Thursday, June 30, 2005

"I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty...."

(PHOTO: Institute of Christ the Sovereign Priest)

A correspondent just wrote with the following note: "Don't throw away your grandmother's old lace tablecloths. It appears they have a a redeemed role in liturgical drag...."

Anyone getting all kinds of apocalyptic about the need for "more masculine priests" (as if bringing in the Village People will solve all problems?) needs to take a good look at this picture and think for a minute. This is not the most macho-looking menangerie I've seen in this business, Fr. Mason.

Before we go incandescent about anklets, people, remember at least that they're not worn supposedly in the name of God. And, for the millionth time, there was no lace to be found at the first Mass... so why mess with a good thing?

Say what you will about his sartorial style, but at least Jesus was in touch with the people.



Blogger Matthew Lickona said...

If they're an approved bunch (which they are), and if they're doing good (which they are), and if they're in touch with the people who retain a devotion to the '62 Rite and who derive spiritual sustenance from it (which they are), and if they're not waving lace in the streets (which they are not), would it be too terribly much to ask for you to let them be?

And I would add, masculine is as masculine does.

There were many things not present at the first Mass. I'm as ready as the next man to believe that there were lots of things pre VII that needed reform. But I've yet to hear a compelling reason why lace elicits such contempt here.

30/6/05 23:33  
Blogger Disgusted in DC said...

Here's my two cents.

First, the more lace and the more colorful vestments, the better, though lace vestments are a bugger to clean. However, I think that the main focus of Rocco's wrath was not so much the "gin, lace, and backbiting" crowd, but the silly extremism of the jeremiad against effeminecy in the clergy by a vocation's director that has been circulated around the internet, of which Rocco's example is a good counter-argument. The Institute of Christ the King may be doing great things for the Church, but they don't strike me as the type of people that embody Anglo-American stereotypes of masculinity. Certainly, many of the clerical heros (and deservedly so) of the conservative Catholic movement would not meet this vocation director's discriminating standards in masculine behavior in men.

My nastier rejoinder to the essay and those who praised it would be that morbidly obese men who criticize "softness" and "effeminacy" in others ought to look in the mirror first. My more serious objection is that to treat "effeminate" mannerisms as a piece with lazy indolence, homosexuality, delicacy, etc is not reasonable. The real issue is whether the seminarian or the priest is a grown-up who takes personal responsibility for himself. Forcing a seminarian to correct a lisp or other "effiminate" mannerisms (as defined by whom?) is a cosmetic solution to a pseudo-problem that has little to do with the issue of whether the seminarian has what it takes to be a responsible (and hopefully happy) priest. It's one thing to insist that seminarians not call each other by girl's names. It's another thing to insist on highly subjective and arbitrary standards of "masculinity" that are better suited for the steel mill than celebrating the liturgy, administering a parish, or teaching classes.

Patrick Rothwell

1/7/05 10:31  

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