From a reader:
What would be a proper response to a priest who not only allows his female altar servers to wear the black cassock and white surplice, but also tells the parishioners that it is perfectly acceptable to do so?
It doesn’t seem right and I am uncomfortable telling my children that it is o.k when they have questioned it. This priest also feels that Exposition in front of the Blessed Sacrament is of no additional benefit, would not allow a display of Vatican approved Eucharistic Miracles because it encouraged the “superstitious”, and wants nothing to do with our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. Thank you for your help…..
What would be a proper response?
I would prefer there there not be altar girls at all. But if you are going to do this anyway, the least you could do is not dress them as if they were clerics, which they can never be. Cassock and surplice are the choir dress of clerics. Male servers at least have the potential to be clerics, whereas females never do. Vesting females as if they were clerics sends the wrong signals.
I am not going to give you any more of my money until you stop this.
It has been nice knowing you. Perhaps we shall meet again some day. I am moving to Lincoln, Nebraska.
One of the points made at the time of the (very bad) interpretation of CIC 1983 can.230 §2 was that the situation should be explained so that confusion could be avoided. Avoiding confusion was, at the time and now, important. Furthermore, the letter from the CDW said, that “the obligation to support groups of altar boys will always remain, not least of all due to the well known assistance that such programs have provided since time immemorial in encouraging future priestly vocations .”
Given the age of many servers, I don’t see how dressing the girls in the same manner as the boys does anything to encourage boys to serve. There ought to be a distinction.
That said, if the pastor opens up to changing the vesture of the girls, then be prepared to cough up money to help it happen. Church stuff isn’t free.