From a reader:
Is it allowed to have female altar servers at the TLM?
I get this question every once in a while and have answered it in the past.
Allow me to recap.
At present, the 1983 Code of Canon Law, c. 230.2 is interpreted in such a way – a fantastical way, in my opinion, pace Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts – that females can substitute for installed acolytes (who are always exclusively male). That is to say males always and at times females – in those areas where the bishop permits it and where the priest wants it – can substitute for the officially installed acolyte (an all male ministry).
I concluded a long time ago that, the present law being in force, yes, it would be licit for females to serve at a TLM, but … I wouldn’t give much for the peaceful life of the priest afterward.
Tar and feathers are tough to remove.
Furthermore, according to the present law, male servers are the norm. Female servers cannot be imposed on a priest’s celebration of Holy Mass. Moreover, the local diocesan bishop can decide whether or not female servers will be permitted in his diocese.
Thus, there is no obligation to have female servers at any celebration of Mass in the Ordinary form, much less the Extraordinary.
That said, the serving roles in the TLM were all actually intended to be taken by clerics. Male servers of any age would in reality substitute for absent clerics. The service of any female would be in sharp disharmony with the internal genius of the rite… the genius ritus.
I don’t think it is just to the rite itself, the congregation, or the girls who would serve, to do something that jarring, that aberrant.
So… because we go by today’s law, and not some other law (one in the past or one we would prefer to have were the world a happier place), I would say it is licit, but it would be deeply discordant to the point of being weird.