Female Altar Servers at Tridentine Mass


I posed this question in the Altar Girls thread…

I am curious as to what the prohibition would be against girls serving at the altar in a tridentine Mass? Since the Mass is of the latin rite and governed by canon law, then wouldn’t the same diocesan rules apply no matter which liturgical text is used?

I understand that such a thing would probably never be done but would it be licit.

Please let me know what specific rules would apply here.


My guess is that most of the people at the Tridentine Mass are pretty conservative liturgically, and they would not want female servers. I bet that most of the women at Tridentine Masses would not even try to volunteer as servers.

But I am wondering:

Has anybody out there ever seen female servers at a Tridentine Mass?

Yes I’ve seen it at a few Indult Masses.

You have? Where, may I ask?

I agree. My question is really just academic. I’m just curious if there would be any reason that it could not occur.


Huh, I would have thought priests celebrating the Indult Masses would have a little too much of a traditional leaning to allow altar girls :confused:

Or would they be forced to use the regular servers from the Pauline Masses?

Does the indult allowing female altar servers in the Current Mass extend to the Former?

Altar girls are not allowed by indult. They are allowed by Canon Law. The Congregation for Divine Worship determined that the wording for altar servers in Canon Law could include girls at the discretion of the diocesan bishop.

I have to assume that since both the current Mass and the old Mass are subject to canon law, this interpretation of the canon would apply equally to both.

Yes, but the priests celebrating the Old Mass should have some discretion in who they allow to serve.

I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as altar girls. I believe Rome calls them altar servers, ever since the invasion of females into the sanctuary.

Can you please show me where Canon Law refers to them as altar girls?

Altar girls at a Tridentine Mass? Boy, you guys are really trying to push us back to SSPX. Just give us TLM and do what you want in the NOM.


Per the Indult, TLM Masses are governed by the rubrics and rules in force in 1962, and the TLM masses follow the Lectionary (Holy Days and Readings), Collects, etc. that was used then.

Since NO ONE (except some LIBERAL PROTESTANTS) used girl acolytes in 1962, you won’t find any girl acolytes used in TLM Masses that are faithful to the Indult.

NO bishop can change this - This has been set by the Indult.

I hope this answers your question and clarifies this.

Your Brother in Christ, Michael


Don’t worry about it. Another exception of bad catechesis. If people understood that the original word was ACOLYTE and that the Vatican started using the term ALTER SERVER to placate feminists and those types. And, that there should not be as many girl Alter Servers as there are, because these have caused a lessening of the number of young men hearing the call to the priesthood.

But, and this is as may be as important as anything we’re discussing, the TLM’s that are celebrated on the Indult are covered by the Rubrics and Canons of 1962 per that Indult. That means that NO ONE (outside of the Pope) can force female Alter Servers on the priests and congregations celebrating the TLM’s under the Indult.

I don’t see that happening, esp. with Pope Benedict XVI.

Your Brother in Christ, Michael

As simply as I see it.

Did a bishop or cardinal lay hands on you? Were you confirmed?

I guess an apostle just deputized us to Christ then.

Yippee!!! I’m an apostle.

Now didn’t Jesus pass the loaves and fish to the apostles to give to the multitudes?


Altar servers are actually supposed to be ordained ministers, but it has become a practice to deptutise lay men and boys in the role due to the lack of priests.

As one of those who attend the Tridentine Mass, if there is no regular altar boy ( we have a school attached, so there is usually a lad rostered for the purpose), a member of the congregation will often stand in ( being trained as altar boys in their past) OR in the case of a recent Mass where there were 2 elderly and decrepit men in the congregation of 20. The priest offered Mass without.

I read somewhere in that Altar Boys are supposed to be ‘extraordinary’ just as EHMCs are.

But does they are still governed by current canon law, correct? They cannot be somehow under the code from 1917. So, since they are under the current code of canon law, girls could serve at the altar at the bishop’s discretion. There does not seem to be a restriction to one version of the Mass over another.

Is there a document that says the indult Mass is not subject to this canon?

To those who think this is a ploy to get girls at the altar: I have no interest in that and to my knowledge no one is trying to accomplish such a thing.

To paramedicgirl:


In the Ecclesia Dei Indult the same rubrics and disciplines MUST be used in accordance to the rubrics and disciplines in place at the time of publication of the Roman Missal 1962.

This is an express prohibition of women having any liturgical function whatsoever, with an exception of singing in the choir but never the schola to chant the propers.

I cannot believe I am even hearing of one person in this thread saying they witnessed female altar servers at a Tridentine Indult Mass. No priest who is the celebrant at a TLM would allow such a thing.

Yet I have heard of some having the TLM face the people at times and even allowing plain laymen chant the Epistle, both of which are considered as abuses.

The same extends for Ext. Mins. of communion and communion in the hand and standing for holy communion- both forbidden at the TLM.

Many would even be suprised here to also learn that we still follow the old liturgical calendar that was in place during 1962 and that there are several conflicting feast days such as Corpus Christi which is still celebrated on a Thursday instead of a Sunday. We also do not follow the new discpline if the holy day falls on a Saturday or Monday then it is not observed.


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