Altar Serving Seen Through Secular Eyes

“There is no quicker way to get labeled a misogynist today than to suggest an end to girls serving at the altar.”

Then perhaps more ‘girls’ should endorse your orthodox Catholic views!🙂
Re-blogging this on Catholicism Pure & Simple.

liturgy guy

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There is no quicker way to get labeled a misogynist today than to suggest an end to girls serving at the altar. If you doubt the validity of that claim, try writing a blog post or two on the topic and see what happens. Sadly, those who most often speak out in support of the current practice do so with little more than feelings and personal anecdotes.

When revisiting this topic it still surprises me just how entrenched many have become in their support of female servers. While it was the revision to canon law in 1983 that opened the door for girls to serve, official permission did not come from Rome until 1994.

Consider that for a moment.

For a Church that is 2,000 years old, the practice of girls serving at the altar isn’t even as old as Justin Bieber. And yet it is defended as if there…

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6 Responses to Altar Serving Seen Through Secular Eyes

  1. kathleen says:

    What it means to be an Altar Server…

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    I haven’t seen any altar girls in years, and our only PP who allowed them limited the practice to strictly involve primary school girls only ; the ONLY older children allowed were boys, even then ; and the girls were admitted only in the sort of observant, passive rĂ´le that a nun might take in the Choir.

    I’ve never personally witnessed any altar girls allowed to perform any function of direct liturgical assistance whatsoever.

    I do think there might be some value in encouraging vocations to the women’s religious life by means of such careful application of this innovation, though of course those priests who abuse it by overtly supporting some sort of (non-existent) liturgical rĂ´le for women are causing a great deal of harm to the Catholicity.

    I have seen photos of pubescent be-make-up’d teenage altar girls, and such images seem outright uncatholic — though IMO a far wider problem is the occasional even more gross misuse of the faculty of employing women religious as extraordinary eucharistic ministers ; so far, OK — but far too many priests these days, and even in Southern Europe, abuse this faculty by providing them with some completely unauthorised ordinary liturgical tasks, ordinarily reserved solely to priests, deacons, or acolytes — and sometimes even during the Mass proper !!!

  3. reinkat says:

    IF the sole purpose of having altar servers is to develop vocations, THEN have it be only boys. If being an altar server also has as a purpose to deepen faith through humility and generosity of heart, and to deepen understanding of the Mass, then why not let all young people have that opportunity. It can bring nothing but good.
    I go to a university parish/newman center, with relatively few young children, and the majority of our servers are adults, both men and women. Each individual says they are deeply honored to serve, and are visibly reverent. Most of the servers end up going to daily Mass.They become involved in parish activities at all levels. I cannot see that as bad, or gender specific.

  4. kathleen says:

    Hello reinkat!

    In answer to your question “why not let all young people have that [being an altar server] opportunity”, I would suggest that quite simply “because it is not a role for girls”. Liturgy guy gives plenty of good reasons why this is so, not only in this article, but also in two others on the subject of altar servers that you can link to on his interesting blog. This is not to demean women in any way, as there are other ways (like singing in the church choir, or teaching catechesis to children, or helping out in the parish office, etc.) for women who may wish to participate in an active way in the Church.

    Teaching children (both boys and girls) to acquire a deeper faith and better understanding of the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the beauty of a well celebrated liturgy, is the right way to help them enter into a greater love and union with Our Blessed Lord. It should not imply that girls need to actually “serve” the Mass too, for they will never celebrate the Holy Sacrifice themselves!

    In the days before there were any female altar servers in the Church at all – and I have heard people who knew the Church well before this time say that such an idea would have been totally abhorrent to them – vocations to the religious life for women flourished. It was the crazy liberal innovations that took over in the name of “the spirit of Vatican II” in our Western nations, that brought all vocations, both male and female, plummeting! It is encouraging that with a return to a more reverent, God-centred liturgy, and a re-appearance of the sublime Mass of the Ages in some parishes now, vocations to the priesthood are slowly on the rise again… though we still have a long way to go to fill the numbers of priests we need in the Church.

  5. liturgy guy says:

    Thank you for sharing my post Kathleen!

  6. For those who may have not read the entire article, I think there are three significant quotes:

    1. “Lost on many of the faithful is the understanding that society’s idea of equality, one that no longer even acknowledges the difference between a man and a woman, has no place in the realm of the sacred.”

    2. Pope St. John Paul II wrote in “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”: “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    3. “For many in the Church today it is easier to embrace the politically correct and politically expedient position.”

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