Female Acolytes

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lsburk

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An acquaintance of mine, recently told me that female acolytes are actually not permitted by the Church. He insists that this is an “American” invention. I cited the recent “Redemptionist Sacramentum” but he dismisses it as a fabrication. Who is correct on this issue?
 
An acolyte is a cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church, ranking next to a subdeacon. (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)
Using the above definition, an acolyte cannot be a female.

*Altar servers * (which is the proper term in this case), on the other hand, may be females in certain dioceses if the local diocese approves of it. See the Zenit article below.

ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zlitur19.htm

'thann
 
An Acolyte is a male who is on his way to becoming a priest or decon. And since females cannot become priests this cannot be. So I hope I awnsered your question.
 
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Jacob:
An Acolyte is a male who is on his way to becoming a priest or decon. And since females cannot become priests this cannot be. So I hope I awnsered your question.
Not necessarily. An acolyte can be a male who is installed into that minor order for life. Same with a lector. Both minor orders are open only to men.

That said, the great majority of acolytes and lectors (as opposed to altar servers and readers) are indeed men on their way to the priesthood or permanent diaconate.
 
There are no longer any “Minor Orders” in the Latin Rite. There are in some of the Eastern Churches. They are called Ministries now. They are installed into the 'Ministry" of Acolyte or Lector.
 
My daughter woud love to be an alter server. I wonder if it is wise, however, as I always feel perhaps it would be the first step for a boy to become a priest. The more girls there are, the fewer boys will be needed. Also I worry about the whole boy/girl/crushes dynamic. The alter does not seem like a good place for that.
 
Sorry just couldn’t figure out how to subscribe without putting in a new message.
 
Little Flower:
My daughter woud love to be an alter server. I wonder if it is wise, however, as I always feel perhaps it would be the first step for a boy to become a priest. The more girls there are, the fewer boys will be needed. Also I worry about the whole boy/girl/crushes dynamic. The alter does not seem like a good place for that.
Hehe. When I was young enough to be an altar server I was always getting beat up and harassed by girls so I wouldn’t know. If you’re worried about it, maybe you can talk to the sacristan and see if she can help there. Talk to the person who arranges the flowers for Sunday Mass or comes in to dress the altar/church for the appropriate feast. If there’s a children’s choir at your parish see if she’d be interested in that… Redemptionis Sacramentum states that the practice can be retained but it is preferred for boys to serve Mass. So the only time I could see her doing this is if a boy couldn’t make it on any given Sunday or something. There’s so much she could do around the church. If you have any religious there, ask a Sister if there’s some way she could help with her work. Maybe your daughter could make rosaries for the adoration chapel or the pews or something. Lots to do. And things like that are very valuable services to the parish. Men and women have different roles. Let her know that it isn’t anything personal, it’s the way God made us. We’re supposed to compliment each other, not be exactly the same.
 
I don’t see anything wrong with girl altar servers. If we didn’t have them in our parish, we wouldn’t have ANY servers most of time. We have a brother and sister server team and you wouldn’t want two more holy and pious kids anywhere.
 
What I saw happen here in our diocese was that the Bishop sent a letter basically saying that he approved of girls serving at the altar if there were not enough boys to fill the positions that were needed.

The way it was implimented however was “We need to sign up as many girls to serve as possible.” We needed only about 8 to 10 servers total. There were 6 or 7 boys already serving. Instead of signing up and training 3 or 4 girls, a training session for 22 girls was held! The boys promptly quit and we had only girls serving and they only served once every few months because there were so many of them.
 
Girl Altar servers are not allowed in our diocese. I understand it is for practical reasons…young boys won’t serve with girls because girls have cooties and that sort of thing… 😛

I really haven’t formed an opinon of it myself yet…However if I happen to see a girl server on tv or whereever I close my eyes and try to think of the women who ministerd to Jesus during his earthly ministry…

dream wanderer
 
There is no longer a need for altar servers in the Latin Rite anymore. Their purpose was to receite the prayers of the faithful in Latin because the faithful didn’t know Latin.
 
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davy39:
I don’t see anything wrong with girl altar servers. If we didn’t have them in our parish, we wouldn’t have ANY servers most of time. We have a brother and sister server team and you wouldn’t want two more holy and pious kids anywhere.
Do you have no problem with women priestesses, since there are hardly any men in seminary?
 
Mike C:
There is no longer a need for altar servers in the Latin Rite anymore. Their purpose was to receite the prayers of the faithful in Latin because the faithful didn’t know Latin.
While it is true that this is no longer a function of altar servers, I believe that the position is needed. Is the priest to carry the processional crucifix, the candles, the book of the Gospels, and be the thurifer all at the same time? This would be the case in a parish without a deacon and subdeacon (quite a few around here). The position allows people to assist in a very intimate way with the serving of the Mass. Not to suggest that in any way their prayers and actions are anywhere near equal to that of the priest. But it reaffirms the teaching that laypeople are not merely slaves of the ordained, as some people around here would like it to be… I, for one, am very excited about serving Mass (both the Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo) at my parish this summer. The priest can’t trust the little kids with a thurible and there hasn’t been incense at any of our Masses for a long time… And, as it’s been said, serving at the altar is a wonderful way to help nourish vocations to the priesthood and diaconate. To suggest that the position is not needed anymore is a little short-sighted.
 
I don’t see anything wrong with girl altar servers.

Me either. So what if this is a totally new practice after 2000 years and the Pope repeatedly refused requests by the AmBishops to approve altar girls and he only reluctantly approved their use to avoid the growing public scandal/schism in America where Bishops (sadly, succesfully) repeatedly and publicly violated Litirgical Norms, Papal Directives, personal appeals by the Pope etc?
 
Just because a female wishes to be an altar server doesn’t mean she also wishes to be a Priest. Believe me, you’re looking at one of them.

Every since I was a little girl, I’ve always had the desire to serve at the altar. I thought it was the coolest job to do during Mass and envied the boys because girls weren’t allowed at the time. Now, as an adult, I’m able to fulfill a long time dream and virtually relish at serving at the altar. And no, I do not wish to become a Priest.

Attraction between the boys and girls is non-exsistant in my Parish. In fact, I have more problems with siblings serving together than boys and girls. And if children are squeamish about serving with the opposite sex, then the maturity level is not there for them to be serving at the altar.
 
Little Flower:
My daughter woud love to be an alter server. I wonder if it is wise, however, as I always feel perhaps it would be the first step for a boy to become a priest. The more girls there are, the fewer boys will be needed. Also I worry about the whole boy/girl/crushes dynamic. The alter does not seem like a good place for that.
It would be good for your daughter to serve as it is for the LORD. I’m a server that serves with lots of girls. It doesn’t matter to me if boys or girls serve, but they have to remember that they are serving for the LORD. Not for the purpose of the boy/girl/crushes dynamic. They do that outside the Church, not at the altar.

I hope this helps! God Bless:gopray: :tiphat:
Podo
 
Our parish has both boys and girls as alterservers. I am OK with it, although I would rather see the boys serve more frequently, as it could be a source for vocational stimulus.

By and large the girls do a fine job, my main gripe is that they never give the responses. OK, when I was an alter server the responses were in Latin, and had to be learned before you ever set foot as a server. But now the responses are the same that they would be saying if they were attending Mass (or is that wouldn’t be saying). I complain that they should not permit them to serve unless they know the responses. Maybe someday it will happen. I am very blessed to live in a great parish that is A+ on orthodoxy. I travel a lot, and go to Mass all over the country. I always come back feeling more tolerant of our problems that seem minor by comparison.

Charliemac
 
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davy39:
I don’t see anything wrong with girl altar servers. If we didn’t have them in our parish, we wouldn’t have ANY servers most of time. We have a brother and sister server team and you wouldn’t want two more holy and pious kids anywhere.
Hi. I just moved from a parish that had female altar servers and a very few male ones to a different part of the country and a more traditional parish that has only boys and men serving at the altar. There are at least 4 at Sunday Mass. It is incredible the difference it makes.

Whenever I see those boys, I offer prayers for vocations to the priesthood or brotherhood, if they have them. All the men and boys have proper deportment, unlike some of the giggly girls I have seen. I realize that girls aren’t alone in poor behavior around the Holy Eucharist, but the boys in my parish are modeling their behavior on the adult men. It is very powerful to see a man show proper respect for our Sacred Mysteries.

Given my experience, I would encourage girls not to be altar servers. This is one place to allow boys to come to the forefront. I don’t think it is unusual for boys to refuse to do things girls can do. In our culture, boys probably see more women in Church than men, more women Lectors, more women DREs, more women teachers. How can they see religion and religious life as masculine if we, as women, can’t give them the chance.

I realize this statement will cause ripples of shock in some people. Sorry for the shock. It seems obvious to me.

Cheers to all…Trish
 
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thann:
Using the above definition, an acolyte cannot be a female.

*Altar servers * (which is the proper term in this case), on the other hand, may be females in certain dioceses if the local diocese approves of it. See the Zenit article below.

ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zlitur19.htm

'thann
Thanks for pointing out that it is altar servers we’re talking about not acolytes.

The Zenit article states “Female altar servers are permitted in all but two U.S. dioceses.”

I live in one of these two dioceses (Lincoln, Nebraska).
Does anyone here know the other one?
 
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