UPDATE: TLM with female servers at U. Cambridge v. Universae Ecclesiae 28

The Instruction on Summorum Pontificum called Universae Ecclesiae, in paragraph 28, excludes service at the altar by females for the Extraordinary Form.

You will recall that the chaplain at the University of Cambridge’s Fisher House, Fr. McCoy, decided to have celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of Mass with service at the altar by female servers.

A one time event at Cambridge?

I received this today:

I regret to tell you that the Chaplain of Fisher House, University of
Cambridge, said a Mass in the Extraordinary Form this evening and once
again used female altar servers
, despite paragraph 28 of Universae
Ecclesiae. Can I please ask for your prayers that Fr McCoy may be made
to see the pain and hurt that his actions are causing. I also ask you
to pray for him.

The Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” has competence in this matter.  If there is a conflict about the provisions of Summorum Pontificum or the points of Universae Ecclesiae which have the force of law (paragraph 28 is one of them), then the PCED will have to make some ruling.

Pray for those involved.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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71 Responses to UPDATE: TLM with female servers at U. Cambridge v. Universae Ecclesiae 28

  1. Ezra says:

    Fr Alban McCoy in The Tablet (22/10/2005):

    The word “transubstantiation”, which articulates the mode and status of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, came into official use only in the thirteenth century at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, although it had been used earlier than this to account for what the Church believed about the eucharistic presence. It also entered into the definition of the mode of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Catholics are committed to the teaching of both the Fourth Lateran Council and the Council of Trent, just as they are to that of the Second Vatican Council, that Christ is truly present, sacramentally in the Eucharist. They are not, however, committed to believing in the notion of transubstantiation, as such. What Trent actually says is that this is simply a most appropriate (aptissime) way of talking about the eucharistic presence, but it does not preclude other ways that might be deemed more appropriate. It is perfectly legitimate to consider the use of the word less than appropriate if, as some think, it is now apt to mislead.

    Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei (03/09/1965):

    We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on… the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved… To avoid any misunderstanding of this type of presence, which goes beyond the laws of nature and constitutes the greatest miracle of its kind, we have to listen with docility to the voice of the teaching and praying Church. Her voice, which constantly echoes the voice of Christ, assures us that the way in which Christ becomes present in this Sacrament is through the conversion of the whole substance of the bread into His body and of the whole substance of the wine into His blood, a unique and truly wonderful conversion that the Catholic Church fittingly and properly calls transubstantiation.

  2. Igne says:

    If any of Alban McCoy’s detractors have done an iota of the good that he has done and continues to do for Catholicism and the Church I would be very surprised. It’s strange that Fr Z (quite rightly) won’t allow the traditional mad dogs molest Reginald Foster, but allows them loose on an excellent orthodox, pious priest such as Fr McCoy. Shame. [Your agression is hard to understand. The entry at the top doesn't attack the priest's character. It states some facts about what happened. Also, if the priest made public statements about Transsubstantiation which are at odds with the Church's teaching, the preist's statements are fair game. No one here was talking about the priest's piety. They are talking about his extraordinary decision to have altar girls for the Extraordinary Form.]

  3. Igne says:

    Just to put things in context, a reposting from the combox of 8 May, 2011,

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
    I was present at the mass referred to, in a congregation of about thirty five – not twelve, as claimed by your correspondent. Most were Undergraduates. This was an unusually large number for the Extraordinary Form here.
    It is most unlikely that the Chaplain is motivated by a wish to destroy the old rite at Fisher House, since it was he who single-handedly re- introduced regular Tridentine masses after a gap of forty years. He also got rid of ‘folk masses’ and instituted a Latin Gregorian choir at all Sunday masses, both vernacular and Latin. He restored to the altar crucifix and traditional candlesticks, which had not been seen in decades. Fisher House is also one of the few places in England with regular celebrations of the missa cantata.
    This restoration was accepted by all shades of opinion without complaints as a proper and very prompt response to the wishes and legislation of the Holy Father. Father Alban McCoy has been a model of tact and piety. Arguments about whether it is proper or wise to employ female altar servers are one thing; but these assaults on his character by those who do not know the facts or him are scandalous.
    Yours sincerely,
    John Casey

  4. And yet it seems that this “model of tact and piety” has chosen to have female altar servers in the immediate wake of Universae Ecclesiae.

    That’s pretty strange, in my opinion.

  5. Andy Milam says:

    The law is the law. It is not open to individual interpretation. It doesn’t matter how orthodox a priest is. If he breaks the law, then he breaks the law. If it can be proven that he brakes the law then he must recant his position and make ammends.

    This has nothing to do with the good the priest has done, but rather it has to do with the ill that he has wrought.

    Universae Ecclesiae #28:
    “Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.”

    Crystal clear. Fr. McCoy did not follow this law. He must be held accountable. The TLM is just as vulnerable to abuse as the Novus Ordo. We must be diligent in protecting the rule of law when we are able. This holds doubly true for priests.

  6. St. Louis IX says:

    If this Priest was well intentioned, then I say it was just plain Wrong Headed.

    I also agree with Andy Milman

  7. Caro_c says:

    Is this a witch hunt? This priest has provided the faithful with the EF Mass, he should be thanked. His sins should not be paraded before the huge number of people who read on this blog! I hope you have at least had the decency to communicate with him personally.

  8. Scott W. says:

    His sins should not be paraded before the huge number of people who read on this blog!

    So you agree he is in the wrong here? In any case, violating the liturgical norms in a Mass is a matter of the public record, and as such is bloggable as they say and doesn’t meet the standards of detraction. No one is saying this is unforgiveable. But as Robert Fripp said, mistakes are always forgiveable, rarely excusable. but never acceptable.

  9. Caro_c says:

    Where exactly in the “rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962″ does it state that servers may not be female?

  10. Andy Milam says:

    @car0_c;

    The allowance of female altar servers didn’t exist, legally prior to 1994. Even then, the CDWS made it very clear that the use of female altar servers was to be of a particular need and this was to be clarified by the local ordinary, based upon Canon 230 #2 of the 1983 CIC. Furthermore it went on to say that this is not a right of the faithful to expect this.

    Insofar as this is clearly based upon precepts not in place in 1962, it cannot be inferred that this can be retroactively applied. Actually Universae Ecclesiae states as much in #28, which I quoted above and Fr. Z posted about prior.

    So, while there is nothing “exactly” in the rubrics about males only, it was de facto, males only. Also, insofar as Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae have the rule of liturgical law, it is not open for discussion unless the Holy Father makes the decision to allow for it, as he is the supreme legislator.

  11. Singing Mum says:

    I don’t favor female altar servers (or females in the sanctuary) in either form. And it does seem to be a strange choice on the part of the celebrant, especially considering UE.

    But I do find it strange that people could be ‘hurt’ over this, as the correspondent is claiming. Sometimes I think those of us (myself included) who love tradition can be too thin-skinned.

    If the priest is in error, pray for him and let him be corrected. Otherwise I wonder if we look a little fixated on this point. Maybe someone can explain to me why people would really be hurt over this. Again, I don’t like it. But as I survey causes for human misery, I wouldn’t rank this as high on the list.

  12. Igne says:

    Of course Ezra, rather than using a paragraph here or there as a straw man (the same thing could be done to Augustine to create scandal), should cite Fr McCoy’s impeccable writings on the Sacrament of the Eucharist in his ‘An intelligent person’s guide to Catholicism’ (London, 2001) pp. 35-8. This can be accessed on google books, but I’d advise anyone who can to buy the book.

  13. Caro_c says:

    So in the extraordinary form the priest should pray for Pope John, and not Pope Benedict, as there was no Pope Benedict in 1962. [The place where the priest is to say the name of the Pope is indicated as "N", for "nomen".]

  14. JKnott says:

    I don’t see any attack on the priest here. It is evident from some comments that Fr McCoy is a highly regarded and orthodox. [The issue at hand is the choice to have female servers for the Extraordinary Form.]
    All the more reason that this violation of the norms is very dangerous to the integrity of the EF. He is setting a powerful precdent of innovation similar to the NO. And the choice focuses on that ultra sensitive issue of the beleagered female. Because he is so beloved by his parishoners, emotions cloud reason to the extent that anything Father McCoy may want to change in the future could become easily accepted by orthodox laymen, choosing a horizontal sentimentality over a pure and humble intention of obedience as THEE MOST pleasing thing to God.

  15. a catechist says:

    Seems to me the only persons who might reasonably be hurt in this situation are those female altar servers. Assuming in charity that they are motivated only by a love of liturgy and Our Lord in the Eucharist, it is they who need our prayers. Let’s hope this gets corrected tactfully & with wise teaching, to deepen their understanding of the tradition.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    Hmmm, is #28 explicitly discriminating against female altar servers or is this simply a matter of an certain interpretation of #28? [Read UE 28 again.]

  17. Caro_c says:

    Really don’t think No 28 is so clear cut. [AH! Well. There it is.] Does it mean a permanent deacon can’t participate in the extraordinary form? And where do you find a sub deacon when there aren’t any sub deacons any more? You can’t transform the whole church back to 1962 to use the 1962 missal. [This is ridiculous. It seems to me that you are trying to derail this entry. To make this clear: Permanent deacons are really deacons. They really are. There is no question that they are deacons. They aren't partly deacons, or a qualitatively different kind of deacon. Since they are deacons, they can do what deacons do.]

  18. Andy Milam says:

    @ caro_c;

    “So in the extraordinary form the priest should pray for Pope John, and not Pope Benedict, as there was no Pope Benedict in 1962.”
    —The TLM existed long before 1962 and many popes. The prayer asks the priest to pray for the Holy Father. That is what he does, prays for the Holy Father, whoever it is at the time the Mass is celebrated.

    “Really don’t think No 28 is so clear cut. Does it mean a permanent deacon can’t participate in the extraordinary form? And where do you find a sub deacon when there aren’t any sub deacons any more? You can’t transform the whole church back to 1962 to use the 1962 missal.”
    —Universae Ecclesiae #28 is that clear cut. No distinction can be made sacramentally between a permanent deacon and a transitional deacon…a deacon is a deacon is a deacon. As a matter of fact, most solemn Masses were celebrated with priests ministering as deacon and subdeacon, your argument really doesn’t stand up too well. I can find a whole slew of sub-deacons, all I have to do is go to either Denton, NE or Wiebatzgrad, Germany, but that really isn’t relevant anyway, for two reasons…1. An acolyte can subsitute for a subdeacon, by virtue of the document that supressed the minor orders. 2. There has always been a provision for “straw” subdeacons. That is; one who is not a subdeacon, substituting for a subdeacon, when one is not available. There are multiple commentaries speaking to that, not the least of which is ‘Ceremonies of the Roman Rite’ by O’Connell, which came out well before the Council….

    The TLM is clearly defined. It is up to us to safeguard the Mass from abuse. We must be diligent in protecting the rule of law when we are able. This holds doubly true for priests.

  19. Andy Milam says:

    @ frjim4321;

    “Hmmm, is #28 explicitly discriminating against female altar servers or is this simply a matter of an certain interpretation of #28?”
    —Universae Ecclesiae isnt’ discriminating against female altar servers at all. Since they didn’t exist, there is nothing to discriminate against. As it is, #28 is a positive statement which affirms the juridical status of the TLM as defined in 1962.

  20. Caro_c says:

    But hang on, the document which suppressed the minor orders came out after 1962 so in your world it doesn’t really exist, so acolytes can’t act as sub-deacons because in 1962 they couldn’t.

    You know, I used to be open to the Extraordinary Form. I used to think it was a good idea to live and let live. But over the last few months, the more I read from some people, driving for hours every Sunday, not because they love the Extraordinary Form as such, but because they think altar girls are evil and women shouldn’t wear trousers and a whole rake of other things I’ve read on various blogs. Well to be honest I now understand the bishops who just think no, don’t want that crowd anywhere near my diocese and who will limit the EF as much as they possibly can. You people have made it happen.

  21. Ezra says:

    You know, I used to be open to the Extraordinary Form. I used to think it was a good idea to live and let live. But over the last few months, the more I read from some people, driving for hours every Sunday, not because they love the Extraordinary Form as such, but because they think altar girls are evil and women shouldn’t wear trousers and a whole rake of other things I’ve read on various blogs. Well to be honest I now understand the bishops who just think no, don’t want that crowd anywhere near my diocese and who will limit the EF as much as they possibly can. You people have made it happen.

    Sham openness, malicious stereotypes, and a vicious “blame the victim” coda; someone’s clearly well-schooled in the rhetoric of contemporary liberalism. Fortunately for the Church, and unfortunately for you and your fellow beacons of tolerance, it’s not up to you any more. The Holy Father saw how you were playing ball, and decided to write up some new rules. Perhaps you missed them?

    What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

    It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church… In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

  22. tzard says:

    When does Universae Ecclesiae become law? I thought there was a short interval between publication and when it was expected to be followed (a month?). [As it turns out, the vacatio legis does not apply in the case of this Instruction. The juridical provisions are in force now, and have since they were made known. I originally thought that it had to be in the AAS first, and then we would have to wait for the vacatio legis (1 month). That was wrong. It is in force now.]

    As to whether he “should” know, or is aware, or his intentions – those are separate issues to whether he broke the law.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t really “get” all this subdeacon stuff, maybe because I’m a convert, but again maybe because many Catholics out here seldom here this stuff, and they don’t “get” it either. It seems a little like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic, if truth be told. [The subdeacon thing is just a rabbit hole.]

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    caro c,
    That’s just about as believable as those people who call C-SPAN and claim, “I’ve ALWAYS been a Republican and always voted Republican, but after *fill in blank here* I will never, never, ever vote Republican again, so there!”
    For about the umpteenth time: the Church is not a body politic, political tropes do not apply, and the usual “progressive” thinking (and agitating) about such issues as “women’s rights” has no application. Your entire argument is based on this misapprehension, and it just sounds silly when political rhetoric (and abuse) is applied to the Church’s pronouncements with respect to the Mass.
    If you insist on mixing politics with your religion, the Episcopal Church is where you need to be. But of course they are a bit of a cautionary tale, seeing where their political proclivities have led them . . . .

  25. Andy Milam says:

    @ caro_c;

    “But hang on, the document which suppressed the minor orders came out after 1962 so in your world it doesn’t really exist, so acolytes can’t act as sub-deacons because in 1962 they couldn’t.”
    —Yes they could. As straw subdeacons. I mentioned that already.

    You know, I used to be open to the Extraordinary Form. I used to think it was a good idea to live and let live. But over the last few months, the more I read from some people, driving for hours every Sunday, not because they love the Extraordinary Form as such, but because they think altar girls are evil and women shouldn’t wear trousers and a whole rake of other things I’ve read on various blogs. Well to be honest I now understand the bishops who just think no, don’t want that crowd anywhere near my diocese and who will limit the EF as much as they possibly can. You people have made it happen.”
    —That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever…altar girls are not evil, they are simply misplaced. The evil part is the projection of the notion that it is a right for a girl to serve at the altar, even though this has been refuted and the contrary has been spoken to over and over and over again. Even as recently as this afternoon…I would also argue pretty strongly that you’re missing or not reading the part where they say that they love the TLM, kinda like how you didn’t read the part about straw subdeacons that I wrote about a little earlier…and finally (for now, I suspect) bishops have not had any control over “limiting” the TLM since 2007. It is that rigid and closeminded adherance to the liberal thought process that gives the TLM a bad name.

  26. St. Louis IX says:

    Ezra
    Sham openness, malicious stereotypes, and a vicious “blame the victim” coda; someone’s clearly well-schooled in the rhetoric of contemporary liberalism. Fortunately for the Church, and unfortunately for you and your fellow beacons of tolerance, it’s not up to you any more. The Holy Father saw how you were playing ball, and decided to write up some new rules. Perhaps you missed them?

    EXCELLENT!

  27. St. Louis IX says:

    I probally should mention, that Ezra was responding to a wolf in sheeps clothing….

    EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!

  28. Henry Edwards says:

    When does Universae Ecclesiae become law?

    Universae Ecclesiae does not “become” law. It is an instruction regarding Summorum Pontificum, which came into force (“became law”) on Sept. 14, 2007.

    so acolytes can’t act as sub-deacons because in 1962 they couldn’t.

    Wrong on at least a couple of counts. The subdeacon in a solemn Mass has a liturgical role that does not require clerical ordination, and before 1962 one sometimes even saw mature laymen acting acting as subdeacons.

    You know, I used to be open to the Extraordinary Form.

    Bully for you. And now, assuming you’re still a good Catholic, our Supreme Pontiff has left you no choice, by setting the old and new forms of the Roman rite alongside each other, both to be treasured.

    You people have made it happen.

    Let us be thankful that the Vicar of Christ has made “it” happen . . . to any bishops who might be as petty as this.

  29. benedetta says:

    I don’t “drive for hours on Sunday” to attend the EF and I don’t anticipate doing so anytime soon. I don’t have any particular attachment to the EF. Possibly, rampant irreverence experienced in one locality at most NO Masses have led me to seek out alternatives, reverent NO where possible, Divine Liturgy…

    But I will say this. Each of us really ought to be entirely comfortable worshipping in any form our Church presently offers us. And we ought not regard actual fellow believers who prefer the EF as “you people”. This commenter admits that he/she does not in fact know anyone who prefers the EF, and is comfortable slandering just about anyone who might on the basis of, um, what is read on a blog. I think that if one is not actually a friend of another who prefers to worship in this way then one ought not to judge.

    What I discover in the irreverent approach to the vast majority of NO Masses I certainly don’t blame on those who feel comfortable worshipping in the NO. I am one myself. But when it comes to the choices that are made by leaders that is fair game, I think. Though the innovations have enjoyed a good long run of decades, unhindered and unchallenged, I don’t at the end of the day mind having to raise, a question, about it. If Vatican II does support, then it should be easily done. If it does not, then, it seems a matter of one leader’s particular preference and that means, to be, arbitrary.

    So I think that from my vantage, not being attached to the EF but as an observer, one can conclude that this (very elite) university chaplain has decided that he in fact wants these altar servers at the EF. That is clear.

    So the question now becomes here, as it has similarly played out strangely for decades with respect to the NO, if rubrics do not specifically state “No clown makeup”…does that automatically then make it, sensible, coherent, reasonable, a go? When it comes to leadership having to say, “No” to one thing or another, whether dreamed up by self or suggested by another, there are good reasons for this. Can everything that could be dreamed up go into the “not specifically prohibited by rubric” category and so then, totally justified? I think this has been totally tried, aired, and it has been followed as far as it is going to go, and we have to look to the organic, healthy approach of continuity.

    I have no special objections to female altar servers at the NO. I will say that boys and girls equally need to be connected to concrete paths of service in the Church. Some parishes around in different parts of the world do this ably. As a woman I would say that if there is no effort to connect an altar girl up to some spiritual formation that helps her to consider vocations as a leader in the Church whether to religious and consecrated life, the single or married states, then, to pretend that her service at the altar will lead to something such as ordination which is a settled matter is, spiritually abusive and dishonest towards young women who have the right to consider what is possible and not be regarded as political tokens in someone else’s battle for “change” according to what suits them. To pretend that this is the only or best avenue for leadership and service within the Church towards a young lady is in this feminist’s opinion, offensive and insulting. Just take a look at the recent Harvard grad who happily entered religious life last spring after having delivered the commencement address to the university in Latin. To continue with this pretense that ordination is the be-all and end-all is just stubborn, selfish, arrogant.

    So, even if the rubric doesn’t explicitly ban, all things we could fantasize and dream up, does that really mean “go ahead”? I leave that discussion to other minds here.

  30. Hmmm, is #28 explicitly discriminating against female altar servers or is this simply a matter of an certain interpretation of #28?

    What orthodox female would want to serve on the altar in the Extraordinary Form?

    In the immortal words of William Tecumseh Sherman: “If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”

  31. Supertradmum says:

    Clearly, this discussion should be about obedience to the will of God as expressed so eloquently through this present pope. If a priest is confused about details, it is his duty to seek clarification. The particular section on pre-1962 rules seems unambiguous. These counter arguments are the dying gasps of the liberals, who, by definition hate clarification and idolize the fuzziness of individualism.

  32. skull kid says:

    Caro – the law is the law. I explained to you the background of the reason why altar girls should not be used generally on that blog associated with your website, and more specifically with the Extraordinary Rite, the law of the Church is that they are not to be used.

  33. Jack Hughes says:

    Last Year I was given the privelidge of learning to serve the Extraordinary Form at Downside Abby at a LMS training conference at which Bishop Athanasius Schneider (he of Dominu est fame) flew all the way from Khazakstan to be the cleberent for the Pontifical High Mass at which I was the book bearer.

    All of the servers were in Cassock for pretty much the whole week, wearing the cassock intesified my desire to become a Priest, a desire I hold to this day.

    I say this because despite all of the arguments that serving does not lead women to think they will be ordianed, it is a matter of fact that the cassock cultivates a sense of Priestly identity, in the sense that it is a uniform it directs and forms an identity of the Alter Christus whether this is in the case of an ordianed Priest, or a young laymen aspiring to the Priesthood.

    The same is also true of a server’s role in the Extraordinary Form; the fact that the server alone (in the case of Low Mass) prays the responses, cultivates a sense of obediance and adherance to the rules. In the case of Fr. McCoy he has twice (at least) violated those rules when it comes to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form and he needs to be told, if he refuses to amend his ways then the matter should taken up with the competent authoroties.

    Lastly I would like to thank all of the Priests who went to Downside both for thier openess to the EF and for letting me serve when their were more than enough qualified Priests to fill the roles of MC, Acolytes, Torch bearers, Crucifer, Thrurifer ect ect, One serves at the pleasure of the Priest/MC

  34. catholicmidwest says:

    For the umpteenth time, I’m going to say that there’s nothing going on that’s suitable for girls. This is why they want to serve as altar servers. Give them something more suitable and more fun and they will do that instead.

    There’s something wrong with men & boys that when the women & girls show up they just run and hide. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. You guys are a bunch of wimps.

  35. benedetta says:

    catholicmidwest, I like your style…Agree that the whole notion that one can throw up a confirmation/youth type program and have altar servers and be done with our obligations toward genuine spiritual formation for young people is ridiculous. We are able to put together numerous other initiatives to address various needs and things, but we feel that minimal sacramental education with a rally or pizza here and there provided is well enough…Well not me. I’m not going to sit around and wait for the idea to dawn on others, relative to my family’s very real needs…But let’s not pretend that the need to go it alone is anything remotely like one’s own choice. Seems like some people have used the abuse scandals as a twenty-year plus excuse for foisting so much foolish stuff on young people and pretend it will pass for real encouragement in the life of the faith…

    The very idea that one is doing something special or very kind, or even progressive, towards young women by making the choice to have them serve at the Mass is so dumb. Seems like some very well educated, progressive and accomplished, faithful young women manage to discover the truth about their dignity anyway…Whatever the attempts to cover or distort, the truth prevails…

  36. Wouldn’t girl altar servers be sacramentally the same as boy altar servers – It ISN’T a Sacrament.
    If Permanent Deacons are sacramentally the same as Transitional Deacons and that means they can serve even though they weren’t around in 1962.

    CatholicMidwest:
    The same argument could be made that the indult could apply to TLM. But that isn’t the way it’s going to be interpreted. They seem to forget that the major reason that the indult was granted was because boys did NOT want to serve Mass any more. So the indult was granted for girls to take their place.

    Unfortunately, the more girls started serving mass, the less boys want to serve because it is a “girls’” thing.

    If you want less girls being used, get more boys to serve mass or get Rome to abrogate the indult. (I have no idea if indults are abrogated per se or if they are rendered invalid. whatever. ) Get the boys in. That can’t be too difficult, just pry them away from the more manly pursuits of sports, and nintendo.

    The girls were fine to fill a gap, but they were only tolerated. You can have them at the OF but don’t let them touch the EF.

    Final thought:

    # 28 is NOT clear cut. BUt then again, how many Catholic laws are?

    [No. Read this.]

  37. Glen M says:

    IMHO, when someone uses the phrase “you people” the trailing argument is usually suspect. Something is either a liturgical a abuse or it isn’t. We have endured forty years of novelty and people thinking the liturgy is open for interpretation. The result has been declining Mass attendance and moral relativism of many actually in the pews. As we worship so we believe and live.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    Puff,
    Even more interesting. The problem isn’t with the girls. It’s with the slacker guys who can’t tear themselves away from nintendo or whatever to get their rear ends to church. And then the fact that girls have taken their place is an excuse to stay away and carry on with us for doing their work. There’s something really wrong with that.

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    So guys: Get off your butts and get trained. Get down there and do your job. And then give us something more suitable & fun to do. It’s not the fault of women that the guys don’t show up and don’t act like they give a damn half the time.

  40. St. Louis IX says:

    As per usual, some people (well meaning Catholics) cannot see the trees through the forest.
    The focus here should be on the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass. The preservation of the Priesthood.The building up of God`s Church.
    Churches used to be built around the Altar and the Holy Sacrafice(as they should) One day they became instead artistic expression and user friendly spaces (They could no longer see) Altar servers once were to Serve the Priesthood and let young MEN disceren if they had a calling to serve at God`s Altar.. One day altar serving became a equal rights thing (they could no longer see).

    Today thanks to our Holy Father…Brick by Brick we are starting to see again. Yet the ME generation still wants to be heard, even if this means plucking out their eyes AGAIN.

    Lets Preserve the Holy Mass..Lets preserve the Holy Priesthood… The age of novelty needs to be put away!

    Ps. I learned to serve the Mass at 45 years of age. My sons now serve the Mass.
    Brick by Brick
    Deo Gratias

  41. GregorD says:

    Regarding the implications of Universæ Ecclesiæ here, I think it is worth noting that female servers are listed as a defect in the celebration of Mass in section X of the De Defectibus, which is printed in the Missal, and so this matter would seem to be precisely one of those regulated by UE 28.

    It is unfortunate that of all that has happened at Fisher House under Fr McCoy, this one matter — serious though it may be — has become the one to be generally known, in that he has brought about great improvements there; and so while I hope and pray that the current practice might cease quickly, I think it would be unjust if the matter came to characterise the perception of the chaplain’s character.

    [Great comment. Read this.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  42. Tradster says:

    I’ve seen no mention about officially reporting this trial balloon abuse to Ecclesiae Dei. I pray someone is doing so before other liberals get the notion that the instruction has no teeth.

  43. Supertradmum says:

    Catholicmidwest
    As usual, I agree with you. Us girls did have something to do in the old days…sacristy club. We polished, washed, ironed, set out the vestments daily. But, of course, no one sees those humble yet honorable chores done. I personally think the altar girl decision was a huge mistake.

  44. Ezra: Having read over the whole of McCoy’s article, I don’t find much in it with which I might take exception, apart from the point you highlighted. McCoy remains on fairly good ground when he talks about the possibility of different language to describe the reality or “res” of the Eucharist and what happens with what we so very aptly call transubstantiation. But I don’t think he expressed himself very well. Where I think he goes wrong is his way of putting this possibility of different language.

    As you rightly placed in bold, above, McCoy wrote: “They are not, however, committed to believing in the notion of transubstantiation, as such.”

    This is, in fact, wrong.

    Catholics most certainly ARE committed to the NOTION of transubstantiation AS SUCH.

    If we can come up with better language to describe that NOTION, then fine, let’s use it. However, past attempts to find better language haven’t met with a great deal of success. In fact, they have slid into mistakes about the NOTION, the res, the reality which the word transubstantiation conveys.

    But I am going also to give McCoy the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just didn’t express himself very well. I doubt very much that he thinks Catholics don’t have to believe what the word transubstantiation conveys. I think, I hope, what he was driving at is that if we can find new ways to talk about what happens during the consecration, and those new ways convey the same content of what we believe as Catholics – that the whole substance of the bread and of the wine change – then we can use that new way of talking.

    Good luck with that.

    By the way, this is the same point that got me thrown out of my US seminary in the late 80′s. I had a fight in class with a priest prof, the vice rector, who was entirely heretical on this point. He denied the NOTION of transubstantiation as well as the language, the word itself.

    He said that when the “ordained minister” (we were not to use the word “priest” anymore) said the words of “institution” (we were not to speak of “consecration” anymore) then, and I quote, “no real change takes place”. Instead, what happens is that the bread and wine become – I am not making this up – “a symbol of the unity of the community gathered there in that moment”. I asked how that was in keeping with the dogma of transubstantiation and was told that the Church no longer believes in transubstantiation, nor are we to use that word. The old Aristotelean Thomistic ideas of substance and accident, matter and form, were surpassed. When I asked when that happened, his response was Vatican II.

    I then cited Mysterium Fidei, which was written close to the end of Vatican II.

    The discussion devolved to the point where he was purple and yelling. Finally, I concluded, “Look. I grew up Lutheran. Even Lutherans believe more than you.”

    The next week the rector had a heart attack, this bozo took over. He threw me out of seminary the very next day. I got back in through the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux, even obtaining the sign of roses, and though the intervention of the present Archbishop of St. Louis, then an Auxiliary in my native place. My next year of seminary, by the way, was a living hell.

    This incident is why when I had my chalice made in Rome before my ordination (20 years ago in a few days) I had incorporated a wreath of roses. I wanted to remember that bout with sheer heresy and abuse of power and remember with gratitude the heavenly and earthly intercession I obtained in that very dark hour.

    A couple years after this shouting match and my expulsion, that heretic quit the active priesthood having done untold damage over many years of poisonous seminary “service”.

    I digress.

    Sometimes we place our foot wrong, and not because we intend to. Fr. McCoy put his foot wrong in the way he wrote about the language and the notion, etc. But I can’t imagine that he thinks that Catholics don’t have to believe what the technical word “transubstantiation” means to convey. That would be very serious.

    That said. Without passing any sort of judgment about anything else he has done as a priest, Fr. McCoy’s choice to have female altar servers for the Extraordinary Form was an extraordinarily bad choice. It was a bad choice even before Universae Ecclesiae.

    UE 28 does, in fact derogate all conflicting liturgical laws after 1962. There are to be no female servers at the Extraordinary Form. Service at the altar is to be carried out by males. That’s it.

  45. Paul says:

    Father Z said, “By the way, this is the same point that got me thrown out of my US seminary in the late 80?s. I had a fight in class with a priest prof, the vice rector, who was entirely heretical on this point. He denied the NOTION of transubstantiation as well as the language, the word itself. ”

    I’m not nearly learned enough to weigh in on the matter of the current discussion, either the female servers or the wording of what happens at consecration. I just wanted to mention that, literally, the hairs on my arms stood up when I read Father’s account of his seminary days.

    May God defend our priests and may He move that professor to repentance or have mercy on his soul, as the case may be.

  46. Random Friar says:

    Most priests could share a war story or two or three score about seminary days. Sometimes a day seemed like a thousand years. I think just about every priest ordained post-1970 nodded sadly at Fr. Z’s story.

    I may be painting a huge target on my chest, but it seems to me that because the EF was made so difficult, extraordinarily so, in many cases, some of the EF faithful became understandably suspicious and perhaps a little hard edged. Some bishops and pastors, who are used to being complaint piñatas, probably instinctively threw up their defenses, even if they were open to the EF, just because of the problems they thought it might bring. The comment about being open to the EF and now-not-so-much is not far from the truth for some.

    My hope is that both sides, being open and charitable, both in providing the EF (or, *ahem*, the older religious order rites), and in bearing with the slow acceptance and human faults of the clergy as they happen, will soften.

    My hermeneutic of “brick by brick” is more edificational than ballistical.

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    Supertradmum,
    The Sacristy Club needs to make a comeback.
    When my daughter was very small (around 7), she loved to help in the (Episcopalian) sacristy. She was properly trained from an early age to neatness and tidiness (though, sadly, I did not insist on needlework. I should have.) Most of the sacristans were happy to have her help (one called her her ‘right hand girl’) and she was fascinated with learning all the names for vestments and altar plate and exactly what should be done with everything.
    But a couple of the little old ladies took offense and insisted that she be forbidden to help. She was crushed.
    They should have formed a Sacristy Club instead. And we need one at our parish now.

  48. Mitchell NY says:

    I don’t know, growing up I looked to Nuns with the same respect as I did to a Priest. As a lay person, not involved with parish politics or committees I saw them both as the 2 most important roles in the life of the Church. Albeit different roles. Nuns had schools, classes and Education to run. Which is no small task and its’ importance can never be downgraded. I can see how allowing for servers to be girls could indeed confuse the girls. From early on their apsirations to serve the Church will be rooted in something that somewhere along the line will have to cease. And after several years it may be quite painful, or disorienting. As parents, why set them on such a path to disappointment? Parishes should cultivate more fully a role that leads to familiarity with becoming a Novice and what that means to the Church and serving Her People. The casting aside of this role as unimportant or unequal has been terribly hard on the Catholic Education system and services to the homebound who are sick or infirmed. Nuns are of the utmost importance. Could it be that women have an integral role in the life of the Church and it is just not appreciated for what it is? Could the Church do better to promote the life lived by Nuns and their intricate value and service to Holy Church and that without it could not do many of the things the Church does? The roles are there for both, different but equal. Both serve the Lord, and both are needed by lay people and Holy Mother Church.

  49. skull kid says:

    Fr. Z, I was very interested to read your account of your seminary experiences. Reading that, it is understandable why things are so messed up in the Church.

    Meanwhile, Adoremus Bulletin has an interesting article: ‘The Question of Altar Girls Revisited’, by Kenneth D. Whitehead:

    http://www.adoremus.org/0302Altargirls.html

    ”Experience since 1994 has proven true the warning that since women are neither eligible for ordination nor even for anything but temporary, “delegated” service at the altar, it is actually a disservice to girls to encourage or even to allow them to serve in this fashion. Just as service at the altar encourages priestly vocations in boys, so it can encourage the (false) hope of possible ordination in the minds of some girls as well. Anyone who has talked to one of these altar girls (or, especially, to her parents!) knows that many of them do think that they should be able to be priests some day.
    [...]
    We already have an entire generation of feminist-influenced women, significant numbers of whom are currently disillusioned with the Church in precisely this manner; too many of them still work for the Church in various capacities, including in bishops’ chanceries, even while they scorn the Church’s judgments. Could anyone possibly want to perpetuate such an unhappy situation?

    Much better and healthier for girls is to learn at an early age that their role in the Church — as in life — is different from that of boys and men, though equal in dignity. Just as men who are ordained bear a natural resemblance to Christ the priest, so all girls and women bear a natural resemblance to the one whom the poet William Wordsworth rightly and aptly called “our tainted nature’s solitary boast”, namely, the Blessed Virgin Mary — who was free from all sin and who has now been assumed, body and soul, into heaven, where she makes intercession for us “now and at the hour of our death.” Women do not need ordination or even to be “altar girls” in order to know, love, and serve God in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next!”

  50. Yes, bring back the Altar Guild. I would love the altar guild to come back. Where do you think all those exquisite altar linens came from. And they last a whole lot longer than a service. Embrodiering the altar cloths. Arranging the altar, and sanctuary, you know, candles, flowers etc etc. But how many calls go out for alta guilds.

    But no one thinks that that is important any more. No one wants to do it for the girls. No one wants to run it on Saturdays at the same time as the altar boy practice. Or make the choir all female. Have the altar guild, make the altar cloths. Heck they could even make the choir robes ( I love choir robes) Make something all girls.

    Fr. Z, and everyone else who says no altar girls, give the girls something else to do. Christ even gave Mary Magdalen something to do. She was never an apostle but He gave her the gift of knowing before anyone else He rose. So Father et al, our daughters want to serve- how do you suggest they do that?

    Look, you may be right about #28. Heck, I’ll even say you ARE right about altar boys, and I’ll go further and say that the indult should be retracted.

    Put the boys back into altar boys and then what for the girls. You don’t consider that fact that even though they are females, they too want to serve the church, not mecessarily the mass- so Fr. Z. what would you suggest. Instead of beating us over the head with rules, and repetitious NO ALTAR GIRLS, come up with something for the girls.

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z, you said, ““Look. I grew up Lutheran. Even Lutherans believe more than you.”

    I used to be Lutheran too, Missouri Synod of all things, and this is absolutely true. One of the strangest and saddest things around is that the percentage of Lutherans who believe in the True Presence is just about the same as the percentage of Catholics who do. But of course, we really do have the True Presence and they have a symbol of Christ “under” the bread and wine. It’s all very sad and confusing on a bunch of levels.

    I’d be willing to wager that the number of Lutherans who are as progressively wacky as your seminary professor is smaller than the number of progressively wacky Catholics on that topic. We have some real winners and some of them are in crucially important positions, unfortunately.

  52. PJ says:

    Out of interest, what is the underlying rationale against female altar servers in the TLM (that is, what is the precise reason behind this being regarded as a defect in the older form)?

    I haven’t spotted this point fully explained on the thread/blog (perhaps I have missed it?). I assume it is just a question of the rubrics/ritual of Low Mass in the EF being understood only by reference to High Mass (i.e. altar server is taking the role otherwise filled by a cleric)?

  53. catholicmidwest says:

    Agree, Puff. The church can’t get along without women any more than it can get along without men. Kicking out half the human race is always a mistake. We need all the help we can get, albeit doing different jobs. The jobs that suit women are simply not getting down now and as a result our churches look tacky, are deserted most of the time, and are not very friendly to those who show up curious or questioning. People face most of their biggest trials with no input or help from the church because no one goes to see if they are all right most of the time. I know this because someone in my family went through a big illness in the hospital and the only person who cared to show up was a non-denominational minister and he was very helpful. Not a peep from the Catholic church. Not a peep. And this was at a Catholic hospital, mind you.

  54. PJ says:

    As an aside, Fr Z, I think you are right to give Fr A the benefit of the doubt in your earlier comment:

    “But I am going also to give McCoy the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just didn’t express himself very well… I think, I hope, what he was driving at is that if we can find new ways to talk about what happens during the consecration, and those new ways convey the same content of what we believe as Catholics – that the whole substance of the bread and of the wine change – then we can use that new way of talking.”

    If my memory serves me correctly, your generous and sensible interpretation is exactly what I used to take away when hearing Fr A talking about this precise point.

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    Women’s jobs have always been officially under-rated in Western culture and that’s a fact. But don’t kid yourself for a minute. If no one fills them, things go wrong fast.

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, Let me make myself clear here. It’s not that women have to be mini-priests, mini-ministers, mini-theologians or anything of the sort. Yes, there are women who are good abstract scholars and sometimes they study theology; I’m not talking about them either.

    What we need is normal women with good sense and the church has a lot of them, who are willing to check on people just to make sure they’re okay, and to care about them. A lot of people would be pleased to share a prayer with someone in the hospital or the nursing home. A lot of people would be thrilled to see a friendly face in the church, down the block or at the mailbox. A lot of people would be happy to see the church look nice and cared for again. A lot of people would feel better about the church if they heard music that had ACTUALLY been practiced a few times. It would be nice if you could go down there, walk in (because the doors are unlocked!!!!) and pray a rosary with someone for no reason other than it’s offered because we need it!

    Right now the Catholic church is about as warm & welcoming as a meat locker on Mars. It’s all that damn testosterone and pseudo-testosterone (from the women trying to be official men).
    But that’s to be expected because if you effectively sideline 1/2 the human race, that’s what you’re going to get. [And that's what V2 did, whether they planned it that way or not. It was the consequence of getting rid of altar societies, rosary groups, etc etc. That's actually one of my biggest gripes with Vatican II, but one I almost never hear from anyone else.]

  57. EWTN Rocks says:

    I’ve been inspired by many of the comments here to help out at church – I appreciate the suggestions!

  58. skull kid says:

    catholicmidwes said…
    Right now the Catholic church is about as warm & welcoming as a meat locker on Mars. It’s all that damn testosterone and pseudo-testosterone (from the women trying to be official men).

    – I’m not sure that is precisely the case. I’d say it is so often the case that the masculine element of the Church has hand-wringingly repressed its true self, and the void has been filled by weak hand-wringing apology for masculinity, and the pseudo-testosterone you speak of – women trying to act like men and not making a terribly good job of it. What we need in the Church is authentic masculinity and femininity, each in its proper place.

  59. Centristian says:

    “But I do find it strange that people could be ‘hurt’ over this, as the correspondent is claiming. Sometimes I think those of us (myself included) who love tradition can be too thin-skinned.”

    I find myself sypathetic to this remark. If the typical lacklustre Sunday Mass at my parish were replaced by a magnificent solemn Mass in Latin, the only ‘catch’ being that the pastor could not bring himself to dismiss the (faithful and dutiful) female servers of our parish, I would have no issue with it. It would not bother me to see females in various ceremonial roles at Mass in the older form (or a Latin, ad orientem version of the Ordinary Form) any more than it bothers me to see them in the typical form. It might not be ideal, but I also don’t find it a particularly appalling scenario. It certainly wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

    “You know, I used to be open to the Extraordinary Form. I used to think it was a good idea to live and let live. But over the last few months, the more I read from some people, driving for hours every Sunday, not because they love the Extraordinary Form as such, but because they think altar girls are evil and women shouldn’t wear trousers and a whole rake of other things I’ve read on various blogs. Well to be honest I now understand the bishops who just think no, don’t want that crowd anywhere near my diocese and who will limit the EF as much as they possibly can. You people have made it happen.”

    That’s an interesting observation, one I have made and one which helped me to come to terms with the Ordinary Form of Mass again. When the people you find yourself worshipping with Sunday after Sunday are all a congregation full of angry cranks who endlessly harp on fringe issues, you do certainly begin to think to yourself, “I’m so tired of this; I wish I could just go to church with normal people who mind their own business and not have to contend with all of these eccentricities Sunday after Sunday.”

    Of course, once you come to terms with the idea that the “Tridentine Mass” isn’t the only acceptable form of public worship, you can go to Mass wherever you like; suddenly your options are no longer limited (which is a nice thing in itself). The trade off, of course, is the quality of the liturgy. Usually.

    I have, however, encountered one Tridentine Mass venue in a “normal” suburban parish environment that turned out to be the best of both worlds. The form of Mass was a Missa Cantata, every week. The celebrant was the pastor: a pleasant and intelligent diocesan priest with no agenda, who sang Mass very competently and elegantly. The congregation was fluid; it wasn’t the same group of people every week. It was the weekly scheduled 4:00 Mass for Sunday at this particular parish, and just as many worshippers were there on account of the time of Mass, as were there for the form of it.

    When Mass was over, worshippers left, walked to the parking lot, and drove away. Nobody chased you down after Mass to scold you for wearing shorts or for not wearing a veil (there were few veils to be seen, but alot of Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch), nobody demanded a reaction of newbies to what they may have just encountered for the first time, and a comparison to the “Novus Ordo”, nobody handed any pamphlets to you, nobody made any absurd displays of dramatic “look at my holiness” piety in front of side altars or at the communion rail. They were just normal suburbanites with no agendas who came to Mass, then went home. For a “traditionalist” used to the other sort of environment, the “normalcy” (to borrow Harding’s confected word) was almost scandalous! :)

    It was so refreshing and such a pleasure to be able to have the Latin Mass AND a normal parish environment. I loved it. And then the pastor was reassigned and the new pastor didn’t know how to say the Tridentine Mass and didn’t care to learn, so the Sunday 4:00 Mass was said in the Ordinary Form again. That was that. The remaining Tridentine Mass venues hosted fixed congregations of the agenda-oriented variety, and that was an atmosphere that I did not care to reintroduce myself into.

    It’s nice when a parish will accomodate a “steady group of the faithful” who request the Extraordinary Form of Mass, and those who insist upon assisting at that form of Mass have a place where they can get dressed up in their denim jumpers, boby socks and lace mantillas and be themselves, congregate with other worshippers of like mind and parisanship, and worship as they prefer.

    A better scenario, however, exists when a pastor simply offers the Tridentine Mass without anyone having to request it, and inserts a celebration of the Extraordinary Form into his regular Sunday Mass schedule, which ends up being attended by a variety of people (often unsuspecting, often delightfully surprised). In that sort of a scenario, you can have the Latin Mass without having to encounter the eccentricities that can often surround it. It’s just a typical parish environment, only with better liturgy.

    All the concerns that the reader expressed in his/her quote were legitimate, but actually, if the “EF” were offered more liberally and in a more normal way, all of the typical strangeness would be minimized. You wouldn’t have to worry about “that crowd” any longer; “that crowd” would either stick to their original venue or become so dispersed that it would cease to be a crowd at all. So I’m very much convinced that it’s a good idea to ‘live and let live’ and allow the two forms to exist in a normal parish environment side-by-side.

    I may not be of the opinion that some hold that Summorum Pontificum or Universae Ecclesiae actually call for the two forms to obtain in equal measure in every community, but I do support the idea.

  60. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian: It was so refreshing and such a pleasure to be able to have the Latin Mass AND a normal parish environment.

    This is the kind of TLM environment I’m familiar with. I doubt seriously that a person who walked in off the street to our reception downstairs after Mass yesterday could have guessed from sight and sound that we were fearsome TLM lovers.

    For me, the “agenda-driven TLM crowd” is largely a memory from pre-SP days when TLM folks were hounded and persecuted most everywhere. So now I sometimes wonder whether people who still nurture this memory are living in the past. (Not meaning you, of course, your attitude being so obviously different from the hounders and persecuters.) And not to mention those totally mired in the past, repeating the same old canards about the bad old days before Vatican II.

  61. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian,

    However, I have heard of a couple of instances when such things as altar girls or communion in the hand at a TLM were obviously “stick it in your face” actions, plainly intended to hurt. In this case, when peoples preferences are simply trashed for malice, is it not natural for some to feel hurt?

  62. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards:

    “For me, the ‘agenda-driven TLM crowd’ is largely a memory from pre-SP days when TLM folks were hounded and persecuted most everywhere.”

    If that’s true, it may be, indeed, that things have changed since I left that environment. Perhaps the crazy congregations are a thing of the past. If so, that’s a good thing and I’m glad to hear it. I went to a Tridentine Mass at my own parish earlier this year and, while I did encounter one or two angry finger-pointers, the crowd, on the whole, seemed quite normal and mainstream.

    “However, I have heard of a couple of instances when such things as altar girls or communion in the hand at a TLM were obviously “stick it in your face” actions, plainly intended to hurt. In this case, when peoples preferences are simply trashed for malice, is it not natural for some to feel hurt?”

    Well, in a non-traditionalist environment such as I have described, such things as female servers and communion in the hand wouldn’t necessarily offend or hurt anyone, and they wouldn’t likely be done with the express purpose of offending traditionalists. I’ve never heard of a “stick-it-to-’em” Mass before. :) You’d think that the most effective way to to that would be not to offer the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

  63. robtbrown says:

    I read the whole of Fr McCoy’s article, and I found it half right at best.

    He’s correct when he says that Christ is sacramentally present in the Eucharist, that acc to St Thomas it cannot be said that He is on the altar or moved from this place to that one (place is an accident), and that ontologically His presence in the Eucharist is not the same as if He were standing there.

    On the other hand:

    1. He writes: “It is perfectly legitimate to consider the use of the word less than appropriate if, as some think, it is now apt to mislead.” I don’t think it’s any more apt to mislead than the word “Trinity” (3 gods), Predestination (no free will), or the other mysteries of dogma, all of which involve a meeting of the natural and supernatural. And, IMHO, “Real Presence” is the phrase that is apt to mislead because Christ Himself notes His presence when two or three are gathered in my name.

    2. IME, theology does not tend to nonsense, but rather it specifies the Mysteries of Christ by distinguishing the natural from the supernatural.

    3. Although the Church has endorsed Transubstantiation, there is no dogmatic definition of substance.

    4. I don’t really think Fr McCoy has a good grasp on substance and accidents, He seems not to understand the ontological relation between the two, not surprising in so far as he seems to have been influenced by Fr McCabe, himself influenced by Wittgenstein.

    5. From what Fr McCoy said, there seems to be no distinction between the first consecration and the second. They are only distinguished symbolically because the Substance of Christ is present in both. Such an approach obviously would mean the Sacrifice of the mass is only symbolic, serving only to remind one of the Passion.

    St Thomas, however, makes a further distinction between Christ’s presence due to the power of the Sacrament and Real Concomitance. Acc to the power of the Sacrament, when the priest says Hoc est enim corpus meum, only Christ’s Body is present. Likewise, when Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei is said, only His Blood is present. In both cases, the entire substance of Christ is present acc to Real Concomitance.

  64. MichaelJ says:

    Nobody chased you down after Mass to scold you for wearing shorts or for not wearing a veil (there were few veils to be seen, but alot of Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch), nobody demanded a reaction of newbies to what they may have just encountered for the first time, and a comparison to the “Novus Ordo”, nobody handed any pamphlets to you, nobody made any absurd displays of dramatic “look at my holiness” piety in front of side altars or at the communion rail. They were just normal suburbanites with no agendas who came to Mass, then went home.

    Centristan,
    I am glad the things you describe did not happen to you. Quite frankly though, I do not think they ever have. Sorry, your caricature, bringing out all of the “traditional Catholic boogeymen”, simply strains credibility.

    I am also very glad that you were able to to “have the Latin Mass AND a normal parish environment”( with the implication that the parish environment was abnormal or deviant in ALL other cases) but I do have a prediction for you. If your parish follows the wishes and opinions you express here and elsewhere, you’ll not have a traditional Mass for long. Instead, you’ll have a Novus ordo Mass with traditional elements re-introduced(and I doubt if that will last long either).

    I suspect that you would be pleased with this, and I harbor you no ill will for desiring it. Please extend me the same courtesy.

  65. Igne says:

    ‘I do have a prediction for you. If your parish follows the wishes and opinions you express here and elsewhere, you’ll not have a traditional Mass for long. Instead, you’ll have a Novus ordo Mass with traditional elements re-introduced(and I doubt if that will last long either).’

    How many examples of this coming true have occurred, I wonder?

  66. catholicmidwest says:

    Skull kid said, “What we need in the Church is authentic masculinity and femininity, each in its proper place.”

    Absolutely true. And the over the top clericalism of the post Vatican II period has got to end. Everybody wants to be a priest, except perhaps the priest. There are a ton of other things to do in the church besides be the priest.

    Virtually all of the “folk aspects,” for want of a better term, disappeared with Vatican II. Real women’s roles and activities disappeared with them. Everything is so “contrived” and commercial and masculine. And the church feels empty and cold. The doors are locked most of the time.

    You know, if you want to go to an absolutely great women’s potluck event, a baby shower or whatever, you don’t go to the Catholic church. You hang around with a Methodist until you get invited to one of theirs. They know how to do this stuff and make you feel welcome. We somehow DON’T. It’s very strange. We have everything else. It’s almost like most Catholics deep down hate being Catholic and don’t know what to do with that fact.

  67. benedetta says:

    catholicmidwest, Completely agree. By selectively catering to the priest-want-to-be fixation, all other women, elderly, young, whether currently working outside of the home, or not, highly educated and accomplished, or with little or basic education, just swept to one side and dismissed without any opportunity for this so-called dialogue…Totally agree that the outreach that most Protestant denominations, or other faiths entirely offer puts average Catholic parish to shame…

  68. benedetta says:

    I think both Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day would be appalled at the situation that prayer and works of mercy have been organized to death…Catholicmidwest makes excellent points. I wonder what has been lost without spontaneity, feeling free to be able to respond as the need arises. Also people are so ridiculously litigious in our culture things are all engineered and packaged up from primarily that vantage…

    Fr. Z, your getting kicked out of seminary for confronting what that priest/prof was trying to do is impressive. In light of what happened to you it is an honor to read your blog.

  69. AnAmericanMother says:

    catholicmidwest,
    I have a better idea: get out there and convert the Methodists.
    I’ve done my part – I married one in 1977 and have gently moved him over through the Episcopalians into the Church.
    Our potlucks seem to be pretty good here, but maybe that’s just a Southern thing. The tables literally groan with the feast of fat things, and everybody has a great time. They even sing around the piano.

  70. It is possible for Catholic Churches to have active and busy Social Lives. I won’t put links in this comment but if you google

    St. Mary Star of the Sea Port Credit

    and then click on the Ministries tab you will find a parish with loads of clubs etc etc including :

    Adoration of Blessed Sacrament
    Hospitality – Coffee Sundays
    Altar Guild
    Knights of Columbus
    Altar Servers
    Lectors
    Bazaar
    Legion of Mary
    Bereavement Ministry Morning Light (Baby Bereavement)
    Bible Study (morning and evening)
    Parish Council
    Catholic Women’s League
    Parish Library
    Children’s Programs
    Praying Team
    Choir RCIA- Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
    Communion Visitors
    RCIC- Rite of Christian Initiation for Children
    Community Meals
    Sharelife
    Craft Group
    Spiritual Direction
    Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers
    St. Vincent de Paul
    Finance Committee
    Ushers
    Hospital Visitors

    Most of these committee and groups were started by members of the parish, approacheing the various pastors over the years and starting the group.

    My FIL, God rest his soul, was the longest serving temporary usher in the history of the parish. They asked him to fill in for a few weeks, and he kept doing it, when the Usher couldn’t come back.

    Go to your pastor and ask not “Can we hve this?” but ” May I start a _____ Club, or Guild , or Something”

    Everyone wants something in the parish, but no one says, “Father, I’ll do”

    I’m sure if you contact some of the women and men of parishes, not necessarily this particular parish and ask what they do and how they do and how to start they would be glad to help.. It usually starts with getting informed and asking the priest and then getting other to come in and help too

  71. OhI missed the Website club
    and Youth Ministry

    Now, the Website Club is something many Catholic Churches need. Most are lame lame lame. Get some tech savvy geniuses in there and be the webmasters for a parish.