February 13, 2005

Conclave is male enclave

Boston Globe

By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist | February 13, 2005

A jury just convicted a former Boston priest of raping a child. The Vatican just defrocked four other Boston priests accused of similar attacks on children. Parishioners are occupying churches across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to protest their closure.

What is Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's response to all this pain and division? How is he reaching out to create a more inclusive community of faith in Greater Boston? He is promoting a conference exclusively for Catholic men next month that is being convened by a national evangelical group to help men ''sort through the current confusion about, and attacks on, masculinity and maleness."

Who knew that a machismo crisis was such a serious threat facing the Catholic Church in Boston?

''It is confusing to be a man today," says the material provided for the conference by theAbuse Tracker Fellowship of Catholic Men, the organization that began running these events across the country a few years ago. ''The man of today is expected to be protective and hard-working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other. What is a man to do?"

Gee, I don't know. Maybe be protective and hard-working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other? Women manage.

O'Malley, a difficult man for most Catholics to get an appointment to see, will not only celebrate Mass at the First Annual Boston Catholic Men's Conference on March 19 at Boston College High School, he will have breakfast beforehand with the guys who recruit the most men to attend a gathering that really should be called the Conference for Very, Very Conservative Boston Catholic Men.

Posted by kshaw at February 13, 2005 06:21 AM