CNN’s bumbling attack on a priest who has opted for male-only altar servers

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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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Hidden One says:

    The comments over there are pretty much what one would expect. Alas.

  2. The Astronomer says:

    How long before this hits the “Fishwrap” as mainstream cultural support for their heterodoxy???

  3. cowboy says:

    These things amuse me. Father, I’m surprised you actually took the trouble to respond to such a poorly argued article. At least *some* of the stuff over at Fishwrap is well-argued, albeit erroneous (though, recently, not so much — I’ve laughed out loud at some of their ridiculous lapses in logic, e.g., recent articles on the new missal). I think these people who favor female altar servers should stop and ask themselves if being equal is the same thing as being equatable–and if not, what on earth is wrong with one’s role being determined by one’s sex? Thank God for the diversity of sexes!

  4. Well, I’m a woman, and I like it when a priest makes a decision not to have girls on the altar.

    Even poorly argued articles are worth responding to, because some people are willing to believe even the most arrant nonsense.

  5. Gail F says:

    I sent the following to CNN and I hope others will complain as well:

    As a Catholic, I find the religious ignorance and intolerance of this columnist both insulting and laughable. I cannot imagine that an editor approved such drivel. Editors used to make reporters and columnists 1) know what they were talking about, and 2) make a logical argument. This man does not understand Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular, and makes a stupid argument to boot. There is a reason that I don’t subscribe to CNN or watch HLN — the general level of discourse and opinions displayed by the supposedly professional journalists you employ is deplorable. Do you really not care about dumbing down the entire profession of journalism?

  6. Tom Esteban says:

    That was painful to read. As someone with a degree in Journalism I am horrified by that poor article. Horrendous. And as someone with a degree in Philosophy I have a big LOL at the horrid ‘argument’ being presented here. That was painful to read.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Hardly worth answering and as usual, I am astounded as to who gets paid for so-called journalism today. There is no excuse for ignorance and stupidity in this day and age of information technology. Ideology trumps truth. What a waste of paper…wait a minute…fishwrap.

    Sadly, though, even here is so-called Catholic Malta I hear these arguments weekly. The heresy of the “invisible church” has entered the Holy Catholic Church and those who prefer a non-institutionalized Church tend to fall into the idiot’s guide to feminism camp.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    opps as CNN is I guess paperless, I cannot consign it to fishwrap. Can we have virtual fishwrap?

  9. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    The writer reveals just how “catholic” he is: he totally disregards the Lord’s most important “woman servant”- the Blessed Virgin Mary! Silly, silly, silly!

  10. Father Z: Ignorance is the reason why Catholics choose to attend communities without any systematic doctrine?”

    Actually, Father Z, I think ignorance is indeed the reason. Unfortunately, for many, the liturgy of recent decades has failed to inculcate and sustain a lasting faith. So, as they have learned (or not) in church to worship, now they pray (or not) elsewhere. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  11. Karen Russell says:

    As I read this, I was waiting for the obligatory “when I was an altar boy” type comment.

    I was not disappointed.

  12. thefeds says:

    “If there is one institution that has made a point of desperately trying to keep women in their place, it’s organized religion.”
    I’d be willing to bet that the first time the writer referred to “organized religion”, that this was a self-edit. I believe that his first version read…”it’s the Catholic Church”.
    So much for journalistic honesty!

  13. Brad says:

    I suspect our Lord is using this man’s foolish opinions and uncatechized recounting of NT gospel basics to convert souls who, reading, are prompted to look up these key points in the nearest Bible and thereby receive the Word. This could also be an important moment for Mr. Martin, Baptist, to better learn the simple historical truths about what happened 2,000 years ago.

    Writing straight with crooked lines, always!

  14. Maltese says:

    How many women were at the table (altar) at the Last Supper? (How many female apostles were there, btw.?)

    I have four daughters, and I can tell you women have many virtues and strengths that men lack. I think it is pretty evident that the Church honors women by its devotion to Mary the Mother of God. But altar girls take the place of a boy who might one day be a priest–and with our priestly shortage we should be doing everything we can nurture this vocation.

  15. leonugent2005 says:

    Many of us have gone to the parishes where we are assigned and endured painful and unbearable liturgies day after day with no relief in sight. Many people have referred to this as abandonment to Divine providence. It’s the kind of thing that’s capable of producing a saint if you cooperate with the grace. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  16. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    As an Orthodox Christian, and the same is true in almost all instances with Byzantine Catholics, we simply just do not allow female altar servers in parishes. Once you “progress” with change it makes true progression and reform toward traditional norms in the Church difficult. May God bless this good priest for fighting the good fight.

  17. KAS says:

    I’m with the priest who made the decision in favor of an all male altar. I like seeing men and boys doing the whole service. It reflects for me how Jesus had his apostles and they did things like hand out the five loaves and two fishes after Jesus blessed them and it was an amazing miracle.

    I don’t like female altar servers because I think it is a reflection of the gender confusion in our culture. There is nothing wrong with being OK with the reality that men and women are not interchangeable! Complaining that women cannot be priests is like complaining that men cannot get pregnant. I’m not sorry my sons are the only ones who might be called to the priesthood and I am not sorry my daughters are the only ones who can be called to bring to birth babies made in “the image and likeness of God.”

    I’m glad to see some priests moving to affirm the all male priesthood by restoring the all male altar.

  18. New Sister says:

    This article is plain stupid, on every front. What is astonishing are the editors that let it pass as “journalism” — and the parish ninny who would have alterted CNN to the issue.

  19. mike cliffson says:

    ” Whether it’s Christianity, Islam or Judaism……….”,interchangeable, evidently.
    I’d kinda like to see this infallible guy’s description of kosher butchery , or a muslim household eids.

  20. Feminism is a central tenet of contemporary godlessness. For people like Roland Martin, all things must be brought under its govern, including sacred dogma. Instead of coming straight out and affirming that he disagrees with Christ, he uses subterfuge to convince the weak and ignorant of something that is simply not true, that Christianity and feminism are somehow compatible.

  21. Blaise says:

    The unfortunate thing is that no matter how effective Fr Z’s critiqueof this nonsense, far more people will read the anti-Catholic propaganda on the CNN page and it will just go to reinforce prejudices.

    To me the fundamental flaw is that the expectation of how the Church should organize herself is based on “sola scriptura”; the fact that it is not even “tota scriptura” is secondary really.

  22. Stu says:

    If I recall correctly, Mr. Martin has claimed to be a former Catholic and once insinuated that because he was and altar server (servant?) as a child, that he was of course an expert of sorts regarding Church matters.

  23. RichardT says:

    Excellent commentay, Father.

    But I suspect the “Jewish leaders” was just the usual liberal fear of being seen as racist. In their creed it’s acceptable to criticise “leaders” but not “people”. Similar to complaining about “Israeli leaders” or “Zionists” rather than “Jews”.

  24. wmeyer says:

    I applaud the good Father, and pray for his perseverance.

    As to the benighted author of that execrable emotional screed, I agree with Henry Edwards: nothing but ignorance can explain his position. The failure in our parishes to present the Catechism–the CCC, not the Adult Catechism of the Catholic Church, which seems to me to avoid many of the teachings which the Spirit of Vatican II insist are matters for their (largely unformed) consciences, is the foundation of the ignorance.

  25. poohbear says:

    I will add Fr Taylor to my daily prayer intentions. God Bless him and may many of his brother priests see the wisdom in his decision.

  26. cpaulitz says:

    See his tweet back to me. Don’t think he’s Catholic any more, something he should have pointed out:

    rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin)
    11/24/11 12:36 PM
    @ChrisPaulitzDC I’m not ignorant of Catholicism. Spent 26 years as one. You have ignorance of the Bible. Jesus supersedes the Pope!

  27. Colin says:

    Personally speaking, I can only expect as much from CNN. Some of you may remember that this was the network that actually aired the bogus “We found Bigfoot and he is preserved in our freezer” press conference back in 2008. That’s the moment that they lost all credibility with me. Since then, they produced a biased piece about Pope Benedict XVI in regards to the Church’s sex abuse scandal titled, “What did the Pope know?” Then they actually gave a first-rate Catholic bashing clown like Joy Behar her own show (she is a lapsed or possibly ex-Catholic). Who knows, perhaps SNAP will get their own time slot as was evidenced by the preferential treatment that they received in Kansas City recently by another news forum (The Kansas City Star). In reality, a good amount of these people are not concerned with telling the truth. They only want to create sensational stories and that support their ideologies. These stories are not only a direct assault on Holy Mother Church, but are also survivable based on the ignorance of the reader, which is what most of these news outlets are banking on. We must pray! God Bless All of You and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. APX says:

    @Father Z,

    Jesus told Mary, “[…] 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?]

    Personally, whenever I read/hear this argument, I’m under the impression that Jesus knew what he was doing when he told Mary, a woman, to go spread the news. This was in the days before Facebook and Twitter, and he was well aware of women’s ability to spread news faster than a wild fire in dry grass. At least that’s been my experience with Catholic women at church. If someone needs news spread, or if you’re new and want to know what’s going on in a parish, the women always seems to know and will spread news about you that you had no idea was even known to the parish community.

  29. Peggy R says:

    I can’t add too much to the good commentary here. I have read that Martin was raised Catholic, making him of course a high authority on the faith.

    I did think that women would be insulted to have to act as “servants.”

    Also, in the Arlington, VA, diocese, the practice of altar girlies was allowed by Bp. Loverde only 5 years ago or so, with many conditions. About 60% of parishes elected NOT to permit altar girl involvement. This lady is crying for something that was not a long-held tradition at her parish in her diocese.

    Good on Fr. Taylor! God bless him. How I miss the Arlington Diocese!

  30. Credo says:

    I think it’s a shame that this writer can’t better articulating a soft point at the heart of all of this. Some women who are familiar with gifts God gave them and as expounded in Mulieris Dignatatem, believe they cannot live out the fullness of those gifts. They humbly pray to be allowed to serve in fullness. Communal life and married life offer many a fullness. Yet, a small portion are called to something different that they can’t identify. They incorrectly seek priesthood and complain about inequality because they do not see an opportunity for full expression of their faith, yet know their unique feminine gifts. We communicate a lot to our faith community when we ask them to limit their participation in one way or another. With this change we may be saying to a number of girls, you do not share fully in an expression of your faith.

  31. kittenchan says:

    IF (and that’s a big “if”) we grant him his premise that women stood guard then, so they should be allowed to stand guard now – hmm, I think the closest thing we have now to “standing guard” is … Perpetual Adoration! Whole communities of nuns (all women, too, think of that) are devoted to “standing guard” in the form of Perpetual Adoration, not to mention the hundreds of thousands, if not more, lay women who do so as well. Sorry Mr. Martin, we’re WAYYYY ahead of you.

  32. greasemonkey says:

    I wonder if all the controversy regarding male only servers may relate to Ministeria Quedam and the function of certain tasks being done by laity? It seems that at one point (maybe even now) that servers were viewed as “junior clerics”, a minor order (unofficial maybe). After MQ, the role of a server seems to be viewed more like an individual distinct ministry in the sanctuary, not necessarily a step to the priesthood. The ministry of serving at the altar post MQ seems to be an end in and of itself rather than a stepping stone to orders. So females exercise the role like EMHC, lector, etc…

  33. mhazell says:

    Re. “Jews”/”Jewish leaders”: it’s the TNIV (2002 NT) that has this in the text of the translation, not the NIV (1984 rev. ed.). However, in my copy of the NIV Study Edition (1985), at John 1:19 there is this note:

    the Jews. This phrase occurs about 70 times in this Gospel. It is used in a favourable sense (e.g., 4:22) and in a neutral sense (e.g., 2:6). But generally John used it of the Jewish leaders who were hostile to Jesus (e.g., 8:48).”

    Given this note, the TNIV’s dodgy rendering of hoi Ioudaioi shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise. Unfortunately, neither is this rendering confined to the TNIV: “Jewish leaders” also appears in the NLT and CEV; the GNT (known as TEV before 2001) reads “Jewish authorities” at John 20:19 and throughout the gospel.

  34. Rosevean says:

    I’m a little surprised that there is such a kerfuffle to allow girls the “right” to lay the table, help a man wash his hands and pass him the dishes, then tidy them away and wash up. Haven’t the feminists been fighting for years to get women *out* of the kitchen? Surely if the Church was trying to “keep women in their place” we would be insisting that the girls do these things?

    Men and women are biologically different, and I sometimes wonder if the priesthood (and altar service) is God’s compensation to men for not being able to bear and nourish children.

  35. mhazell says:

    Sorry – addendum to my post above – have just found out that the 2011 NIV is different both from the 1984 NIV and the British NIV. 2011 NIV does read “Jewish leaders” at John 20:29.

  36. inIpso says:

    It’s great to see our priests standing up for the truth! I love living in the Arlington Diocese and I love our priests! Keep up the good fight, Fr. Taylor!

  37. “Folks, there is nothing I did as an altar boy that a young woman couldn’t do.”

    This is the heart of the problem. If we reduce the Church to mere functionality and materialism, we have no Church left. By the same argument, we can say that if a five-year-old can read the words of consecration almost as well as an adult, he (or she!) can function as a priest. For that matter, if we could build a robot that could duplicate the movements and words of a priest (and I am sure that such a thing is technologically possible), then voila! we don’t even need priests any more. Just think– we could just click on a link on our computers, confess to a computer screen, and listen as it recites the words of absolution while it displays a picture of a compassionate person wearing a stole, as if all our problems can be solved materially. What a sad picture to have to paint. The good news is that in the long run, such barren philosophy is sure to die completely as it has nothing to sustain it. In the short run, of course, it can do great damage until it is exposed as the worthless rubbish that it is.

  38. cpaulitz says:

    He went on to send me about five tweets, all your typical apostate spew.

    I won’t paste them all it. Read them by searching @ChrisPaulitzDC

  39. Captain Peabody says:

    What an odd article. Certainly, women are awesome (though the fact that he didn’t even bring up Mary, the most perfect and glorious of all creatures, is a little odd), but that really doesn’t have anything to with the question of female altar servers or priests.

    Mary, again, is more venerable and more filled with grace than any of the Apostles, or any other merely human priest who has ever lived; but that doesn’t mean she can be a priest or altar server, or should be a priest or altar server, or has to be a priest or altar server. She has her glory, and they have theirs.

    Likewise, all women have gifts and a glory that no man can ever possess; women have always been and continue to be the more devout sex, and the more naturally loving sex, the more beautiful sex, and the sex gifted with the high calling of motherhood. I would wager the vast majority of devout Catholics in the world today are women; and they will have their reward. But to man has been given the vocations of fatherhood, and of priesthood; and no one can give to woman a right to these vocations, any more than she can give man the right to be pregnant.

    O Most Holy and Venerable Mother of God, pure and inviolate, pray for us and for all your sons and daughters. Amen.

  40. josephx23 says:

    Despite departing from historic Catholic practice to “expand the ways people can serve,” the Episcopal Church USA reported two million members in a recent poll IIRC. The poll takers (Pew, maybe?) suggested that some denominations might have been keeping closer tabs than others. So perhaps when Mr. Martin sets his biblical exegetical hat aside, he can also toil as an amateur sociologist and see if his contentions about the reasons for declining religious practice have any basis in scientific observation.

  41. Jackie L says:

    Mr. Martin is a former Catholic with an axe to grind. Remember this attack on Pope Benedict XVI:

  42. Simon_GNR says:

    Provided the serving at the altar is done with all the appropriate reverence and dignity, I’m not concerned about the sex of the young people doing the serving. I’ve never had a problem with devout and dedicated young girl altar servers. As many parishes have long had adult female EMHC’s, I really can’t justify saying that younger females should not be allowed to serve at the altar. They will not touch the consecrated elements as female EMHC’s will; I don’t see the problem. I realise this is not a very strong case, but I can summarise it thus: IF female EMCH’s, THEN why not female altar servers? This was not a line of argument used by Roland Martin in his article which was execrable tosh from beginning to end, apart from the scriptural quotations. Fr Z tears it comprehensively to pieces in his analysis – bravo! None of his arguments make much sense and his ignorance of the subject has been ruthlessly exposed by Fr Z’s critique.

  43. Maltese says:

    Captain Peabody: nicely said!

  44. MF says:

    I’m a woman, and personally, I am sick to death of seeing women do everything in the Church. I’m tired of women lectors, women crucifers, women Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and yes, silly little girls at the altar. I have five sons, and there are practically no manly examples left for them in the Church anymore. The natural lack of authority that women have in comparison to men dilutes the seriousness and authority of the Scripture Readings, the Eucharist and the Mass in general. We are losing our men because the Church is so feminized as it is. As a woman, I love my feminine spirituality, but I’m truly longing for the power and authority and strength that the presence of men give.

  45. Denis says:

    In the long run, I suspect that stories like this do more good than harm for the Church. Most fair-minded people read this and understand that the author is just a dim bulb with an axe to grind. I’m actually surprised that there haven’t been stories about the terrible Church thinking that women ought to be given the role of setting the table, washing hands, and doing the dishes. On the bright side, at least he didn’t refer to them as altar ‘slaves.’

  46. Taylor says:

    The author of the article seems to be quite uninformed and misled. I thought CNN could afford well-educated journalists.

  47. Peter in Canberra says:

    It is good to see this shift in pastors to choosing to have male servers.
    The article is rubbish.
    But I am reminded again under whose leadership we were visited with the possibility of female altar servers: Bl JPII.

  48. Mr. P says:

    altar serving isn’t a right…end of my statement

  49. Dennis Martin says:

    A caveat in regard to faulting the writer for saying the disciples hid for fear of the Jewish leaders.

    A number of exegetes, including, if I recall correctly, Benedict XVI, interpret most of John’s Gospel’s references to “the Jews” (e.g., in ch. 8, where “the Jews” are called sons of the Father of Lies, which passages are sometimes said to be anti-semitic) as referring to Judaeans (the two tribes left after the loss of the Ten Tribes) and more specifically to the Temple aristocracy, not to the Jewish people as a whole. It fits with those who see the author of the Fourth Gospel as possibly coming from this Temple elite milieu–again, I think Benedict hints in vol. 1 of Jesus of Nazareth that he’s inclined toward that interpretation of the author of the Fourth Gospel.
    Note also in the opening chapters of vol. 2 of Jesus of Nazareth that Benedict follows those exegetes who see the crowd praising Jesus on his triumphal entry as having come with him from Bethany (and more remotely, followed him from Galilee etc.) and being looked down as religious rabble by the native Jerusalemites. That crowd, then, is different from the Jerusalemite crowd that called for his crucifixion a few days later. This too makes a lot of sense to me: Jesus was perceived as a religious fanatic interloper from Galilee accompanied by rabble from the provinces, by “the Jews” who ran Jerusalem.

    In other words, paying attentiont to the geo-ethnic-social strata in the Jewish world of that day helps make sense out of some otherwise puzzling aspects of John’s Gospel.

    So there is some basis for translating this reference to the Upper Room hiding as “for fear of the Jewish leaders.”

    But, yes, the rest of the article is lousy.

  50. Dennis Martin says:

    I had not read the comments, thus missed MHazell’s references to the Protestant contemporary translations. My point is that this way of interpreting “the Jews” in John’s Gospel as the Temple and town elite is fairly widespread, not limited to the translators of the versions he or she cites.

    One of my sentences was ambiguous because of word order. Try this:

    Jesus was perceived by “the Jews” who ran Jerusalem as a religious fanatic interloper from Galilee accompanied by rabble from the provinces.

  51. Leonius says:

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt Mr Martin!

  52. Leonius says:

    Not you Dennis by the way, I was referring to Roland.

  53. Dennis Martin says:

    Whew! For a moment there, you had me going, Leonius :-)

  54. RichR says:

    Cardinal Heenan addressed the Synod the day after the experimental Mass had been presented and said he did not know the names of those who had proposed the new Mass but it was clear to him that few of them had ever been parish priests.
    “At home,” he said, “it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.”

    Looks like he was prescient.

  55. heway says:

    The minute that I saw the name of the author, I knew the meat of the article would be largely ignorance. Mr. Martin errs everytime he opens his mouth on television news. CNN and NBC (MSNBC) are littered with these hypocrites…..

  56. pcstokell says:

    The only Roland Martin I know is the guy who did a lot of fishing on TV. This other one’s a hack.

    Put him on a rail, and run him out of town.

  57. Y2Y says:

    Dumber than a sack of nails………..

  58. irishgirl says:

    MF-I totally agree with you! That was the reason why I resigned as a lector and a cantor, and now attend the TLM exclusively. I got tired of the women ‘running the show’ and bossing the priest around.
    The Church has become too feminized.
    Where are the men? They have to step forward and be the spiritual leaders of their families and their parishes.
    Thank God for priests such as this one in Virginia! He was willing to put his foot down and take the heat from the anti-Catholic media!
    Thank you for ‘zinging’ this editorial, Father Z….it was typical MSM misinformation with regards to the Church and its history.

  59. Cantate says:

    I live in the Diocese of Arlington. Years ago, I resigned as a lector (women are not supposed to be in the sanctuary, according to Church documents, pre-Vatican II ). I also resigned as a cantor at the Usus Antiquior Mass, for the same reason. Fortunately, when the Usus Antiquior was established in my parish, the pastor permitted only males to be altar servers. It is my belief that allowing females to serve Mass only gives young girls–and their mothers–big ideas, namely about agitating for female ordination to the priesthood! I am grateful to be spared “female-altar-boys” at all Masses here. Should this change in the future, I will promptly find another parish. Understand, I am not anti-female, as I have always enjoyed “being a girl.” Blessings on Father Michael Kelly for holding this line! (I will keep him in my prayers.) And Mr. Roland Martin, despite his claim as a sometime-Catholic, knows NOT whereof he speaks. What a piece of garbage his article is! Thank you, Father Z., for this exposition of his ignorance.

  60. Johnno says:

    Obviously it shows how concerned CNN was over one outraged parish woman’s phone call and this issue that they didn’t bother to put their best man on the job…

    But still… this is one of those things that are so wrong in even the simplest of details that it’s just an embarrasment that’ll only be imagine worthwhile by the most ignorant, and unfortunately ignorance is a dime a dozen these days…

    It also highlights a problem. The fool writer thinks that just because he attended Mass for 26 years and served as an altar boy that he is knowledgable enough to know about the faith. I bet he went to a Catholic School too! So what’s certain is that:

    – he learnt nothing of substance about the Catholic Faith in Church
    – he learnt nothing of substance about the Catholic Faith in School
    – he learnt nothing of substance about the Catholic Faith in the Home, because it’s likely his parents didn’t learn from the Church or Catholic School or their parents either…

    The Church and laity as a whole failed him then, and he in turn is failing the Church, and judging from the quality of the article, he’s a failure as a journalist too, or he should be, but given that journalism at CNN itself has failed to live up to even the lowest standards, the fools are being mployed and the capable being given the boot. But when you toss out God and the truth or place it at the service of flawed secular agendas, there’s really no need to remain totally honest or efficient either… It’s all about what sells and drives traffic.

  61. MikeM says:

    I pointed out his numerous factual errors in a comment there, and in another I mentioned a few of the countless important roles Catholic women have had in my religious life (which didn’t include being an altar server or a Priest). Both of my comments got deleted. Another comment pointing out Mr. Martin’s errors was also deleted. Needless to say, a number of malicious comments about molestation of altar boys remain on the site.

    The only other time I’ve had a comment deleted, it was by Fr. Z! :P

    (That time, it was a necessary result of my commenting without sleep.)

  62. Robert M says:

    The CNN article is plain silliness, but I don’t agree with not allowing girls to be altar servers. The view that being an altar server is a sort of “track” to the priesthood isn’t incorrect, but IMO it’s short-sighted. In a day and age when many Catholics, even and especially regular Mass attendees, don’t fully understand the significance of the Mass, giving boys AND girls the opportunity to closely participate in the Mass and appreciate its true significance can only build stronger, more faithful Catholics. Who’s to say that girls who are altar servers become inspired not to be “priests”, but instead to serve the Lord in many other capacities? Who’s also to say that admitting girls to be altar servers automatically and categorically shuts out boys? These are all assumptions that have been alluded to in this thread as reasons why altar servers should only be boys, but that’s all they are, assumptions which IMO are not totally grounded in reality.

  63. Cristiano says:

    Poor Roland Martin. I got really upset with him and CNN and then I decided to offer the Thanksgiving Mass for his spiritual well being. He has chosen to leave the Church and to attack Her, the only realistic thing that I can do is to pray for him and keep him in my intentions.

  64. Robert M says: The CNN article is plain silliness, but I don’t agree with not allowing girls to be altar servers. The view that being an altar server is a sort of “track” to the priesthood isn’t incorrect, but IMO it’s short-sighted. In a day and age when many Catholics, even and especially regular Mass attendees, don’t fully understand the significance of the Mass, giving boys AND girls the opportunity to closely participate in the Mass and appreciate its true significance can only build stronger, more faithful Catholics. Who’s to say that girls who are altar servers become inspired not to be “priests”, but instead to serve the Lord in many other capacities?

    If service on the altar is necessary or even helpful to inspire girls to serve the Church in other ways, then why did it take until 30 years ago to allow it? What was missing during all those previous centuries, during which multitudes of women attained sainthood?

  65. Robert M says:

    I never said it was necessary, and if a parish decides they don’t want girls as altar servers, that’s their decision and I would respect it. Also, just because it was approved 20 or 30 years ago doesn’t make it less legitimate. Most importantly, Blessed Pope John Paul II in approving the change obviously didn’t consider female altar servers to be a serious threat to the vocation of the (male) priesthood. That’s good enough for me…and if Benedict XVI or future popes determine at some point that girls as altar servers isn’t a good idea, then that also would be good enough for me. To me, it makes total sense to leave this up to the local bishop and/or parish. They’re the ones with the best knowledge of the needs/issues of their flock.

  66. AnnAsher says:

    Take the women out of the sanctuary and out of the sacristy all together and restore a proper feminin identity which can be bold and profound and full of service of equal merit albeit different from that service of men. Myself and my daughters do not tread upon those places.

  67. AnnAsher says:

    Also – want to mention that my amateur reading of the 1983 Canons on these litirgical matters offers the option of women – last – and I don’t think that is coincidental.

  68. Denita says:

    I’ve said this before- I don’t like CNN.
    I agree with everyone, but I have an issue with KAS. I agree up until you say about your daughters are “the only ones who can have babies.” AGAIN with limiting the role of women to wife and mother! What if your daughters wanted to be Sisters? No, I don’t like lady priests or altar girls; nor lay people “running the show.” But women can do more than “have babies.” KAS, I’ve never had babies, I’m still a virgin, and will turn 50 in March. I love being a Traddie except for this. I’m sick of people telling me I’m a failure as a woman. Sorry for the rant, Father.

  69. dinsdale says:

    @ Subdeacon Joseph – sadly, I know of a few Byzantine parishes that have female altar servers – the servers in question are the daughters of friends of mine. Unfortunately, there is work to be done in some parts of the Eastern Church as well.

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