Cardinal Burke said the Church had become feminised in an interview this week

The Catholic Church has been assaulted by radical feminism, leading to the marginalisation of men, an American cardinal has said.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said that the rise in the influence of radical feminism had distracted the Church, causing her to address women’s issues to the detriment of men.

In an interview with NewEmangelisation.com the outspoken cardinal said: “I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so. It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalised.

“Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men; the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society.”

He continued: “The goodness and importance of men became very obscured, and for all practical purposes were not emphasised at all. This is despite the fact that it was a long tradition in the Church, especially through the devotion of St Joseph, to stress the manly character of the man who sacrifices his life for the sake of the home, who prepares with chivalry to defend his wife and his children and who works to provide the livelihood for the family. So much of this tradition of heralding the heroic nature of manhood has been lost in the Church today.”

The cardinal also attributed a decline in male participation in the Church to the “loss of the sacred” and said that a “restoration of the dignity of the liturgy” was necessary to attract men back to the Church. He said: “The loss of the sacred led to a loss of participation of women and men. But I think that men were really turned off by the loss of the sacred. It seems clear that many men are not being drawn into a deeper liturgical spirituality; today, many men are not being drawn to service at the altar.

“Young men and women respond to rigour and precision and excellence. When I was trained to be a server, the training lasted for several weeks and you had to memorise the prayers at the foot of the altar. It was a rigorous and a carefully executed service. All of a sudden, in the wake of Vatican II, the celebration of the liturgy became very sloppy in many places. It became less attractive to young men, for it was slipshod.”

He also said the presence of female altar servers deterred boys from serving on the altar. He said: “The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service. Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural. The girls were also very good at altar service. So many boys drifted away over time. I want to emphasise that the practice of having exclusively boys as altar servers has nothing to do with inequality of women in the Church.”

Overall, the Church had become “feminised”, the cardinal said. He continued: “Women are wonderful, of course. They respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the Church. Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.

“Men are often reluctant to become active in the Church. The feminised environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.”

Cardinal Burke also lamented the “terrible loss of home life”, demonstrable in the fact that families don’t share meals together anymore. He said: “Families should have at least one meal together each week where the whole family is together. A boy or young man is unlikely to build proper manly identity and the manly virtues unless he lives with a father and mother, where he can witness that unique and complementary interaction between the male and the female in a home life in which human life can be welcomed, nurtured and developed.”

Madeleine Teahan; Catholic Herald; 8 January 2015