Tuesday, 25 March 2008

I Hate To Say "I Told You So!" But...

I said some time ago that girls on the Sanctuary serving were a bad idea. We are too darned efficient. A lot of it is intuitive, because it does sort of depend on what Father decides to do next (at least it does in some parishes), but we are able to work it out by studying body language, several steps ahead, and then we muscle in and organise everything. And, on the Sanctuary, it's difficult to say what you need to do next because you'll be heard, so it's easier to do it yourself than to explain to that rather cloth-eared and painfully slow boy exactly where to go and what to do...

And the girls take over...

...and so the boys flee.

However, only boys can serve the Extraordinary Form of Mass. It's less intuitive, because it's all laid down exactly in the rubrics... and so it can be learnt. And there are no girls present to make the boys feel awkward and self-conscious...

...and surprise, surprise, the boys come back. In droves...

Not just in Blackfen either. The Boston Herald has noticed (and reported) the same trend... A twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Zuhlsdorf who adds his own commentary...

11 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

Nah, I think I'll skip whatever Fr. "Z" has to say .... my blood pressure is already high enough as it is.

gemoftheocean said...

(oh, and it's not against canon law for a girl to serve the TLM, It wasn't the custom, but if a priest permits girls to serve Mass there is nothing preventing him from allowing a girl or woman to serve a TLM.

JoannaB said...

There are only boys (and men) serving at our Mass; I think it is nice and as a woman I actually prefer not to see women serving at the front.

Servers's mother said...

Mac, I feel really strongly about this.My son has been serving at our church rfor around 2years. he is almost 12. A larg influx of girls arrived aftera big fiorst communion class last year and are, naturally, efficient, caring, good at the job and they serve Mass very very well. My son is slightly clumsy, a bit slow, needs a nudge now and then from the priest and really not an efficient altar server at all, but the point is, he WANTS to serve. ON Chriostmas Eeve, he turned up, scrubbed, polished, wearing shirt and tie ( the girls, bless them, wear jeans and trainers)) a full half hour before Mass and was told "Oh, we already have anough servers, thankyou... there`s no more room". The sanctuary was full of all girl altar servers, led by a matriarch altar server aged around 60. It was she who had turned my son away. He had been preparing and looking forward to this for all of Advent. I can`t help feeling this was wrong. He did not say it, but I know my son felt rejected. I felt furious but did not say anything at the time. But, now a few months later, I think this was totally wrong on reflection. However, what can be done about this ? the priests all think they have to be politically correct and let the girls do their bit. If I were a priest I woudl rather have one faithful boy servant, than twelve efficient girls. I thought this role was reserved especially for boys to encourage them to the pristhood. Or, Have I got that wrong as well. My son has now given up serving altogether. But we still say the rosary together each night and he comes with me to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to weekday Mass during the week, school permitting. It is hard. We do not see any of the efficient girl altar servers at any of these occasions. It is confusing. Any advice welcome.

Ottaviani said...

Just say this post: glad that Blackfen is part of the restoration!

Altar girls: one of the biggest mistakes of John Paul II's pontificate.

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

As I recall altar girls were only to be used if absolutely necessary..ie exceptionally & that goes for the women too Karen. Thankfully in 10 years I've never seen any female serve & I go to daily Mass.

Might bring up my previous post on this theme..

snhs said...

I'm never sure what to say when the altar boy/girl thing comes up, mainly because there tends to be altar girls in the vicinity at the time. For the most part they do just as well as altar boys, although I wouldn't have said they have a particular advantage (a few of ours are actually rather absent minded most of the time). There is definitely a balance to be struck and I don't really buy the 'girls who serve are more likely to become nuns side'. Equally I think it may be getting too late to go back to all boys, particularly when the mothers of tomorrow are the altar girls of today and I certainly wouldn't want to be the one telling them their daughters can't serve.

Sorry to hear about your son server's mother, it might still be worth speaking to the priest about it maybe he could serve a few of the weekday Masses and start a sign up sheet for the Vigils? If there are any older altar boys left in the Parish it might be worth speaking to them/their mum as well, most of the time they'll be quite happy to keep younger servers right. I do think that any server who has made an effort and turned up at a Vigil there's a case for making space, even if it means ousting the reader or assorted people from the front pew. There can be a bit of a cadre for things like Vigils. I'd go over the 'matriarch''s head and ask the Priest if he wants an extra server, it is his decision who is allowed to serve and that applies to boys and girls.

George said...

server's mother - you are right to be seriously miffed at this situation. Your Priest should not be surrounding himself with girls. Where are future Priests going to come from if not from good families like yours whose sons want to serve Our Lord.

My three daughters served at our local parish. Gradually however and having read some very sensible comments by others we began to consider that this was not right. I'm glad to say the girl server population has steadily diminished at our parish and guess what, the boys involvement has increased. This has got to be welcomed. My girls did not feel upset one iota.

As for the 'matriarch altar server aged around 60', I've seen a few of these, especially at altar server rallies. There's something seriously wrong with these women - some of whom even try to look like men! Is their pride so elevated that they do not consider the poor example they are setting? Again, I think the parish Priest is at 'fault' - probably too scared to say anything in case he hurts their feelings and is then branded a 'patriarchial mysogynist'!

Yes, this probably is very controversial and will put a few noses out of joint! But this issue needs serious consideration and a lot of prayer. St Stephen guide us.

Mac McLernon said...

If t6he boy servers are servers, and the girl servers are serviettes, are the matriarchal altar servers aged around 60 called napkins?

Benedicta said...

I am a female altar server. I'm not trying to usurp anyone's rightful place at the altar, nor am I trying to be a "stealth priestess" as I've heard my kind referred to. I'm just tryng to serve where I am needed. Our parish is very small and very old; there literally are no boys to be altar servers. There are only a handful of able-bodied men and women to perform this duty, and I am one of them. Why am I considered such a bad person/Catholic for wanting to do what I can to serve my parish just because I'm female?

Mac McLernon said...

Nobody said that you are a bad person or a bad Catholic because you serve. You have interpreted the comments in that way. I (and many of my readers) have merely pointed out that the influx of girl servers has resulted in the highly predictable decrease in boy servers.

Are there really no men present when you serve Mass?

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