The Blind Spot

My recent post Something Else led to some excellent comments by my readers. Two subjects were raised there that I think should be readdressed in a separate post- this one.

The first is the role of the Church in all of this. Deti left a comment on the subject, and here is part of it:

Zippy Catholic addressed this a while back, saying that “The Church is not your daddy”. The Church’s only job is to administer the Sacraments to the faithful and provide for education and training up in the faith. That’s it. It’s not to help socialize men, provide vocations for them, or help them find wives. So I think you’ll have to convince the Zippys of the world that the church should take up the banner of providing outlets to channel what is essentially untapped and unreleased sexual energy. You have to convince folks like Zippy that helping guys do things other than get laid is something the church should and must do.

He then linked to Zippy’s post on the subject. I would like to make a couple of points here.

First, when I speak of the Church I don’t mean only ordained clergy and the official hierarchy of the Church. I mean the whole body of Christ. Yes, I think the clergy has a role to play in all of this, but they shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden alone.

Second, the Church has historically done more than just administer sacraments and teach/train. From the beginning the Church was helping to take care of its members. The first deacons, Stephen the First Martyr among them, were ordained in order for them to help minister to the needs of the faithful. St. Paul was very active in helping ensure charitable relief. At the same time there is quite a difference between providing food to someone on one hand, and ensuring a vocation on the other.

This brings me to the second comment I want to cover, by feeriker:

This is a blind spot that the Body of Christ on Earth is never going to even acknowledge, let alone address. To do so would lead it to some very unpleasant places and demand some serious introspection, which in turn would lead to an obvious call to re-evaluate doctrine and practice in a variety of areas. Not gonna happen, or if it finally ever does when all [e]lse fails, it will be too little too late.

I disagree with feeriker here on a couple of points.

First, while the Church might not be acknowledging it now, it did in the past. Many of the Fathers of the Church argued against the criminalization of prostitution. While they called it out for the sin that it was, they recognized at the same time the problem of untapped male sexual energy. They knew the problems that would result if men didn’t have an outlet. Hence why prostitution was legal in so many Christian nations (until Progressivism had its way).

Second, the problem right now is not doctrine (at least for Catholic and Orthodox Christians). Rather, the problem is practice. What should be taught is not taught, and what should be encouraged is not encouraged, and what should be exhorted is not exhorted.

Now, I agree with feeriker that some serious introspection is required. And sadly, I agree with him that when it does happen, it will be mostly in the too little, too late scenario. Which I would argue is today.

Now, to try and put this all together…

It is not the responsibility of Church leadership to ensure that everyone is able to fulfill their vocation. Priests aren’t matchmakers (and neither are Deacons or Bishops). That is not only impossible to guarantee, but also outside its sphere of responsibility. Instead of being charged with ensuring “fair outcomes”, the Church hierarchy and clergy is charged with teaching and exhorting those things which are necessary to give everyone a fighting chance. Some examples:

  • Teach and exhort the importance of young marriage
  • Teach and exhort the importance of parents and family helping their children/relatives marry
  • Teach and exhort an anti-materialist/consumerist mindset
  • Teach and exhort parishioners that helping their brothers and sister in Christ to marry is charitable

The laity isn’t responsible for fair outcomes either. However, they are responsible for teaching their children these things as well. In addition, while not a duty to specifically help their fellow Christians marry, it is charitable to help them find their vocation, and thus the right thing to do. This can and should go beyond helping individual Christians to include group and community actions as well.

I should note that plenty of Churches have various ministries which help those in need. There is no reason why lay members of the Church cannot help minister in this area as well. Perhaps not directly as a matchmaker, but in other, more indirect ways. And of course, even if there are matchmakers, they will be limited by the pool of those seeking marriage. So other avenues need to be available. Reader MK mentioned lay orders, and I think that is one path that has a lot of merit.

In summary, there is a lot that can and should be done in this regard. Clergy and laity all have a role to play. Everyone can contribute. But such contributions aren’t taking place and that is a tragedy which will continue to harm many faithful men for a long time to come.

 

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18 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Christianity, Churchianity, Marriage, Marriage Market Place, Masculinity, Men, Red Pill, Sex, Sexual Market Place, The Church

18 responses to “The Blind Spot

  1. Church doctrine has taken a hard turn left into increasingly feminist progressivism. It taints all teaching and discipleship at every level. This makes it hard if not impossible to be part of the body of Christ when there is so much error. The church has become like the world, yet we who protest are viewed as the heretics, the mistaken who need correction lest we be outcast for speaking against the new sacred.

  2. “First, while the Church might not be acknowledging it now, it did in the past. Many of the Fathers of the Church argued against the criminalization of prostitution. While they called it out for the sin that it was, they recognized at the same time the problem of untapped male sexual energy. They knew the problems that would result if men didn’t have an outlet. Hence why prostitution was legal in so many Christian nations (until Progressivism had its way).”

    I did not know this. Were the Church Fathers hypocrites? Or were they simply recognizing the reality of the situation? Should Church Fathers now encourage men to use porn (they won’t, because of the Church’s stance on masturbation as a mortal sin, the Sin of Onan, spilling the seed)? Should Church Fathers encourage legalizing prostitution now so that men can have a sexual outlet that doesn’t involve masturbation? Or was the Church’s involvement in at least looking the other way at prostitutions in the early church part of its recognized governmental and cultural role then, and its reduced cultural role now? These are all serious questions.

    Are you saying the Church (lay leaders, men in the Body) should have a role in teaching/training/exhorting in masculinity, a la Joseph of Jackson? (We all know how that worked out for him.) What should happen to prevent another JoJ?

    It will be argued that there are already many ministries in the Prot arena which do this. Focus on the Family. Dennis Rainey. Just about every “women’s ministry”. Most pastors who are starting to talk about marriage, family, sex, dating, etc. Those are not working out well, because the “advice” they give is complete crap, totally worthless.

  3. @ An Observer

    For some churches it is more the practice that has been changed than the doctrine. But the overall effect is pretty much the same these days. One might be easier to fix in the long run than the other, but that is more of an intellectual consideration than anything else right now.

    The church has become like the world, yet we who protest are viewed as the heretics, the mistaken who need correction lest we be outcast for speaking against the new sacred.

    Patience is required my friend. God will win out in the end. He always does. St. John wrote Revelations to the Church in Asia to remind them of just that.

  4. @ Deti

    Going to try and answer this in two parts. Here is the first.

    Were the Church Fathers hypocrites? Or were they simply recognizing the reality of the situation?

    Not hypocrites. They recognized the potency of the male sex drive. While the Church recognizes we can overcome any temptation, they recognized that many men wouldn’t. For some it would be a lack of discipline, or will. For others it would be others putting stumbling blocks in front of them. And for yet others there would be no desire to resist. They recognized that it was better to let men visit prostitutes to sate their drive than to force them into other avenues. Which basically means rape or seducing women. Better to let them focus on a small percentage of fallen women than turn towards a more wholesome majority, in their view.

    Should Church Fathers now encourage men to use porn (they won’t, because of the Church’s stance on masturbation as a mortal sin, the Sin of Onan, spilling the seed)? Should Church Fathers encourage legalizing prostitution now so that men can have a sexual outlet that doesn’t involve masturbation?

    When I say Church Fathers, you should know I mean the early Fathers of the Church. Men like Augustine, John Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrose, Cyril of Jerusalem, etc. Just an FYI.

    As for them, they didn’t *encourage* men to use prostitutes. Nor did they teach them it was better than rape. They merely argued against its criminalization. In the modern context, the equivalent would be arguing against the criminalization of porn. Arguing for its legalization is somewhat different, and does raise some valid questions. But based on the old logic, there is something of a case for it. On the other hand, porn should theoretically fill the gap some.

    Or was the Church’s involvement in at least looking the other way at prostitutions in the early church part of its recognized governmental and cultural role then, and its reduced cultural role now?

    As far as I remember these arguments predate heavy Church involvement in the state. Or at least some of them do. I don’t think that it was the product of state interference with the Church. At least, earlier one. Later in history there might have been circumstances where this was different. I’m sure more than a few corrupt bishops found a way to make money off of it at various points in history.

    Will answer the second part in a bit.

  5. @ Deti

    Second part.

    Are you saying the Church (lay leaders, men in the Body) should have a role in teaching/training/exhorting in masculinity, a la Joseph of Jackson? (We all know how that worked out for him.) What should happen to prevent another JoJ?

    I would say that they have a role in the first part. Not necessarily as JoJ did, but perhaps. I think that mentoring is important. In a way St. Paul did that with St. Timothy, whose father was not a believer. There are plenty of men out there who have no understanding of what healthy Christian masculinity looks like. Ideally their father and male family members should help with that. But if they aren’t around, or aren’t able to, then someone needs to step in and help out.

    As for what happened to JoJ, there were a couple of things going on there. The first was that JoJ didn’t really get buy in from his Church’s leadership. Or at least full buy-in. That meant the support for him wasn’t as solid as it could have been, and the leadership wasn’t ready for what happened. Second, that leadership was highly beholden to the parishioners. They had no real independence, and so would naturally fold once the movers and shakers inside that church expressed their anger. Third, he was acting subversively, in that what he was teaching was against the unofficial doctrine/teaching of that church. He was rocking the boat, and so it was only to be expected there would be resistance.

    How to prevent? Quick thoughts:

    The first part is that you need the Church leadership on your side. Explain to them what you are doing, and get their support. You also need to either sway the movers and shakers (the “aristocracy” of the church, if you will) or have church leaders who are somehow immune to that influence. Third, don’t be seen as rocking the boat. That means be open with what you are doing. If your church rejects that, well… time for a new church.

    As for Prot ministries… the problem is that they are entirely of the world. Starting from scratch is essential there. Not sure what else to suggest, seeing as I don’t come from that world.

  6. Basically, what we are all dancing around is family/community. People that care about other people and their needs.

    Family/community is hard to create.

    Speaking on the JoJ example. It doesn’t help that most churches don’t seem to care at all. JoJ’s church didn’t really care about their men. Only their women and only in a perceived manner as well. The young women liked how the young men were becoming more confident and charismatic and godly… but a lot of the wives and elders didn’t like it for some reason. Maybe it was a lack of control, maybe it was something else. Obviously, they couldn’t refute JoJ in terms of the Bible so they just had their feels meeting and booted him anyway.

  7. MK

    1) This is an excellent discussion. It’s probably the most important subject of this generation. Yet it’s hardly ever mentioned.

    2) The discussion reminds me of a dozen American Indians in a powwow: what to do about the white man? Donal is that Indian saying: hey, let’s learn how to manufacture trains and guns ourselves! Unfortunately, us Indians have a LONG way to go before we can do that. We need to start by building houses, growing our food, and wearing boots. The factories that make guns and trains are generations away, if ever. Extinction is more like it.

    3) By this, I mean American Christians (of all stripes) are not even close to being what a true Christian is. First, the true Christian is communal and never acts alone. Second, he is hierarchical and knows how to obey. Third, he groks doctrine passes on through tradition; he don’t get to invent anything, and that includes biblical interpretation. Fourth, he knows that if he (or his culture) is thinking differently than the first Christians (and all the other unbroken and unified Christians that followed) he’s doomed to division and failure. Fifth, he knows Christ = Suffering = Joy, so stop expecting the Church in the West to help. Rather, the Western Church needs help. From us.

    4) In the end, it all comes back to family. No family, no vocations or marriages. No family, no community or vocations or healthy Church. No family or Church? Expect cultural implosion: divorce,abortion, birth control, immigrant invasions (all the same trade, really). Sadly, there are no shortcuts. I hear yap about “prayer” or “bible” or “church” but 99% of that is just avoiding. Rebuilding the culture starts with one relationship, one marriage, one child, and decades of investment to build that up. But all this is an act of faith. You may lose all your friends, your kids, or your spouse by doing what is right. But this slow, painful way is the only way that works. Living life as a traditional Christian is attractive because it’s true, and so it pulls people in and together in long-term community. Nothing else does. Everything else is just whistling in the dark.

  8. @ Deep Strength

    Family/community is hard to create.

    Ain’t that the truth.

    You are right that most churches don’t really care for their men. They are checkbooks and mules, principally. I suspect it was a control thing in part. Another part was that I think he and his lads made the people in that church feel uneasy. He was upsetting the status quo, and people, as a general rule, do not like that.

  9. @ Mk

    1- Yes, I cannot say that I’ve really seen it discussed anywhere else.

    2- Actually, I think that with these last two posts (especially the older one) my argument has been more along the lines of “how can we get away or hide from the white man?” It was about coping, not fighting back. As you point out, fighting back is a long term game that is generations away.

    3- Preaching to the choir here.

    4- Well said.

  10. Larry

    At 50 and never married, no the Church does not owe me a dating service. But in hindsight, I can see that the parishes I attended over the years never gave me ANY opportunities to identify the unmarried Catholic women in the community. Short of wearing a sign declaring my singleness, or chasing women down after mass, WHAT was I supposed to have done?

    Parishes used to be “community”. Ask the older folks in your parish how they met their spouses, or where they learned to date, or even where they first approached a member of the opposite sex for the first time. Parish community events used to play a helpful role in almost everyone’s life.

    As I see it, regular parish social events died out in the 1980’s. Right at the time I was finishing up my education and relocating for a new job, and finally had time to consider dating. And, being a good Catholic fella, I guess I expected to find the Catholic ladies in the community. But it never happened. I’ve never met a woman that I knew to be Catholic, single, and available. I suspect most of my generation left the Church back then, but I can’t be the only one who’s stayed around. However, I’ve become one of those SIngles that the Church seems ashamed to admit that it has.

  11. MK

    Larry, WHAT was I supposed to have done?

    The only thing you could have done? Accept the Church wasn’t going to help here and make your own way. You are just old enough to have seen the AmChurch working socially at all; I’m too young, and have not a single good memory of the RCC as a social institution. To me, it just sucks my time and money and gives nada back socially. And thus I have always had zero expectations here. I guess I should be grateful to have not been strung along. But I really feel what you say. You’ve seen the death of an entire religious culture in a single generation. It’s amazing, really.

  12. Larry

    MK, that’s indeed what I did. I made my own way. And wasn’t especially concerned about any of this.

    But about a year ago, my bishop (Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona) wrote a long rambling paper, an “exhortation” to men blaming them for the drop in Church attendance. He showed his disdain for single men with statements like “if you do not father children in either the biological or spiritual sense, then your life is just a ‘half-life'”. It was then that I realized that I’ve lived in his diocese almost 30 years and never ever met any single Catholic women. And I’m pretty sociable by nature… I would definitely have attended social functions if they had ever existed. But they ended about two generations ago, and now the Catholic marriage rate is nearly zero. Surely there’s at least a partial cause and effect here.

  13. Larry

    With regard to the four teaching “bullet points” that the author suggests.

    “Young marriage” is irrelevant and impractical. The 1890’s are not coming back; don’t pretend that they ever will. “The importance of parents and family helping their children/relatives marry” – in today’s mobile society that’s an obsolete concept. “An anti-materialist/consumerist mindset” – huh? Irrelevant.

    The only one I can agree with is the fourth – “that helping their brothers and sister in Christ to marry is charitable”. As I have written, this “help” can simply start with recognizing that all parishes have singles. And due to education and/or employment circumstances, they may not have any family nearby. Age-wise they are at least in their late twenties, and often older. These folks are educated, financially stable, have good social skills, and all that. Acknowledge that we exist, and help us to become part of the community at large. We will take it from there.

  14. Novaseeker

    The parish social life died largely as a result of the massive uptick in mobility. Without being rooted in generational familial participation, it dies, because it’s just one more venue with a bunch of mobile/itinerant strangers, and a small pool at that. Once many people started to live remotely from family and “on their own”, parish social life really died down a lot, because the people have no ties to each other that are lasting and organic over generations. The people who participate the most in parish social life today are people with smaller kids, really, because these people tend to have a lot in common with each other at least in a life stage sense, even if they are also of the mobility era. For everyone else … not so much. I think that’s just how life is in this individualized, hyper-mobile time we live in.

  15. MK

    Larry, it’s I think it unfair to blame bishops. In 1963 70% thought 3+ kids was an “ideal” family. In nearly 10 years, this fell to half (35%). RC lasted longer, but soon was enveloped. The entire culture changed literally overnight. And VII was a too-weak response for the US. I was born in those 10 years and thus have known nothing but this culture of death, and it’s bigger than any bishop. It’s an extinction-level event that happened within a decade. Methinks setting dances up is the least of bishop’s worries.

    Larry, “Young marriage” is irrelevant and impractical. The 1890’s are not coming back; don’t pretend that they ever will.

    Don’t bet against it. The West in current form is dying; what’s coming next is not going to be like today at all. Also, lots of trads I know still never stopped marrying young. But note this is not needed for traditional Christian families to recover. we hitched 27/25 yo for 10 (so far).

    Never get caught up trying to understand a dying culture. The bulk of the West is headed for extinction, so who cares? That’s OK. God gives us free will. Bishops can only preach the gospel of Life, they can’t make us drink.

  16. Larry

    Bishops (and for the most part, priests) had nothing at all to do with parish social life. It was the parish community doing things for itself.

    And I don’t know what a “trad” is. Maybe I have stumbled into a site where I ought not be.

    My beef with my bishop is that he let a group of feminists and feminized men write a “let’s pile on the men and blame them for the decline in the Church” paper. You could look it up.

  17. MK

    L, And I don’t know what a “trad” is.

    Traditionalist. AKA Non-heretical Christian. It’s easy to spot them by the women they attract (long hair, long dresses, many kids).

    L, My beef with my bishop is that he let a group of feminists and feminized men write a “let’s pile on the men and blame them for the decline in the Church” paper.

    Look, most would pay money to get a bishop like Olmsted. You’re damn lucky. But these are not ideal times even with a good bishop. Families are toast, clergy and faithful are corrupt, matriarchal families everywhere. It’s nothing personal. Ideas have consequences, and we have just started paying penance for the sexual revolution. God won’t be mocked.

    In the end, it’s up to men and men alone. Women are irrelevant, looking to sponge off men or the government. Even clergy is barely relevant. What matters is the men who will still head families. And any man with his shit together (RC, in good physical shape, living with purpose, unapologetically patriarchal) has to beat chicks off with a stick (all women see is an ocean of Failsons). The worm has turned. The witch is dead. The bill is due. It ain’t 1970 no more.

  18. Larry

    Oh, I didn’t realize this was a site for whackadoodles. So sorry. I’m outta here.

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