Vatican about to ban girls from the altar?

This topic was the headline story in the religion section of my local newspaper today. The Vatican is considering banning girls from serving on the altar at mass and forbidding priests from interdenominational services. I was wondering what Catholics on the SDMB think of these developments?

Can’t they leave bad enough alone? They are squeezing every last bit of humanity and fellowship out of the Church. Didn’t the Vatican, several years ago, start rapproachement with other denominations? How can you have a dialogue, if you’re not willing to take part in ecumenical services? The Church’s attitude toward women has always been abysmal, the small sop of allowing girls to be altar servers should be seen as a good thing. In some parishes around here, there aren’t enough altar boys, what the heck are they supposed to do with these girls who are willing to serve? It’s time they stepped back to look at the big picture. WWJD has become trite, and the butt of commercial schlockmeisters, but a little of that perspective would serve them well right about now, and well into the future. Maybe after the next conclave, eyes and minds and hearts will be opened, and redirected. We fervently pray…

this is why i don’t like religion.

Well, you know how the presence of young girls just might lead some of those perfectly celibate ::cough:: pedophile child molesting ::cough:: priests astray.

This is one of those times when I am glad I feel very little compulsion, as an Ex-Catholic, to defend the Church. I do not think I would have an easy time of it. I do, however, think that I would be able to refrain from a comment like the one above.

Maybe it’d help that problem. You seldom hear of priests molesting girls, or ministers molesting boys, after all…

Touché! Good one, elfkin477.

Also from the article:

Somehow I doubt this is doing to happen.

I doubt very much they will be able to eliminate applause from Mass. Especially the July 4, Easter, Christmas season and Mother’s Day services. Maybe it was unique to the parish I was in, but there was something about getting all the way through the service that made people clap. Kept the transubstantiation streak alive, I guess.

While I suppose that anything is possible, it sounds like so much twaddle to me. Most of the changes that are mentioned were only OK’d under John Paul II and he does not strike me as a person who would permit reversals of actions that he has approved.

In addition, they just got done promulgating a new General Instruction for the Mass in the last couple of years after a lot of wrangling (the U.S. version was supposed to be released two Augusts ago and was pulled back at the last minute, finally being published this past August to be implemented at the beginning of Advent, this year). The RCC is not known for its tendency to radically change things on the fly and proclaiming such visible changes now when the new General Instruction has barely made it to the rest of the world seems unlikely. (For those who think that Vatican II was some sort of “sudden” event: it was not. Nothing proclaimed at the Second Vatican Council had been discussed for fewer than 30 years prior to the Council; that was simply the event that allowed many of the theological discussions to be proclaimed at one time.)

As I said, anything might happen (particularly, I suppose, if some cabal in the Curia tries to use the pope’s illness to push their own agenda), but I find the likelihood to be less than probable.

Does anyone know the status or provenance of this Jesus magazine? Solid reporting? Fruitcake alarmists on the Left? Fruitcake reactionaries on the Right? Does it have the status of America or the Ligourian or SOUL Magazine?

I’d like to point out that the reason Altar Girls are discouraged in some places is because one of the ideas behind Altar Boys is that it was a stepping stone for the Priesthood. Since Catholicism doesn’t believe female priests are possible, it follows that priestly training for girls is out-of-place. (Which is a WHOLE 'nother issue.)

Not that I’m against altar girls–again, I just want people to recognize the historical reason for altar boys. In theory, you don’t need altar ANYTHING–the priest could do it himself. (I acted as an altar server at my law school for the past 3 years, and I’m not going into the priesthood anytime soon.)

Some of the “developments” listed in the articles aren’t really developments. At most, they are a cracking down on practices that were never really permitted or considered appropriate. For example, I don’t believe non-Biblical readings were ever permitted during a Mass, nor do I believe that applause during a Mass was ever considered appropriate. Sure, it will be impossible to keep the congregation from applauding if they want to, but it will also be impossible to keep the congregation from gossiping during Mass if they want to. The fact that they can’t be stopped doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be discouraged. One way that I see it being discouraged is that in my diocese, other events don’t occur within a Mass as they did when I was a child. I went to a Catholic elementary school. All sorts of non-religious events occured during a Mass- we received our class rings during a Mass, we graduated during a Mass, etc. No more. Now there is a graduates’ Mass about a week before graduation- just a regularly scheduled Mass, offered for the graduates, which they all attend. All of the opportunities for applause- the speeches, the awards ,the diplomas- occur at the graduation, which is not a Mass. When my daughter graduated last year, someone asked the principal about this change. Her answer was that it’s not liturgically correct for another event (such as graduation) to be more prominent than the Eucharist at Mass.

This line

from the linked article seems imply that all sorts of ecumenical services will be banned, while the encylical only discusses the concelebration of the Eucharist with non-Catholics and and substitution of ecumenical services for Sunday Mass.

Given all of that, I’m not so sure the “ban” on female altar servers isn’t really the ban on bishops requiring priests to use female altar servers, which dates back to at least July 2001.

Speaking as an American, Jewish publishing God…

I’d love to take on this project. Give me a magazine called Jesus with the right content and I’d be a millionaire before sundown.

This is how Reuters described the magazine Jesus

I think that nearly every bishop in the U.S. would feel a lot of pressure to maintain the presence of female altar servers. They met with little opposition here from what I could tell. Only the real hard-line conservative, Blue Army types opposed them.

I don’t know what the big deal about using wine during Communion is. Personally, I rarely take it, but that’s because I don’t really like drinking out of the same cup as 300 or so of my neighbors. And I don’t like the taste of sacramental wine anyway.

Nobody’s required to take the wine. I went to Mass in Toronto recently, and people were discouraged from taking the wine due to the SARS epidemic.

The Church does teach that the fullness of Christ’s body and blood is contained in both bread and wine. Read literally, they mean that if you just take the bread, you’re getting both body and blood.

I was under the impression that jesus would be a “Old Traditional” type of magazine, that would probably still think the mass should be said in latin.

It’s hard to tell the bent of the group that publishes Jesus. In the U.S., the group would be called the Paulines. I assume this is to differentiate them from the Paulists.

Both groups are very media-oriented.

Oh yeah, my church is Paulist and we have little girls serving, readings from prominent intellectuals if pertinent to the homily (this is the Upper West Side after all) AND applause at the end of Mass, although in our case it’s actually for the choir, who are terrific. Is terrific?

Interesting, our music director recently asked us not to applaud when he was done playing at the end of the service. He said he appreciated the thought but applause implies he’s performing for the congregation rather than the music being just another part of worship. He’s not doing it to entertain us but to add to the spiritual uplift of worship. Makes sense to me. We don’t applaud the pastor’s sermon, the lector reading the bible lessons or the cantor singing the psalm. Mind you we laugh when the pastor tells a good Lake Wobegon story or Ole and Lena joke but I think that’s a spiritual thing as well. IMO worship should be joyful.

We’re ELCA Lutheran and a particularly liberal congregation as that denomination goes. We strive for full inclusion of the entire congregation regardless of sexual orientation. Considering that on occasion we have a lesbian pastor giving the sermon no one bats an eyelash at a girl serving as an accolyte. Put that in your pope and smoke it.

“…actually for the choir, which is terrific.”

As to the OP–my younger sisters are altar girls at our church on a very regular basis. The church already has a hard time getting anyone to do it, and it would be ridiculous to diminish that already limited pool of volunteers even more. At the school I went to (different from the one my sisters now attend), only boys were allowed to serve and I always felt a bit cheated by that. So I think it’s great that so many churches have evolved enough to welcome, and even encourage, females on the altar. I’d hate to see that end.