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Friday, July 01, 2005

The vice that dares not speak its name

There was a vibrant discussion recently over at Domenico Bettinelli's blog about the vice of effeminacy. As Dom said so well in his post, this is the vice that causes people to seek pleasures and comforts at the expense of holiness and true spiritual health. Like the guy who not only enjoys a cigar, but has 129 expensive hand-rolled ones in his $200 humidor, or the lady who can't function without an hour-long Swedish deep tissue massage with aromatherapy every morning and a mocha latte served at at 211 degrees.

But it usually refers to men who adopt, deliberately or unconsciously, "effeminate" characteristics, which are, ironicially, virtues when found in women. For serious Christian men, it's a vice we do well to shun. It is softness and laziness, and lazy softness. It hates the cross or any nootion of self-denial.

But the vice of effeminacy isn't to be mistaken for homosexuality, or mincing around like RuPaul. It's the unnatural presence of the feminine where the masculine should reign. For priests especially, it subtracts from their vocation as "other Christs." There are so few salient models of real masculinity in the Church and the world, and so many of the faithful are looking for manly examples of leadership and self-sacrifice.

Where are they? The Protestant writer Gordon Dalbey has nailed the source and the solution to the crisis. For my part, as a public service, I'm expanding the list I gave at Dom's blog and I offer the following primer to spot the vice.


Sorry gentlemen, but you've got it if you:

1) overemphasize the n in the word wonderful; as in, “The chorale sounded wunnnnnderful.”
2) overuse the word wonderful.
3) overemphasize the s in the word pastoral.
4) own all the albums of two or more of these: ABBA, Barry Manilow, Judy Garland, Cher.
5) outsing others during Marty Haugen’s “Gather Us In.”
6) sing any Marty Haugen ditty with feeling.
7) are grateful that already schlocky “Glory and Praise” hymns have been inclusivized by The Committee.
8) wish Jesus had chosen dialogue over losing His temper when He cleansed the Temple.
9) will not enter the jacuzzi unless all four bubble jets are working.
10) overuse the word inappropriate, when sinful would do just fine.
11) feel that Paul Lynde was a misunderstood genius.
12) own more than five pairs of shoes.
13) know the difference between the colors salmon and rose
14) start every sentence that may contradict what the other person is saying with, "Well, for me" while lightly touching your breastbone with both sets of fingertips because you don't want to appear rigid, narrow-minded or dogmatic.
15) employ the word eeeuw. Ever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does outsinging count if you are sining loudly and off-key?

Andy K.

9:44 AM

Anonymous Patrick said...

Off-key can offset the trait, yes, but it can't be a Marty Haugen ditty.

1:12 PM

Blogger DJM said...

13) know the difference between the colors salmon and rose

Is one absolved of the above if he steadfastly refuses to own or wear any clothing in either color?

( I had to learn the difference when I worked in retail.)

1:48 PM

Anonymous Patrick said...


Absolved. Employer obligations are exempt.

9:21 PM

Blogger Rosalind said...

May I suggest that priests should be exempt from #13 as well. The ability to accurately characterize their Laetare Sunday vestments as other than "pink" greatly increases the exemplifying of non-effeminacy to young adult males in the parish. At least, that is what my pastor has led me to believe.

5:01 AM

Blogger Patrick said...

Rosalind: How I wish all priests were exempt from the whole list! But you're right. Hopefully only the really, really sissified priests interchange the required (and non-effeminate, BTW) Laetere Sunday color with full-on pink.

7:50 AM


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