) traditionalist EOs that, together, form a bulwark. Traditional Protestants can’t do this across generations as effectively, because Protestantism is inherently untraditional and therefore always prone to strong tendencies to reinvent (“reform”) itself. The 1-3 that I mention, though, can manage this, but not in their bulk communities. Only in the more traditional ones. The latter thrive, but of course are small. I’m speaking of North America, of course. If we want to write off North America as utterly lost that’s fine, then we just find caves, and 1-3 are, in that case, caves.

  17. Thanks for your comments folks. I will hold off on answers for the time being, to give myself some time to think them over.

  18. Maea

    If we want to write off North America as utterly lost that’s fine, then we just find caves, and 1-3 are, in that case, caves.

    I thought it was common knowledge that North America was a lost cause!

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  20. feeriker

    All the same, I am worried. You see, it is more than just persecution that threatens the Church. It is also a dangerous rot within. This rot has many forms, but what concerns me most is the danger to marriage and the family. Those two, which are really just one and the same, are under attack by the general culture. And that attack has been largely successful, even within the Church.

    The rot from within, while dangerous in the short term, will ultimately be purged from the body. While this will result in a smaller church (again, at least in the short term), it will result in a purer, stronger church (ref. Jesus’s message about pruning the tree to make it bear more fruit). Persecution has historically been the water of life that has fed and strengthened the church. The status quo in the Western world for the last 1,700 years where the church has been enabled and co-opted by the State and the dominant culture is the source and cause of the current terminal decay.

  21. @ Feeriker

    I agree that persecution has historically helped strengthen the Church. But this crisis we face is something altogether different from the traditional persecution Christians have faced. I do believe we will overcome it, but the cost will be high, and the remnant which remains will be minuscule.

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