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Thread: Men and women separated during church service

  1. #1
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    Men and women separated during church service

    Hello everybody,

    I´ve seen a Catholic church service in rural Bavaria these days. One thing which surprised me, because I´ve only attended Lutheranian church services, is the fact that the women sat on the left side seperated from the men who sat on the right.

    I´m not sure if this is a common practise in the Catholic church either in Germany or world wide.

    I´d like to know how the situation is in your area or country.
    It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably. (Immanuel Kant)

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    Re: Men and women seperated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank78 View Post
    Hello everybody,
    I´m not sure if this is a common practise in the Catholic church either in Germany or world wide.

    I´d like to know how the situation is in your area or country.
    Wikipedia says that it's common in Eastern Catholic churches. It's not common in Spain at all and I've never seen that in France, Italy, Portugal or the States. But I don't know every city/village of these countries.

    Cheers.
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Im not catholic but i have went to the church many times and i never saw this (in Spain).

    <Moderator note: This is a forum for the exchange of information. Please do not insult others'
    practices.>
    Last edited by cuchuflete; 27th December 2009 at 4:54 AM.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    In more conservative societies there's a lot more emphasis on separation by gender, I didn't think that Churches did this, because go to church is usually a family occasion where the whole family goes and sits together (at least here in America).
    Last edited by cuchuflete; 27th December 2009 at 4:55 AM. Reason: Reply to deleted remark removed.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    In Italy men and women sit together. In the ancient time women were separated by men.

    See the definition of matroneum
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matroneum
    Please, correct my English, even the smallest mistake. That would be very kind of you

  6. #6
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    I’ve never seen that in Argentina, in Catholic church women and men sit together here.

  7. #7
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank78 View Post
    I´ve seen a Catholic church service in rural Bavaria these days. One thing which surprised me, because I´ve only attended Lutheranian church services, is the fact that the women sat on the left side seperated from the men who sat on the right.
    It was common in the olden times, and then only in more conservative, rural parishes.
    Where I grew up (rural Upper Austria) men and women never were separated strictly as far as I can remember (early 1970ies) but there was probably a 60%/40% balance of women (left) and men (right side): that is, older people tended to separate to left and right.

    I can't speak for earlier times, probably it was more common in the 19th century to separate men and women in Austria as well as Bavaria.
    There's some information about this in the www - see e. g. this German discussion about Sitzordnung, and also this site (again, in German) about the church in Weilburg/Lahn where people not only were separated by gender but also by social class - which was quite usual in former times.
    "An esoteric may claim more nonsense in 5 minutes than a scientist may be able to disprove in his entire life." Vince Ebert, about fighting sciolism.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Mennonites do sit separately in my part of Mexico. Catholics, Evangelicals, Anglicans or Baptists don't. I have no experience with other creeds.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    The gender separation in the seating chart at the mass does not affect the Catholic community, and neither it affects the most of the evangelic creed in Peru; incidentally, I have seen some evangelic services on TV where men sit on one side and women on the other, but the church following that practice is not exactly a well-known creed among evangelic followers, but rather a newer group. I even took the time to send an e-mail to that congregation asking about it and the reply I received was they do it to prevent male-female contact at service for fear of inciting sin.
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    I've found this quote from the Church Father Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century CE), venerated as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church:

    "Let men be with men, and women with women. For now I need the example of Noah’s ark: in which were Noah and his sons, and his wife and his sons’ wives. (...) If the Church is shut, and you are all inside, yet let there be a separation, men with men, and women with women : lest the pretext of salvation become an occasion of destruction. Even if there be a fair pretext for sitting near each other, let passions be put away. Further, let the men when sitting have a useful book; and let one read, and another listen: and if there be no book, let one pray, and another speak something useful. And again let the party of young women sit together in like manner, either singing or reading quietly, so that their lips speak, but others’ ears catch not the sound: for I suffer not a woman to speak in the Church" (Protocatechesis, 14, NPNF, s. 2, v.7).

    This last peeve was shared with Paul or someone using his name (1 Corinthians 14:33).

    I don't know if Cyril was introducing a new practice or just admonishing people against neglecting older customs. Truth is that it was very common for different sexes in the Middle Ages to be separated in Churches.
    Dale un pez y comerá un día, dale una caña y pedirá una tapa.

  11. #11
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    I have never heard of Catholics in the US being separated during mass. Among Amish and the more conservative Mennonite and Brethren groups in the US, it's commonly done, and while it's not common among Conservative Quakers anymore, I do know one group that still observes it.

    The reasoning that I've heard includes that it removes a distraction from those of an age to have hormones running wild , helps those attending alone not to feel so separate or lonely as when everyone else is sitting with their families, helps develop deeper relationships with other people since nobody can just stick to their comfort zone with their own family, and for those churches that practice the Holy Kiss, it means no improprieties there.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank78 View Post
    Hello everybody,

    I´ve seen a Catholic church service in rural Bavaria these days. One thing which surprised me, because I´ve only attended Lutheranian church services, is the fact that the women sat on the left side seperated from the men who sat on the right.

    I´d like to know how the situation is in your area or country.
    Well as my other fellows countrymen have wrote, it's not a common practice in Mexican Catholic churches.

    Sometimes (and only sometimes) when a wedding it's celebrated, groom's family sit on the left side and and bride's family on the right side, because this' the way the bride and groom sit on front of the altar.

    But in every sunday mass or at the daily one it's normal you sit around your family or whoever you were joined to the mass
    Friends are difficult to find so if you have them, take care of them, and the most important ¡Love them!

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    In Russian Orthodox church men and women stand together (there are no seats in Orthodox temples). I am sorry, but I have no info about Catholic churches in Russia.

  14. #14
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    This used to be common practice in Catholic churches in Ireland, or at least where I lived, up until the 70s at least. Even through the 80s there was a de facto women's and men's side which older people would adhere to.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by pickarooney View Post
    This used to be common practice in Catholic churches in Ireland, or at least where I lived, up until the 70s at least. Even through the 80s there was a de facto women's and men's side which older people would adhere to.
    And What about today, Elders had lost the habit???
    Friends are difficult to find so if you have them, take care of them, and the most important ¡Love them!

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguelillo 87 View Post
    And What about today, Elders had lost the habit???
    I was brought to church fairly regularly when I was small (1990's) and there was no division that I ever noticed. I'm sure it's still the same today.

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    I was brought to church fairly regularly when I was small (1990's) and there was no division that I ever noticed. I'm sure it's still the same today.
    Have you lived in Dublin (or near of) by this time?

    Because maybe pickarooney lived in a smaller town or far away form the capital, and things were different. I think Capitals always go a step forward than other towns in the same country.
    Friends are difficult to find so if you have them, take care of them, and the most important ¡Love them!

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguelillo 87 View Post
    Have you lived in Dublin (or near of) by this time?

    Because maybe pickarooney lived in a smaller town or far away form the capital, and things were different. I think Capitals always go a step forward than other towns in the same country.
    Quite possible. In any case, as regards Dublin churches, there is no division between the sexes and I don't think there has been for a very long time.

  19. #19
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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    In the Czech republic and Hungary (before WW II when people were allowed to go to church) it was really common to separate women and men and not only in Catholic churches.
    [ɒkinɛk humorɒ vɒn, mindɛnˤtud, ɒkinɛk niŋʧ, mindɛnrɛ ke.pɛʃ]

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    Re: Men and women separated during church service

    Hi,

    Here in Brazil, I have never seen it neither in Protestant, mainly Presbiterian, which I attend, and Catholic, which I used to attend, services. Couples sometimes even exchange some affection gestures, as hugs, during the service, with respect, of course =).


    Good bye.:
    "Em boca fechada não entra mosca" - sabedoria popular

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