Girls as Altar Servers

I am very saddened to learn of the Vatican’s statement that girls may not be altar servers at celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy (Latin mass) is celebrated, because the 1962 rubrics did not permit it.  Being an altar server has been very important to me since childhood. One day in the mid-1970s, when I was in the 5th grade, we asked our teacher why girls could not be servers.  She suggested that we pose the question in a letter to then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin.  Although not a particularly satisfying answer, I still remember the kind tone of his reply in which he explained that it was due to the tradition of the Church.  Finally, in 1994 (grudging) permission for female altar servers was granted, although girls were already serving in many places by then.

I am trying to be open to an evolving liturgy and to accept that perhaps some aspects lost in the post-Vatican II reforms could beneficially be retrieved.  But certainly new practices that have emerged over the past five decades also are worthwhile. Surely there were valid reasons that Vatican II occurred, and if its implementation was not perfect, 180 degree reversal cannot be the correct response.

Veni Sancte Spiritus!  Enlighten us!

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One Response to Girls as Altar Servers

  1. Hi Peg: The Faithful (especially the more-than-50% who did not get conceived with male genitalia, ) have already found/heard/lived the voice of the Spirit. It has been enfleshed at the altars of the parishes around the US as young women bring their own sacred service to the celebration of the Eucharist. It has been lived out in thousands of churches worldwide where women’s sacred voices are lifted in celebration. How many times must she speak before she is heard? No retreat from the voice of the Spirit already heard in our hearts and in our communities.

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