Sunday, May 22, 2011

Female Altar Servers and Other Points of Contention

Once again, a lively discussion ensues over at Father Z's blog about a priest who allowed females to serve at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  Personally, I don't know why a priest would want to do something so jarring.  Could he really not have found male servers?  You know what? I don't really care.  I have said everything I have to say about this subject.  I only wish Father Z could say the same.  Apparently, this is a topic he's fond of and judging from the amount of comments he gets, so are his followers and his detractors alike.

I cringe when I hear former Catholics say they joined Protestant denominations with female priests or ministers so their daughters could have more "career choices".  The priesthood and the religious life are not career choices.  They're vocations.  I was very religious as a child and it never occurred to me that I could or should become an altar server and/or a priest. But,   I had nuns who tried to foster a vocation in me.  I cleaned the convent chapel every Friday after school.  I was allowed to view Mother Superior's cell.  I was allowed to go into the kitchen for a snack and visit with the sisters.  In the summer, when one of the nuns needed to run an errand in Center City, our number was the first they dialed to ask if I could accompany the sister on the bus, etc.

We don't have that today.  Things are really mixed up The only consecrated person most children regularly encounter is their parish priest. That's great for boys, but not so much for girls. Who do the girls have to look up to in the consecrated life?

At my parish, we are fortunate to have an ancilla Domini, where the women have responsibility for greeting the faithful as they arrive for Mass and hosting occasional receptions.   Some of the men help with this endeavor as well.  It's not exactly my cup of tea, but when I participate, I prefer to look it as though I am waiting on and cleaning up after Our Lord Himself.  My daughter enjoys helping too, but neither of us feels we have to do this .  If Christ is pleased with our efforts, that should suffice.

The truth is, sometimes I'd rather be in the dining room, discussing politics or liturgy with the men, but Jesus was all about service to others and humility.  There are times when I find the comments made about the Novus Ordo and female altar servers, etc. insulting, but rather than argue or get angry, I prefer to adopt the posture of Christ and proceed in total humility.

No servant is greater than the master.

You can never go wrong being humble.

And you can never be too humble.


  1. You make a very good point about girls today not having a female role model to emulate. I hadn't thought of that. And I see nothing wrong with female altar servers. We've had that discussion once. ;)

  2. I am suspicious about priest's who have
    overly active, popular blogs; let alone
    an online following which engenders a
    level of controversy....and comments.

    I got a bad feeling about his blog, may
    he be blessed.



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