women's authority in the church

Hi, it is written that women are not allowed authority in the church, yet we have women giving out communion and girl altar servers. Some ladies I know are Eucharistic ministers but at communion I always go to the priest, it’s how my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have taught me, that the priest is presiding in the person of Jesus. I was put off continuing to be an altar boy when I was younger due to the girls being introduced, my priest before had said being an altar boy was like early training for priesthood. The girls could never achieve this, but went from 15 altar boys to 2 or 3. And the priest could do nothing. I can’t help but feel a lack of priests in our country (UK) has this as part of it’s failing.

I’m probably going to get slated for this post, I’m sure many of you are female lay ministers or servers but I can’t help how I feel, I wondered what your opinions are and I would also like to know why it was introduced into the church. Honestly I hope I don’t upset anyone!

My opinions are that women shouldn’t be in the sanctuary, and there should be no extraordinary ministers period.

However, what we like isn’t what we get. Around here I’ve witnessed:

  1. The older women running the parish.

  2. A woman as head of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship.

  3. A woman as chancellor of the diocese.

  4. About 95% of the EMHCs being women.

  5. About 75% of the servers being girls.

Usually when the women come in, the men start going. That’s how I’ve seen it play out.

The two positions you cited - Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and altar server - are positions of service, not “authority.” What kind of “authority” do you think an altar server (boy or girl) has?

The topic of girl altar servers has spawned many hundreds of threads here that you could search for to gain insight into how it came about and what many opinions are. The two camps will never be reconciled.

At our local parish we dont have a weekday mass as the priest is doing a university course, instead there is a service held by a lady who does prayers and communion. I drive an hour to go to a mass which i agree with which has a priest i can rely on, he’s 87 though and wont be around forever.

On the other hand, who is there to step in when the men won’t serve?

I feel the same about it.
All of this thanks to Vatican II

Prior to the women being allowed to run the parish? Lots of them. However, even when they were gone, you’d think the priest might want to run his own parish. That’s kind of what he’s there for!

Hardly. Try someone who knows the Catholic faith for starters.

Same answer.

Being an EMHC was seen as a women’s thing at this church.

There were plenty of boys all the time. When girls were allowed, the boys left en masse. If anyone knows anything about teenage boys and girls, they’d understand how this happens.

In my parish, I don’t think a lot of the women viewed it as serving, but more as a right that they were entitled to. It was a prestige thing. Get rid of EMHCs and lay readers and you’ll avoid the majority of problems from this.

Hog wash! I serve as EMHC…and I view it as service not as a “right”. I volunteered because I thought I could be a little more reverent about it then some of them up there. My husband is a lay reader.

Usually during daily Mass there just are not enough men to serve…period…how is that the women’s fault? I would rather have a good holy reverent woman serving then an irreverent man serve. But we usually have a mixture of men and women… As always a priest does have the option to have only male altar servers… But in our parish there are more girls then boys…so are we going to start blaming women for having more girls then boys?

I’m not going to address all of this but 1) many do see it as authority or power not service, glad you are not like that and 2) you aren’t seeing what others are stating, that not reserving these things to priests or in some cases men and boys actually causes the problems of lack of interest.

I have seen EMHCs show offense when told they would not be needed (because a deacon was going to help, or here were not so many communicants). That’s stupid, and clearly you know better, but many don’t know better and we are failing them as a church if they don’t get that.

As an earlier post pointed out, altar servers and extraordinary ministers are serving the Church in a needed capacity, not exercising authority over it. The rather strange view that female altar servers are preventing boys from becoming priests, and that when the women come the men go is rubbish! Boys aren’t “afraid” of female altar servers. Boys go to school with girls; they socialize with girls in the public arena all the time, don’t they? Have you ever visited a water park or Disney World or any other place where boys and girls have contact? The girls haven’t chased any of them away from those places.

And stop blaming women for men not wanting to serve the Church. I don’t think that reason will fly when any man stands before Christ. If a man doesn’t serve, it’s either because of the demands of his personal life (legitimate), or because he doesn’t want to serve. If an older woman does a great deal of serving at her parish, it is largely because her family has been raised and the Lord has blessed her to serve Him in a capacity where she is needed and valued by God and others. I find the repudiation of this service arrogant and ungrateful.

We’re short on priests because most men want to get married and have children. That’s the way most of us are made, and unless men receive, recognize and respond to a call that is contrary to what is natural to most of us, then we’re either going to have to return to the days of our first Pope–St. Peter–who was married, or remain short on priests.

When Christ died–who was near him? John was there. What other disciples were there? Read it yourself: Mark 15:40-41 “Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” According to your logic, the men probably fled because the women were there, right? Don’t slough off your own weaknesses and blame women for them. Assume responsibility, take the leadership role (something which inspires most women), and we’re be right there to help you serve the Lord.

Don’t blame the women! Where are the men? Maybe the women come because the men have gone!

Many of the “faithful remnant of Israel” were women. Mary was the last and greatest of the Anawim (the “poor one’s” who remained faithful until Christ’s coming). Luke also mentions Elizabeth a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:6), and Anna a prophet, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher (Lk 2:36)

BTW I think the men are about to make a comeback. In our own parish the That Man is You program has taken off.

You will notice I mentioned “in my parish”. Now, unless you’re stating you’re a member of my parish, well… Anyway, the current pastor eliminated many of the EMHC, stating that there were far more than necessary (a true statement, considering how few people attended Mass). Did the EMHC’s humbly submit to this? No. They caused an uproar. It was their right. Father just wanted to get rid of women! (I told you, they saw this as a women’s thing). That doesn’t sound like they were in it for service to me! If they were, they would have submitted the decision of the pastor without all the indignant outrage.

I’d suggest that the 90% or so of Catholics who use contraception quit doing it so that there will be enough boys to serve. Meanwhile, Mass isn’t invalid if there’s no server.

Yes. I’ve seen that too. Read the little story about my parish that I just wrote and you can see how much a lot of these people “want to serve”.

Any reading of the Gospel shows that women were an part of the ministry of Jesus. the idea that woman are not to serve in possitions of authority in today’s world and in today’s Church is not a proper way of seeing the important role that women have.

I am not sure what you are referring to as far not seeing what others are stating…what I clearly see is more girls in the parish then boys.

Someone said if people stop contracepting…well when a family has 4 girls and one boy…that is just the way it is. I’m not sure it’s all contraception…there are so many hormones and junk in our system that I personally think is messing with a lot of women’s systems. But if you have a whole family of girls…:shrug:

It’s a little hard in my parish to reserve everything to the priest…we only have one with no deacon.:shrug: but my priest has no problem with altar girls…:shrug: I know my two brothers were altar servers…and I am the only one in my family that is Catholic anymore…go figure:shrug:

As far as attitudes of EMHC’s…ya that’s wrong but I think you find that in men and women so to put it all on women goes too far in my opinion. My attitude is my prayers for vocations is a prayer for my service to end…and I am ok with that.

Problem is numerically speaking…their are far more women in church…especially daily Mass…and they are the givers…the ones that want to help. I don’t see what is so terrible about that? Men that are there help too and GOOD for them! But far too many of them are too busy doing other things…

I know in my parish that if we only had men help with everything it would be very difficult…and no I don’t think the priest should do everything…we wear him out as it is on the important things that only he can do…ie confession, the sacraments, etc.

Please provide a reference within Vatican II documents that supports this idea.


I wonder how Our Lady, The Blessed Mother would feel about your statement above. :angel1:

However, what we like isn’t what we get. Around here I’ve witnessed:

  1. The older women running the parish.
    And gentlemen are always free to do the same.

  2. A woman as head of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship.
    I’m sure she is joyfully giving her service to God.

  3. A woman as chancellor of the diocese.
    She must be a very educated person. I’m sure she was invited to assist, and all under the sight of the good Bishop.

  4. About 95% of the EMHCs being women.
    They must be inspired by Our Lady to serve, much like the first evangelists, the ladies at the empty tomb who joyfully spread the Good News of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

  5. About 75% of the servers being girls.
    Again, Our Lady inspires, and boys are always equally welcome to serve.

Usually when the women come in, the men start going. That’s how I’ve seen it play out.
Or perhaps when no one else steps forward, individuals fill in where they are needed.

The Church has allowed the ladies to assist. Let us accept Her decisions joyfully.
“Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven. Whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” A blessed Holy Week and Joyful Easter to all! [/size]

I’m interested in the answer to this question. My parish has both forms of the Latin mass. We have a good amount of male servers in the EF.

It’s sort of interesting to me that the one time I attended the OF mass, I saw a female reader, cantor and EMHC.

So it makes me wonder if OF parishes, after VAT II, didn’t make a special effort to involve women and this is why there are so many women involved–not that men are not volunteering.

Then that is a failure of training and leadership in that particular parish, and does not support wholesale trashing of the idea of women serving the Church.

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