Women altar servers....


#1

Throwing this one out there…

I missed the whole “girl altar servers” debate. It never bothered me and still doesn’t. My first year as an altar server (I’m a guy) was the first year our parish let girls do it. It just wasn’t an issue. Lately though, I’ve heard a couple of good arguments that it may have had negative effects. I’m curious on your thoughts on the following…

1.) In a time when we need priests, guys need to be able to be set apart so that they can decern
2.) The move was just to appease the women’s movement (which may or may not have fueled the fire for women priests)

Lastly, anyone who’d just like to give their thoughts/opinions I’d really appreciate it. Like I said, I missed the debate over it.


#2

AltER servers are used as a substitute for altAR servers :wink:


#3

You missed a great debate. We have had a real problem getting an altar server for our Sat. evening Mass. For years it was me. They I was Ordained a deacon. So that I would not have to run back and forth during Mass, an older lady serves. She would gladly give this up for a young altar server, but I guess Sat. night is a big night for kids in our town. It is either this lady or track shoes.


#4

The Church allows female altar servers and places the ultimate choice for their use with the Mass celebrant, so I certainly don’t think there is anything “wrong” when a female serves.

That said, there is no better way to foster vocations to the priesthood or permanent diaconate then serving at the altar, so given the choice I think it’s highly appropriate (although not mandated) to reserve all altar server positions for those males who just might be discerning a vocation to the priesthood or permanent diaconate. (cf. Redeptionis Sacramentum)


#5

Thanks windmill, yes, I spelled it wrong. :o


#6

Just kidding. I actually agree with your 2 comments. I think that it is interesting that this is the first time in 4000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition that females are serving at the altar. I also don’t care for the process that this came about. People ignored Rome’s requests to stop having female altar servers, and then Rome finally caved on the whole issue. Why do we feel like we should be ignoring the shepherds?

Girl altar boys, as I like to call them.

Rich


#7

I don’t think Altar girls are necessary. I heard someone at our church use the argument that the girls want to be involved. I found that to be a lame excuse. The reason for boy altar servers was to to promote the boys into the priesthood. Granted not all boy altar servers go into the priesthood, but they need the opportunity to find out if it is their calling. Perhaps the church could find some function for the girls, and use that as a way to promote girls who want to serv as nuns.


#8

[quote=Deacon Tony560]You missed a great debate. We have had a real problem getting an altar server for our Sat. evening Mass. For years it was me. They I was Ordained a deacon. So that I would not have to run back and forth during Mass, an older lady serves. She would gladly give this up for a young altar server, but I guess Sat. night is a big night for kids in our town. It is either this lady or track shoes.
[/quote]

Or a bit of dilligence in recruiting new altar servers…

(BTW, where would all the “running” be if a deacon served as the altar boy as well?)


#9

[quote=Windmill]Just kidding. I actually agree with your 2 comments. I think that it is interesting that this is the first time in 4000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition that females are serving at the altar. I also don’t care for the process that this came about. People ignored Rome’s requests to stop having female altar servers, and then Rome finally caved on the whole issue. Why do we feel like we should be ignoring the shepherds?

Girl altar boys, as I like to call them.

Rich
[/quote]

Good point…

I can’t wait for “Catholic2003” to retort…


#10

While I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with altar girls per se, I do think that it can be confusing to young boys and girls who wonder if they have a calling. I attended a church in the diocese of Arlington, VA for several years where the Pastor only allows altar boys and no altar girls. When I speak to him, I am always shocked at how many vocations he has coming out of his parish (at least compared to my luke-warm church in the Northeast). I’m not saying that excluding alter girls is the reason for this, but I think it does contribute to an atmosphere of encouraging vocations to the priesthood.


#11

Wait, so am I to understand that churches were already using girl altar servers before being granted permission? Then, when asked to stop by Rome, they just kept doing it so Rome said “ok, fine”?
-or-
Is it that people kept requesting Rome to let girls be altar servers and Rome kept ignoring them, and eventually Rome just said “go ahead”?

Or am I totally missing what happened?


#12

asked to stop by rome, but kept doing it…


#13

Thanks Windmill. Are there documents I can read on it that you might know off hand?


#14

“Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’ We too have forbidden this practice in the same words…”
Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical Allatae Sunt, July 26, 1755


#15

Are there any documents or letters that are maybe a little more recent? Like, did PJP2 ever say anything about it?


#16

ewtn.com/expert/answers/altar_girls.htm

I don’t argue about the evilness or goodness of altar girls, just the propriety. I think it is confusing. But, Rome has given each bishop the autrhority to utilize them (as with female lectors, ushers, and EMHC [although that’s an entirely different debate with the EMHC usage in this country])


#17

[quote=IsaacSheen]Are there any documents or letters that are maybe a little more recent? Like, did PJP2 ever say anything about it?
[/quote]

Look at this post in the old thread. The idea that Rome “caved in” to female altar servers is a complete rewriting of history worthy of George Orwell.


#18

I gladly stand corrected :thumbsup:


#19

Wow, thanks for all the info!! This is fascinating.


#20

Up to this point in time I have not seen any “girl altar boys”.

Who would have the audacity to put a girl up by the altar during Mass?

The day I see that is the day I get up and walk out. I’d let the Pastor know why I walked out too.


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