From a reader:
Perhaps you have already addressed this question somewhere, but as a choir director myself, I was bothered by something I saw on Corpus Christi.
In the midst of a trip away from home, I was worshiping at a large and beautiful cathedral blessed with an excellent choir. The liturgy was done extremely well overall, but at the beginning and again at the end, the mixed choir — mostly women — processed into and out of the church wearing cassocks and surplices. I was rather surprised because I’d always thought that this manner of dress was reserved to seminarians or at least to men to whom the priesthood is at least theoretically open as a vocation, but at the same time, this cathedral has a reputation for orthodoxy and orthopraxy. So am I just uptight, or did someone drop the ball?
It seems to me that this whole scenario is a reflection of the blurring of liturgical roles of clerics and lay people.
It may be that this is something that started some time ago and they simply haven’t had a chance to deal with yet.
While I don’t think there is any legislation that forbids the use of the cassock and surplice by women, it is clearly clerical garb. In my opinion it is wrong for females to use clerical garb at any time and for any reason. It is something akin to cross-dressing. Only the deeply ignorant or twisted think of or call the cassock a "dress" or compare it to women’s clothing.
It might be objected that non-cleric males, such as altar boys, wear the cassock and surplice. If them, why not females? Males, at least, could be clerics. Women can never be. Males, obviously, more suitably substitute for clerics in the liturgy. Females can sometimes do so, but only as an exception to the norm.
That said, while it is true that choirs fill a liturgical role – that was why before the Council there was need for permission for women to sing! – it is far more important that the sanctuary service be attended to in this regard.
Brick by brick.