Dale Price on why the Mass as celebrated in many parishes is heavily demographically slanted toward female predominance. I think Sunday sports and sheer laziness are also factors, but I agree heartily with his take on the music. I find most of the music offered during Masses at our parish (a good parish otherwise) to be banal and un-singable. Especially since I go to the 8 am Mass where they offer music aimed at children. As my pastor is always telling me, he wants the cantor to offer music that children can sing, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be children’s music. The music director doesn’t seem to understand the distinction.
My brother-in-law Pete gives it his best shot because he thinks its important to participate fully in every part of the Mass, but I just won’t sing “This Little Light of Mine” or other “syrupy goodness.” Just once I’d like to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Now that’s a manly song.
Seriously, one of my favorite hymns when I was at Franciscan University of Steubenville was “Ascribe to the Lord” because the way we sang it, when the men only came in on the lyric—
The voice of God is upon many waters, the God of glory thundering forth, the voice of God full of majesty and power.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
—the tenor and bass sound was full of strength and carried a sense of the power of the Lord’s voice. It was moving and sometimes gave me chills. It was like the sound of men marching off to battle for righteousness and good.
All too often what we get is the Christian faith boiled down to the musical equivalent of those images of Jesus picking flowers and not the majestic Lord who rides into the New Jerusalem on a white charger, rallying the men to his side in the battle against evil. Yes, Jesus was mild and loving and manhood is not all aggression and bravado, but that is part of what we are. God created us a certain way and that’s not bad.
Feminist demands for the ordination of women miss the point. They’ve already feminized the Church to a large extent. What we need is to recapture some masculinity. I like the fact that my pastor smokes a pipe and enjoys Irish whiskey. After parish council meetings, he and I and another guy on the council get together in the rectory for a drink and some cigars. What’s wrong with enjoying manly things? Men have to stop apologizing for not being women and women have to stop demanding men be more like them (i.e. “get in touch with their feminine side.”) I don’t have a problem with showing my emotions—I’m descended from Sicilians after all; there’s nothing wrong with that—but often we are pushed to give up so much more.