Girl altar servers: a woman’s perspective

I noticed an interesting post at 1 Peter 5.  A woman explains the altar girl situation.  Let’s jump in after her intro remarks:


I was a girl altar server. I served for roughly eight years in my parish. While I didn’t have a bad experience, I also have to be honest and admit that I didn’t gain anything more on the altar than I could have by just being in the pew. For a while serving was just something I did when I went to Mass: I goofed off with the other kids behind the scenes and followed the rubrics when Father told us to shape up.

As I got older and more serious about my faith, I felt guilty about the goofing off.  I told myself that I should only serve if I could do it with a prayerful and humble attitude, because serving was a way to participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. With that resolution came the realization that I had merely discovered the proper disposition that any layman in the congregation should have. If I was in the pew, I was participating. [She gets it.]

I didn’t need to be on the altar, so what was my goal? It’s not that girls don’t have the ability to be altar servers; it’s just that we don’t get much from it. We can’t use the experience as a way to discern a vocation, for two reasons: one, it is metaphysically impossible for a woman to become a priest, and two, if a woman is serious about pursuing a vocation, she starts seeking orders of nuns and spending time with them, and those nuns are not on the altar.

Sometimes people who identified as “feminist” would try to convince me that the Church was unfair to women. I just had another perspective: I don’t think that anyone would argue that their young son “has a right” to spend time with a religious order of nuns, or that he should take part in a retreat held by a convent that is geared towards fostering the vocations of young women to the religious life. I mean, such a retreat is obviously not a formal profession of vows, and boys ought to be allowed to do vocation exercises designed for women religious, because he can do works of mercy just as well as any girl, right?

Such a boy might conclude the same thing I did:  it might be nice, but nothing is gained except a sense of not belonging. He won’t ever be joining an order of nuns. The experience would be little more than an exercise in futility.


Read the rest there.

Fr. Z kudos.

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ASK FATHER: Punching the Archbishop after he punches you

From a reader…


At the conclusion of a friendly and fruitful meeting between a number of laity and the archbishop this evening, the archbishop punched me in the arm in a he man football kind of way.

My question is this, is there any particular protocol for returning the punch?

The inquirer failed to note, but I will presume that the Archbishop in question is of the Latin Rite, and a Metropolitan.

As this punching took place in a non-liturgical setting, the ceremonies for returning the punch are much simplified . Imagine the manifold complexities of the liturgical punch at a Pontifical Mass coram Sanctissimo … within the octave of St. Elphege’s Day!

If one is holding a cocktail (or beer) when one is punched by an archbishop, one hands one’s drink to the subdeacon (omitting the ceremonial kisses) with one’s right hand, makes a fist and, saying nothing, punches the prelate’s left arm, on – and this is important – the oversleeve of his simar, between the second and third buttons.*

Meanwhile, two choirs are simultaneously to sing the antiphons “Christus passus est pro vobis vobis relinquens exemplum ut sequamini vestigia eius” (1 Peter 2:21) and, if there is time, “Propitius mihi sit Dominus ne extendam manum meam in christum Domini; pulsare autem umerum eius omnino est alium.”

The Vicar General should then ensure that this is recorded accurately in the diocesan archives, lest charges later be brought upon the archiepiscopal assailant.

*Since we are not Irishmen trained by Sulpicians, and therefore Jansenists, if the punch lands between the third and fourth, we don’t think that even a venial sin is committed.  Sin or not, the punch is not to be repeated, unless… the prelate initiates another round.

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ASK FATHER: Bisexual woman called hypocrite by mother for not accepting sister’s transgender lifestyle

From a reader…


I am a young woman who also happens to be bisexual. Because it clashes with my faith values, I freely choose NOT to act on my sexual attraction to women. My family, who is NOT Catholic, doesn’t understand this. In fact, my mother thinks I am a hypocrite for not agreeing with my sister’s transgender lifestyle, because my being bisexual somehow means I must agree with and understand her.

How can I explain this situation to my family, in a way that doesn’t disrespect them or devalues my faith?

Ahhh yes.  The Dictatorship of Relativism about which Pope Benedict XVI warned us, is in full swing!

If the supreme virtue is tolerance and acceptance, why doesn’t your mother accept and tolerate your viewpoints?

Of course, the short answer is that tolerance and acceptance are usually one-way streets. Everyone must tolerate and accept deviant lifestyles, but traditional views and mores are not to be tolerated in any way, shape or form.

I think that most people who live deviant lifestyles recognize, deep down in themselves, in the quiet parts of their minds, that their actions are wrong. They may have, with some limited success, beaten their consciences into submission, but “with unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace, deliberate speed, majestic instancy, they beat – and a voice beat, more constant than the feet, ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’” to quote Francis Thompson. To keep themselves from hearing the inner voices of their conscience – and verily, the voice of God – they need a ringing chorus of support and “understanding” to help them maintain the illusion that what they are doing is perfectly normal, perfectly, healthy, and a perfectly legitimate choice.

How to convince your family? In most cases, impassioned intellectual arguments don’t do it. Prayer, certainly. Pray for your family, especially your sister.

But don’t forget to pray for yourself.

Turn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that burns with impassioned love for all of us, and wants what’s best for us.

By cultivating a life of prayer and virtue, you will develop a happiness and inner sense of peace. Get involved in some form of wholesome volunteer work, according to your talents and your interests. Develop a healthy circle of virtuous friends who share your faith and your beliefs.

The emotional support that you should ordinarily get from your family will probably not be there for you and so you may have to rely more heavily on your Church family.

By showing your family the happiness and peace you will find in a life of prayer and virtue, you might just find that their hearts and minds will be more open to the truth.

Seek joy in holiness.  Joy is communicable.

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ASK FATHER: Boss threatens to fire me if I don’t receive Communion.

From a reader…


I have worked for a USA based Catholic non-profit for 5 years. I am a Catholic in good standing and am attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and am a lay member of the Confraternity of St. Peter. The CEO of my non-profit employer recently changed. The new CEO has threatened to terminate my employment if I do not receive Communion regularly at Novus Ordo Masses. This is in contradiction to my understanding of Dignitatis humanae. I have demonstrated my attachment to the Church and to her hierarchy by receiving Communion from bishops and priests whenever they celebrate the EF and I attend the Novus Ordo when I must in order to fulfill my canonical obligation. Nor am I attached to any non-canonical or “schismatic” groups.

To whom do I have recourse? What, if anything, can I do? If I need to hire a lawyer, how does one hire a canon lawyer?


Not that this is the case here, but I’m reminded of what my old pastor used to say, “Scratch a liberal, and find a fascist.”

This sounds like a job for the St. Joseph Foundation – the website has some broken links, but the basic info is there.

If this Catholic agency is under the aegis of a diocese (and we allllll know how strict dioceses are about letting groups use the title “Catholic” these days. Certain groups, that is), then this would be a tough policy for them to try and enforce.

Depending on how the parameters of employment are written, an employer could include some pretty strict requirements. For example, “All employees of St. Philemon Catholic School will be registered at St. Philemon Catholic Parish and attend Mass there each Sunday unless excused.”

Civil law could be in play here. That’s where the St. Joseph Foundation would also provide good connections. They are canonists, but some have backgrounds in civil law. They have worked on cases that require the input of civil attorneys.

Some people are nearly maniacal about forcing uniformity when it comes to Mass.  Everyone has to go to Communion, no matter how many millions of people are in the park or field.  Everyone must NOT kneel.  Everyone is to sing every word of every verse.  Everyone must shake hands or hug or offer self-conscious waves. Some priests practically force other priests to concelebrate.  We will have UNITY!  It is as if the beatings will continue until moral improves.  “CELEBRATE DAMN IT! WE ARE AN EASTER PEOPLE!”

None of this is Catholic.

It is NOT obligatory to receive Holy Communion at Mass.

Alas, we are living in an age when the meaning of reception of the Eucharist has become twisted in several ways.  I have in mind a range of weird positions from, on the one side, “I won’t receive a host consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass” to the very common “Mass?  Oh, you mean liturgy! That’s when they put the white thing on your hand and then we sing the song together!”

Okay… I’m done ranting.

20 votes, 4.80 avg. rating (95% score)
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Archbp. Cordileone to Nancy Pelosi: No Catholic Can Dissent from Church Teaching on Abortion

Abortion Absolutist Democrat

Canon 915!

From CNS:

SF Archbishop on Pelosi: No Catholic Can Dissent from Church Teaching on Abortion

( – Responding to statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy [the Theologian] Pelosi [more HERE] — who would not say at her press briefing last week if a 20-week-old unborn child is a “human being”–Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that it is a “scientific fact that human life begins at conception” and that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” from Church teaching on the sanctity of life.

[…] asked Archbishop Cordileone about Pelosi’s comments on human life, particularly in light her self-description “as a Catholic and a mom of five.”

“It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception,” the archbishop said in a written statement to “This has been established in medical science for over 100 years. Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life.

“This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience,” he said.

It is the obligation of pastors of souls to reach out to their people who have difficulty understanding and accepting such important teachings of the Church in order to extend to them true pastoral care and, where appropriate, to establish a regular dialogue,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “This is something I have always striven to do in the various ministries I have exercised as a priest and bishop, including now as the Archbishop of San Francisco. I ask for people’s prayers for success as I continue to strive to do this.”

Pelosi lives in Cordileone’s archdiocese and represents San Francisco in Congress.

At her Jan. 22 press conference at the Capitol, twice asked Pelosi whether an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy is a human being.

Pelosi would not answer the yes-no question with a yes-no answer, but did say that a woman has “the right” to abort her child.

“The fact is is what we have said: The life and the health of the mother is what is preeminent in when a decision is made about a woman’s reproductive health,” said Pelosi, after declining for the second time to say if an unborn child at 20 weeks is a human being. “It isn’t an ideological fight, it is a personal health issue.



During the press conference, Pelosi made clear that she is opposed to both the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act.

The former would prohibit the abortion of babies 20 weeks or later into gestation unless they were conceived in rape or incest, or if the life of the mother was at risk. The latter prohibits federal funding of abortion and stops federal Obamacare subsidies from going to insurance plans that cover abortion while not preventing people in subsidized Obamacare plans from buying supplemental abortion coverage–with their own money.

Canon 915!

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Card. Marx pulls a fast one with the text of ‘Evangelii gaudium’.

There was an interview with His Eminence Reinhard Card. Marx in America Magazine.  We can trust that the interview really conveys what Card. Marx thinks because, as we are informed, he had a chance to go over it before publication.

I noticed something in the interview that bothered me… a lot.  Here is the section that most troubled me.  My emphases in his response

What challenge accompanies this new time in the church?

MARX: It is best to read “Evangelii Gaudium.” Some people say, “We don’t know what the pope is really wanting.” I say, “Read the text.” It does not give magical answers to complex questions, but rather it conveys the path of the Spirit, the way of evangelization, being close to the people, close to the poor, close to those who have failed, close to the sinners, not a narcissistic church, not a church of fear. There is a new, free impulse to go out. Some worry about what will happen. Francis uses a strong image: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets,” rather than a church that is very clean and has the truth and everything necessary. The latter church does not help the people. The Gospel is not new, but Francis is expressing it in a new way and is inspiring a lot of people, all over the world, who are saying, “Yes, that is the church.” It is a great gift for us. It’s very important. We will see what he will do. He has been pope for only two years, which is not much time.

Let’s pull this apart.

Card. Marx says… “Francis is expressing”… and he also forcefully says “Read Evangelii gaudium… Read the text.”

Okay, Your Eminence, let’s read the text from Evangelii gaudium you quoted.

49. Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: [Here’s what Marx quoted] I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. […]

Again, now, let’s see what Card. Marx said, paying attention to the position of the quotation marks:

I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church that is very clean and has the truth and everything necessary.

Again… let me spell this out:

Francis wrote:

rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.

Marx said:

rather than a church that is very clean and has the truth and everything necessary.

When Card. Marx quotes the Pope, he continues (in the “rather than” section) what people are going to assume is what Francis wrote.

But that’s not what Francis wrote or intended.  Again, pay attention to the position of the quotation marks.

Whereas Francis writes about a Church that is confined, unhealthy, clinging to security, Marx speaks about a Church that is clean and that has the truth.  Marx sets up a dichotomy (a false dichotomy) which is not in Francis’ text: a Church that is clean v. a Church that is dirty… a Church that has truth v. a Church that…. who knows what… that doesn’t?

By closing the quotation marks before the second clause of the sentence, Card. Marx accurately quotes the Pope, but misleads us about the Pope’s intentions.

Card. Marx misintends the intention of the Pope, and sets up a false dichotomy.  The problem with this is that the Church is not susceptible to this sort of dichotomy.

In my years studying Augustine, one thing in his thought was made clear:  Augustine saw the Church in realistic terms as a corpus permixtum malis et bonis, a body mixed through with good people and bad.  The Church is both dirty and clean.

Some people might think that this is a petty point to pick on.  It is after all, only a small item in a longer interview and, as such, not worth the microscope treatment.

I disagree.  This is important.

The words “clean” and “truth” point to the problem of sin.  They set up a discussion, farther along in the interview, of moral issues such as homosexual acts and adultery (civil marriage after divorce without “annulment”).

Card. Marx pulled a fast one with the text of Evangelii gaudium.  Since the Cardinal had a chance to go over this and double-check it, and since the Cardinal told us to read the text and check what the Pope wrote, we have to conclude that we are being misled.

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Richard McBrien, RIP. Fishwrap’s encomium.

Fr. Richard McBrien is dead at 78.

I hope that in his final years he had a chance to rethink and repent of his work. Enough about him. There is an old phrase, Nihil de mortuis nisi bonum… Say nothing but good about the dead.

Over at Fishwrap, however, there is a encomium of McBrien, featuring such darlings of the Left as Fr. Charles Curran, Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, and Fr. Thomas Reese. You can imagine.

I bring to your attention their citation of the late Professor Ralph McInerny, which pretty much sums up the work of McBrien:

“McBrien has terrible ideas,” Ralph McInerny bluntly said in 1990. The late McInerny was a renowned philosopher and author of the “Father Dowling” mystery series, as well as a stern critic of what he once called the “pell-mell pursuit of warm and fuzzy Catholicism” he associated with McBrien.

“I think the demonology he works with is that once we had a hierarchical view of the church, which was authoritarian,” McInerny said. “Then we had Vatican II and, he believes, that model was thrown out. His view is wrong.”

25 votes, 3.84 avg. rating (77% score)
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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass? Share it.

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“Je Suis Charles Martel”

I noticed this at American Catholic:

The slogan Je Suis Charles Martel is beginning to make its way around Saint Blogs.  Here is some information on the grandfather of Charlemagne who stopped the advance of Islam into what became France in 732 at the battle of Tours.

I think we have to look realisitically at what is going on in the world in regard to Islam.


38 votes, 4.21 avg. rating (84% score)
Posted in The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

My View For Awhile: Jiggity Jig

And off I go again.

It was a great trip. I met lots of old friends and met a few new ones.

The Pontifical Mass was great. The exhibit on Mary fine. The National Gallery edifying. The Army and Navy Club fantastic.




Last leg.




As I watch the new coverage of “Snowmageddon 2015″, I must say that I am really happy not to be traveling today.  Lot’s of flights have been cancelled for the next couple days.  The domino effect will be amazing.

Also, someone posted a video of the entrance procession for the Pontifical Mass at the faldstool we celebrated in DC the other day.

15 votes, 2.93 avg. rating (60% score)
Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 7 Comments