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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The New Catholic Manliness

The Catholic Church makes men.... Of such she may also someday make soldiers. -Hilaire Belloc

by Todd M. Aglialoro

It is a source of no small irony that, even as radical feminists within and without the Church have railed for two generations against patriarchy and phallocentrism, it can be quite plausibly said that the post-conciliar Church in this country has, for all intents and purposes, been run by women.

Consider a Sunday in the life of a typical American parish. Father Reilly, once his mother's darling, says Mass before a congregation disproportionately representative of widows (both the traditional and the football kind), soccer moms flying solo, and budding young liturgistas. At the elevation of the Host, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (80-20 female) and altar servettes gather around the sanctuary to lend him moral support.

After Mass, he enjoys a donut in the church basement while regaling the ladies of the Hospitality Guild before heading back upstairs to sit in as the token male at a meeting of parish CCD teachers. Later that afternoon, Sister Dorothy fills him in on the doings of the confirmation class, peace and justice committee, RCIA candidates, and youth group. At dinner he lingers over the new pastoral letter from his bishop, urging the flock to get more in touch with the God Who Nurtures. Finally, in the evening, he pokes his head into the weekly gathering of the Divorced and Separated Support Group, whose overwhelmingly female members and leaders thank him for his solicitude.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps. (Father probably wouldn't have checked up on his catechists like that.) But common experience nonetheless bears out the point: We may yet have a male-only clergy and hierarchy, but where the rubber meets the road -- in those mundane areas of church life where laity and institution most commonly interact -- the flavor is feminine. Whether you want to speak in terms of liturgy, ministry (lay and clerical), religious education, or sheer congregational numbers, official ecclesial power may not rest in the hands of women, but considerable unofficial influence clearly does, and has for some time. And we in the Church have been subject to its effects...
 
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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.