Is There A Shortage of Men In the Church?


When I attend Mass and look around, I notice the vast majority of my fellow parishioners are women, and women of all ages, young and old. The few men I do see, the majority of them are all old men, with a real scarcity of young men around my age. The alter servers, the majority of them are girls, outnumbering the boys. And the ministry staff has about 2 or 3 men, the rest are all women.

I am also currently in the process of consecrating myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and will make my formal consecration to Our Lady on August 15 - The Day of Assumption. Of the 8 in total making this consecration, outside our deacon who is one of the teachers of the class, there are only 2 other men, myself included. And the other man doing it is an elderly gentleman.

I was surprised to learn a lot of men feel hesitant to consecrate themselves to Our Lady because the men I spoke to said “Mary is for girls,” and shrugged. Our Blessed Mother is not just for girls - she is for everyone! Lest we forget she raised a Son - Our Lord and Savior!

Me, I am most anxious to consecrate myself to Our Blessed Mother, my relationship with her is very important, for I understand the easiest way to Jesus is through Mary, and she never stops drawing us closer and closer to Him. Just place yourself in Mary’s loving and maternal hands, and she will take you straight to Jesus. Having a living relationship with Our Lady also enriches a man’s soul. She teaches us men so many wonderful virtues and how to live as good Christians, just as she gave herself entirely to God and reflects his will perfectly. The way she loves Christ serves as a great lesson for how we should all love her Son.

For women the advice I give them is when looking for a husband is pay close attention to how your man treats his mother, this will tell you a great deal about him. Does he have a good relationship with his mother? Does he treat her with love, reverence, and respect? Or does he treat her with indifference?

Now I did a little research and to my shock I discovered my parish isn’t the only one that has a majority of women over men.

Am I imagining things here, or is there indeed a shortage of Catholic men out there? And by Catholic men, I mean practicing Catholics. If there is indeed a shortage of good Catholic men in the world, I find this trend very worrisome! What is happening to our men out there?

It seems fewer and fewer men are stepping into the breach! What is going to happen when all the old men begin to pass on?


This isn’t exactly new. Women have historically been the majority of active parishioners.


There is a series of articles on this very topic on a site called The Art of Manliness which explain this in detail. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, though, so I can’t remember all the points that were discussed.

It has a lot of interesting information on this subject, so I recommend reading them.


I have the same prejudice I am loathe to admit.


Umm I’m a man who goes to mass regularly. My diocese just consecrated itself to the immaculate heart of Mary and I did too


This is quite interesting. As a woman I’ve never been drawn to Mary at all throughout my life, but I’ve seen lots of men have a special devotion to her. I always thought it’s a guy thing.


I haven’t noticed that at my parish, but Knights of Columbus is active there so maybe that’s why.


I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion, from my understanding the article blames “bridal mysticism”. It isn’t really condemning it either, just stating that bridal mysticism is more feminine in nature.

Also, I think it should be obvious that the origin of the gender gap is from some kind of development within the Catholic Church, otherwise we wouldn’t be affected by it. I get that hearing it from a Protestant site can provoke animosity, but I really don’t see how the article was disrespectful in any way.


just read the posts here on CAF. half (or better) of the posts here are made by “catholic men” ;

i am pretty sure most of us attend Mass on Sunday


I think most of them are spread thin.


i don’t see a shortage of catholic men at Sunday mass

daily mass? i wish i could go & poll the congregration

i have to work

so i am not sure who is attending

perhaps elderly, retired folk; i could be 100% wrong

i wish i could be there with them


On Sunday Mass at my parish, not to mention the overall staff who works there, I see a vast majority of women over men. I wasn’t sure if it was just the demographics of my area or not. Which is why I was curious as to whether this was unique only to my parish, or if this was something found also at other parishes out there in the world as well.


i am not doubting your anecdotal observations

“in my parish”; i don’t see a “female” majority at Mass

attendance seems to be (from my view) a normal demographic of young families, elderly people, teenagers , some adult males & females sitting by themselves

i’m not getting the anti-male skew that is being’t’ve’d put on Mass attendance in this thread


I think men need to be encouraged and empowered. If there will be more guys serving in the Church I think they will be encouraged to become active parishioners.

I believe that my future spouse must love Jesus as well as Mary as the mother of our Lord.


This is your particular parish. I don’t see that in the parishes I attend frequently. Lots of men are around.

It’s likely that this varies a bit parish to parish given the demographics of the area. I’ll also concede that the daily Masses held during the day tend to be retirees and a majority of them are women, often widows, but there are usually about 1/3 elderly men there too, and if the Mass is held at a time where younger people would be able to attend before or after work you see a lot of younger people and more men.


You’re likely “not getting it” because this is another case of somebody looking at what’s going on "in his parish’ and deciding it must be the same way everywhere.

I travel a lot and probably attend regularly at about a dozen parishes spread over 3-4 states and there are another dozen parishes that I attend infrequently.

Demographics for all of these are all over the place with respect to old, young, families etc. but the majority of them have a lot of men and are not short on males to serve on the altar, be ushers etc.


Theban, it seems like that article ias about “Christian” churches which means Protestant…I would take it with a grain of salt when it comes to Catholic churches.


I seem to recall that one of the talking points from the article was that the biggest gender disparity was seen in Protestant churches, with Catholic churches having a lower disparity. You could be correct that it’s just demographics, though.

Still, back when I was atheist I did certainly think of Christianity as a feminine religion (meaning I thought it was less acceptable for a man to be a Christian than a woman) and there is a stereotype in my country that Christian men are “soft”.

This was a stumbling block for me when I converted, and I think it’s plausible that other men will need to get past such prejudice as well, making it harder for atheist men to become Christian than women.

It could just be negative influence from Protestantism, though, and it might be different in Catholic majority places.


There is a big push in the Catholic church right now to emphasize the masculine dimension of Catholicism, Marian devotion, and the like. Blogs like Roman Catholic Man and The Catholic Gentleman reflect this. A lot of it is coming from the traditional end of the spectrum.


There’s no doubt - women rule the roost - at the church I go to.
I have to admit - they do have a sweetness about them - those over 75.
Though still a little feisty - nice to see.
Middle aged women - stand behind the podium reading scripture -
They are the Eucharistic ministers -
The Organist - the lead singer - the altar helpers - too
Men - on the other hand - many - are the talkers and gossips -
Their wives don’t show up with them - lol -
Men seem intimidated, at times. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Priest - don’t like to hang around after church - greeting people -
because they get surrounded by women and then systematically hen pecked !
I can see their facial expression - often. I don’t know how they do it.
The altar is their only ‘safe zone’ it seems.
Now - women want to take over as Priests !

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