A while ago Cardinal Burke, not a slouch when it comes to the Church’s law, made a statement about head coverings for women in church for Mass. In a nutshell, he said that, while the present Code of Canon Law, does not impose an obligation, with we are talking about the Extraordinary Form, it is good to go by the practices in use at the time when the Extraordinary Form was the Only Form. This should apply also to practices such as how to receive Holy Communion: at the TLM receive on the tongue while kneeling, even though the law in the place me permit Communion in the hand.
It just makes sense. Frankly I think that Communion on the tongue while kneeling makes sense all the time, but I digress.
There are some things which, though not strictly against the law, are simply inimical to the law’s spirit.
I received more than one note about this.
I was told yesterday that in England a priest was planning to have Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form with female servers.
It seems to me that this is a really bad idea and deeply offensive to the sensibilities of those who revere the older form of Holy Mass. It is hard to imagine that this is true.
UPDATE 8 May 1305 GMT:
I had first received information which was at the level of a rumor and so I anonymized the top entry. But… now… it isn’t rumor anymore:
I had two notes…
Dear Fr Zuhlsdorf,
I am sorry to confirm the rumour about the developments at Fisher House in Cambridge. As a result of te decisions to have female servers in the Extraordinary Form all servers who have been helping with the Masses in the Extraordinary Form in Fisher house have resigned; the congregation was much smaller than usual because some of the faithful (like me) decided not to come (and probably also because of lacking information on the Mass schedule, so it was not only out of protest), and some people left during the Mass. As someone who has been deeply involved in the liturgical life of Fisher House … I am very sorry about this development, and I hope that Ecclesia Dei will reply speedily to resolve the matter (I have written to them twice last year, when then chaplain first mooted this idea, but still have not received any official reply). However, I would like to stress that the Fr Alban has been an exemplary chaplain to Cambridge University, ….
Dr Kevin Marshall, the LMS representative, says the Mass occurred, although he left after the kyrie. There were two male servers and one female. The congregation was about twelve (slightly less than half the normal size) and, for the most part, a completely different crowd. At least two people walked out.
I am sure that some of the more traditional mind-set will have a nutty about this and lose all ability to self-edit. I urge you not to have a nutty.
Take a lesson: If priests want to get rid of something, they sometimes will make that something a very unpleasant experience. If they want to get rid of the Extraordinary Form, they need only do stupid stunts like this. Therefore, keep a cool head.
If you write letters to anyone, review my tips for writing.