What could women do prior to Vatican II in the Tridentine Mass?

Hiya CAF,

I was in a discussion with a friend today. What could women do prior to Vatican II in a Tridentine Mass? Could they sing in the choir? that sort of thing.

Thanks for answering the question.

God bless.

Women could not proclaim the readings, nor could they distribute the Eucharist.

Women could, however, sing in the choir. My grandmother always talks about how she was in the choir during the 40s.

My grandmother sang as well and loved to talk about the good old times :slight_smile:

They could sing in the choir.

I still wont take the Eucharist from a woman (not that one has ever offered), nor will I take it in the hand or from a deacon. I didn’t know that women could present the Eucharist these days, because the church I attend and the group I attend with (the Tridentine Mass is an hour and a half before Novus Ordo; the Father celebrates both daily - imagine that dedication to the Liturgy and the Body and Blood of the Lord!) is very traditional, i.e. lingua Latina, covered head, perpetual adoration of the Eucharist (even though as I understand it perpetual adoration wasn’t approved for laymen until 20 years ago, it seems “traditional”), kneeling to receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue…

It’s actually quite shocking to hear that in some churches they’re letting women distribute the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord. It seems to be a slippery slope from that to deaconesses and priestesses down the road, and then to actively Sodomite or non-celibate clergy. Even the Anglicans didn’t just get up one day and say, “Hey, let’s become leftist homosexual pride advocates and give women the bishopric!”, I’m sure - it happened over time.

What is the objection to women administering the Eucharist based on?

I imagine that the women of the parish also assisted in many other ways like they do now, such as laundering and caring for the altar linens, arranging the altar flowers, cleaning the church, cooking for social gatherings, assisting with missionary work through the Legion of Mary, that kind of thing. That’s what we do at my current parish.

The men tend to do the “manly” things around the church, like plant flowers and assist in the landscaping of the parish grounds, repairing things around the building, act as ushers during Sunday services, etc.

There’s tons more to do at a church than simply to perform the mass as a Priest does, or serve as an altar boy or server. I pray daily for the humility to be able to serve in ways that conform to God’s will. I also pray daily that I will become humble, but not know that I am humble, and holy, but not know that I am holy, lest I be tempted by the sins of pride and vanity. I have a very simple task that I help with every week at church, and the simplicity and lowliness of the task brings me great happiness, because I do it solely with the intention of glorifying God. Often they ask me to help with a more “fun” or glamorous task, and I say, “No, I’m quite happy doing this. Thank you, though!”

Women can never and will never be allowed to become priests. Blessed Pope John Paul II told us that during his time as pope.

Before Vatican II, women did about the same things in Church they did at home: cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare. It’s interesting that those who feel women can’t do anything but the above entrust the care and educaation of their children to women - always have. They have always been allowed to read scripture to children, but are still not considered, by some, worthy to read scripture to adults at Mass.

In the context of the Mass itself they could do exactly what all other members of the laity did. In those days there was a rather sharp distinction made between the clergy and the laity. Men and women both could sing in the choir, they could both pray, in dialogue Masses they could respond and if in a state of grace, they could all receive Holy Communion. The Epistle, Gospel and Homily were all read by the clergy. Holy Communion was distributed solely by the clergy.

In short there was a great deal of equality in the laity.


The tone of some of these answers rub me wrong.

I find it strange that women are considered worthy enough by those who are traditionally minded to be in charge of the raising/education of children, but not worthy enough to read Scripture to adults. I wonder if when these people are older they forget that their mother is still there mother, and still capable of teaching them? I do not think you become worthy or more capable of something just because you have male genitalia and testesorone, but apparently some do.

I do not support the idea of women Priests, but women not being able to be Priests has nothing at all to do with whether or not they are worthy.

Me too, sister. I will raise any sons I have Catholic but God help them if they speak about women using that tone, even if its disguised with honey.

Hi Stavros,

This is something I struggle with. I attend a small parish and there really isn’t much to do. I am currently praying about how God would like to use me. I have some ideas but am praying about it.

Singing has always been my ministry but I don’t feel led to do that at this parish yet.

Things like “laundering and caring for the altar linens, arranging the altar flowers” is not for me. Not because it is not glamorous but because that is not the best use of my skills.

There seems to be a lot more ways for women to be involved in parish ministry in the OF mass.


Women distribute the Eucharist now? :eek:

I’ve been away from the NO a long time; the last one I attended was, I think, 1978, right before I became Traditional. Someone told me they introduced the concept of “altar girls” since then, but I wouldn’t know.

Boy, I’ve been really sheltered from a lot, haven’t I?

Amen to that. That has to be a very inspiring reply that I have read first thing this morning. Humilitas thats what it comes back too. Thanks for encouraging me in my own life.

God bless you.

So did the implemenation of Vatican II change the level of equality in the laity? A yes or no answer will suffice, I don’t want to get to the forbidden areas of Vatican II. I am just trying to learn more about Pre-Vatican II and Post-Vatican II.

God bless.

Yeah they do in NO. I never particularly cared for “altar girls” as it is not traditional and not allowed in the EF. Yeah and the “altar girls” have been introduced and allowed to serve in NO as well.

God bless.

It stayed essentially the same in the laities relation to each other, ie: men to womeny. The changes after Vatican II affected the whole of the laity and moved them closer in a way to the Clergy. They can all do more now. The original question seemed to be asking if women were subordinate to men in the pre-Vatican Church or if they were excluded from certain functions based on gender. They were not. The laity as a whole was subordinate to the Clergy in matters of the Church. That is really no longer the case.

They did what St Paul instructed. Women is to remain quiet in teh Church. If they have a question let them ask the husbands. They are to dress modestly and and have their heads covered. Many seem to think that God has changed His mind over the years. Many are measuring their worthiness as to what they are allowed to do in the Sanctuary. Disobedience comes from the enemy of God and not from God Himself. we have lost this sense of disobedience instead many of us decided it best to fight for our rights without any concern for what God has established from the beginning.

I don’t take Eucharist from a women’s hand, only from a priest. I will not support their disobedience to God.

Maybe they did it in the first century, I don’t know, but the thought of ANYONE other than a priest or transitional deacon distributing communion didn’t occur until well after Vatican II. It wasn’t until most, if not almost everyone, started receiving (at least in the English Masses) and the number of priests declining that they realized they thought they needed to speed things up a little. Just saying.

Christ the King Parish Eucharistic Ministers installation

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