A woman's place in the Mass


My pastor is a very traditional sort of priest, and I consider myself a traditional catholic also. He told me that he doesn’t want girl altar servers, and I agree with him. I tried to explain to my sister and she thought I was being sexist. I know that traditionally women shouldn’t be in the sanctuary during the Mass, but I couldn’t explain why. Someone Please Help me in explaining why we shouldn’t have girl altar servers!!!


Vatican 2 clarified that women have a ministry role in the Mass so there really isn’t an explanation as to why we shouldn’t have girl alter servers other than the preference of the bishop.

After all, women served Jesus. On the other hand, if the alter servers (male or female) are slack or give the appearance that they would rather be doing something else, then they have no business being there.


Part of the point of altar servers is for young men to get an up-close-and-personal look at what a priest does so that they can consider this as a “career choice” when they grow up. Since a girl isn’t going to become a priest, the altar serving doesn’t serve a real purpose for her spiritually.



I disagree. If she is serving, she is growing spiritually.


How so?

I honestly think that female presence on the altar breaks down the barrier of an all male priesthood. An article here suggests that the shift of the way Catholics think, which is contrary to dogma, is heading towards a break in Tradition:


“Polls suggest that a majority of US Catholics support the ordination of women, according to James D. Davidson Jr., a professor of sociology at Purdue University. Davidson, who studies Catholic public opinion, said support for ordaining women is strongest among younger and more educated Catholics; overall, he said, about 53 percent of US Catholics support the ordination of noncelibate women.”


“Many Catholics in the United States also have questioned the Church’s refusal to ordain women. A recent Gallup Poll showed 55 percent saying women should be allowed to become priests. Italian journalist Vittorio Zucconi says there’s a practical reason for allowing women into the priesthood.”


If she is serving, she is growing spiritually.

I don’t mean a female altar server can’t grow spiritually; but I mean move closer to her spiritual calling, like discerning if she is meant for a religious life the way a guy can (since nuns do different things from priests).

When it comes to the Latin Mass, I’ve often thought that being an altar server would help anyone grow spiritually because the altar servers are the people who get to be most involved (besides the priest, obviously). In English, the whole crowd gets to be much more involved, so being an altar server doesn’t have the same kind of effect.



I have never attended a “Latin Mass” before (Though I hope to someday:) ) but as having “served” for the English version of the Mass in the past, I can confidently tell you that it still is a wonderful spiritual experience.:thumbsup: I do somewhat agree that the whole girl-serving thing, as it used to seem a little akward. But I guess I grew up in a traditional sort of Catholic family, and a traditional parish (still not with the Latin Mass) As far as your sister is concerned, I’m sorry, but if it’s OK with the Bishop, it’s OK with the Church. :o
By the way, I admire your patronage. :extrahappy: Maria Goretti is wonderful!


Not to get off the subject,

I may be wrong, and it won’t be the first, but women serving at the altar cannot lead to women priests. Putting a female in another extraordinary minister role does not compromise anything. However, the priest is in the person of Christ and the Church is the bride of Christ. To put a female in the place of a priest will cause the Church to commit an act of “homosexuality”. I can’t see that the Church will be willing to go that far. Besides, the magesterium must know that if women are “ordained” as priests it would split the Church. I can’t see that Christ would allow this to happen.

As far as the poll of US Catholics supporting women priest go, I’m sure if they polled how many supported contraception, it would be near the same. Secular polls don’t change anything except to draw the world further into misunderstanding the Truth.


1 Corinthians 14:34
women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. :blush:

Just to clarify “I am not a man.”:o


In other sections of the bible Paul speaks of females who prophesies, so he couldn’t have been against women ever taking part in church. If you look at the culture of the people who he was addressing, you will see that the Corinthians were very controlling of wives. Some women were not allowed to leave their homes. So when they met in groups they tended to be very talkative. It would be very rude for anyone-male or female-to talk during mass.


For what it’s worth, the role of the server has changed for the most part in the New Rite. He/she now has no responses and sits far away from the table/altar. The focus has changed to the deacon, concelebrants, readers, and EM’s. Whether ALL this is good or not should probably be the debate, not whether girls are allowed to serve.


whew! I feel better:p Thanks for explaining. I’ve listened to scripture and I have read Scripture but amazingly I’m not done reading the entire bible;)


Female servers may not lead to female priests. But, it can and does in some cases lead to feminist discontent and some people leaving the Church.


Readers, and EM’s are many times female in the Pauline Mass so it really does not matter how “far away” the servers sit. women are still at the Alter.This all gives some (if only a few) women the impression that the Church will change the “rules” and let them become priests at some future time.


Actually, I see a whole congregation at the table/altar. They removed the communion rails which served to separate the sanctuary from the pews. The new churches are configured so that people face one another. And so forth. Whether they actually had this in mind at Vatican II, I don’t know. But it definitely seems to have a newer theology behind it.


Being “most involved” in the sense of having some specific part to play doesn’t equal any more participation in the Mass, and for some people this may even be somewhat distracting to their full participation because they might find themselves concentrating more on their tasks than on offering the sacrifice with the priest. The altar servers are only 100% sure to be more “involved” in a positive way if we’re using a faulty concept of full, conscious, and active participation.


Fwiw, there are two diocese in the US that do not allow female altar servers, one being Bishop Bruskewitz’s (sp?) diocese in Lincoln, NE. He has the largest amount of priestly vocations in the country.

The Church use to always search out potential candidates to the Holy Priesthood by encouraging young men to serve at the altar. You can believe it or not, it makes no difference to me, but it is a fact. It’a all related to promoting an all male priesthood.

I do know a Novus Ordo priest who did NOT really want to use girl servers, but when girls were allowed to serve, he noticed a drop in boys wanting to serve. Since this happened, he relied on the girls to fill the spots made void by the lack of male presence on the altar. He admitted there hadn’t been a vocation in the parish he was serving in over 40 years, his words not mine. Not to the religious life, not to the priesthood. If anyone here does not see the connection, I don’t know what to say.


*Disobedience or Trailblazing?
For a variety of reasons, the issue of female altar servers was once considered the ultimate “liturgical abuse”. In the 1980’s, it was a de facto litmus test for fidelity to Rome and at the top of any list of “how to spot a faithful parish.” Because **the use of altar girls was a pet cause of feminist and dissident organizations **who threw their weight behind the propagation of the practice, countering its legitimacy became a cause taken up by conservatives. Arguments against altar girls could not only be made from authority, but also tradition, theology and basic common sense. The use of female altar servers, it could be argued, was not only illicit but it was a novelty with potentially destructive consequences for both the liturgy and vocations. Once a reinterpretation of canon 230§2 found room for altar girls, such objections lost their impact.

Dissident groups lobbying for the “ordination” of women and defiant liturgists across the U.S. and Western Europe declared victory. Although there have been some minor adjustments to the details of the permission and some ineffectual acknowledgements of the rights of bishops and priests who choose to forego this newfound liberty, the outcome had been decided in what was for years considered to be a battle that symbolized the struggle between conservative and liberal liturgical views. For their defiance of Church regulations concerning the liturgy, the liberal dissidents were rewarded with official approval of their actions. They learned the lesson well and shifted the targets of their efforts to other ways they could continue the devolution of the liturgy through selective defiance.*

It appears the feminists saw the connection putting girls on the altar and women becoming priests.


I started a thread about this in Liturgy & Sacraments. I thought that the servers were still supposed to respond, not just stand there. The answers I received support what I thought. The servers are not being properly trained if they do not respond in the Pauline Mass.


The servers are not being properly trained if they do not respond in the Pauline Mass.

I suppose they should but their responses are no different than for those in the congregation. There is no Psalm 42 or the tongue-twister Suscipiat to study in the New Rite. Those Latin prayers including the Confiteor took a little bit of effort to memorize; I know that turned off quite a few who thought about becoming servers. But those are part of the Old Rite and add to its beauty.


I have not seen a pious-looking altar server in the NO, girl or boy for that matter, for many years. I see slouchy teens who seem to have other things on their minds. I can’t say when I last saw a server actually respond during the Mass.

I completely agree with marymonde’s post. Girl altar boys are a mistake, and if you just look at the statistics you will see that this has led to a decline in vocations. Not only that, I think it’s led to an increase in dissatisfaction among feminist Catholics who will continue to push for more and more until they can become priests.

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