This article has been pulled straight of the website for the Jesuit magazine 'America'; an American magazine, notorious for it's openly dissenting, tried-done-n-failed, and often down right heretical views.
We live in a church slowly coming to terms with some of the mistakes and excesses of the past. We live in a church which is beginning to consider more carefully it's Catholic identity, it tradition, it's mission and its purpose. We are slowly beginning to realise that we are not here to conform to 'the worlds' expectations -they will never be happy. We are slowly beginning to realise that we are not here to be be comfortable - but for greatness. I say 'slowly' because, quite frankly... it's slow. Having said that the signs are there, Young orthodox priests and seminarians, A steady increase in priestly vocations, Renewed Friday abstinance....
From the onset I would like to make clear that I have no problem with any girl alter servers. They do a fantastic job, each week, as good as if not better than many male ones. Furthermore, I know many who are amazing people and excellent faithful Catholics. Having said that I do think for very good reasons that the church is right to be reconsidering its decision on this matter. I'll say some more about that inside the article itself.
My Emphasis in bold my [comments in red]
Save the Altar Girls
This is not a local story, but one that represents larger trends in the church—in the priesthood, the liturgy and in the role of the people of God. Recently Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz., changed its policy on altar servers. From now on only boys may serve; girls may apply for jobs as sacristans. Why? The rector of the cathedral told The Catholic Sun that the cathedral is not alone in making this regulation. A parish in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., he argues, have found that replacing girls with boys as servers leads to more vocations to the priesthood.[notice, they don't think it might do - it does!]
These moves to limit laywomen’s access to the altar threaten to drag the church back into the pre-Vatican II world. [the church before the Second Vatican council is the same church we are in now. This was not some kind of 'super council', which created a new 'super church'. It should also not be thought that the Council realised that we had been going wrong for 2000 years, and then the Holy Spirit thought he might as well let us know. Nor was it a decision or consideration of the Council to allow female alter servers (they were not permitted until 1994). One wonders if next the altar rail will return, [Please says yes! It's a discriminatory and prejudicial policy which forces people who want to exercise their right to receive Holy Communion according to the churches norms to do so on the floor] another barrier between the priests and the people.
According to the rector, people who are upset about this decision concerning Mass servers make a mistake in considering it “a question of rights,” [correct, they are mistaken, we do however have a right to receive our saviour kneeling down.] as if someone’s rights were being denied. But, he says, no one has a “right” to be a server or even more a priest. One must be “called” to any church office. When the secular world comments on who should be an altar server, he says, it has only an emotional view, unguided by the light of reason.
The key issue is the status of the baptized: that the laity may be called by the Spirit to offer their talents in various roles. The rejection of altar girls disregards the counsel of the Second Vatican Council [where? precisely where does the council counsel that they should be permitted?] that the charisms of the baptized “are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation.” [...nothing there....keep looking...]By virtue of baptism, the council reminds us, “there is neither male nor female. For you are all ‘one’ in Christ Jesus.” [....nope nothing there either....]There is “a true equality between all with regard to the dignity and activity which is common to all the faithful in building up the Body of Christ”[...still nothing... ok so at this point you might think they would give up as they have found nothing that permits female alter servers in the counsel, the only thing that has been found is an affirmation of the equal dignity of men and women. This is the teaching of the church for the last 2000 years....] (“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” Nos. 12, 32).
That this call should be fully welcomed does not appear to be a priority in Phoenix.[a complete failing there to demonstrate how it is not welcomed beyond expecting an emotional assent from the reader... I'm starting to see what the Rector was going on about] Yes, the Vatican instruction “Sacrament of Redemption” (2004) allows women servers, but it leaves the decision to local bishops [He spends the last paragraph appealing to irrelevant church teaching... now he has presented the only relevant piece of teaching and it clearly states that the decision is the bishops. Surely if he loves the church's teaching so much???] . In Phoenix the bishop leaves it to the pastors. This pastor did not consult the parish council, he says, because its members are not theologically trained.
Another issue is the image of the priesthood today. Is it wise to re-enforce the sense of the priesthood as a clerical caste[did I read that right?]? Is the acolyte supposed to be like the page who serves Sir Galahad until King Arthur dubs him a knight[not really nope]? In a culture where parents want their daughters to have the same opportunities as their sons—in co-ed Catholic colleges, in the armed services, in athletics, in employment—the church can look irrelevant, even foolish, in shunting them aside. The more the priesthood is presented as an exclusive club, the smaller and more remote it will become [I thought it was established in paragraph one that male only alter servers increased vocations, who ever wrote this is very forgetful]. Those who put up barriers between themselves and the people should, using modern parlance, recall Jesus’ words to his disciples: “Look, how many times do I have to tell you? You are here to serve.”[was that before or after Jesus picked twelve men to be the first priests of the church?]
Inevitably the issue of women’s roles in the church raises the question of women’s ordination to the priesthood.[probably the best reason for male only alter servers] Recently a cardinal in Lisbon and some bishops in Brazil, among others[vague], also raised the question[how silly of them - its more likely that the Pope will knock down St Peters and build a replica of Liverpool Cathedral in its place]; but since Pope Benedict XVI, despite continued agitation, has reaffirmed the policy of John Paul II to allow no discussion of the topic[something your deliberately disobey], the matter of altar servers must be considered a separate and independent issue[true].[So far this has seemed like a raving defence of male only alter servers... let's continue]
In no way should policies imply that women are second-class citizens—welcome to tidy up the sacristy, arrange flowers and clean linens but not to set the gifts at the altar or hold the sacramentary or censer. Rather, they must be welcomed into every service and leadership role, including catechists, lectors, chancellors and general secretaries of bishops’ conferences.[I agree] (The diaconate for women remains an open question and ought to be explored.[I completely disag.... oh he's just getting annoying now!!!!]) Churches that invite all their people to bring all their talents to the welfare of the congregation will thrive.[he needs to show some evidence for this, if he demonstrates that churches will male only alter servers are less thriving then I promise ill eat my words and change my mind] To tell a young woman that she may no longer at the Lavabo looks like sexism.[a secular word for a secular argument, besides, wasn't he just saying how important the role of alter server is in comparison to sacristan, now its just pouring a bit of water. At least be consistent!] If the ban in these dioceses continues and spreads,[like the plague... mwha ha haaa] perhaps women and girls will consider withholding their other services to the parishes, and men and boys, in solidarity with their sisters, will decline the honor of acolyte.[this guy should stick to writing novels]
Having girls share serving opportunities with boys is an expression of their equality in Christ.[why? does he back anything up? at all? ever?] Parishes must create a variety of social and service activities[true - but where is the relevance, I'm pulling my hair out!]. A distinguishing characteristic of today’s young men and women even when they are not “devout” in the usual sense,[It's clear that he realises that it young Catholic who want to reclaim their Catholic identity more than anyone so he appealing again to the emotions of lapsed Catholics... well if they want a say they can get there butt into church!!] is their rejection of discrimination in any form. They are highly sensitive to any hint of exclusionary policies in organizations.[blah blah blah blahhhhh] Perhaps if more young people believed they could continue that commitment to equality as priests, more would be ready to follow a priestly vocation.[This guy does not spend a lot of time with active young Catholics!]It really is strange that it's these Catholics who are fearful of even the slightest viewpoint contrary to their own who claim to be the most open-minded. They also claim to be lovers of justice, and not standing for an ounce of discrimination. I'm not having any of it! It's their ilk who infest 'catholic' charities such as Progressio and change them from promoters of justice into promoters of the worst kind of injustice imagine, abortion. If I heard a word on that every now and them I might have some more time for their moaning.