Sunday, June 11, 2006

Different perspectives

There is a post and discussion over at Open Book about men (or the lack of) involved in Church. I don't really know what I think about this one way or another. In my extended family, apart from my uncle who is a priest, only a couple of the men attend Mass on a regular basis. But then, not many of the women do either. In my local parish, it is the women who make up the majority of the Mass-going congregation and get involved. In our study group, apart from a priest, the attendees include just one man.

However, if you consider those who hold positions of responsibility in my parish, it is almost always the men who hold the prominant ones. The men are the ones who organise big events and count the money and (mostly) do the stuff that gets attention, praise and thanks. It is the women who do the routine, boring and necessary tasks like setting up before Mass, cleaning the Church, catechesis etc - the stuff that rarely gets attention or publicity.

Since I've been in charge of the Choir, the PP has found it amusing that I don't like to be publicly named or thanked or even referred to at all. I don't think he gets why. Leading the choir is not a personal thing. The choir is (in theory) a community. We're small enough that we can, for the most part, make group decisions. I only assert myself as "leader" when representing the choir or it is necessary for the task at hand. It is my role in the community. Others play organ, or drum, or harmonise ... what ever their role is. For me to get more praise or thanks than the others, just for being myself and fulfilling my role, seems silly.

Is that the difference? For women, the focus/gratification is in the group achievement. For men, it is individual achievement. I really don't know.

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