Monday, June 7, 2010

Altar Girls and other Liturgical Nonsense

Wow!  What a weird couple of days.  A friend of mine commented on teaching her children what a valid Mass consists of.  I could not believe some of the comments.  She is, apparently, a judgemental, heartless, narrow-minded pharisee.  Well, if she is, I am worse.  I not only agree with every thing she said but I, too, am teaching my kids to approach the Eucharist, and the Mass, with reverence.  I am worse because I am taking over the First Communion/First Reconciliation class next year...woo ha ha ha ha.  I may be teaching your kids...gulp...reverence.

I started out to comment on a grievous incident that happened at Church but I could not get onto "Blogger" this morning.  So, I'll get to my diatribe on altar girls now...Altar girls are wrong.  Yes, it's my opinion.  However, it is an opinion shared by many--even women--in the Church.

I know, I know, for some unknown reason the American branch of the Church decided that being an altar boy had nothing to do with the call to the priesthood.  I can give you several reasons why those liberal bishops and their feminazi friends are wrong--the altar girl in line behind me yesterday at our monthly Knights of Columbus breakfast.  Her dad and a couple of other (male nonetheless) parishioners told her how "great" she looked serving at the altar and that she would make a great priest.  "Too bad the Church doesn't have women priests."  "What churches do again?"  "Presbyterian?"  "Episcopalian?"  This in a CATHOLIC Church????!!!! 

But, no, serving at the altar has no bearing on the call to priesthood, right?  The lady in front of me thanked the girl 'priest' behind me for serving for her son, who doesn't want to serve anymore.  She said, "It must be a [high school] junior thing."  NO!! It is a GIRL thing.  Boys simply do not want to do something once it becomes a girl thing.  Why don't you see many boys named Laurie, or Kim, or Jamey anymore?  Because they are now girl names.  BTW, you do know that Bambi was a stag, right???  Boys do not want to serve any more once it becomes a girls' job.  Teenage boys either don't want to do a girl's job or they become attracted to the teenage girls serving at the altar with them.  Either way, the Church loses.

Fr. T. came to our church 2 Sundays ago.  He gave us a message about giving our sons to God.  His church closed its doors permanently this past Sunday because of the lack of priests in this diocese.  The biggest obstacle to the call to the priesthood is the parents, he said.  They want grand kids, not priests in the family.  Fr. T. said he has baptized over 140 kids.  Is that enough grand kids???  I would say so.  Give your sons to God and let them, not your daughters, serve at the altar.  Let them experience altar serving as a boy and as a boy's job.  That way they get a tiny glimpse of what the life of a priest is like.  There are alternatives for girls and women to serve the Church.  After all, Mary did not preach the Gospel the same way as John.  However, who has the higher place of honor?  [Hint:  The Mother of God, AKA the Queen of Heaven]

After writing this far, I did read this which contained some of the very things I just stated. 
"The 1994 letter [from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments] states: "It will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar. As is well known, this has led to a reassuring development of priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of altar boys will always continue."

     "Therefore the Holy See's recommendation is to retain as far as possible the custom of having only boys as servers. But it leaves to the bishop the choice of permitting women and girls for a good reason and to the pastor of each parish the decision as to whether to act on the bishop's permission.

     "It is important not to focus this debate using political categories such as rights, equality, discrimination, etc., which only serves to fog the issue. We are dealing with the privilege of serving in an act of worship to which nobody has any inherent rights."

     "Among the pastoral factors to be weighed is the obvious yet often forgotten fact that boys and girls are different and require different motivational and formative methods.

     "This difference means that both boys and girls usually go through a stage when they tend to avoid common activities."

      "Preteen boys in particular are very attracted to activities that cater especially for them, and they tend to reject sharing activities with girls."
   "They also tend to have a greater need for such structured activities than girls who are usually more mature and responsible at this stage of life.

     As a result, some parishes have found that the introduction of girl servers has led to a sharp drop-off of boys offering to serve. Once the boys have left and enter the years of puberty, it is difficult to bring them back.

     "Some pastors say this phenomenon is less marked where serving at Mass forms part of a wider Catholic structure, such as a school, or when siblings serve together.

     "It is also true that groups of boy servers have fostered vocations to the priesthood. But to be fair, this usually happens within a broader culture of openness to a vocation in which other elements come into play, such as the example and spiritual guidance given by good priests, and family support.

      "If, for example, a long-established program of boy servers has proved successful in promoting vocations or has been useful in helping boys avoid bad company and maintain the state of grace, then the good of souls obliges pastors to weigh heavily the spiritual risks involved in abandoning it."

     "When girls do serve, it is probably best to aim for a mixture of boys and girls — if only to avoid giving the impression to the congregation that Catholicism is above all a female activity...."

Despite what our society wants, we need to let our boys be boys.  We need to let certain activities be BOY activities.  Once we lose the boys, it is difficult to bring them back.  Why do people think so many of our priests today, did not become priests until later in life?  I believe one problem is that we make altar service a girl's job.  Boys don't want to be girls.  My son didn't even want to be seen buying Dove soap for his face.  It was too embarrassing.  He thought it made him look girly.  If he feels that way about soap, what do you think he is going to feel about being told what to do by a girl at the altar?  Altar boys should be allowed to be boys and hear the call to the priesthood without distraction.

Some other articles on Altar girls can be read here, here, here, and here.

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