WDTPRS POLL: girls serving at Traditional Latin Masses

Under another entry there is a discussion about the possibility or the propriety of girls serving Holy Mass in the older, traditional Roman Rite, the Extraordinary Form, hereafter TLM (Traditional Latin Mass).

I mused that I thought most traditionalists would rather not have a TLM at all if girls or women were to serve.

That was my educated guess, but it was just a guess.

Thus, I am posting this unscientific poll and I hope for a big response.

Please choose the option that best (even if not perfectly) describes your position and then give an explanatory comment in the combox.

Voting is anonymous.

Remember: This is primarily about the TLM, not the Novus Ordo.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. krisvog says:

    As the mother of 3 boys (and 3 girls), my opinion is that Alter Girls should NOT be allowed at all. One night there was a visiting priest at our local NO Mass. There was no schedule and the girls (someone else’s) arrived first and were able to serve. At that moment I had the sense of these girls possibly hindering my boys’ vocations. You never know what a priest will say that could plant the seed for a future preistly vocation. The boys need to be around preists, get to know them, talk with them, etc, in case they have a calling to the priesthood. Since women cannot be priests, it really should be boys or men assisting on the alter. I also cannot stand to see girls in cassocks. There are a slew of other reasons as well, but I’ll not go into them now.


  2. Leonius says:

    Your guess is right, I am not prepared to compromise an inch as history has shown behind that inch is a huge wedge waiting to destroy everything.

  3. kate_rub says:

    I voted I’d rather not have a TLM. It’s a line in the sand, but what is the point of celebrating traditionally if we ignore bits and pieces of the tradition?

    I can see the argument of not letting the good be the enemy of the best, but female altar servers are an option (and one we should be fighting to remove for all forms of the mass), not something compulsory, and foisting them on the TLM can only be a symbolic test of our resolve.

    And if we give in on this, what is the next thing that we will be asked to sacrifice – communion kneeling? the traditional calendar? ad orientem? Latin?

    In any case, because of its novelty value, I suspect it would be extremely distracting (it certainly is in the OF context, but mainly because I rarely go to churches with female altar servers) and would detract from the overall effect.

  4. Mike Morrow says:

    There is no such thing as a *traditional* Latin Mass with female servers. There *never* will be.

  5. Rachel says:

    It was a close call between the first two options, but I picked the first because with girl servers, the TLM would not be near so much like a ball.

  6. Luke says:

    I voted:

    … I would rather not have a TLM at all, than have a TLM with girls serving.

    What I wanted to vote:

    … I would rather not have girls serving at all, no mater the rite. [Did you notice that this is actually about the TLM? The TLM and not the Novus Ordo?]

  7. DBuote says:

    Being where I am, I think I’d have to suffer through having female servers if it meant we could have a TLM,(since there are curently none in my diocese and I have to drive 2.5hrs to get to one. However I can serve the Old Mass so I can’t imagine a situation like this arising…But women should probably be priests anyways… haha jk.

  8. Jacob says:

    Where is the option for preferring no girls at NO masses too? ;) [Did you notice that this is about the TLM?]

  9. jeffmcl says:

    No girls. I’m not an expert on theology, but I go for the slippery slope argument. If you allow altar girls at the TLM, then pretty soon you’ll have giant puppets, processions of deacons and their wives, liturgical dancers, loaf eucharists, balloons, etc., at the TLM. Give an inch, they’ll take a mile. Non iota unum!

  10. momoften says:


  11. Father S. says:

    What is important to note, of course, is that the last option is literally impossible while the other options are theoretically possible.

  12. Linz says:

    I agree with most people here, too many inches have been given recently and the end result is pretty devastating. It just seems strange and out of place, along with so much that has found its way into the mass. I imagine it would be more so during a TLM. But I would give almost anything to have some semblance of a TLM somewhere near me so I’d bite my lip. Anything would be an improvement out here in LaLaland.

  13. Christina says:

    Your guess was right by me, Fr. Z.
    It would just be weird, and I don’t think it does much for women when they try to occupy the same roles as their male counterparts because it simply isn’t possible to take that the whole way. Slippery slope and all that, I guess. If girls are told that being treated equally means serving the same as boys, but are then (justly) denied the priesthood, feelings of inequality are understandable, I think.

  14. benyanke says:

    Kris (First comment),
    “I also cannot stand to see girls in cassocks…”

    No wonder. The cassock (if I am correct) is a male piece of clothing. If they are to serve, they should wear albs.

    I would also vote on no girls serving for TLMs or the NO. I won’t go into the arguments, but it seems as if we are going against so much tradition…

  15. mfg says:

    I voted for the first option. Where is–“regardless of the rite used, girls should never serve and never be priests.” I am a mother of two boys and four girls. [Did you notice that this is about the TLM?]

  16. Athelstan says:

    I am a little surprised at the results – but then you never know who’s surfing in on a given day.

    Girls were introduced as servers as an abuse that was only later given grudging recognition, and we all know why: to pave the way for women’s ordination.

    Really, there should be no women serving either in the ordinary form or the extraordinary form – as was the case for the entire history of the Church until the last decade or two.

  17. Kate says:

    I’m with Luke.

    I didn’t vote because there was no option for no girls serving at either rite [Did you notice that this is about the TLM and not the Novus Ordo? The TLM?]

    When I attend a TLM and see the young male altar servers serving with reverence, it is so inspiring to me. I would sooooooo prefer no females on the altar at all – any chance of that change (return) happening any time soon?

  18. I am with Luke as well!

  19. cpaulitz says:

    Father: you forgot to make an option that I’m assuming most if not all true traditionals would want to vote for:

    “It would simply fail to be a Traditional Latin Mass if there were girl altar boys.”

    PCED rules or not, the Mass of All Ages becomes nothing more than a 2010 hybrid if that would ever happen.

  20. archambt says:

    I honestly don’t mind either way. I usually don’t pay attention to the altar, because I’m paying attention to Christ. So long as they aren’t force-feeding me the Eucharist, like I get at most Novus Ordo Masses and their parade of Extraordinary Minsters, I’m ok.

    I appreciate the slippery slope argument. But in the end, I find this sort of liturgical pedantic-ism a little silly. Oh well.

  21. yatzer says:

    I would much prefer no girls serving, period, but voted for the “biting” option by a very slim margin. My opinion may well be different tomorrow. No girls serve at our parish at any sort of Mass, and there are many altar boys. Girls and women do many things, just not that. In my observation girls tend to have an effect of scattering boys, and some of those boys may have a vocation to the priesthood.

  22. Alice says:

    I’d rather not have altar girls at the TLM, but I’m not so opposed that I would boycott a TLM just to avoid them. In exceptional cases (such as an all girls’ school or a convent Mass), I would even be in favor of them.

  23. TrueLiturgy says:

    I do not believe that women should serve in any liturgical ministry. My reasoning comes from St. Paul. However, a female serving at any Mass does not invalidate it and Mass is about Jesus Christ, not about us or our feelings.

    I am thankful that Bishop Loverde has rescinded the offer for female servers at the EF Mass. They are however allowed at an OF Mass.

  24. Mike says:

    I prefer not to serve the Mass with girls. I am an adult serving both the Novus Ordo in my parish and the TLM in my city’s Latin Mass community. I never have to worry about serving with girls in the TLM, but often do when serving the Novus Ordo. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that serving with girls and seeing them serve is a distraction that I can do without. I wish that parishes that offer the Novus Ordo would cease to allow girls to serve the Mass at any time. No altar servers would be preferable to allowing girls to serve.

    Barring girls from serving the Mass is is no way demeaning to them. Women hold the highest place of honor in the church next to our Lord… God chose a woman to be his mother. What a high honor. That is simply the way things are. If I were to want to be a mother there is no way that I could ever do that, no matter how badly I might want it. It simply isn’t the life that God has called me to. In the same way girls also can’t be priests. The church does not have the authority to say it is OK for them to be ordained.

  25. doanli says:

    I have more problems with EXTRAORDINARY Eucharist ministers, male or female, serving at Mass, when one priest can deliver the Precious Body of our Lord to an entire congregation.

    And bring back the Patens!!!

    As far as female altar servers, wasn’t it Pope John Paul II that approved it? (And I loved him. :) )

  26. C. says:

    I would rather that any men who vote for something other than #1 be excluded from any role at the TLMs I attend, other than the office of extraordinary pewsitter.

  27. mfg says:

    Doanli: Yes, Pope John Paul approved it–when he was very, very old.

  28. TomW says:

    I’m with Luke.

    Girls are equal in dignity, but not the same as boys. As a parent of two daughters, both are well aware that being alter boys is off limits and they’re fine with that.

  29. NDPhys says:

    I regularly attend a mass of the Novus Ordo in English. I think it preferable, for many reasons, that only males serve the Mass using either Roman Rite, but I don’t think that a priest should be ostracized for permitting females to serve his Masses, as, at this time, this is a legal practice. Just because it is permissible doesn’t mean it should be done, but I think the faithful ought respect the priest’s right to make that choice, even while working to change either his mind or that of Rome.

  30. Linz says:

    Thank you Mike. I think it’s more demeaning to disregard the role women have played in the Catholic Church for centuries. Women have always been an indispensable part of the Church. This ‘me too’ attitude, apparently born of a feminist inferiority complex, does nothing to give women dignity and more importantly takes away from focus on God. Why not spend the precious little time we have on earth in serving Him anyway we can rather than fussing over the ‘importance’ of our role, particularly when importance has (or should have) nothing to do with it. (Sorry if this is a bit off-topic).

  31. mfg says:

    Alice: I attended an all girls school–a convent–for 14 years, and attended many Masses, Benedictions, retreats, etc. during that time. Father always had boys serving, no matter what the occasion. All priests always have altar boys available to them, either through the parish, or the diocese, or the monastery, priory, or just a friend. It’s a network thing. Failing in that, a man in the pew–or on a really bad day, the priest sets the cruets on the right side of the altar before he begins Mass. There is never a need for girl altar boys.

  32. smad0142 says:

    There was no option for absolutely no Altar girls at all, the option which I would have voted for.

  33. drwob says:

    This was a tough one. Girl altar servers are a real impediment to boys and young men that are discerning a vocation. However, the TLM is an abundant source of graces and helps saves souls. I reluctantly came down on the side of the “biting the inside of my cheek” option.

  34. IL Catholic says:

    Chose option 2. Since there isn’t a Latin NO celebrated ad orientem anywhere near me, female altar boys wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. However, I would speak to Fr. after Mass about how I could learn/train to be an altar boy. After all, there clearly is a shortage :)

  35. B.C.M. says:

    I am increasingly alarmed that option 7 regarding wymyn priests has ANY ground at all… Can we talk about that please?

  36. chonak says:

    I (male) would rather volunteer to serve than have girls serving a TLM.

  37. Allan says:

    The option I think should have been available, is — I truly desire the TLM, but without any altar girl servers allowed. Why was this not one of the choices? Sounds as if the choices were selected by Hell’s Bible. Forgive me for that Father, but I feel we were short changed.

  38. Allan says:

    PS to my comment above. This Friday, the feast of the Sacared Heart of Jesus, I will be serving a TLM, because the normal young servers are on vacation. I am approaching 71 years old, with bad knees, one of which is to be replaced next month.

  39. ckdexterhaven says:

    I voted for “I don’t want to attend TLMs but I also do not want girls to serve.”

    I too believe that girls on the altar hinder boys’ vocations, BUT at this point, I’m not comfortable attending a TLM. Just look at the uncharitable responses of the TLM attendees above. I would like to attend a TLM, but I’m afraid of “doing it wrong”, and risking the ire of folks like the posters above. Not something I want to worry about when I’m attending Mass.

  40. mormormax says:

    This was a difficult choice for me. I love the TLM and feel uplifted and close to God when I am there (most of the time – I am human and can be distracted even there). I finally had to choose the first option, however. My reason is that I spent enough years biting my tongue at the NO. Why would I want to do that now at a TLM? One of the joys of the TLM is knowing there will be no cause to bite your tongue or wonder what is going on rather than focusing on Jesus. He is the reason I converted after all.

  41. Ame E. says:

    I would just go to another TLM where they didn’t have female altar servers… to simplify things.. I would still attend the TLM, just not that particular parish..

  42. Hieronymus says:

    Without hesitation: I would drive 2.5 hours each way (as I often do now) past 10 quasi-traditional Masses to get to one that did not use girl altar-boys. That is so far from acceptable it doesn’t even fit on the map.

    Do they want to kill vocations in the EF as well?

  43. Esther says:

    I think girls at the TLM would just be extremely weird, apart from anything else. I have 3 younger sisters who all serve reverently at Novus Ordo and I have no idea what to think about it, but I know it would be totally inappropriate at the TLM, but I’d tolerate ot for the sake of having a TLM.

    At the time of writing this comment, 20 people have voted for the last option. :( :( :(

  44. Esther says:

    Allan, I hope your knee replacement goes well. *virtual hugs and real prayers*

  45. Magpie says:

    No. This must be resisted with the strongest force. Enough is enough. No female servers at the TLM. To allow them at all was a big mistake.

  46. jkarpilo says:

    I didn’t vote because I don’t have a TLM available to attend regularly anyway. However, I do feel that the real issue here is not male/female lay minister altar servers but rather a lack of available instituted acolytes. I think if we were to see a major revival of the minor orders, we could put the issue of extra-ordinary lay ministers to bed once and for all.

  47. SGCOLC says:

    I voted that I would bite my cheek and tolerate altar girls in the TLM, but, if the choice had been given simply as: I do not think girls should serve in the TLM – that’s what I would have selected. I’m almost inclined to take the first choice of rather having no TLM, but am not sure I want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    My primary concerns are: the girls have no where to go with this. It gives the false impression that eventually they might become priests. It’s a vestibule to a locked house.

    And, where there are altar girls, eventually there will be fewer and fewer altar boys, thereby drying up a legitimate pool of priestly vocations. I have seen this happen in many parishes. Girls start serving, boys gradually stop. Boys don’t love girls so much that they want them around all the time, especially competing for their interests.

  48. Thomas Francis says:

    At the sight of the first little girl server I would get up, genuflect, and bless myself with Holy Water as I quietly left.

    Which is where the “quiet” would end.

  49. SGCOLC says:

    One commenter made reference to uncharitable remarks of persons who preferred the TLM, and offered this “lack” of charity as a reason for not attending a TLM. I have read all the comments. I have read strongly expressed opinions, but nothing uncharitable. Perhaps the commenter should reconsider his evaluation: perhaps it is uncharitable to categorize all, or many TLM devotees as uncharitable, and to offer that as a reason for avoiding the TLM. [Perhaps by attending more TLMs and meeting the other people who attend them, he could find out for himself if they are uncharitable, rather than just make an assumption about them. Just a thought.]

  50. irishgirl says:

    I didn’t vote because none of the options appealed to me.

    But if it came to altar girls at the TLM, I’ll say ‘NO WAY JOSE’! No way, no how!

    Slippery slopes and all that….

  51. mark1970 says:

    I also voted for the first option, against girl servers at a TLM. Regardless of my own feelings on the subject (which I don’t really want to go into because it applies equally to the Ordinary Form, and this subject isn’t about the Ordinary form), most of the people I know who go to a TLM would be offended by this, for the reasons noted above. If female altar servers were permitted, I’m 95% sure that some of the people I know would attend SSPX Masses exclusively as the SSPX would probably never allow female altar servers.

  52. Allan says:

    Esther. Thank you and blessings for your virtual hugs, and most especially for the real prayers. I need them for life, and for the surgery, and healing.

    I will pray for you as well for being so kind, and charitable.

  53. Supertradmum says:

    It is not uncharitable to have a strong position against girls serving at the TLM. The question must be related to the former lower orders, which were abolished. Some seminarians have said to me recently that they wish that these minor orders were there to encourage their progress towards the priesthood and make the long education process more meaningful.

    Having women, outside of convents or even girls’ bording schools, at the altar, is a jarring discontinuity of Tradition.

    I would hope Catholics could be more objective about the larger picture of what it means to serve at the TLM.

  54. Supertradmum says:

    PS I voted on the first option.

  55. K. Marie says:

    I voted for none at all. The local EF community doesn’t use any alter girls and it’s so much less distracting. When I go to Mass at the NO parish I belong to there are usually only girls or at the most one boy and you will see the girls fixing their hair and touching up their makeup during the middle of the Mass. It just bugs me how little reverence there seems to be for the Mass when there are female servers. I’m fine with lectors and cantors being women(although I’m partial to choirs myself) and while I would rather we be rid of the Eucharistic ministers completely at least since they are usually adults they show some amount reverence, although every time I come up for communion the fact that I’m a teenager and receiving on the tongue and before I had knee surgery kneeling as well seems to cause a slight amount of panic their part. :^)

  56. jmoran says:

    I chose the first option. I do not like to see women on the altar. For anything.

  57. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    I chose second option.

    If it is of absolute necessity that a female serve in order for an EF Mass to happen, then I would suck it up. However, any female would serve with the awareness that once males are found, she will not serve any more.

  58. Supertradmum says:

    Why can’t the men in the congregation at the TLM serve instead of the girls? Would that not solve the problem? I remember my dad serving at very early Mass once in awhile, when there were no boys showing up.

  59. PilarDLS says:

    Females should not be altar (not “alter,” folks…The word “alter” means to change.)servers, period. Service at the altar should be the province of males only, whether at a NO Mass or a TLM. (Yes, Father, I know the question is about the TLM.) Given the option of no TLM and a TLM with female altar servers, I would still choose the TLM with female servers, but under protest. And I’m a young, recent Catholic convert, not an old fuddy-duddy. No offense intended to old fuddy-duddys!

  60. patrick_f says:

    This is a hard question for me – Because female servers can blur clerical lines – That being said , to say “I wont have a TLM because there are no qualified male servers” is silly. Thats like saying “I wont go to mass because I cant have the TLM” .

    I am not saying it shoul dbe the norm or even normally permitted, but if there were no other options, then female servers, I am fine with.

    Maybe not so much with a High Solemn mass… but an everyday mass should be fine

  61. MichaelJ says:

    I chose option one because it is closest to my preferred option of:

    If my local dioscean Tradaitional Mass began using female Altar Servers I would hightail it to the closest SSPX Mass or, barring that, to the nearest Divine Liturgy in a Byzantine Catholic Church.

  62. Martial Artist says:

    Option One.

    1. See @krisvog at very first comment.

    2. Much as I loved my first experience (5th anniversary of the popes elevation) via television, I would really like to experience it as it has always been celebrated, and having women servers is a distraction.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  63. Girgadis says:

    I wouldn’t bite my cheek, but I agree it would be jarring to see females joining
    a crew of all-male servers at a TLM. Thus I chose the second option. Has this issue
    actually come up for priests who offer Mass in the EF? If not, I’m wondering why
    you would get questions about this. My opinion is that anyone who is going to
    make the effort to attend the TLM on a regular basis is not likely to be someone
    who thinks girls and women have a place on an all-male crew serving at Mass in
    the EF. As for concerns that folks who regularly attend the TLM would be
    uncharitable to a newcomer, my own observation is that people tend to be absorbed,
    as they should be, in what’s happening on the altar and not in the pews. I would
    never let that concern stop me, even though it was a bit intimidating at first. The
    intimidation was no one’s fault but mine and I made sure to sit where I could follow
    the lead of others who were familiar with the Mass.

  64. asophist says:

    I chose the second option only because I would not forbid masses with altar girls, since they are currently legitimate (though not to my liking). I simply would avoid such masses as they would be an occasion of sin for me due to overmuch distraction and distaste for them.

  65. rfox2 says:

    I voted to not have a TLM at all, simply because it would not be a TLM with female altar servers. It might look and smell like a TLM, but it wouldn’t be a TLM, so why go through the motions?

    My reason has nothing to do with my preference, or bias against females serving at the altar. Females serving at the altar is an innovation in the modern Church, no matter how you slice it. It isn’t fitting to have women or girls serve at the altar, not because they are sub-human, have fewer rights than men, or are necessarily less capable. Having young men and boys serve at the altar began as a pedagogical method in the formation of priests, which later evolved in liturgical practice to become the minor orders such as acolyte, lector, and exorcist (which were basically done away with following the Second Vatican Council). This was before seminaries were in vogue. Sending your daughter up to serve at the altar is akin to trying to send your daughter to a Catholic seminary which none of us would do. Women will never be priests — they have different vocations. Just as men will never be abbesses.

    The TLM follows, in a fitting manner, this ancient practice of the Church. It formally would not be a TLM with women and/or girls serving at the altar.

  66. Thomas Francis says:

    Could someone who knows what they’re talking about please explain the circumstances under which female servers are permitted in the Novus Ordo Mass?

    I was under the impression they were only permitted when there were no males available. Which would be like almost never,…I mean considering the number of young men in any particular parish who go up to recieve Holy Communion from a woman every Sunday.

  67. GoZagsGo says:

    I voted for the first option. One reason I went with this is because the TLM is an established rite and it seems that tradition dictates against female servers. Also it’s not that I have something against female servers — actually, as a child I always wanted to be a server and did wonder why the boys got the privilege and not the girls (sort of like baseball — in third grade I was sure I was going to play MLB first base, and indeed I would have…)– but the very fact that the servers are replacing minor orders seems to clearly indicate that females should not be servers. It’s the same in baptism isn’t it? A female cannot proxy for the godfather and vise versa. It just makes sense. Anyhow, that is my thinking about the thing.

  68. JonM says:

    Girls simply should not serve at the Altar because they never can be priests (i.e., act in personna Christi.)

    Placing them at the altar cannot lead to anything good:

    Girls can be deceived into thinking they one day might be Priests

    Girls mature sooner than boys. For boys serving, this will distract them and frustrate even more the progression of boys contemplating and embracing celibacy.

    At a TLM, worshipers would be so distracted by this modernist innovation that focus on the Sacrifice would be shaken.

    My solution for lack of boys acting as Altar Servers is simple: invite young men to serve at the altar.

    Essentially whether TLM, Mass of Paul VI, Byzantine, or Ruthenian, girls just don’t have a place at the altar.

    We need parish ministries to encourage and empower them to be strong and devoted mothers and wives and be signs of contradictions in a culture that tolerates manifestly evil things like ‘lady gaga.’

  69. Just to bring sweetness and joy into life, I’ll remind people again that girl acolytes were already a common “emergency” move, pre-Vatican II. Every time they couldn’t get boys to come to the girls’ schools, there were girls serving at a lot of places. So let’s not blame it on JPII, who was still a young priest living under Communists in Krakow when my mother learned her acolyte responses in Latin as part of her duties as a sacristy assistant under her great-aunt the sacristan nun — and not as any kind of shockingly new provision, either. Say ill things of the correct dead, please.

    Moving right along… I don’t think the world shudders when a girl serves, but I don’t think it’s a good plan for any form or use of the Latin Rite. Girls have different things to do.

  70. sulpicius says:

    The integrity of the TLM demands that the rubrics and norms in place in 1962 be followed scrupulously. Specifically and explicitly, females were prohibited from serving at the altar. Thus, I don’t see how it would be possible to have girl altar servers and still have a Traditional Latin Mass.

  71. patrick_f says:

    Its one thing to want to follow the rubrics, but, I dont know if going to an SSPX chapel is the answer . They are STILL suspended, so, I think it would be less a grave instance to tolerate the female server, then to recieve sacraments from someone who had no faculties to give it.

    Further more, I would say if women servers are a distraction – Perhaps one’s focus could be retuned. We arent there to watch a server, or critique the mass in route.

    Dont get me wrong – I am not saying its right – And no I dont agree with them (under normal circumstances), I guess I am in dismay that a stumbling block to praising God, and Worshiping God, would be something as simple as a server, if there were no other alternatives.

    Should the Priest only use Baroque Vestments? Would a TLM not be “worthy” in a non Gothic Church? I guess those are questions to ask to, if we are disqualifying the validity of a mass based on a woman server (when there is no other choice)

  72. “I would rather not have a TLM at all, than have a TLM with girls serving.”

    Thankfully, the way things are going the vast majority of people living in urban areas will, if they haven’t already, be able to chose between more than one local TLM.

  73. raising3saints says:

    Females have other, different, roles by which they serve God and His Church. They ought not to be serving at the altar. I am Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic and I could not even enter the sanctuary to measure the two altars for some altar cloths I was preparing to make for my parish, without a blessing from my priest.

  74. New Sister says:

    Option one – from the *gut* , without hesitation, but I shudder with sadness at the thought of losing the TLM. I agree w/ C. – any men who voted for anything else need to grow a… never mind…. and as far as the earlier post, where some asked “what to do w/ the girls who are already serving and do a good job?” – how about TELLING THEM THE TRUTH AND TEACHING THEM TO REVERENCE THE PRIESTHOOD AND CATHOLIC TRADITION?

  75. MarkJ says:

    None of the above… girls should not be altar boys. Altar boy serving is a step to the priesthood for those who are called. No girl is called to the priesthood… so why encourage their misconceptions and discouragement?

  76. oratefratres says:

    I remember occasions when I wanted a particular parish to have a TLM because of its openness to sacredness in the liturgy, but it also frightened me at the same time that it could also be the first TLM with girl servers since the parish had them and the parish is not exactly liturgically well formed. I was also afraid that it would appear in Rorate with the headline “1ST PARISH TLM BUT WITH GIRLY SERVERS” LOL.

  77. Re: 1962 rubrics

    You know, I hate to point this out, because I’m sure it’s how all this girl server stuff started prior to my mom’s day. And I don’t know how the 1962 rubrics run in Latin, ’cause I’ve never seen ’em.

    But… “femina” and “puella” aren’t inclusive of each other, as I understand Latin; so you could argue that “no women at the altar” doesn’t mean “no girls”. Of course, this interpretation would mean no post-pubescent females at the altar; and girls often hit puberty pretty early these days, so it’s not much use to train a girl to serve for only three or four years. But there you are.

  78. Or wait… I think you become a “femina” when you marry? (Or perform marital acts?) Or is it just getting old enough, which indeed wouldn’t have been very old in Roman times?

    I find upon reflection that I really have no clue, and no idea where to look for definitions of Roman concepts of the line between “woman” and “girl”. Ugh. My bad memory of Latin class, and my lack of knowledge of Church Latin, is annoying.

    And it’s beside the point anyway, being very legalistic. But I’m sure that sort of thing did come into play, back in the pre-Vatican II day.

  79. The voting results so far are rather one sided, aren’t they. I guessed they would be, but not to this extent.

  80. Gulielmus says:

    Yes, Father, I also assumed that option 1 would get the most votes, but perhaps not this percentage.

    As the asker of the question in the other thread, I was not advocating for altar girls, just wondering whether their presence would override many Catholics’ desire for the TLM.

    And I note that some responses refer to going elsewhere for Mass. But there are still many places where no TLM is accessible, and sooner or later, I imagine some parish will offer a Mass in the Extraordinary Form with girls on the altar in a location where no other such Mass is available. If and when that happens, I think I would regard it as another “brick in the wall” and have faith that the gravitational pull of traditional practices would lead to their fuller expression.

    I live in DC where I can choose from a fairly good number of TLM’s every week. But in a hypothetical case where none other was available, I’d go with option 2– bite my cheek, and go. And do what I could to change minds on the subject.

  81. Romuleus says:

    This issue really bugs me. Woman look silly at the altar especially when they wear clerical garb. Kind of like a pregnant man or a man in drag. It looks creepy.

    I drive 20 miles each way to attend the EF Mass at St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis staffed by the Institute of Christ the King. The Church is in a bad neighborhood like so many “traditionalist” parishes.

    If they were to use (or be forced to use) female altar servers, I would leave not just SFDS, but also the Latin Mass Community in general and never return to the Latin Mass (or the go to the SSPX) and return to my “canonical” parish 2 miles away from where I live where the vast majority (80+ %)of the staff eg. office, the army of EMHCs, altar servers, and lectors are female. I would finally surrender to the modernists. I would just give up on the Traditionalist movement.

    I wouldn’t leave the Catholic Church, but I would finally acknowledge externally and internally that the Church will never ever fully recover her traditions in my lifetime and truly embrace the EF Mass and the “sensibilities” and theology inherent to the EF as anything equal to the OF.

    When, as fully functioning mature educated adults, we are constantly told we are “attached” to the EF (like we had some obsessive/compulsive disorder), I believe they are telling us something.

  82. I voted for the first option originally in the poll, but I got to thinking. If girls serve the Mass from outside the sanctuary (which I guess is what happened for conventual Masses before the council), I really wouldn’t have a problem with it.

  83. pelerin says:

    Although I would travel, and have travelled many miles in order to attend the TLM I too in all honesty had to vote for the first option.

  84. and by conventual Masses, I’m talking about all female convents, just so we’re clear :)

  85. Supertradmum says:

    I think one reason the poll has resulted in the strong answer one is that trad Catholics do seem to understand the liturgy and the orders involved more than other Catholics. Many of us traddies do study our Faith and try to understand why a rule exists or why the Church guides us in such things. I do think the dropping of the minor orders, including tonsure for monks, was a huge mistake.

  86. MichaelJ says:

    To clarify my earlier remarks, if I were handicapped and constrained to a wheelchair, but my local Church was not handicapped accessible, I would have no qualms about going to a different Catholic Church that was able to accommodate my physical needs. If there were no Churches within say 2 hours that had wheelchair ramps, I would do my best to survive while doing without.

    I am fully prepared to accept that I have a “spiritual handicap”. Perhaps one day I will be “healed”, and will not find female Altar servers as bothersome and offensive. But that day, barring miraculous intervention, is not today. Today, I need to attend a Catholic Mass that meets my spiritual needs. If that Mass happens to be offered by a suspended SSPX Priest, so be it.

  87. nadine says:

    MichaelJ, I have the same handicap regarding female altar servers- it’s bothered me for a long time. In fact, the first three years of “Catholic” high school I fought tooth and nail about this topic, among others, with my religion teacher/principal. Of course, the day they were officially allowed, my teacher celebrated, photocopied and distributed the article (probably from the Reporter) to all of his classes.
    If we were truly interested in nurturing vocations, we would put our creativity to good use and find something for the girls to do. I suggested to my pastor that I help start a junior altar society for the girls. They could help decorate the church, place altar cards, help iron the linens, etc.
    Also, let’s have some “junior” servers. My six year old son has been serving on and off at a Byzantine Catholic church an hour away. After begging our priest after every Mass if he could serve, my husband and I decided to go another route to accommodate our son’s spiritual thirst for serving.

    My brother-in-law is a Romanian Byzantine priest and after being in the states for 10 years, is finally getting over his complete shock of females in the sacristy and “holy of holies”. Altar girls are doing nothing helpful in the way of bringing us closer to the East. What a shame. A TLM with all male servers is the only way we can reclaim our unity; and express the Sacrifice more perfectly. I pray that a TLM will become available to us soon, or else a move is in order. All of my children (who can talk!) have expressed interest in the religious life- a TLM with male servers is so important to protect their respective vocations, in my opinion as a mother.

  88. PaterAugustinus says:

    We Orthodox sympathize greatly with Roman Catholics, who are trying to encourage the observance of tradition in their communities. We all know that many Roman Catholics have been through some bad liturgical times, recently; while abuses should be limited everywhere, I think it is important that, at the very least, they be quarantined to the places where they are already occurring. I can’t tell how much of the liturgical crisis in Catholicism has been the product of the general NO approach, or how much of the crisis would have been inevitable in any case, given the liberal agenda and upheaval of recent decades. My suspicion is that it was largely inevitable. Perhaps it was a bit of divine providence, then, that the traditional form of the Liturgy was effectively set aside at a time when it would almost certainly have been brutalized by liberals, if it remained in force. By introducing a new mass, they unwittingly prepared their own demise. If they had kept the traditional mass in place, and had simply worked to corrupt that, there would be no “Traditional Mass” to “bring back.” There would only be repeated (and largely unheeded) exhortations to put an end to liturgical abuse. By setting the TLM aside, they also preserved it for future generations as something untouched. Then, this could be reintroduced as an integral whole, pointing towards the traditional moorings, in a way which merely calling for an end to liturgical abuses never could accomplish (at least, not given the scope and variety of modern abuses). I know there’s often a lot of pain over the liturgical issue in Catholicism, but it seems to me that perhaps much of the abusive, liberal agenda was bound to occur upon whatever rite… and, thank God the TLM was set aside and thus kept inviolate, as a witness to later generations who would hunger for the tradition again.

    Anyway, for all those reasons, it seems *imperative* that liturgical abuses on par with those in the NO *not* be tolerated at all, in the TLM. It would be tragic if, rather than the TLM ennobling the celebration of the NO (as Pope Ben XVI wanted), the abusive celebration of the NO managed to corrupt even the celebration of the TLM.

  89. PaterAugustinus says:

    After reading some comments, I became aware of an oversight in my own statement. Yes, sometimes it is appropriate for a woman to serve at altar. In the Orthodox Church, women who have undergone menopause (my apologies if anybody is offended by so frank a statement) may serve at the altar in situations where no men are available… though, the priest still has the option (often exercised) of simply taking care of everything by himself. St. Nektarios of Pentapolis, however, ordained an elderly abbess as a deaconess, to assist at altar in the convent he started.

    [No, I’m not “in favour” of deaconesses… but, mostly because the political climate is not right for them at the present time (and they have no real ministry to perform in most places, anymore) – not out of any principled opposition to the mere idea of deaconesses, at the right time, at the right place, for the right reasons.]

    Anyway, in such exceptional circumstances, I would not object to female altar servers. But they should not serve – not even in convents – when enough men (or boys) are around to do the work.

    -Fr. A.

  90. PilgrimToChrist says:

    I put B: “I would bite the inside of my mouth and tolerate girls serving, to have a TLM.”

    However, on the other hand, there is a real danger of “importing” things into from the New Rite into the Old and confusing people about what really is the Tradition.

    I would hope that female altar servers would learn tradition and realize the untenability of their position and find other ways to serve God (become a nun, be a holy wife and mother, etc.) that are more acceptable. So if female altar servers simply ignorant and were around traditionalists long enough, perhaps the situation would solve itself.

    There was a situation in the UK a couple years ago where a one-time pontifical TLM was set to be said but one the female altar servers in the cathedral insisted on serving and the whole thing ended up being called off.

    I would understand either choice A or B.

  91. PilgrimToChrist: I would hope that female altar servers would learn tradition and realize the untenability of their position and find other ways to serve God

    That would be great. But don’t you think it would really be liberally inclined parents and less than sympathetic priest behind such a strange thing?

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