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The Cambridge chaplain is right to accept female servers at Tridentine Masses

I agree with Fr Alban McCoy’s decision even though I am not, in fact, in favour of altar girls

By on Monday, 30 May 2011

Altar servers pictured at an Extraordinary Form Mass at the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Altar servers pictured at an Extraordinary Form Mass at the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

I am in a quandary which I cannot resolve. I am a woman and I attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Yet I very much dislike seeing altar girls serving at Mass. I ought to be pleased both because they are “being given a role to play” and because, as an attendee of the OF Mass, I should presumably have liberal instincts and accept altar girls along with extraordinary ministers, guitars and everything else.

But I don’t like it. Why? Well, when this innovation came in I heard along the ecclesiastical grapevine that the late pope, Blessed John Paul II, had capitulated to it under pressure from liberals in the Vatican. If this is true, it is not a good reason to allow such a large change to the Church’s tradition. And in the eyes of traditionalists it is a further objection to the post-Vatican II Mass over which they already have many objections.

Further, I have subsequently read many persuasive articles arguing that priestly vocations have fallen since the innovation came into practice. Becoming an altar boy was, in the past, a not unusual way for a priestly vocation to be kindled. I am sure there are complex reasons why there is a dearth of vocations in the West, but it seems reasonable that this is one of them. Apparently boy altar servers have tended to drop out with the onward progress of the girls. My final objection is instinctual: it simply looks wrong and slightly pagan to see young women on the altar alongside a priest.

Now my quandary has been further complicated by reading Stuart Reid’s excellent Charterhouse in the Catholic Herald of May 27. He relates that Fr Alban McCoy, the Catholic chaplain at Cambridge, is allowing young women students to act as servers at –wait for it – Tridentine Masses said by him. This, as Blessed John Henry Newman might have said, is “a turn up”. EF Masses are where you go if you don’t believe the Mass of 1962 should ever be changed – and that includes the immemorial tradition of male-only altar servers. The late Mgr Alfred Gilbey, chaplain at Cambridge for 32 years who retired rather fast in 1965 when women (me included) began to attend his chaplaincy Masses, must be turning in his grave at Fr McCoy’s innovation.

Yet when I read Charterhouse I immediately felt that Fr McCoy was right. He says he did not seek out female servers but, according to Stuart Reid, “decided not to refuse the request of two young women to serve in the old form”. Now he has a team of 10 servers: six men and four women for both OF and EF Masses: “One rite of liturgy, one set of servers.” I read the situation thus: if you choose to attend the EF Mass you are a serious believer for whom the liturgy is a sacred celebration that must be performed with due reverence (this might not always be the case among some who attend the OF). Fr Alban also knows these young, committed, Catholic women have no aspiration to become priests themselves and thus no agenda (unlike some feminists who see serving at Mass as a first step in the right direction). In charity and wisdom he chose to accede to their respectful request. I agree with him.

I now seem to have argued myself into the rather weird position of approving of women altar servers only at Tridentine Masses, while strongly disliking their presence at OF Masses. This is entirely inconsistent. As I said, I am in a quandary.

  • Diffal

    You problem view yourself as a liberal with an ‘enlightened’ attitude like that and look on the rest of us as right wing extremists

  • DB McGinnity

    According to Mark, from The Catholic Herald it seems as if you may have been deeply wounded by my reference to calling you a bigot, and for comparing you to Bernardo Gui. I withdraw my remarks and I am sorry if your wounds hurt. I also agree that you have no need to justify yourself about anything you do, to anybody. Only recently, someone called me a liar, but I did not complain. I just put the incident down to normal human interaction.

  • DB McGinnity

    In 1956, a girl I knew wanted to be a church cleaner and to attend to the flowers on the altar. Before she was allowed to do so, she had to undergo some sort of ritualistic cleansing dispensation ceremony whereby she would be allowed to go near the altar, as women were forbidden from going into the sanctuary (behind the altar rails). She was obliged to sign a document of secrecy that she would never reveal anything she saw or heard in the heard in the church. This act was wanton sexual discrimination.The altar boys and the decorators did not have to sign anything. She is still alive and she still has the document, however it would be too trivial to ask her to post it from Canada. I do not care whether you believe me or not. I was born with the gift of imperfection, and as such I have been frequently wrong many times about many things and I will continue to be wrong about many things for the rest of my life. However, if you are so pedantic that you need me to admit that I am wrong, then so be it:I AM VERY PLEASED TO ADMIT THAT I CANNOT SUPPLY TANGIBLE EVIDENCE TO YOUR SATISFACTION ABOUT THE CHURCH’S FEAR OF WOMEN BEING INDISCREET AND TELLING TALES ABOUT CHURCH CORRUPTION. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT OTHER PEOPLE CANNOT.

  • Weary Convert

    “The bulk of the laity do not properly understand these things, due to the woeful catechesis they receive.” Since the bulk of the laity are unlikely to care about this nonsense, in Mr nytor’s prospective parish, they will doubtless be punished by orders to pay, pray and obey – and shut up.  And this from an arrogant would-be cleric already preening himself because of the superior knowledge with which he intends to dazzle his prospective flock (note for Mr Oddie, this is deliberate sarcasm in case you missed it).  |t seems that humility does not feature in seminaries nowadays (especially of the Econne flavour perhaps - where else would would find such unpleasantness?).

    As to my “delusional” comment on special arrangements, it was obviously picking up the points made by Mr McGinnity, at present immediately after this post although – now 11.05 pm – it was logged at 8 hours ago.  It does not cover the ordination of women or gay marriage: the issue is girls as altar servers or as some ghastly person somewhere on this website called them, “serviettes” and is doubtless now hugging him/herself with glee at such a clever remark. Do try to keep up.

  • DB McGinnity

    No I do not! I look on all human beings, of whatever race, colour creed and gender to be equal in all things. I do not know what liberal, modernist and secularist means in doctrinal terms. I know that God loves all people equally and that no one creed, doctrine, religion or sect has any advantage. An ignorant child from a pre-literate society in the Amazon is just as important to the glory of God than all the doctors of the church, past, present and to come, Such a child is more important than all the Mass’s that were ever celebrated. This is what Jesus taught us: “Love one another, even the least of my brethren”.

  • DB McGinnity

    Because I am old, it will not effect me, thank goodness, but I purport that all religions are ‘on the skids’. They have been overtaken by reason and logic. Modern intelligent people will no longer allow, unfounded, made up, illogical and superstitious dogma to control their lives.

  • Neuby1619

    If Fr. allows girls to serve the Trinitine Mass, then does he also give Communion in the hand while standing? It would only make sense!

  • David Ayalon

    Well, Mr Steward Griffin you are the clever boy. You soon made “short work” of DB McGinnity and made him admit he was wrong. So, what did you prove other than you have a preoccupation with conspiracy theories and you are arcane and small minded. He is quite right that the church are petrified of menstruating women and that is why they are discriminated against. It is because ‘smelly’ women might contaminate the Blessed Sacrament. That is the top and the bottom of why women cannot be priests or altar servers in the Byzantine, anachronistic and fundamental Roman Catholic Church. The logic is; who the hell in their right mind would want to be a celibate priest in the first place.

  • Charles Martel

    OK, I just imagined the people posting on this site were Catholics. Sorry – misunderstanding.

  • Charles Martel

    Dear DB McG, actually when I said ‘I don’t have to justify what I have said’, I meant it in the sense that Catholic theology and praxis is profoundly biased in favour of tradition as opposed to novelty, for the simple reason that the sources of revelation are Scripture and Tradition. Novelty doesn’t get a look-in, and in fact we are warned against it by St. Paul and many others. The innovators must justify themselves, not the conservatives. That ain’t arrogance; that’s just the way it works. And traditionalism in the Church is in fact on the upswing. It’s modernism that’s dying. Look around you.

  • Stewart Griffin

    “So, what did you prove other than you have a preoccupation with conspiracy theories and you are arcane and small minded”

    Asking someone to substantiate their claims is neither small-minded nor demonstrable of a preoccupation with conspiracy theories. I do not believe anything I wrote could be considered ‘arcane’ (mysterious, secret, understood by few).

    “He is quite right that the church are petrified of menstruating women and that is why they are discriminated against.”

    No doubt, some people, wrongly, oppose female ordination because of an aversion to menstruation, but I do not believe that it is the “top and the bottom of why women cannot be priests”. 

    For sensible, mainstream objection to female ordination you could look at Mark P. Shea’s: ‘Ordination is not a right’ and Peter Kreeft’s talk: ‘Women and the Priesthood’ (1994) (both easy to find via Google). Obviously, there are more than these two examples of arguments, against female ordination, that do not rest upon menstruation.

    “The logic is; who the hell in their right mind would want to be a celibate priest in the first place.”

    Did you mean to write: “…who the hell in their right mind would want to be a celibate priest…[if menstruating women are also priests]“? Without that amendment of your statement, it reads, to me, as a non sequitur. Maybe your just too arcane for my powers of comprehension.

  • DB McGinnity

    You are an Oxbridge or Ivy League man no doubt, indispensable to the future of the Catholic Church. A real Thomas Aquinas with real genuine humility to boot. I am an old Trinity College Dublin myself from the old Protestant days and I probably learned bad academic and scholastic Protestant habits. I acknowledge that I could never compete with your perspicuity, fluency and perspicacity. I have little doubt that you might be the next Pope.

  • David Aaron Ayalon

    My, Oh, My, You are a real livewire! A real “Rumpole of the Bailey” in the making. What precision, what incisive quick witted rhetoric, I was holding my breath all the time, and sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation as to how you could humiliate another person. I think that he may have humiliated you, and exposed you as an overbearing, witless, officious stuffed shirt. What a load fun you would be on a night out. You’d be a scream!

  • DB McGinnity

    Humility is not a great feature in these blogs, especially from the “Traditional Wing” of the Catholic Church. Hidden behind their veneer of incense, interminable chanting, ubiquitous lighted candles and “Oscar Night” attire there is a growing pernicious, middle ages, authoritarian “beat and burn” mentality. One bloke actually advocated the advantage of corporal punishment (self flagellation, self abasement) as a means of disciplining the body, to harden the body against sins of the flesh, that cause people to go to Hell. Imagine that.!!Only recently, an arrogant ass put me in my place and pointed out my scholastic shortcomings. He was like a “dog with a bone” with his self righteousness and self aggrandisement. I acknowledged my woeful failings and imperfections of which there are many, or he would have kept going for the next ten years. The hallmark of the “Traditional Wing” is inflexibility supported by Papal infallibility and doctrine from the ninth century.Now I will discuss all of these matters with my tomcat: “Charles Stuart Parnell”, who is a Protestant and a Freemason, whose morals are atrocious, because he ‘bonks’ all night and sleeps all day, and has no conscience.

  • Solentrambler

    Our Lord praised a woman for washing his feet.  Yet some don’t think it appropriate for a woman to wash the priest’s hands at Mass. 

    I am genuinely curious to know what the distinction apparently is.

  • Stewart Griffin

    “Our Lord praised a woman for washing his feet”, good point.

    I think you’re right that the washing of His feet by a woman shows that Altar girls should be permissible. Clearly the Church agrees that altar girls should be allowed, although I do not know if this is the reason.
    I believe having or not having altar girls is a pastoral issue, rather than a matter of faith, with the concern being that the inclusion of girls leads to altar service no longer being viewed as part of the process of discernment. This leads to a drop in vocation, which is a serious practical concern.

    Also, less importantly in my view, many view it as a block in the process of unification with the Eastern Orthodox.  This seems harder to argue as it would seem to imply that Catholics should base their practices on the opinions of the Eastern Churches rather than our own Magisterium. Still, unity is an important concern.

  • Anonymous

    Are you seriously suggesting that Monasteries open their doors to females? Similarly that Nuns should do likewise for males to enter? This is an absurdity and is a form of totalitarianism that, please God, I pray we never see.

  • John D. Horton

    If girls can become altar boys, why can’t boys/men become sisters/nuns?  If a male feels called to a charism expressed in a female religious community, why can’t he join the female religious community.  If the modernist-feminist ideology of secular “equality” is to be taken seriously across the board in the Church, then males should be allowed to join female religious communities and wear the female habit and wimple.  As of this date, I have no information that any female religious order is serious about “gender equity” and all female religious orders have barred the recruitment of men into their communities.  In fact, female religious orders are very hypocritical about demanding gender-equity for themselves but denying men the opportunity to join the female religious communities.  Modernist-feminist female religious orders (and other feminists):  “Practice what you preach.” 
    When female religious orders recruit and accept men into their communities, then I will take seriously their (and other feminists) demands for gender equity as expressed in their demand for girl “altar boys.”
    John D. Horton
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  • DB McGinnity

    Well absurd or not, it is already happening. I have been to a mixed monastery for a retreat in the US. It was once thought that the armed forces would not mix, and now it is normal. Some Masonic Lodges are mixed and by law all clubs have to be mixed. The idea of mixed toilets are on the increase. Whether you like it or not, the law will decide that sexual discrimination in any church is illegal and articles of faith and established dogma will count for nothing. All legislators are not Catholic and there is no longer a special position or special consideration for religions, no more than there is for Astrologers, Spiritualists or Palmistry.

  • Stewart Griffin

    Hello John,

    “If girls can become altar boys, why can’t boys/men become sisters/nuns?”

    Don’t give them any ideas!

    “If the modernist-feminist ideology of secular “equality” is to be taken seriously across the board in the Church”

    I am not arguing for feminist ideology. When I said that: “I think you’re right that the washing of His feet by a woman shows that Altar girls should be permissible”, I have not based my argument on feminist doctrine, but on the example of Jesus.  This is an acceptance of  the fact that, in the same way as priestly celibacy is a matter of discipline rather than faith, “having or not having altar girls is a pastoral issue, rather than a matter of faith”. This is also the view of the Church and thus Girls are allowed to serve as part of the Novus Ordo.

    However, it should also be remembered that female altar service is a privilege, not a right, and therefore any local Church hierarchy can forbid the practice.  Further, just as the Church is free to demand priestly celibacy, it is free to decide that the altar girl experiment has failed and ban it from occurring anywhere in the world. Demands for ‘equality’ do not factor into my thinking on this issue.

  • John D. Horton

    Okay, Biblical literalism: 

    The woman washing the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:39, John 11:2, John 12:3) occurred outside of the first Mass, i.e. the Last Supper, at a party/reception for Lazarus.  Our Lord barred all women from the first and only Mass that he celebrated, i.e. the Last Supper.  Therefore, only men should minister during the Mass in any capacity inside of the sactuary including readers, Eucharistic ministers, etc.

    As for women serving the Last Supper: 

    I am currently in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, which is around 500 miles south of Jerusalem.  Assuming that current Arab dinning practice is similar to Biblical-times dinning practice, the women of the house did not enter the male meeting room where the Last Supper was held.  The men of the house or male waiters served the Last Supper in a room separate from the main house assuming that the Last Supper was held at someones private home instead of at a restuarant or public meeting hall in which case women were not present at all.  Therefore, women should not enter the Catholic sanctuary because they were not present in the room where the Last Supper was held by the deliberate and authoritative design of Our Lord.     

    John D. Horton
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  • Charles Martel

    Are you a Catholic, DB McG?

  • John D. Horton

    Could this thread have any thing to do with St. Thomas Aquinas’ proposition that women are not rely human or that they are defective males via the creative act of God in Genisis (i.e. God only created Adam)?  Are women not “ritually pure” because they are not part of the original creation but rather a rib from Adam and thus not eligible for service at the altar?  Females might also be ritually impure because they have the possibility of menstruating (See wikipedia:  “Tumah and taharah” regarding Leviticus ritual purity of women).

    My “ritual purity” idea was shot down by Fr. Z on his blog a few years ago when I suggested it as a reason for male-only sactuary personnel. 

    John D. Horton
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  • Jacquelineparkes

    As the mother of 8 daughters & 2 sons I am pleased that it is only the boys who serve. When we had our 4th daughter was born in 1992 & we heard from Mgr Tom Gavin (R.I.P) that girls were “allowed” many turned to us & said  you must be pleased! We stated clearly as far as we were aware they were only toi be used if boys were not available. Of course once the girls “took over” the boys generally disappeared!

    Our 8th & 9th children were boys & they began serving age 6 & still serve now age 12 & 14. Their sisters have never asked to serve..not unexpectedly since there are only male servers at our church. Unlike Francis we are v happy to attend both EF & OF Masses. Our boys have served both though have a preference for the OF. I think it is essential to have different roles for our boys & girls & the Catholic church in her wisdom gives us that.

    In conclusion..please let’s leave some jobs for the boys!

  • John D. Horton

    In the above post, the word “rely” should be “really.”

  • Jacquelineparkes

    A correction! Francis has not said she doesn’t like to attend EF Masses..I made an incorrect assumption & apologise. I forget that not everyone has the ready access to both forms of the Mass that we have!

  • Jacquelineparkes

    I feel very sorry for you if you believe what you posted!

  • John D. Horton

    “Genisis” should be Genesis.


  • Ema5

    women and girls are segregated in Mosques & Synagogues because of male inferiority complex.Inoue dioscese alter serving has been integrated since the 1960′s we have not had any problems in attracting the boys to serve with the girls.if you give them the chance they get along quite well.we also make use of our young people as readers etc. from approx. age 8. the congregation actually pay close attention to the word when the children read. the result of there service at a young age is that they are more involved in service to the parish when they become adults and parents.
    By the way iI am a 78 year old male.  

  • Ema5

    Canon law and dogma are 2 different things

  • Stewart Griffin

    “Canon law and dogma are 2 different things”

    I was unsure exactly what DB McGinnity meant by: “There is no Catholic dogma anywhere that states (in Canon Law) that a person cannot be a priest and a mother.”

    My response was meant to ask his thoughts on Canon Law 1024 (which would prevent a mother being a priest by virtue of her being female), but I used a full stop rather than a question mark so it looks more like a statement, which is confusing.

    If a Canon law reference is not what he wanted then I would point him to Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and its clarification in ‘Responsum ad propositum dubium concerning the teaching contained in “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”‘. The latter, by Ratzinger and approved by Blessed John Paul II, states:

    “Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.Responsum: In the affirmative.This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium25, 2).”

    Someone could try to argue that there is an error in these documents, but they are the current teaching of the Church, written by the current and former Pope, and so they leave the burden of proof on those who want to claim: “There is no Catholic dogma anywhere that states (in Canon Law) that a person cannot be a priest and a mother.”

  • David

    “28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.”

    Roma locuta; causa finita est.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Chaplain’s actions (and I happen to disagree with female altar boys in principle and struggle to understand how his decision could do anything but outrage the sensibilities of the laity attached to the EF), the Holy See has spoken.

    The use of female altar boys is just plain disobedient.

  • Anonymous

    Double monasteries have existed for centuries. Cf Anglo-Saxon England or St Gilbert of Sempringham. They are not “mixed” as the men and women live separately but share a church. They are not the result of secular diktat.

    I really do not see that the Church will ordain women whatever secular lawmakers say.  Nor do I see that secular lawmakers would be so unwise as to try it.

  • Guest

    There were certainly women in the professions prior to WWI, for example Dr Maria Montessori qualified as a medical practioner in 1901 (if memory serves me).   Just because something was less common, or even downright rare, doesn’t indicate that people at the time considered impossible.  The fact that wartime measures like the Womens Land Army indicate that at the time people did consider women capable of making this sort of contribution, and indeed to do it on a large scale when the need arose.

  • Guest

    My dear DB McG, do you seriously think that a small regional civil authority like the British Government or the EU is able to dictate doctrine to the Catholic Church – arguably the oldest extant institution on Earth and the largest and most international organisation ever to have existed?  Do you REALLY think that?!

  • Vincenzo

    The PCED clarifies the situation:

    “In this regard, the Circular Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments of 1994 (cf. Notitiae 30 [1994] 333-335) permitted female altar servers, does not apply to the Extraordinary Form.”


  • Anonymous

    The Vatican has now resolved the issue.

    “I have now a copy of a letter sent by the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesiae Dei” and signed by the Secretary Msgr. Guido Pozzo, which clarifies that UE 28 in fact does say that females cannot serve at the altar in the Extraordinary Form.
    The letter essentially quotes UE 28 and then states:
    In this regard, the Circular Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments of 1994 (cf. Notitiae 30 [1994] 333-335) permitted female altar servers, does not apply to the Extraordinary Form.
    Bottom line: females may not serve at the altar in the Extraordinary Form.”

  • Joan

    According to the Vatican, altar girls are definitely not to be permitted at the traditional Mass. Here’s a link

    It is very surprising that Francis Phillips thinks they are all right.  Her photo suggests she’s old enough to remember the beautiful old rite Mass and since she seems to have enough of a Catholic mind to know that altar girls are out of place even in the new Mass, it is odd that she thinks they’re acceptable in the old Mass.
    Thank goodness this has been clarified early on by the Vatican. None of the post-conciliar novelties are to be allowed in the old rite, including altar girls. The Holy Spirit lives on!

  • saint7

    There’s little more to add than what has already been well said by others, such as Fr. Z: .  See also Joseph Shaw’s contribution on this topic:   (and his three part series on the underlying question of why).  There is absolutely nothing to be in a “quandary” over here(!)….  A blessed Ascentiontide to all.

  • Profidebookstore

    The Cambridge chaplain is mistaken, unless his act is now a deliberate attempt to introduce abuses in the TLM too. Paragraph 28 of Universae Ecclesiae is clear: no changes introduced into the Roman Mass, whether traditional or New, after 1962 are  applicable to the 1962 Missal.

    Paragraph 28 runs: “Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.”   

  • Profidebookstore

    There is no conflict between the 1962MR and the CIC 1983.  Although paragraph 27 of Universae Ecclesiae might suggest that there is:

    “With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies”, suggests that there might be a conflict,

    paragraph 28 with the phrase: ” by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates” from it.

  • Parasum

    Woman do this all the time LOL – they aren’t interested in equality, but in being top…er…bitch. They are as liable to be keen on dominion as any man – as Allice Thomas Ellis (R.I.P.) pointed out in her brilliant book “Serpent on the Rock”. For some reason, they don’t like being fined, sacked, imprisoned,or executed; but if men can take it, so surely can they: don’t they want equality ? In the words of Esther Ratzen: “That’s life”. So that Shoesmith female should shut her gob & be grateful she’s not being banged up for gross criminal negligence – as in a just world she would be.

    “If the modernist-feminist ideology of secular “equality” is to be taken seriously across the board in the Church…” – the Church cannot allow this, any more than it would be able to allow human sacrifice. There is no place in the Church for this ideology.

  • Parasum

    Allice Thomas Ellis = :facepalm: = Alice Thomas Ellis

  • Parasum

    “[M]asculine gender” is for nouns & other such parts of speech. It is a *grammatical* category. Sexual differentiation is for animal biology, human biology included.

    This grotesque solecism, which nobody with a Classical education could possibly commit, is almost ubiquitous – which is a very good reason for fighting it.

  • Parasum

    Interesting – & not at all surprising.

    “This is innovation is being contemplated primarily to curtail the power and proliferation of Muslim religious ideologies and Asian cultural customs, like veils.”

    Sounds like: Law of Unintended Consequences – as has happened before. Do you have any more info about this ?

    “However, if this law comes into being, then it will be illegal for The Catholic Church to forbid girls from serving at mass because the Church’s teaching does not supersede secular law.” 

    If “the Church’s teaching does not supersede secular law”, it would be unlawful to have only Catholics as Popes, & only men as priests. If those matters are not affected, at present or even in the future - because their current forms are essential the CC’s self-understanding, & to its understanding of what Christianity is meant to be - what basis is there for the EU (or any other body outside the CC) to require the CC to permit girls to serve at Mass ? One would like to know that :)

    Conversely, if outside bodies can have jurisdiction over the Church’s laws – even when these safeguard its Faith, practice, & teaching – what is there to prevent the same bodies trying to assert jurisdiction over ecclesiastical laws that safeguard its most basic doctrines ?

    The very notion that the Church can legitimately be treated in this way is absolutely intolerable; it’s no different from rape. It’s also heretical – for the Church is a perfect (i.e. autonomous & self-sufficient) society. If Catholics are not allowed to obey the Church, why should they care a straw for what other sources of authority say ?

    Still, if attacking the Church leads to the destruction of the EU – then let it attack.

  • AgingPapist

     I hope Fr. McCoy and the the UK bishops ignore this stupid ruling from “Ecclesia Dei”.  They ought to ignore that disaster of a missal cardinal Pell is foisting upon the English speaking Catholic world as well.

  • bigdrums

    The reason/need for female altar servers to begin with was the lack of male altar servers.  In 1994 “official” permission was given, but females served on the altar as early as the 70′s at military installations simply because no males volunteered or were available for the needed assistance.  The same need exists today, regardless of the Mass “form.”  To reject females now simply because they weren’t “there” in 1962 is shortsighted and will surely be reversed when this shortsightedness is realized by “the decision-makers.”

  • bigdrums

    Not True !   Boys enjoy serving with girls !   Many are attracted to being altar servers because or the presence of girl servers !

  • Mary

    Yes Charles you are right girls have no business being altar girls.  This is what is wrong with the Church:  exactly what you posted Communion in the hand, Eucharistic ministers,  women not dressing modeslty, etc.  If women were meant to help or be present at the altar during Holy Mass, then don’t you think Jesus would have had  His Blessed Mother present at the Last Supper?  She is, as you all know, a model for us women.  And if she was not present then it means we as females should not be present at the Altar.  This has nothing to do with “equal rights, etc”, this has to do with what was actually done at the Last Supper, the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass.

  • Mary

    Please see my response to Charles Martel.  It was not meant to be.  Why do women want to eat the bread of man?  Let men be men and let women be women.  Our roles have been defined.  It has nothing to do with anyone ing less than the other.  Do you know what Holy Mass is?  Other than our Blessed Mother’s role in Jesus’s life, did you see any other woman have such a vital role in the Last Supper, in the Crucification of Our Lord, in the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ?  This is what Holy Mass is all about.