participation of women in the Mass, etc.

A recent thread touching on this subject was closed, so please try to keep this discussion civil and respectful.

I’m wondering if there is something I’m missing. I occasionally hear people speak with disdain about women filling various roles in the liturgy. For example, you might hear, “I would never receive Holy Communion from a woman.” The recent thread referred to a woman leading a penance service.

I’m wondering: Why is the issue with women? If the church allows these functions to be fulfilled by laity, why does it matter if the lay person is male or female?

I’m not looking for an argument about whether there should be Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, lay-led Communion services, etc. Whatever my (or your) personal opinions might be, the church allows them. I’m just wondering if there is something missing and if these positions are more correctly filled by men.

This is very touchy issue. I know, since I have been on both sides of this debate.

Unfortunately, there are women within the Church who will do anything & everything they can to impose ***their will ***on the Chruch (the Woman’s ordination crowd). What happens then is, because some women have these ideas, in reaction, you have some people who say all women are like this, therefore none of them have any place other than “silent pew sitter”.

When in reality, most women (and I know this from my own experience) are the ones who step up to the plate to do things, and more often than not, these women know their place and would never dream of doing anything that would intentially “blur the lines” between laity & clergy.

It doesn’t.


There, that’s settled! :smiley:

EMHC’s are only supposed to be used in very rare and extraordinary circumstances, not every Sunday. The ordained clergy, which can only be men, are the ordinary ministers of holy communion. I try to avoid receiving communion from a lay person anyway when I attend the OF.

With regards to everything else (servers, readers, acolyte, singing the Propers of Mass) those are actually supposed to be roles filled normally by clerics, and/or properly instituted lectors/acolyte, who can only be men. Unfortunately, many diocese refrain from having these because they don’t want to exclude women.

Women have their place within the Church. They are called to bare and raise holy children to help foster vocations, especially good and holy faithful priests. Those who are not called to the married state, are called to serve the Church through their talents and gifts and with prayer. Women don’t need to be in the sanctuary taking up the space of the priest and doing his roles. I have actually seen a woman get into a tug-o-war with a brand new priest over a purificator when she started taking them and the cups of Precious Blood off the Altar and hand them out to the EMHCs (a big no-no) and the priest noticed and went to take over what she was erroneously doing. It was quite sad to watch.

Extraordinary EM’s are supposed to be rare, so gender isn’t the issue there.
One of the duties of altar serving is to discern the priesthood. That’s why I’ve come to agree that only boys should altarserve.
As for lectoring, if you’re using a lay person, I think it’s fine to have a woman read. Whoever reads the best should read (if you’re intent on it being a lay person) In fact, I lector occasionally.
Other non-liturgical positions are also for either gender (and some are better with women, IMHO, like children’s catechist.) In act, the majority of non clerical positions in the Church (catechists, secretaries, youth ministers, ect.) are women. Something like 75% I think I read.

What the woman did was wrong, but being a woman may not have had anything to do with this issue. Some men are just as ignorant of liturgical abuse as well. It is not always a matter of wanting to be in control.

In my parish, as in many parishes, I am sure, the reasons for using women/girls are more practical than any woman wanting “equal rights” or whatever. We have 2 priests and 2 retired priests. We have, I think, 5 or 6 deacons. Including Saturday night vigil Mass, we have 5 Masses every weekend. We have a minimum of 8 - 12 Eucharistic stations. 4 upstairs, 4 downstairs at a minimum plus the overflow at the 10:30 Mass and the Amphitheater at Easter. Doing the math, there is no way we could not use Extraordinary Ministers. We also use both boys and girls as altar servers, but they are robed differently. Again, just doing the math, it’s pretty much impossible not to. Unless the same boys served every weekend.
All the women I know who serve do it for just that reason: to serve. Not because they want to be priests, or whatever. I understand some people only want to receive from the priest or deacon, however you do receive just as much Jesus from me as you do from them.:wink:

There should be no issue at all. Some have an excessive fear that some women are trying to wiggle their way into a priest like role which is ridiculous. If the Church is allowing females to serve in roles like altar serving, lectoring and EMCH etc. then some need to check their attitudes about what they personally think or what they think the Church allows or doesn’t allow. To judge some female that may be serving in a legitimate role withing the liturgy as that female is a priest wanna be is immature and judgemental.

yes that is it exactly! 99.9999% of the women that end up serving in one form or another are there to give and serve and nothing else.

9-10 ordained men - the Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion - Wow! I don’t see the absolute necessity for EMHCs. So what if Communion might take 10 or 15 minutes longer? Patience is a virtue after all.


The deacons may not be at every Mass though. And the retired priests may not be around every Sunday.

In answer to the OPs question though - any role that can be filled by a lay person can be filled by a man or a woman. I think the first response is correct though. Women in general have been tarred by the same brush because a few women have agitated to become priests. :frowning:

There is usually one priest and one deacon at any given Mass. There is also only about 30 - 45 minutes between the 3 Masses on Sunday morning. That means there isn’t 15 or 20 “extra” minutes for the 9 or 10 ordained men to serve everyone. After each Mass, the serving vessals have to be cleaned and prepared for the next Mass, the musicians for the next Mass need to set up and warm up. The sanctuary needs to empty and be filled again.

Also our two retired priests are both north of 80 and frail. Asking them to serve at every Mass would probably shortly kill them. (Not a joke, either.) Our parish has several thousand active members.

Also, I don’t know if you have ever taught a class or anything like that. I have, and 1 hour of speaking leaves me exhausted physically and mentally. I couldn’t imagine asking any priest or deacon to concelebrate 5 Masses each week. By the time they got to the last one they would be so brain fried no one would get their best. Not the people, nor God.

Being a priest or deacon is a very hard job. It’s a lot of work and study and prayer that the people never see. It’s carrying our burdens with us and being responsibile before God for our spiritual growth and well-being. Anything any of us can do to make their job a little easier, whether it’s serving as an Extraordinary Minister, or lectoring, or just lifting them up in prayer every day, that’s what we should do.



But seriously. I serve as a lector and EMHC not because I want “equal rights” with men in the Mass, but because there is a need at the two parishes I frequent. I ask some of you, would you prefer NONE of the women serve ever? Because if you do, you should talk to your brothers and tell them to step it up on the discernment track.

AMEN! If the boys and men would step up, there would be less need for women to serve in these roles. My husband won’t serve, and I feel called to serve. It’s not about “equal rights”, it’s about doing what needs to be done. I will continue to serve my parish community until I’m told by my priest or bishop to stop … until there are enough priests and deacons that my service in this capacity is not needed.

Of course this is about wanting to be in control - of the purificator if nothing else :slight_smile:

In my parish, we had a young lady who had a beautiful ministry as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. She was always very reverent and modest. Today she is a postulant to a Franciscan order. I believe that her time being spent close to the Lord helped form her vocation.

I serve my parish as a cantor. The Lord blessed me with a good singing voice and then laid it on my heart to share it with the people of God. I have cantored for all types of Masses, including many Masses with our bishop.

Before I cantor, I pray that the Lord will make me as a stained glass window so people will look through my singing ministry and see Him.

Lovely story! I agree that the small roles that women and girls do in the church can help them to discern vocations to religious life just as it helps men and boys discern vocations to the priesthood, religious life, or permenant deaconhood.

What exactly are we supposed to BARE??? :eek:

Anyway, I wish my body could BEAR children; but because I don’t have children, I actually have time to serve the Church with my talents and prayers. I encourage the children in my life (friends’ children, nieces, nephews) to discern their calling to a religious vocation. I also wish some days that God had made me a man so I could have been a priest. However, this wishful thinking in no way leads me to try to push the priest out of his rightful place. I think it is sad that most EMHCs at my parish are scheduled to serve more weeks each month than our one deacon assists at Mass, but he is there only the once every month or two that he delivers the homily. Since our diocese/parish allows the use of EMHCs at pretty much every Mass, I try to convince the men I know to serve. Unfortunately, most don’t want to be bothered to serve. My husband was discerning becoming a deacon while we were dating, but he decided against it because he didn’t want to put in the effort to do all the studying required.

Instead of railing against women, why don’t we pray for the conversion of men’s hearts, that even if they don’t feel called to a religious vocation, they feel called to serve at Mass as lectors and EMHCs so that we women can sit back, tend our children, pray, and rest in the Lord during Mass instead of having to “work” on Sundays.

This is completely missing all the issues involved.

It is exhausting doing mass in assembly line manner. We have 4 masses on Sunday morning and one priest. 300 average attendance.

It would add minimum 15 minutes, and has nothing to do with “patience”. It has to do with parking lot turnover, and the sanity of the priest involved, time needed to prepare for the next mass, among many other things.

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