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The 1994 statement permitting girl servers was a mistaken tactical retreat which led to a fall in priestly vocations. It’s time to withdraw it

Undoing the damage will take time: the sooner the Church starts to clear up the mess, the better

By on Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Holy Father looks on as a female server presents his zuchetto

The Holy Father looks on as a female server presents his zuchetto

The rector of the Catholic Cathedral of Phoenix, Arizona, has decided that girls will no longer be allowed as altar servers (though they will continue elsewhere in the diocese). His reason is simple: he thinks that an all-male sanctuary promotes vocations to the priesthood. “The connection between serving at the altar and priesthood is historic,” he says: “it is part of the differentiation between boys and girls, as Christ established the priesthood by choosing men. Serving at the altar is a specifically priestly act.” I’m not sure, to be pedantic, that that’s entirely orthodox (in the context of the Mass, only the priest himself performs specifically priestly acts), but one knows exactly what he means: what the server does is intimately related to the Eucharistic action and can be seen as an intrinsic part of it: the server is a kind of extension of the priest himself; if there were no servers, the priest would do what they do. According to Fr Lankeit, 80 to 95 percent of priests served as altar boys.

The question is, why shouldn’t that happen when there are also girl servers? There are two reasons: firstly because the causal link between servers and priestly vocations is weakened if some or most of the servers in the sanctuary are excluded from it. But secondly because as soon as girls appear, the supply of altar boys tends simply to dry up.

The first time this occurred to me was in the house of friends with whom I was staying in France. One of the guests at dinner one evening was Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Tours (now Cardinal Archbishop of Paris). The subject of conversation at one point was the way in which, in the local Parish Church, presumably in an attempt to involve women in the celebration of the Mass, not only were all the readers women but so also were all the servers girls; my wife (not I) compared it to a farmyard, with the priest as the cock strutting about in the middle of a flock of hens. Archbishop Vingt-Trois said that the priest may have had no choice over the all-girls serving team: “Once the girls arrive, he said, the boys disappear: you can’t see them for dust” (his explanation was much more graphic in French). And he was adamant that though there were, of course other factors contributing to the decline in priestly vocations, the decline in the number of all-male sanctuaries was certainly one of them.

I suspect, though there’s no way to prove this, that many if not most Catholics, once they think about it, will have the feeling that this is either obviously true, or at the very least a plausible hypothesis. For what it’s worth, the US website Catholic Answers carried out a poll in which they asked the question “does having girl altar boys help with vocations to the priesthood?”

The answers were as follows:

YES, Girl Altar Boys help Vocations To The Priesthood: 2.98%
NO, Girl Altar Boys don’t Help Vocations To The Priesthood: 64.29%
Girl Altar Boys, Have No Effect At All On Vocations To The Priesthood: 32.74%
Voters: 168

It’s a pretty small sample, of course: but I would be surprised if it’s not true that almost nobody thinks that girl servers help vocations to the priesthood, that of the remainder, about two thirds think it doesn’t help, and another third thinks it makes no difference. If the question had been asked differently: if the question had been “does an all-male sanctuary foster vocations to the priesthood?”, I suspect that more than that two thirds would have replied “yes”, since historically it has observably done so. In the US, only one diocese now restricts serving at the altar to boys and men, Lincoln, Nebraska, and it is apparently the case that vocations there are higher than elsewhere.

The late Pope was opposed to the practice, and didn’t allow it in his own diocese of Rome: so why on his watch, in 1994, was the rule that only men and boys could serve at the altar (which had been firmly reimposed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul himself) relaxed? It’s a puzzler. Some say it was inevitable since, especially in the US, it was already being widely defied: but all kinds of things the Church is against are indulged in defiantly by disobedient Catholics, and the Church quite rightly doesn’t give an inch. One theory is that it was a tactical retreat to avoid legal action. As the writer David L Sonnier explains it,

Take a moment to recall the circumstances under which this practice was allowed. We lived in a hostile political climate in 1994; the politicians in Washington were condemning the Catholic Church for not ordaining women, and ridiculing the Church for Her stand against abortion. It seemed that according to these critics at the highest level of the Clinton administration, the Catholic Church would not be qualified to address the issue of abortion until women were ordained.

In 1994 a document from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts gave some room for the novel practice of “female altar servers” under political pressure from the U.S., but nevertheless insisted that “the obligation to support groups of altar boys will always remain…” due, of course, to the relationship between service at the altar and future vocations. Has there been any such support for “groups of altar boys?”

Well, no: of course there hasn’t, because as soon as the girls appeared, the “groups of altar boys”, as Archbishop Vingt-Trois put it, couldn’t be seen for dust. But could the document be withdrawn? It won’t be easy: there are already so many girl servers. But they tend to disappear when they grow up. And though no bishop may impose them on his priests, he does have the right to forbid them. This is the paradox; he may not impose girls—but he still may impose boys, as may any of his priests.

And this could be the time to start: radical feminism is much less of a threat than it was, and may be confronted more readily than it could, say, in the US in the eighties. I remember vividly arranging my notes before delivering a lecture on feminist theology in the General (Episcopalian) Seminary in New York, in 1983. I was approached by a male seminarian, who said simply, “Oh Dr Oddie, I just wanted to tell you, since I know your views, how much we admire your courage in coming here to explain them”. “I need courage”, I replied, slightly alarmed: “Oh yes”, he said, and disappeared. And so it proved: I was heckled repeatedly, but I think I gave as good as I got, and the evening was an exhilarating one in the end.

The church has not entirely given in on this, and little by little, girl servers could be phased out: a final date could perhaps be announced for this to be achieved, diocese by diocese, parish by parish. The tradition is still solidly there, beneath the surface. As David L Sonnier puts it,

Let’s take it one point at a time. First of all, the Holy Father does not allow Girl Altar Boys within his own Diocese of Rome. That should be enough to give pause to a number of people who currently see nothing wrong with the practice.…

Second, this practice of placing girls at the altar has absolutely nothing to do with Vatican II and was condemned in the strongest of terms twice following the council. In 1970 Pope Paul VI said in Liturgicae Instaurationes, “In conformity with norms traditional in the Church, women (single, married, religious), whether in churches, homes, convents, schools, or institutions for women, are barred from serving the priest at the altar.”

And in 1980 Pope John Paul II stated in Inaestimabile Donum, “There are, of course, various roles that women can perform in the liturgical assembly: these include reading of the Word of God and proclaiming the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. Women are not, however, permitted to act as altar servers.”

That is the tradition of the Church to which we should now return. To begin with, that 1994 statement by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts (I bet you’d never heard of them) should be simply withdrawn. Why not? Its issue was a huge mistake, whose consequences have been disastrous: It’s time now to begin to repair the damage. It may take some time: so the sooner we start the better. Any priest who reads this can start on Sunday: a bishop could get on the phone today.

  • Charlie Peer

    As a non-Catholic drawn here by a link, I am stunned by the transparent weakness of this piece and the argument as a whole. 
    1. “I suspect there is no way to prove this.” Too right there isn’t. This article is just a series of colossal assertions without any attempt to furnish evidence. 
    2.  The Rector of Phoenix Cathedral says that “serving at the altar is a specifically priestly act”. What on earth is the theology of that statement? I understand the pragmatic argument (wrong though it probably is) but that in itself does not verify the statement. Exactly what do servers do that is specifically priestly, and if they do, how can it be specifically priestly? What he seems to mean is effectively, they stand in the place where women shouldn’t be allowed. The accusation that the theology of the male priesthood is just an old-fashioned taboo on unclean women has never looked stronger.
    3. “It’s time now to begin to repair the damage … any priest can start on Sunday”.  Let’s think about this, shall we? Imagine a priest in a typical parish church standing up on Sunday and announcing that the girls who currently serve at the altar will be banned forthwith. What do you think the balance of damage done vs. damage undone would be?
    4. If one of this country’s leading Catholic commentators cannot see the problem with complaining that “the supply of altar boys has dried up”, then the road to recovery is going to be long and difficult.  Wouldn’t it be better to see this as an opportunity to re-assess the process of vocation and even to consider whether there are other factors which deter young men from offering for the Catholic Priesthood?

  • Torquemada

    “We lived in a hostile political climate in 1994; the politicians in Washington were condemning the Catholic Church for not ordaining women…”

    So, according to this theory, the Church in permitting female servers fell once again to the weakness of seeking human respect, rather than keeping her eyes on the Bridegroom. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit, since that is also why we have the Novus Ordo, the politically correct liturgy which has destroyed the Faith. It dethrones Our Lord and enthrones human respect.

  • CM

    I have no desire to hold onto my position. I didn’t ask for it, I was asked by the PP and agreed to serve God in this small way. My children no longer serve, in fact the two eldest no longer go to Mass. By the way, of course I look at the church from a human point of view – we ARE the church!

  • Anonymous

    Despite this post being about altar servers it seems to have turned into a Guitars v’s Church Organ argument again.

    The problem with Vatican II was not generally in the document but in it’s
    misinterpretation (however, I personally believe that some wording was
    ambiguous, as I will prove). The 50′s & 60′s ushered in ‘the sexual
    revolution’ and materialism on a larger scale than ever before. An
    increase in disposable income meant that people were free to be and do
    as they pleased. Guess what! These people started turning up at church
    saying. “Hey, why can’t we have this and why can’t we have that?” The
    ‘WE’ of the Church became ‘ME’. In other words, people started saying “I
    can have what I want in my life so why can’t I have it in the Church”.
    Unfortunately, Vatican II accommodated this. I will give you a classic
    example from page 96 of Vatican II (paragraph 63 – study edition) it
    clearly says

    ‘In permitting and using of musical instruments,
    the culture and traditions of individual people’s must be taken in to
    account. However, those instruments which by common opinion and use, are
    suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from
    every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions’.

    What
    happened next? We get the longest running battle in the church since
    Vatican II – Guitars v’s Organ. The juxtaposed words in the text of culture
    (which is permitted) and secular (not permitted) caused all this trouble because the
    present culture was controlled by the new found materialism and pop
    music culture. So what did people want in their church? Answer –
    guitars. However, a lot of people agree that a guitar is secular.

    I genuinely believe that this is the thing that caused all the trouble! So what should be done about it?

    My answer is that these ambiguous areas should be cleared up by the Vatican once and for all and that this should be the end of the matter. What do you people think?

  • ASC

    Well you’re both right, I should think. I hate trendy charismatic stuff and my girlfriend loves it although on visiting the church I grew up in she understands me more though: the worship band/music group there being too much even for her.

    I have while at university attempted to broaden my tastes and attended student-led Prayer and Praise for quite a while at the chaplaincy: the problem I find though is that charisma is a rather dangerous quality which can lead to the leader developing something of a cult of personality around him/herself which causes a big fallout should that leader prove to have feet of clay. I think that traditional liturgy’s strength and weakness is identical: it avoids the extremes both of joy and of cultishness. And even if young people get involved on the up, when the crash happens many will permanently leave the church doors.

  • W Oddie

    An ancestor was one orphan in a batch:they were all numbered and given their number as a surname. I think it’s rather praiseworthy that the family kept the name rather than changing it to something more apparently prestigious.

  • Mr Grumpy

    As a recent Catholic convert who once thought like you…

    1. “The accusation that the theology of the male priesthood is just an old-fashioned taboo on unclean women has never looked stronger.”

    It might look strong to bigots, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. It isn’t.

    2. Equal opportunities in Catholicism are about salvation and sanctification. Women are already better than men at grasping those opportunities. I recently read a liberal’s complaint that discrimination against women was particularly unfair since they make up 80% of Mass-goers. The irony seemed to escape her.

    3. Catholicism is a sacramental religion. It does not put the spiritual and the material in separate compartments. Why then should early physical proximity to the Blessed Sacrament not be an important factor in the formation of vocations?

  • Anonymous

    I hated serving, actually. Used to get stage fright.

  • Ema5

    Perfect BS

  • emago

    Our dioscese has had alter girls serving for at least 40 years when my daughter started  serving mass. at no time did the boys quit serving for that reason This idea that boys & girls are in competition does not stand the test of time. both sexes cooperate with the older ones always helping the younger ones. girls seem to drop out from serving approx. 2 years before the boys. This seems to prove that having girls serving the lord has no effect on young men willing to serve.
         i believe the opposition to Alter Girls is driven by cultural views.

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    There seems to be an assumption, among many, that a male-only sanctuary (and a male-only priesthood, come to that) implies some kind of disparagement of women, that they are inferior.

    That is simply not the case: I woud contend that women are too good to be priests, rather than too bad.

    I’ve blogged on this, in case anyone is interested…

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    God has revealed Himself as male in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ always referred to God as His Father.  He taught us to pray to God as “our Father, who art in Heaven…”

    And the problem is?

  • Rolando Rodriguez, SFO

    I’m not sure I understand what the scandalous suggestions I’m making.
    Paz y Bien, Rolando, SFO.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    Actually, while I agree with the majority of your post, it is not true to say that Rob (or anyone else) is “free to have (his) own opinion.”  It is a grievous sin to doubt the Faith as it has been revealed to us by God through His Church, and it is, literally, the unforgiveable sin to reject the known truth. We have an obligation to acquaint ourselves with Tradition – the entire body of the Church’s teaching and adhere to it. The Church’s teaching on male only priesthood is consistent and will not change.  That has been restated in our times.  If our peanut brains cannot fathom the reasons for such truths, then we have to (as our American cousins say) “suck it up”.  We embrace the truth, and ask for all the graces we need to submit to God’s truth,whether or not we can grasp the reasons; indeed, humanly speaking we cannot, by definition, “understand” certain truths – certainly not completely – in this life.   

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    God revealed Himself in Jesus, as a male.  Jesus is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity (He is God).  Jesus, Son of God, taught us to pray  to “our Father” in Heaven.

     It’s not about “God being perceived as male” – God has REVEALED himself in “maleness” not “femaleness”.  What IS your problem?

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    God revealed Himself in Jesus, as a male.  Jesus is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity (He is God).  Jesus, Son of God, taught us to pray  to “our Father” in Heaven.

     It’s not about “God being perceived as male” – God has REVEALED himself in “maleness” not “femaleness”.  What IS your problem?

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    I believe this heresy is called “Feminist Claptrap”.

  • croixmom

    Thank you for the correction.  You are, of course correct!

  • croixmom

    Thank you for the correction.  You are, of course correct!

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    By definition, what you are saying is that “globally the Catholic Church is more Protestant than in the UK etc…”

    The charismatic movement/nonsense is a Protestant-inspired phenomenon and Catholics should avoid it like the plague. 

    As for “whenever the Church hasn’t changed it has declined.”  You ought to sue every parish priest and Catholic teacher ever charged with your Catholic formation. Just another thought.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    By definition, what you are saying is that “globally the Catholic Church is more Protestant than in the UK etc…”

    The charismatic movement/nonsense is a Protestant-inspired phenomenon and Catholics should avoid it like the plague. 

    As for “whenever the Church hasn’t changed it has declined.”  You ought to sue every parish priest and Catholic teacher ever charged with your Catholic formation. Just another thought.

  • croixmom

    lol!

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    The saints down the centuries, all the magnificent Catholic spiritual writers, urge silence in order to deepen our union with God. 

    Your commitment to the charismatic baloney is seriously endangering your eternal life.  Educate yourself in the traditional Catholic Faith, Sacraments, etc.  That’s the only antidote to all the protestantising going on in a parish near you.  You can’t trust these modernist bishops/priests – trust me…

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    ANOTHER reformation?  So soon after the last one, 1962-5?  Puleeeeeese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    The truth has its own power.  Once the Faith is proclaimed in its entirety and the graces flow again through Catholic liturgy, prayers and devotions, the young will flock back.  Rock concerts where Mass used to be, is blaphemous and cannot possibly bear good fruit.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    The truth has its own power.  Once the Faith is proclaimed in its entirety and the graces flow again through Catholic liturgy, prayers and devotions, the young will flock back.  Rock concerts where Mass used to be, is blaphemous and cannot possibly bear good fruit.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    The truth has its own power.  Once the Faith is proclaimed in its entirety and the graces flow again through Catholic liturgy, prayers and devotions, the young will flock back.  Rock concerts where Mass used to be, is blaphemous and cannot possibly bear good fruit.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    So, according to  what you write, the Holy Spirit didn’t get around to visiting the Planet Earth until the Protestants started the charismatic movement and now it’s a case of watching to see if He appears in an “orthodox place” in the Catholic Church?  Are you crazy? 

    Like you, I’m interested to hear what the “charismatics” have to  say in response to your post, so I’ll say no more  for now – except to highlight, among the frankly many incredible things you have written, that your statement: “the Church has to realise that adoration has to be high on their agenda in the next 5 years…”  is one of the most incredible statements I’ve read from an alleged Catholic in a very long time.  

    When I say “you need help” I don’t mean to be insulting – it’s just a statement of fact. 

  • sclerotic

    Seven sacraments for men, six sacraments for women. Good old Oddie – tell it like it is.

  • Nishant Jeyaraj

    Even the 1917 Code of Canon Law permitted female servers on some occasions. We must keep in mind that a permission is not the same thing as a promotion. And that is all that Rome has done, provided permission.

    I think people easily compromise the indefectibility of the Church today, even if implicitly and not meaning to do so. The Church, our Mother, cannot hand down to us, from her highest authority, an intrinsically harmful discipline.

    I also think there is no sufficient empirical substantiation yet of the proposition that female altar servers reduce vocations to the priesthood. Is there? And how do they affect vocations to consecrated life as nuns?

  • Nishant Jeyaraj

    Among the many heroic women of Scripture, can we imagine
    how much Mother Mary, who was with the Lord all His life could have
    taught the Apostles, and the others, had she been appointed a priest?
    Yet, it was not her Son’s pleasure to do this, not even to her who was
    “blessed among women, and full of grace” who truly excelled
    every man as well, except her Son, who was God. But still, she was not
    ordained into the priesthood, to act in the person of Christ. It was not
    hers to expound on the word of God in church and teaching with
    authority, nor perform the other priestly duties, as St.Paul commands
    Timothy to do.This alone proves that no woman can ever be ordained a priest, and it would be a lie to attempt it.

  • guest

    That is a why Joan hasn’t heard of any complaints about the Mass before Vatican II, those that did complain left in disgust and most certainly do complain about.

  • guest

    The disciples were the laity, there was no sanctuary at the last supper, nor the one after he rose from the dead. It was also women that made the bread, set the table, and all the other things that some Catholics seem to think women shouldn’t do because they are somehow unclean.

  • guest

    Yeap and the priests can iron the vestments too and alter cloths, do all the readings, find time to take communion to all of the sick on a Sunday.  Women must know their place…

  • guest

    No it is about women and the apparent threat to weak little boys that are so intimiated by working with girls, it will destroy their ambition to become a priest.

  • guest

    Doesn’t obedience involve obeying Jesus’ command to love one another and to not judge other…Attacking faithful, teenagers with a real heart for God is not what Jesus asks us to do. I think most parishes do know when to use Extraordinary Ministers, mine is a very large one. Without them Mass would take a very long time when have seven on a sunday….

  • Anonymous

    “Ben Trovato”, do you really believe that load of nonsense? If so then it seems that you will believe anything no matter how absurd in order to support your case. You think that Mother Teresa went to see a sick Pope John Paul when he was in hospital and the most pressing issue on her mind was to ask him about female altar servers? Come off it. And that Cardinal Antonio Maria Javierre Ortas, the Pope’s choice to be Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, somehow went behind the Pope’s back in announcing the decision in March 1994? Or that Archbishop Vincenzo Fagiolo President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of
    Legislative Texts was lying when he said that Pope John Paul II confirmed their interpretation in July 1992 and ordered
    its promulgation.

    And that the Pope did nothing about this, although he was opposed to it, but allowed Cardinal Ortas to remain in post until 1996 when he reached 75?

  • guest

    Thank You

  • guest

    You are bright light on a very dark and depressing thread…thank you….Without the women that serve in my parish, it could not function, and though we have men serving too, there are not enough because those they are a generation that is dying off. The men that happily attend mass, do not have the time to serve around work and family or already do enough.

  • guest

    At my parish women do both, so do the men… It is teams of men and women that do the soup run, men sometimes wash the sancturary floor too…If those things are lacking it is either because of lack of time to devote to it or the lack of a community within the parish.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody is claiming that any individual has a right to serve at the altar. They are saying that it is wrong without a very good reason, to restrict the privilege of being a server to members of one gender.

    A priest who denied a boy the chance to be a server because of his race would rightly be condemned. If the priest said that any complaints are absurd because serving is a privilege and not a right then he, like croixmon, would be missing the point.

    Serving at Mass is not a priestly role; it is nothing at all like the sacramental priesthood, it is specifically a role for a lay person. There is no contradiction at all between an all-male priesthood, based on theological arguments, and all -male altar servers based on weak or non-existent arguments.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody is claiming that any individual has a right to serve at the altar. They are saying that it is wrong without a very good reason, to restrict the privilege of being a server to members of one gender.

    A priest who denied a boy the chance to be a server because of his race would rightly be condemned. If the priest said that any complaints are absurd because serving is a privilege and not a right then he, like croixmon, would be missing the point.

    Serving at Mass is not a priestly role; it is nothing at all like the sacramental priesthood, it is specifically a role for a lay person. There is no contradiction at all between an all-male priesthood, based on theological arguments, and all -male altar servers based on weak or non-existent arguments.

  • Anonymous

    I admit I made a botch of this post (and the other one). I just saw that Michael Kenny was in the middle of this altar server business worried about the worship bands business and thought I’d say something to give him a bit of support. In light of my ‘botching it up’ (so to speak) bare with me as I want to explain one of my points.

    This is not a particularly well known fact but, the one thing I do want to say is that large scale adoration has been a big deal at Catholic events outside of our churches in the past few years. 1.5 million young people prayed before the blessed sacrament last week in Madrid, there was over a 100,000 young people at Eucharistic adoration during the papal visit to Hyde Park. There have been 3000 and 5000 people at Eucharist adoration at both Youth 2000 events and New Dawn events for many years now on a yearly basis. This is something that is being pushed to the fore.

    To give you one of the better examples, Youth 2000 have this structure known as the ‘burning bush’. It is a large conical structure with candles going all the way up with the blessed sacrament at the top. Up to 5000 youths knee around this structure during exposition. It is also common for there to be an all night vigil. However, at the end of the formal time the priest processes with the monstrance around the youths who are kneeling. As the the blessed sacrament passes the people present either hold or kiss the humeral veil.
    Now bare in mind that this is after the vast majority of them have been (willingly) to confession. I have even seen mantillas there. To be honest, this is impressive stuff. I think that even Michael Voris might approve

    The point that I am making  is that these kids are the ones that are really serious about their faith and are most likely to be the next generation of lay people that are going to be running our churches. They have grown up with this level of worship and are going to quite rightly expect more than what we are experiencing now.

    And, if you don’t believe me then read William Oddies article:

    Eucharistic adoration could transform the English Church in the not too distant future

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2011/06/27/eucharistic-adoration-could-transform-the-english-church-in-the-not-too-distant-future/

    And never mind about Eucharistic Adoration, my own personal view is that no congregation should be able to get out of Walks of Witness with the blessed sacrament. If I had my way it would be compulsory (and more than once a year).

    As for the other thing, I think that the charismatics will know were I was coming from on that one. There are plenty out there who go to the large Catholic charismatic conferences, get filled with the holy spirit and then arrive back at their local church and wonder what’s hit them. I’ll leave it there for now. Apart from one final thing. It may come as a shock to you but it is often those who attend charismatic masses and events who are the one’s that often turn out to be the most orthodox. I will will let someone else explain that one to you.

  • guest

    Did the Scouts also have less boys, once girls were allowed in? Did they stop going camping or having outings? If they can adjust why can’t the alter servers……..Why can people talk to each other? Why can’t girls ask questions given the chance?
    At a mixed school, classes are often arrange with boy/girl seating, it teaches them that they are not alien to each other and to communicate with each other, to work together. 

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    “Patrick_Hadley” I do not either believe or disbelieve this: at this stage my mind is open on the matter.  I report it as an account that is ‘out there.’

    What I do believe is that the post-hoc legitimisation of the practice of disobedient clerics was done in a most irregular and unusual way, overturning centuries of practice in an extraordinary fashion; and I have yet to see a more credible account of how that happened.

    What’s your theory?

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    Who thinks women are somehow unclean?  That is no part of the reasoning for male-only altar servers.

  • guest

    The can be inspired to dedicate themselves to a life of service to the church or they might be inspired to live for God and not follow their school mates into sex and drugs. They might become Cathecists, Worship Leaders, they might work to help the poor on missions, run the Mothers and Toddlers group when they are older, they might become Religious. Of course those things are unimportant because Women are unimportant.
    The lack of vocations is more likely due to the fact that young boys aren’t shoved into the seminary any more and teenage boys fully understand that a life of celibacy is not a choice they want to make. Parents  have far bigger aspirations for their sons too. Though many paid tuiton fees might be appealing now.

  • croixmom

    Guest,
    There is substantial difference between serving the church by offering time, talent, and treasure (which we must do), and being ignorant of what the Liturgy is.  You are ignoring that priests are men set apart for service to Christ.  Ordination places an indelible mark on their soul.  For any lay person of either gender to not consider the uniqueness of the priest and the sacrifices the man has made is wrong.  
    This discussion is not about maintenance of the parish facility, it is about whether or not females should be admitted to the sanctuary.  Other faith traditions allow that.  They are not Catholic.  No other faith Tradition has the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord, the True Presence.  
    The Mass is NOT about the congregation.  The Church is not a democracy.  

    You are describing the social functions of the church community.  That is completely different and separate from The Mass. 

  • croixmom

    Patrick,
    The Acolyte is a minor order of priestly formation.  

  • croixmom

    Guest,
    The Church is not a secular, social or even philanthropic institution.
    The Church is unique in and of herself.