This article from Catholic World Report notes the continuing erosion of laity men active in the Church—a subject also being explored in the current book I am writing which will be published later this year—and refers to the Church Militant.
An excerpt from the article.
Despite the fact the New Evangelization has been an ongoing emphasis by the Catholic Church for over forty years, it has failed to stem the disastrous losses of the faithful in the U.S. Since 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious education participation of children has dropped by 24%, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19%, baptisms of infants has dropped by 28%, baptism of adults has dropped by 31% and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41%. Something is desperately wrong with the Church’s approach to the New Evangelization…
One reason the New Evangelization is faltering is because it is missing men. The New Emangelization Project has documented the serious Catholic “man-crisis” in the United States. 1 in 3 baptized Catholic men have left the faith and of those who remain, 50-60% of them are “Casual Catholics”, men who don’t know and don’t practice the faith. Of those who practice the faith, many are lukewarm, not converted to the point of conviction, a conviction in which they are prepared to make disciples for Christ and His Catholic Church. The New Evangelization has largely ignored men, with no substantial or sustained efforts to directly confront the Catholic “man-crisis”….
A man-specific approach is needed. Rather than a gender-neutral catechetical approach, men will be renewed when men are gathered together by their priests and the Mass is presented to them in a masculine way. For example, the Church has a long history of speaking of the Church Militant and spiritual combat; if men have a renewed sense of the life and death spiritual battle, they will see their desperate need for the Mass. Men need to be challenged to fulfill their duty to lead their wives and children to Christ in the Mass. Rather than approaching the Mass as entertainment or self-gratification, men can be convinced about leaving the battlefield to gather with other men to give thanks and get guidance from the Eternal King. Men can recall the powerful men whose words are spoken in the Mass (e.g. John the Baptist, the Centurion, etc.). Men can reconnect with the powerful and manly history in the Liturgy of the Word. Men can be re-taught about the heroic and bloody sacrifice of Christ and the fearsome power of the miraculous transubstantiation of the bread and wine. The Mass is full of powerful elements that can resonate within a man’s heart.
Cardinal Burke and others have spoken about the de-sacralization of the Mass that has occurred in many places; this includes Masses which are priest-focused and not Christ-focused, the horizontal nature of “community” is over-emphasized while the vertical nature of the Divine Presence is de-emphasized, music which is syrupy and sentimental, a general lack of awe for the Eucharist by the priest and lay helpers, parish cultures which accept “going to the grocery store” attire and grabbing the Eucharist like a potato chip, a feminization of the Mass due to an over-representation of women and altar girls in the sanctuary, etc.
Priests are men and large numbers of priests need to have a “conversion” about the Mass. When the Mass becomes “casual”, men become casual about the Mass. The recent New Evangelization Project Helping Priests Become More Effective in Evangelizing Men Survey demonstrates that men hunger and are moved by the Mass when priests offer the Mass with reverence. Many priests need to be re-evangelized about how to infuse the Mass with greater awe and reverence and about the need to specifically evangelize and catechize men about the Mass.
Retrieved April 7, 2015 from http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3795/the_case_for_a_mass_conversion_of_men.aspx