The Lavender Mafia and loss of masculinity in the Church

I’ve just watched this interview Jordan Peterson did with Milo Yiannopoulos a couple of weeks ago. I only just heard about it and was keen to see it because of the history between the two men involved, because of the content and because it relates somewhat to yesterday’s post.

Like pretty much anything that involves Milo, the interview is shockingly frank, bold and at times uncomfortable to watch, but it’s also incredibly fascinating. Take this as a disclaimer if you intend to view it.

However, I’m mostly interested in discussing about 11 minutes of dialogue from timestamp 1.15 to 1.26, in which Milo talks about the “Lavender Mafia” in the Vatican:

It is a cabal of, not just gay bishops, but specifically progressive, leftwing gay bishops.

The same people who want to water down the liturgy, who want for divorcees to be able to receive Communion and want gay people to do whatever, they’re the same people who’ve been covering up child abuse in the Church. And it seems that the same people who have been doing the child abuse and covering it up are also the people who are most aggressively pushing for progressive reform of the Catholic liturgy and of Catholic practice.

For a lifelong practising Catholic, this is truly disturbing stuff to hear. His own flamboyant persona and sinful lifestyle aside, this is Milo at his most serious and, I believe, most honest. He’s a contradiction in so many ways but I’ve watched him being interviewed a number of times and I believe he has a genuine love and concern for the Catholic Church.

He goes on to explain why this phenomenon exists, citing the trend of gay men seeking out the priesthood, and of the Church turning a blind eye to this in recent decades:

If you make room for one sin, others will follow, so what that means in practical terms for the Catholic Church is that because the priesthood is somewhere where lots of gay men go and a blind eye is routinely turned to their sexual peccadillos – even if it’s just with each other and there’s nothing non-consensual or abusive going on – because it’s a sexual free-for-all, because it’s the kind of place where supposedly transgressive or forbidden things happen routinely with no consequence, it becomes an institution that attracts other kinds of people who have other things to hide, like pedophiles.

Lefties will say that the reason that all of these problems happen in the Catholic Church is that priests are required to be celibate. The opposite’s true – they haven’t been celibate for a very long time, and that’s what’s created the problem, because there’s now an entrenched, leftwing gay mafia that effectively runs the Catholic Church, that has engaged in the systematic cover-up of child abuse, so as to protect its own power. And that’s about as bad as it gets, in terms of global institutions that have lost their way.

No argument from me on that last point. However, I hope that what Milo says here is not true, or not as bad as he makes out. I think he has a tendency to exaggerate, like many extroverts, but I can’t deny there is a certain logic to his words, as well.

A former seminarian and good friend of mine told me something similar – that gay men would often enter the seminary, because they were drawn to it and the exclusively male environment. According to him though, they didn’t usually last long.

In studying church history, I learned that the Church has always had a blanket ban on homosexuals entering the priesthood, and my understanding is that this rule was not so strictly enforced in recent times, particularly during the latter half of the 20th century.

If this is the case, and if what Milo says is true, it would explain why the number of abuse scandals has exploded since the 1960s and 70s.

Milo then ties this in with the feminisation of the Church in recent decades – a huge problem in my eyes – and the resulting exodus of men from the pews:

When people go to church they want the fire and brimstone, they go to be told what to do – they want the Bible, they want Jesus. They don’t want climate change.

There are seminaries now where the seminarians are starting to give sermons on toxic masculinity. This is a church that has no manly men left in it. Every man in that church is a homo. There are no men left in the congregations, there are no heterosexual men left in the clergy, and this is a church that thinks it has a ‘too many men’ problem.


This is another arena in which the loss of manliness and masculinity, and the loss of the proper appreciation of the heroic masculine virtues has led to chaos and disaster.

A father, a real father, doesn’t sit idly by while children are being abused. He takes steps to stop it, and he punishes the people who have done wrong.


That heroic manly virtue is something that has been systematically wiped out of the Catholic Church, just like it’s been wiped out of other places in public life.


Most of the problems the Church has gotten itself into basically boil down to there being no men. It’s all women and gays, and the vast majority of the child abuse scandal and all the other things that are wrong with the Catholic Church are a product of the church losing its connection to masculinity, and simply having no men in it.

Milo makes some sweeping generalisations here. It’s obvious that the Church is not entirely composed of “women and gays” or that there are “no heterosexual men left in the clergy”. He’s generalising for effect, but I think, sadly, there is a lot of truth to what he says.

I agree that the church has lost its connection to masculinity in many ways. I often think that if the average man walked into his local church this is what he would likely see: the pews filled with older women, girls on the altar, women helping distribute Communion, women leading the singing (probably in some ghastly modern hymn) and one sole man actually saying the Mass – and probably an old or effeminate one at that.

This is just not appealing to men. It’s not appealing to ME and I’m a woman! It’s no wonder churchgoing women outnumber men nearly two to one. It’s no wonder women like me are having such a hard time finding marriageable men at church.

There are signs of hope, though. I go to a traditional Latin Mass parish where there is a much stronger presence and sense of masculinity, both in the liturgy and in the congregation. It’s still getting there, but considering how parishes like mine are beginning to grow and thrive, I see hope for future generations.

As Catholics we must pray for our Church leaders! I hope with all my heart and soul that what Milo says about the Lavender Mafia is false, but even if it’s true this is no reason to give up hope. If we are to help right the wrongs of our world and our Church we need to get serious about our faith. We are all a part of the Body of Christ, and that Body is being terribly wounded by the sinfulness of its members. We need to pray. We need to fast. We need to make sacrifices and die to our own desires.

Maybe that means something small like foregoing your favourite item on the menu at a work lunch or listening to a chatty colleague or child when you don’t feel like it.

Maybe it means getting up earlier to go to daily Mass, setting aside time to pray the Rosary every day, or spending more time in mental prayer to cultivate a deeper personal relationship with God (or, ideally, all of the above).

We need more priests and more good men in the Church. This should be something all of us are praying for.

For if we faithful do not help our Mother Church, what hope is there?

20 thoughts on “The Lavender Mafia and loss of masculinity in the Church

  1. I was curious about a previous comment about the feminization of the church. And perhaps you’ve explained it briefly above? Basically how there are lots of women serving in many roles that are public facing? Vs say in the kitchen or nursery etc.
    Both churches I’ve been to the longest have had strong male sole/senior pastors. Not to say that women couldnt be good leaders or teachers as well. Im just curious how this looks in the Catholic church or American. (Im Canadian).
    And I echo every other single women by saying in single church groups, the majority are women. I’d have a better chance at a Sports Bar or Hockey Game.

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  2. I have limited patience for Mr Y for a number of reasons, and yes, he’s painting with a very broad brush – but he can afford to do that, because none of this is new.

    Exposures of this kind have been in print at least since the 1980s, heavily documented and verified. The subsequent instruction from the CDF not to ordain men with marked and persistent same-sex attraction has also been largely ignored by otherwise-inclined bishops and seminary rectors.

    The presence of women on the sanctuary during Mass was not part of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, but definitely part of the runaway train that it became. Again, it’s male abrogation of responsibility – great! Someone else can do some actual work, and I can sit down and ‘preside’.

    Unfortunately we are now stuck with entrenched boomers, so this requires subtlety, tact and persistence. Open conflict solves nothing, and will just result in accusations of clericalism. These people are old, and they are only getting older. Their children don’t practise, and nor do their grandchildren.

    It’s good to hear that your Latin Mass crowd are decent. I found in Latin Mass circles in the 1990s that there were quite a few young men who were too interested in lace and sacristy gossip, which explained their singlehood pretty clearly. PS not ordained.

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    1. I especially don’t agree with his statement that the progressives are the only ones who covered up the misdeeds of the clergy. The sexual scandals are largely homosexual in nature. The fact of the matter is that, regardless of whatever the Church officially teaches, in practice the Church is very permissive when it comes to homosexual conduct – and especially permissive when it comes to homosexual conduct by the clergy.
      Clerical control of money has enabled this behavior to go on and on. The lavish lifestyles, payouts to victims, etc are made possible by the clerics’ control of money.

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  3. Well, in the US the Lavender Mafia included conservatives like Cardinals Spellman and Wright, well before Vatican 2.
    But yes, campy liturgies and homilies are a big turnoff for straight men.

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  4. I think the situation is far worse than what Milo says. There are multiple lavender mafias. Some are progressive-liberal, others conservative and some traditionalist. The progressive ones seem to be pushing for full acceptance of homosexuality. The other mafias perhaps are more content to let this stuff stay behind the scenes. I recall that a few years ago a popular Newman chaplain in my part of the world wrote an article for some Catholic website about the need for more masculinity in the priesthood. Sure enough, he was pulled from his chaplaincy for, you guessed it, an affair with a male grad student. In my view condemning homosexual behavior and not engaging in it mean more than the talk about masculinity.

    If I had to guess, the lavender mafias probably always have been in existence. Perhaps since Vatican II, their existence became more noticeable when priests left in droves to get married. A theory of mine is that the reach of the mafias grew in the 19th and 20th century as Rome took more say in the naming of bishops and the education of clergy. I recall some material in John Cooney’s biography of Cardinal Spellman in which Cooney relates that Spellman was shocked by the lifestyles of prelates in Rome. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that susceptible young clergy like Spellman were corrupted in Rome. Of course Spellman was a notorious homosexual and a kingmaker in the American Church in the two decades before Vatican II.

    The traditionalist scene certainly has its own lavender crowd. No doubt some members of this crowd are genuine believers, while others are more attracted to lace and elaborate vestments. I heard about the “Daughters of Trent” from a former priest who had belonged to the Institute. He told me about the misdeeds of a once-popular Institute priest, Fr Timothy Svea, who got into trouble in Wisconsin (USA).

    In her book the Rite of Sodomy Randy Engel documents the disgusting behavior of the clergy of the traditionalist Society of St John. Engel also writes of the rise of powerful lavender prelates in Massachusetts starting with Cardinal O’Connell in the early 1900s. Engel was once seen as a loony…until McCarrick was outed. Turns out the voices in the wilderness were right all along.

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  5. Miss Hitchings-

    1. If we had masculine priests and a more masculine Church then that would attract and help form more masculine men.

    2. More masculine men in the pews mean more marriage and larger, devout, flourishing families.

    3. Larger families led by masculine men mean a greater pool of masculine sons who might have a vocation to the
    priesthood.

    4. More masculine sons with a vocation mean a rise in more masculine priests.

    5. More masculine priests lead to a more masculine Church and more masculine men join the Church…

    Rinse and repeat. It’s a virtuous circle!

    There is a paradox though. How do you get the whole process started if Catholics aren’t able to marry and have larger families due to the feminization of the Church and the absence of masculine priests?

    Hence the demographic spiral and the “Hitchingsian Conundrum”.

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  6. I applaud you for this post. I have long argued that the hebophilia that is typical in the gay community is the root of “pedophila” in the Catholic church.

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  7. With this post, I’m not only going to have to pray for your eventual marriage but also for your safety. You’ve wandered into dangerous territory by discussing the Gay Question and the Lavender Mafia.

    Frédéric Martel recently claimed that 80% of priests in the Vatican were gay, so I think there’s some substance to Milo’s claims. It would also make sense when it comes to the feminization of the church, although the problem is even more acute among protestants, who are allowed to marry, so this wouldn’t be the whole story.

    I think a lot of the problem comes from the growing acceptance of homosexuality and the naïve belief of heterosexuals that gay love is essentially just the same as heterosexual romantic love. The media has spent decades promoting a completely sanitized and unrealistic depiction of the gay lifestyle, which has deceived us as to how perverted and destructive it really is. Gays are notorious for targeting underage boys and essentially ‘converting’ them into homosexuals.

    The great Catholic scholar E Michael Jones has some great information on this, and notes that films and TV shows have been portraying gays in a sympathetic light for decades and gradually ratcheting up what they can get away with. Now we’ve advanced to the whole transgender thing and this isn’t where it’s going to stop.

    It’s also ridiculous watching all those who hate the Church gloating with schadenfreude over all these sex scandals (involving priests who are most probably gay) while continuing to fight for ‘gay rights’ and downplaying the absolutely undeniable link between homosexuality and child abuse, even outside the church. It’s the elephant in the room that they refuse to call out.

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    1. Since you mentioned E. Michael Jones, I will note that he seems to be having some success evangelizing younger men as of late. His approach focuses on John 1:1 and on clarifying the word Logos as rationality and the order of nature and tying that to the sacramental life in the Church. This appeals to young men dealing with the moral inversion of their lives and culture. It may very well have the potential to bring young men back to the Church. So perhaps all is not lost for our gentle heroine.
      NB: No doubt EMJ is highly controversial in many ways, but I would suggest checking out the stream he did with Arch-Pick Up Artist Roosh.
      That said, I do wonder how these men will respond if they do return. If they are seeking an antidote to moral subversion, they may be “slightly” disappointed by Mainline Catholicism. Banal Liturgy and toothless homilies; music that was terrible the moment it was penned way back in the 1970s; the domination of Parish life by the liberal boomer ladies. On and on it goes. We all know the drill.
      Speaking for myself I did take part for a few years in the Annatarian program avant la lettre, i.e., attendance at daily Mass, frequent confession, etc, which due to my schedule and location I could only do at the nearby Novus Ordo Parish. The upshot of this was that if I never had to walk into a Novus Ordo Parish again, I would consider myself blessed.

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      1. I think the Logos aspect really crystallized things for me. I’d been into Greek and stoic philosophy for a while before I re-converted to Christianity, and the Logos (as the organizing principle behind the universe) is a concept that always fascinated me. When I first heard that Jesus wasn’t just some hippy wandering around the Near East telling people to love each other, but the personified Logos of God who brings both physical and moral order to the universe, I realized there was a lot more going on in Christianity than I’d been led to believe.

        E Michael Jones is mainly controversial because he’s been brave enough to call out a particular ethno-religious group for the subversive role they’ve played in promoting sodomite marriage, mass immigration and other forms of cultural Marxism. I’ve seen the stream he did with Roosh – his character arc is interesting and unexpected, to say the least. Although many men have learned how badly the moral order has been inverted when they go through the pickup scene and take the redpill, so not that surprising.

        I’ve had the same experience returning to church, although I’m not Roman Catholic. I’m fascinated by theology and realized atheism was a dead end, so I’m motivated to attend regularly to take the sacraments, but it’s not particularly inspiring. It was really the only church I could find of my denomination that didn’t have a rainbow flag on its website. It does have some vibrancy and sense of community though, which is better than some churches, which actually feel kind of cold and spiritually ‘dead’.

        I think Christian men are going to have to fill in the gaps by networking outside the church and encouraging each other, and at least try to be ‘muscular’ Christians until muscular Christianity is restored.

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    2. This Milo stuff isn’t dangerous. That many clergy have sexual issues of a certain kind is widely known. One gets into dangerous territory when one has strong evidence of a ring of abusers or something of similar seriousness. That’s when strange things can happen. Remember the story of Frank Pellegrini, former organist at All Saints-St. Anthony of Chicago?

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  8. Funny that the Lavender Mafia should get mentioned here, considering how many people were directed here by Rod Dreher, the guy who popularized the term. I think his Wikipedia page might have even credited him with coining the term. At the very least, it’s one of the regular features of his blog.

    As far as the problem of masculinity in the Church, I’ve heard a number of theories tossed around. It’s probably one of those things where there were a multitude of causes that gradually built up over time until a critical point was reached. I am also pretty sure that the story will be different for Catholics and Protestants and will differ between countries as well. I say that because I’ve lived in more than one country and have attended a variety of churches.

    On a personal note, my dad goes to this group that he calls the Catholic Curmudgeons Coffee. It’s a bunch of men, mostly in their 60s and 70s. Many of them are lapsed. My dad told me that one day he was talking to one of the guys about the problems facing the Church and the others started joining in. Turned out, even though many of them had nominally lapsed, they were still invested in the Church and cared about her future. They weren’t attending mass anymore because they couldn’t stomach watching the slow-moving train-wreck. Now, this only applies to my parish; I can’t say about any other.

    Personally, I don’t think simply making things more outwardly masculine is the answer. The main problem with that is you can’t fake it. In order to have masculinity you need masculine men. Additionally, I don’t think that there needs to be an explicitly gendered appeal in order to attract a specific sex. (I’ve heard that Aquaman had a 55% female audience and I don’t think that’s anybody’s idea of a chick flick. I get a feeling that it can work both ways.)

    Milo got close to an answer with that line about fire and brimstone. The key is what fire and brimstone signals, namely that the folks in charge genuinely believe that theirs is the One True Religion. Men like confidence and certitude. They therefore are drawn to and get more heavily engaged in One True Religions. If you look at the religions and religious groups where men have higher levels of engagement than women (they definitely exist) it’s Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Hyper-Calvinism etc. The most skewed major group was the New Atheists, who were almost exclusively male. When it came to confidence and certitude, they made Islamic Fundamentalists look like Anglicans. Even in the Catholic Church, the most male groups are the traditionalists, who tend to be the most self-confident.

    So, when it comes to bringing men into the Church, the best place to start would be for the people in the Church to actually believe that she is the Fullest Possible Expression of the One True Religion. They would then need to act like they believe that, especially the leaders. Naturally there are some issues with this approach (refer to the other groups that have used this strategy), so it is only a partial solution. Still, I strongly believe that this is a necessary part of the solution.

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    1. Speaking of Rod Dreher. Since Miss Hitchings heard him speak on the Benedict Option, I wonder what she thinks of it in relation to the topic at hand. As I’ve said before, the solution to this mess is unlikely to come to us by being on the internet.

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    2. Yeah, I have to say that many of those in positions of power in the Church don’t seem to believe in much of anything except that Church assets belong to them and to no-one else. I’ve heard of many an ordinary going ballistic when some parishioner protests the closing of a church.
      I go to Mass every week. But I won’t say that there’s no wisdom in any of the other forms of Christianity. Even Mainline Protestantism has something to offer (more on what not to do than what to do).

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    3. At this point, rather than trying to imbue the dying church with their masculine essence, I think men should be looking to form a kind of ‘meta-church’. A bit like the Catholic Curmudgeons Coffee group you mentioned, or an underground church, as a means of networking, evangelizing and staying engaged. This could supplement normal uninspiring formal church attendance.

      One thing I’ve found recently is that when I meet other conservative Christian men, we might be of different denominations (Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical) but we largely agree on most social issues like the gay/trans agenda and mass immigration. With the way society is going, the disagreements on things like the Filioque, sola scriptura or the Assumption of Mary seem insignificant by comparison. We also discuss theology and recommend are share resources with each other.

      I guess it’s similar to the Benedict Option. Doing stuff like lifting weights and doing boxing together as well could be a good idea.

      While the barely-disguised phyletism of the Orthodox Church has stopped me from converting, they do seem to have a lot more of a masculine vibe as well. It’s possibly tied up with that ‘One True Religion’ you mentioned.

      Just on that ‘One True Religion’ point: a lot of people are spruiking Jordan Peterson, but he’s a bit dangerous as far as Christians are concerned. He basically thinks it’s just another myth, and that Jesus is just a Jungian archetype, and that all religions are equally make-believe and you just choose the one you like the best. Or he might be a perennialist, and think they’re all just imperfect expressions of some deeper truth. I wonder if he’s not just another person working to insidiously discredit Christianity among the young men who are drawn to him.

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  9. I’ve always said that priests from Central or Eastern Europe are more masculine. One could add the Middle East and Africa too. Basically anything not Anglosaxon or Western European. There’s the answer to how the masculine spiral starts. It’s rebooted from the outside, from “immigrant” priests.
    Another thought: masculine bravado can be too much too. For example I used to admire Taylor Marshall for his no-nonsense approach and courage in speakingthe truth, but it’s morphed into something else now. Every quality has its caricature.
    BT

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  10. An institution can either be feminine or masculine, it cannot be a little of both, and once an institution becomes feminine it will repel masculine men.
    Feminine groups will be inclusive, conformist and seek consensus. Competition within the group will manifest itself as passive-aggression within certain bounds. Communication will tend toward the personal and anecdotal and will serve to set and enforce group boundaries and prioritize the feelings of group members over objective reality: “He dumped you because he was intimidated by you”, etc.
    Masculine institutions are exclusive, hierarchical, and competitive. Entrance into the group usually requires demonstration of a certain level of athletic, intellectual, moral etc. capabilities/belief depending on the nature of the organization. Whether combat, hazing ritual, trying-out for an athletic team, etc. the shared experience of earning membership serves as a powerful bond between group members that serves to mediate normal male conflict. Usually masculine groups settle into a natural order and hierarchy but open competition and conflict will settle differences of opinion. Communication is direct and will prioritize abstract and dialectical reasoning over the anecdotal. Membership will depend upon adhering to defined rules and observable reality will take precedence over the feelings of individual members: “Dude you have no shot with her”.
    In a civilized society the vast majority of our personal interactions adhere to more feminine norms, as they should imho. After all, we don’t want people in our personal sphere needlessly offending others even if what they say is true. But there are also instances in our personal lives where hurtful realities need to be recognized.
    However, a traditional, civilized culture will require most public institutions to be masculine, which requires exclusion of females from leadership of those institutions and the submission of females within a mixrd-sex institution to male leadership and authority even as there will feminine spaces within the institution. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, women who acquire the requisite influence will work to change institutional norms in a feminine direction even as some of them proclaim they want be treated just like the men. As the institution becomes feminized, the masculine pride men can derive from membership in the institution evaporates and the higher-status men will begin to leave. Once that exodus begins there is no stopping thedeath-spiral. After all, I have never heard a man say I can do x as well as any women.

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  11. It does hit me, when I think of the Catholic Church and masculine associations, that times have changed. Particularly from an American pop culture perspective I think of the great film director John Ford and his muse, that icon of American masculinity: John Wayne. Both Catholics. Then there’s Alfred Hitchcock who directed the terrific ‘I Confess’ with Montgomery Clift as a priest. Boy, are things different..

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  12. Anna,

    You have not answered my questions, especially the second one. If you wish to see a re-masculinization of the Church look inside yourself to find an answer to the second question.

    Have you ever seen any popular culture product where a heterosexual husband and father was not a buffoon?
    Does Austrailia not have public service announcements to ’empower’ women and girls, sometimes belittling men and boys?

    Rod Dreher has a recent post entitled “Courtship & Republicans” it starts:
    I had a conversation recently with a high school teacher, about the question of dating, and male-female relations. She’s in her early 30s, and was talking at length about the difficulties of finding a partner to settle down with. She was really insightful.

    One of the things she mentioned is observing the destructive way high school girls talk about boys. She said that they use the words “humiliation” and “assault” to describe normal social interaction. She indicated that these girls are intentionally fragilizing themselves, and whether they know it or not, making themselves unattractive to males because they turn ordinary male teenage awkwardness into a pathology.

    If you cannot answer, and share my second question, pray to be released from the spirit of the age, for it is an evil one.

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