Women altar "servers" in the Extraordinary Form


I observed something curious the other day at a daily TLM: a woman as altar “server”. I put the word in quotes because she didn’t actually serve. The priest performed everything solo as if there were no server and she stood off to the side not inside the Sanctuary or Choir and simply articulated the server’s responses.

I’m curious what the official rules are (if there are any) about women serving (or responding) in the Extraordinary Form, and I’m having trouble finding anything definitive online. Any help? Thanks.


I’ve seen that a few times. Imo its fine but I don’t have anything official.


I know that cloistered nuns used to serve in their EF daily Masses


Not serve surely? But only respond as in the OP.


Was this when the E.F. was The Mass, or today? Did they actually serve or just articulate the responses of the server from outside of the Sanctuary?


Pre-Council, I believe.

I mean, there’s no one else to serve but them. It’s a dang cloistered convent.


Again, did they actually serve, as in kneel in the Sanctuary, bring the priest the cruets, hold his chasuble during the elevations, hand him a towel during the lavabo, hold the paten under the communicants’ chins during communion, etc.?


As far as I know, yes.

(This is utter recollection from a TLM seminarian/deacon in my Diocese from a few years ago, so I have no source, but I’m pretty sure…)


That’s interesting, thanks. Now let us say a prayer for those who just had a heart attack reading that there were altar girls in the pre-conciliar days!


As long as the Bishop and Priest permit it, females may serve at the Altar.


Is that so?



Good concise answer that cites the relevant Canons.


This thread is about the Extraordinary Form. Your link, as far as I can tell, is only relevant to the Ordinary Form.


The Canon Law applies to all.


This is a non sequitur since canon law doesn’t tell us what is or is not permissible in the liturgy, otherwise communion in the hand and standing would be permissible in the Extraordinary Form simply because it’s allowed in the Ordinary Form, which it clearly is not.


This article references the '83 CIC, when the '18 CIC would apply during the mentioned time period


You asked a question, I presented the information that I have been taught.

Bishop gives a yes or now, then the pastor decides from there. I do not read any “except in the EF”.

I should have learned to never answer a question about the EF. Sorry, forgive me.


My church - women do it all.
Piano player - lead singer - readings - altar servers - on and on.

I’d LOVE if just Priests - gave out communion.
That’s just me, of course.
That won’t happen - everyone is in such an important rush.
If mass went on - for an extra 10-15 minutes -let’s say - look out !
I wouldn’t mind though - it’s such a sacred moment of the mass for everyone involved.

Men perhaps are scared to step up.

Interesting post …


Does he not…?


Forgive me, but your answer doesn’t address my question in any way and I don’t think it’s mean or rude to point this out since I read your answer in the spirit of you simply misunderstanding the question.

The link you provided was authored 3 years before Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio that created the term “Extraordinary Form” so of course you’re not going to find it! The link cites a letter to the Congregation for Divine Worship that itself was penned 13 years before the motu proprio! I mean this in the nicest way possible: your response was irrelevant.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.