Friday, May 14, 2010

Girl Altar Servers and Extraordinary Ministers.

Both of these were seen at the Papal Masses in Portugal: the first at Fatima and the second at Porto.

I am shocked and puzzled by both things, not because I could not be open to them if properly prepared for them in the context of a Papal Mass, and they were really unavoidable. In my knowledge Pope Benedict has never countenanced either of these things before. Why did he apparently do so on this Portuguese trip?

The extraordinary ministers are one thing. I suppose it would be fairly easy to make a case that there weren't enough priests to go round, but I'm not convinced, particularly not in the Year of the Priest.

The girl altar servers are another matter. If the Pope has decided that they are acceptable, then the Vatican should issue a clear statement so that we all know where we are. If on the other hand this was just some of the 'powers that be' in Portugal pushing their luck, and the Pope didn't know about it before it happened, then there should also be an explanation. I'll have to look at the video again but I'm pretty certain that one of the servers who brought him the cruets at the lavabo at Mass in Fatima was a girl, and absolutely certain that girls brought him the incense for incensing the altar and Blessed Sacrament during the Benediction which followed the Mass. I must admit to thinking at the time, and this in all seriousness, that he is so holy as to not recognise the difference anymore between a girl and a boy.

Maybe we'll never know what went on here. I would be most grateful for comments about what you saw and how you felt about it. Has the Pope changed his mind, or was he manipulated? If the first, I go along with him. If the second, I am deeply worried.

I'm upset, not by the things themselves, but that they happened without warning, when we have been constantly reminded that they are not to be considered as norms.

In Christo pro Papa



Mark said...

I don't think the Pope has changed his mind. You read what he said 20 years ago, let alone 5 years ago, on the liturgy and it's clearly what he thinks today.

"If on the other hand this was just some of the 'powers that be' in Portugal pushing their luck"

I'm sure that's exactly why they did it, Jane. They did it because they have slight heterodox tendencies and thought they could get away with it, 'for the sake of inclusiveness', or some other banal PC claptrap!

God bless!

pelerin said...

I can't truthfully say I noticed the girl servers but as it was a NO Mass and I understand they are 'allowed' their presence would not have been jarring to me. Girls were introduced into my previous parish many years ago so I got used to seeing them. However now that I am in a parish with only men and boy servers this seems so much more natural.

I did however gasp when I saw the extraordinary ministers - men and women. I could not believe my eyes. And didn't the commentator say there were 1500 priests present?

But the music at all three Masses was beautiful and uplifting was it not?

Anonymous said...

I noticed the girl servers, but I couldn't remember if there had been girls serving at any of the other Papal Masses during any of our Holy Father's trips abroad. I'm not happy either with girl servers or with so many extraordinary ministers, but I AM used to both, in my little parish and in the larger one nearby. We really are short of priests here, but I don't think our bishop is bothered either way. He is allowing our present PP to retire early [65] and the said priest has just left for his "annual leave" - his words. I think he's only been with us about fifty percent of the time since his arrival five years ago. It's obvious that he considers being a priest as a "job" rather than a vocation. Does he never think about the Cure of Ars? At the beginning of the Year of the Priest I think he gave one homily about it - with the CTS little book on Saint John Vianney in his hand and from which to read. That's been all!
Yes, we have a small girl server on Sundays, but if we didn't we wouldn't have a server at all. We do have an excellent male MC, who has been loyal for many years, but the little boys come and go - mostly go! After First Holy Communion we hardly see any of the children.
Jane knows where I live. Suffice to say that it's on South West England!
I do wish Benedict would make some pronouncement - could it be a Motu Proprio? - about girls at the altar, extraordinary ministers and, perhaps most important of all, Holy Communion on the tongue.