I have noted an interesting trend. When a parish priest opts for male only service at the altar (i.e., no altar girls) he is attacked in the press. I don’t mean the local shopper insert, either. The priest is now attacked by the main stream media.
This week’s example is that of Fr. Michael Taylor of Corpus Christi Church in South Riding, VA. He is being attacked on the site of CNN.
Obviously what is happening here is that, as the kulturkampf heats up, the MSM is abetting a liberal campaign of bullying and intimidation against exponents of a clear and faithful Catholic identity.
Let’s have a look at the CNN piece with my emphases and comments. The writer is deeply confused and half-informed. But the real point is not to get facts right. The real motive is bullying.
It’s wrong to bar altar girls
By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
November 23, 2011
Editor’s note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House.” He is a commentator for TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, “Washington Watch with Roland Martin.”
(CNN) — If there is one institution that has made a point of desperately trying to keep women in their place, it’s organized religion. [Organized religion is an “institution”?]
Whether it’s Christianity, Islam or Judaism, women are often relegated to secondary roles, their contributions seen as insignificant. [Is the writer drawing a moral equivalence between these three in their treatment of women? Really?]
In the Catholic Church, that is taken a step further by refusing to even allow women to become priests. Now, some Catholic churches are alienating women by refusing to allow girls to serve as altar servants. [I love this. The writer cannot even get the FACTS right. FACTS begin with terms. They are “servers”, not servants. Perhaps this could stem from a lack of familiarity with, say, parish life. But I digress.]
In South Riding, Virginia, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, the Rev. Michael Taylor announced that the church will no longer train girls to be altar servants. [So, getting terms wrong was not a single and excusable slip.] That angered one woman at the church, who spoke to the Washington Post about the decision. [Read that again: “angered one woman”…. Ponder that.]
According to the Post: “Taylor, who did not return phone calls for comment, wrote in the parish bulletin that he hoped the church would ‘create opportunities, and perhaps clubs’ for girls as a way to help them find ways to serve the church, rather than serving at the altar.”
The Roman Catholic Church of Phoenix has also ceased allowing girls to serve as altar servants, angering some there by taking such a hard-line stance. [Another fact check failure. The Diocese didn’t ban altar girls. The Rector of the Cathedral made this decision. And it wasn’t a ban. It was a choice in favor of male service.]
It would behoove [for pity’s sake] these priests and archbishops to actually open up their Bibles [and stop splitting infinitives] and realize that were it not for women, there might never have been Christianity. [I think we all realize that if there were no women, there would never have been… pretty much anyone. There isn’t, however, room here to discuss Eve’s decision.]
The Catholic Church regards Peter as its first pope, [Sure Peter was a “Pope”, though the term Pope developed long after Peter. But we are clearly dealing with a less-than-rigorous writer.] teaching that it was Jesus who gave Peter and the other disciples the direction to create the church. [Jesus created the Church. A Catholic should know that.]
According to Matthew 16:17-20, Jesus said to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” [The writer perhaps does not realize that he hasn’t exactly supplied here an argument against defying the authority of those to whom the power of the keys was entrusted.]
Yet the Bible also records that when Jesus was crucified, his disciples were scared to death of being killed themselves, so it was left to the female followers of Jesus to stand guard to pray and weep as he hung on the cross. [Who was standing guard? I think the Roman soldiers, including the Centurion, would have had a different view.]
John 19:25 says Jesus’ mother, Mary, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene all were standing vigil. No men. No disciples. No apostles. [f I remember my Bible 101, St. John the Apostle, the disciple whom Jesus loved (cf. John 20:2), was at the Cross.]
When Jesus was thirsty, the women, not a male disciple, [I thought there were no men there.] gave him something to drink, before he died. [A woman helped carry the Cross too, right? Some more fact checking: when the Lord said that he was thirsty, in Mark 15:36 a man help the sponge up for the Lord and in Luke 23:26 soldiers offered it to him.]
When Jesus wasn’t found in the tomb, who made that discovery? A woman, Mary Magdalene, not one of his disciples. [Mary did not go into the tomb. Peter first entered the tomb. Mary had spoken to the Lord without going into the tomb.]
When Mary went to get Peter and another disciple to show them that Jesus was gone, they saw for themselves, and went back into hiding “with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders” (John 20:19). [No, “fear of the Jews”. I think only the NIV has “leaders”. Doesn’t this writer, this journalist, double check his quotes? No, wait… he is making a verbal connection perhaps with the baaaad “Catholic leaders” who make decisions to oppress altar girls.]
Who was left to be visited by two angels and Jesus? No, not one of his male believers, but a crying Mary Magdalene! [Just like the poor little gilrs who the meanie Catholic “leaders” are oppressing.]
According to the account in John 20, Jesus told Mary, “Do not hold on to me, [And that is an argument in favor of female service at the altar?!? The Lord says to the woman, “Don’t touch me! Noli me tangere!” You would think that CNN would gloss this as “I have been through VIRTUS training. I have enough problems.”] for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” [And that second part of the Lord’s words to Mary pertains…. how, exactly?]
When Mary Magdalene did as ordered, [It was good that Mary was obedient and stayed away from the Lord, at his direction.] the disciples, the fervent male followers of Jesus, [Note the sarcasm.] didn’t even believe her. [And a lot of people didn’t believe the Lord or the Apostles. So, what’s his point?] The Gospel of John records that Jesus had to show up for them to even believe that he had died and risen to heaven. [Ummmm…. Is that so hard to understand?]
Now just imagine the Christian faith if women had not been standing guard. [The “standing guard” thing again. Silly.] If women weren’t as vigilant in believing in Jesus Christ, [Ummm… they arrived in the morning with burial spices because they thought He was dead.] there might not even be a Christian church today. That means no popes, no cardinals, no archbishops, no priests and no altar boys. [And?]
When I was an altar boy for years at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Houston, the role was simple: to serve as a helper to the priest. Folks, there is nothing I did as an altar boy that a young woman couldn’t do. Nothing. [Except consider a vocation to the priesthood. We dodged a bullet there. And there is more to this issue than the mere an shallow question of who can do X better than or as well as someone else.]
This decision by Catholic Church leaders in Arizona and Virginia [Great! I bet it would come as a surprise to the Rector of the Cathedral in Phoenix and Fr. Taylor in VA that they are now “Church leaders”. The writer is living in La La Land. But remember his other use of “leaders”, above? There, he cherry picked a single version (I believe) of Scripture – a non-Catholic translation – that had “Jewish leaders” instead of “the Jews”. I think he was trying to make a point.] is nonsensical and unnecessary. [As is this attack on the Church’s disciplines and on Fr. Taylor.] All it does is drive a wedge through believers in the body of Christ, instead of expanding ways in which people can serve the church.
Such ignorance [?!?] is one of the reasons why nondenominational Christian churches are growing at a faster rate than those associated with a denomination. [Ignorance is the reason why Catholics choose to attend communities without any systematic doctrine?]
As long as churches erect barriers to serving for believers, they will not be seen as welcoming places to worship. Allowing women to serve as altar servants is the right thing to do; it’s biblical. [As the writer’s stunning knowledge of Scripture has demonstrated in his air-tight case.]
If women were good enough to stand guard [There is is again. Where does he get this “stand guard” thing?] and care for Jesus Christ, I’m sure their female descendants are good enough to care for the church he commissioned.
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