NCFishwrap’s little problem with the Extraordinary Form and “altar girls”

NCFishwrap today surfed the little server girl issue over its mosh pit.

catholic reporters that that are, they left off attacking Bp. Finn for a minute or two to post – at long last- the news that the PCED has “ruled” that females may not serve Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Universae Ecclesiae 28 made that clear, but in the face of challenges the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” explained what UE 28 means.

The best comment so far over at Fishwrap is, and I am not making this up:

I guess when you’ve been slam dancing for a long time, you can get a little distracted.

To be fair, the comments here are not always uniformly perfect or elevating either!

On that note, rather than just post something in the combox below along the usual lines (“Those people are so …. uhhhhh …. !  What a bunch of poopy-heads!”), it might be good just to protest 1) by sending me a donation and 2) by making well-reasoned comments here below on the reasons why women properly don’t and/or should not serve at the altar in the Roman Rite.

Another really good comment from the Fishy Mosh Pit:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, Throwing a Nutty, Universae Ecclesiae and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. jesusthroughmary says:

    “Misogyny” is a Greek word.

  2. disco says:

    There’s a clericalist comment if I ever heard one. Although I’d think most clericalists could identify Greek when they see it.

  3. benedetta says:

    Misogyny is an aspect of the abortion enabled culture of death. Happy Protest.

  4. jtm – you should make a rule never to explain jokes (the exception might be for small children). Generally speaking, it guts them.

    I say there’s nothing wrong with altar girls if either 1) the Church has priestessess (as well as or instead of priests) or 2) a young person serving at the altar would never look up to the priest (or priestess as it were) and see a future in it for someone of his or her own sex.

    However my old parish priest is such an old woman that my own “rules” confuse and irritate me.

  5. ppb says:

    “Misogyny” is a Greek word.

    That’s what makes the irony so delightful here. Bravo, Fr. Z!

  6. BLB Oregon says:

    In the spirit of hoping that they’re looking for good things in the e-mails of Sarah Palin, I was pleasantly surprised to find at the NCR web site, not only this blog of June 6 (which I had missed):

    Why the Male Priesthood Always Made Sense to Me, Jennifer Fulwiler
    Read more:

    …but also many comments from many posters, supporting the wisdom of the all-male priesthood in detail and with great feeling!!

    Really! I saw it myself!!

  7. jesusthroughmary says:

    Cricket –

    I’m so confused by your post that I can’t even respond for fear of making myself either seem or actually become dumber than I already apparently am. Thank you for the advice, though.

  8. priests wife says:

    BLB Oregon- Jen F’s great article was published by the National Catholic REGISTER- not ‘Reporter’-The Register seems to be a fine, Catholic newspaper–they should sue for their initials back

  9. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Does this line from Billy Madison ever get old:

    What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  10. Athelstan says:

    Proponents of women’s ordination – which overlap heavily with advocates of altar girls, let us be honest – like to cite Galatians 3:28 to no end. [They tend not to cite 1 Corinthians 11:3. Nor do the often cite 1 Timothy 2:11-12.] And sure enough, that’s already happened in the combbox at NCR. But the CDF, writing on behalf of Pope Paul VI in Inter Insignores (1976), addresses this concern quite soundly:

    “Nevertheless, the Incarnation of the Word took place according to the male sex: this is indeed a question of fact, and this fact, while not implying an alleged natural superiority of man over woman, cannot be disassociated from the economy of salvation: it is, indeed, in harmony with the entirety of God’s plan as God himself has revealed it, and of which the mystery of the Covenant is the nucleus.”

  11. Banjo pickin girl says:

    We want OUR initials back please– National Cash Register.

    Really, who cares what unfaithful people think? We have enough trouble keeping ourselves in line. At least I do (blush) (downcast eyes).

  12. Elizabeth D says:

    As a woman who has made a vow of celibate chastity to God, and sees the priest (every priest) as an image (and more than an image) of Christ, Bridegroom of the Church, I don’t want to be a priest any more than any married woman, very much in love, wants to “be” her husband as if they were simply interchangeable. The joy of their union is being in relationship with their differences, a sometimes difficult but also delicious, ecstatic, life giving complementarity. As a Catholic and as a woman, yes a woman attracted to the opposite sex, I object strenuously to those who think they could install a woman as the image (and more than an image) of my beloved Bridegroom. He is God and He is a man and He gives Himself completely to make holy His bride, the Church, to make her His own forever.

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    Well, that is why I am uninterested in womenpriests. As to altar girls, the problem is not doctrinal but a practical and logical consequence of men only as clerics or in minor orders. In an environment of all men, young girls would be out of place or inappropriate. In the Novus Ordo women can only be in the lower serving roles and this can give an entirely wrong impression of women as being underlings and servants and inferiors of men. When girl/women servers are not used, of course God above all is being served, but insofar as Christ is serving His Church, liturgically women belong entirely to the group of those being served most humbly by our Lord who elevates us to our true dignity.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    That line was actually quoted in a legal opinion not too long ago. I took the liberty of passing a copy of the opinion on to several judges of my acquaintance, in the hopes that they’ll use it when a lawyer is as knuckleheaded as the combox at the Fishwrap.

  15. KAS says:

    IMO, which I am sure nobody at the fishwrap is interested in reading, is that the truly misogynist position is the one that implies that women need to be in the same roles as men in order to be as good as men– it is insulting.

    Then again, the modern feminists are horribly misogynist too, IMO.

  16. Rich says:

    It looks as if the Fishwrap needs to pander to readers like jimpa in order to keep the gravy train running.

  17. benedetta says:

    But Fr. Z, what the fishwrap does is not remotely slam dancing, mosh pit or punk. It would just not be fair to the, well, the tradition of punk (I wouldn’t say it is noble but like any other trend it had its highs and lows).

    But if you prefer to speak in these terms, then the punk movement has a better description of what fishwrap is into: posers.

  18. eulogos says:

    As I opened the comment box, eager to share my knowledge that misogyny comes from Greek roots, I reflected, “I bet someone says this in the very first comment!” Yep.

    These folks wouldn’t be caught dead at the EF anyway, so what do they care about this? They are officious and nosy and just have to infect the entire world with their gender politics. No corner can be allowed to escape.

    Susan Peterson

  19. eulogos says:

    OK, I saw your instructions and see that I made a poopy head comment.

    Why shouldn’t females serve in the Roman Rite. Well, I heard someone say we ought to do it in the Byzantine rite and it made me want to scream. But why? An occasional little girl serving at the altar clearly hasn’t tipped God off His throne. But I see this as a minor disturbance in the proper order of things. But why?

    I don’t think the answer is easy. I think it goes way down to the roots of things. When men are priests the ritual is about transcendence. When women are priests the ritual is about generation and corruption, about the earth, growth, birth, cycles. These things are all good in their place in God’s world. But it is one of the primal temptations to make them into Gods. And whenever they are made into gods ( or goddesses,) they become gods of death as well as of life. All those things are good only when they, with the snow and rain, bless the Lord, coming in due season at His bidding.

    That’s a lot to lay at the feet of little girls, who clearly mean no harm and have every good intention. But I think in the end it is true.

    Susan Peterson

  20. robtbrown says:

    Fr Z says,
    NCFishwrap today . . .

    I resent that characterization because I love fish. I long for a return to Filetti di Baccala’.

    The proper use for the Distorter is not wrapping fish but rather in the two seater out back of the house.

  21. RCGuerilla says:

    I am adding all those who left comments there in my prayers. When I pray the Rosary I offer each bead up for an intention; People in Purgatory, the sick, the clergy, enemies of the Church… I will include them under enemies of the Church.

  22. RCGuerilla says:

    BTW, I am referring to the comments on fishwrap, not here of course. Those here always fall under the “Catholic Online Community” bead…

  23. benedetta says:

    I do feel bad for the young women caught up in this. Imagine being recruited into such a thing by a priest. It absolutely is clericalism, the sort that makes demands and is unable to give reasons or rationale based upon the faith. Has he ever given his reasons or rationale? It seems there aren’t any besides that it is what he personally wants. So these young women must know that what they are doing is contrary to what the Church envisions for all. Imagine having to be placed in such a spot. I really believe it is tantamount to spiritual abuse.

    Because further, young ladies attending elite university are well aware of their various gifts and talents which will produce results, status, financial gain, honors, in the world. They rightly should be compensated, recognized, and contribute in the world. However, the big 60s feminist lie is that women are only valuable to the extent of their visibility alongside men. In the world, they certainly are and must be valuable in this way (See JPII Letter to Women) but for a priest to dictate to young women that this is sum total and limit of their value and dignity in terms of daughters of God, it is outrageous and a lie. When one day these women realize that there is much more to life even beyond their titles and financial success, to sitting in a boardroom side by side with other men and women (see Vince Foster’s quotation regarding looking back on life in old age) they will resent that they were seen by their Church in these terms. And they will further resent why the Church in their younger ages did not appreciate, value, support and help give direction to the way in which their very real gifts and talents are needed now, vitally, in many ways in the Church and will be in future. Instead, they were conditioned to pine after something that will not be, ordination and left there. The path this priest is leading them to is discouragement, bitterness, anger. It is a total lie to pretend that there are not a great many degreed and high powered women working with the Church in various capacities who do not remotely desire ordination but at the same time are unaware of the very real power that they possess and will possess.

    I recognize that this is a very elite university chaplaincy, with all kinds of extras and fun that most Catholics simply do not have access to, even it seems when one attends a “Catholic” institution. And I see that this is the EF. But in many ways it mirrors the very lowbrow, pointless exercise that average suburban parish engages in when it has vast numbers of girl servers with boys in the minority…to lead young girls towards feeling bitterness, without just reason, towards the Church, and for boys, to treat them too as only tokens and as valuable as what they are able to “produce” as if Communist worker. The priest and the adults can indulge in smug satisfaction to array themselves with altar girls as if they are “singing a new Church into being” but obviously that is not the reality and it is not practical. Meanwhile, they neglect the very real needs out there, they teach young people that they serve on the altar doing so much busy work and activity (but finally neither the boys nor the girls go on to accept vocation) and that is the sum total of their worth and dignity, and if not that limited activity, why bother. Spiritual abuse, involving, the young people, first and foremost, and, then, worked upon the Church. I will pray for all of them.

  24. BLB Oregon says:

    priests wife wrote:
    F’s great article was published by the National Catholic REGISTER- not ‘Reporter’-The Register seems to be a fine, Catholic newspaper–they should sue for their initials back.

    Amen to that! I found the correct web site, and it nearly curled my hair. This is the “kinder and gentler” side of the Church? Really? In the one article I read, they were posting blanket condemnations like an hysterical lynch mob.

    Forgive me, but I’m not inclined to slog through the site looking for a nugget of gold. I’ll just have to hope it is there, somewhere.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Those who are mediocre must denigrate those who have class. Journalism has slipped into the miasma of the mediocre.

  26. inara says:

    actually, I’ve read some convincing arguments that the universe does, in fact, revolve around the earth…

  27. s i says:

    LOVE the fishwrap jpeg!

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