Would a traditional Catholic say it is a sin for a laywoman to enter the sanctuary?

Would a traditional Catholic say it is a sin for a laywoman to enter the sanctuary? (I’m not talking about the altar that everyone can see when they walk into church) I want to know if I can go into the sanctuary to talk to the priest before or after mass. I won’t be a lector, extraordinary Eucharistic minister, or altar boy. So can I enter if I get the priest’s/someone in there’s permission?


Do you mean the sacristy?
That would be where the priest would vest before Mass, the sacred vessels are keep, etc.

And yes, a “lay woman” is allowed to be in there. We have many lay women (including our good sister’s) who are sacrasins (never sure how to spell that :blush:).

And, FWIW, the Church has said that women can be readers, EMHC and servers.

I smell a Troll

No, I believe, from what prior posts I have read, that this is a very confused young lady who has come here looking for answers.

It’s Lent, shouldn’t we at least try, a little bit, to give a person the benefit of the doubt? :shrug:

No, it’s not a sin to go into the sacristy. And it not a sin if a woman is an extraordinary Eucharistic minister or an alter server, that is if you trust and are obedient to the teachings of the Church and accept what She teaches.

The sanctuary consists (if I am not mistake) the immediate area around the alter (in my parish, is the three level area that the alter is on.

God Bless

Amen to that!

LJ, you are asking what a traditional Catholic woman would say.

I do not know that she would consider it sinful, but she would consider it improper for anyone other than the priests and altar boys to be within the sanctuary unless you had to go through the sanctuary to get to the sacristy.

As for going into the sacristy to speak to a priest, many times I have had to do that when I was attending Mass at a small SSPX chapel.

Hope this helps.

You may have your terms confused. The sanctuary is the space in the church where the high altar sets and the clergy stands during mass. The altar is typically one step above the sanctuary floor and is called the predella. So you have the nave (where the congregation sits), the sanctuary (where the priests, servers, and Eucharistic Ministers stand), and the predella (where the altar sits). This is the current setup and may not answer your question about “traditional Catholics”.

Could you clarify your question?

What a traditional minded Catholic would say is that in the traditional Mass, aka, Extraordinary Form, aka, Tridentine Mass, women are not authorized to carry out any liturgical function, and so, would not be permitted into the sanctuary. They could still be in the sacristy before or after Mass.

The traditional exclusion of women from the sanctuary is based upon St. Paul’s admonitions and the exclusively male ministry of the priesthood and all its steps (i.e., acolyte, lector, etc.).

In the new rites, the situation is different. Whether it is a good thing, I leave to your judgment.

AH! Learned something new today (as far as the actual terms of what constitutes what) Thanks !:slight_smile:

But it’s not a sin in the eyes of the Magisterium. We need to be clear about that.


Who do you think did the dusting, floor polishing, rug scrubbing, wax removal, candlestick polishing, flower arranging … you get the picture?

It depends. For a woman to assume a role in a traditional Mass that is not authorized by the rubrics or traditional practice (e.g., giving the readings in English before the sermon, or distributing Holy Communion) it would be a sin, since it would be a violation of the liturgical law of the Church.

It is not a sin if a woman exercises a role in the new liturgy which she is expressly authorized to exercise.

I did mean sacristy. Thanks.

I wouldn’t go in there if I was a female and the Priest was engaged in vesting or un vesting. :eek: That might prove embarrasing. Otherwise there shouldn’t be a problem with it and it would not be sinful. Now understand the Priest has the authority to restrict entry into the sacristy and doesn’t have to allow anyone in there except for the few that have a reason to be there sacristan, servers, Deacon etc.

As for the Sanctuary, we had the Altar Guild which was all female and they handled the upkeep of the Altar and the sanctuary, ie: they changed the Altar Cloths, cleaned up, brought flowers etc.

They did not and could not however exercise any Liturgical role whatsoever.

What would be embarrassing? The priest doesn’t get undressed. He puts his vestments on over his shirt and pants.

Well since the Sacristy is actually the Priests dressing room I suppose there is always the chance that he might choose to wear another set of pants, or take off his shirt or something along those lines. I’ve seen Priests do just that when I was an Altar Boy years ago. Also, since the Priest is probably a single, celibate man, it could prove embarrasing to him if a female were to come in as he was getting dressed. Not everyone is totally open to the idea of people watching them getting dressed even in these enlightened times

Also, in the Extraordinary Form the Priest had a series of prayers that he said while vesting and having people coming and going could prove distracting as well. I don/t know if Priests still say the vesting prayers in the Ordinary Form but they used to and I assume they still do in the Extraordinary Form…

Hello Loyal J, I understand now you meant sacristy. I am a sacristan at my church and I know of no restriction or prohibition concerning women in the sacristy.

Or maybe he would be extremely worried about someone walking in on him getting his pants on while a woman is in there and getting the wrong impression?

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.