A priest reader sent this.
Perhaps some of you can post concrete experiences. We don’t need rants against altar girls here, just concrete help.
I would be interested if any of your readers have any resources that would be helpful to a pastor who is trying to move his parish back to training only boys to serve at the atlar. I don’t anticipate a huge backlash, but I would be particularly interested in some ideas on how to explain the reasoning, especially to 4th and 5th graders.
I remember how one pastor got rid of altar girls by starting to have only father and son teams serve. Then the fathers were phased out and more boys phased in.
I think the standard explanation is that service at the altar is an extension, to an extent, of ministerial service. These days many push the idea that everyone is somehow a "minister". There are ministers of greeting, napkin folding, bulletin distributing, etc.
Since the server is really a replacement for an officially installed acolyte, who must be male, the servers should be male. An interpretation of canon law shockingly allowed that females could also substitute for males in this service, and so that law must be respected. At the same time, the Church also very much prefers male service, and states clearly that service of boys at the altar should be fostered as a great tradition and as a starting point for priestly vocations.
So, in the theological side there is a argument from the idea that this is an extension of the service of the other, truly ministerial ministers.
Practically speaking, it helps vocations and… from a psychological/developmental point of view, boys tend not to want to serve when girls are around.
I often wonder about a sound theological defense of altar girls. I muse about whether or not one could get any mileage out of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins with their lamps, who were to accompany the Bridegroom in to the banquet. But I only get so far with that, and then I hit a wall.
So… I am interested in concrete stories from people about how parishes shifted from mixed service back to male only service at the altar.