Tuesday, 27 February 2007

A change of tide

There is a very encouraging article about a parish where it has been decided that girls will no longer be recruited as altar servers. Now, before the egalitarian readers of this blog (if there are any) start to shriek, please allow me to explain the benefits of such a decision. It was once considered a great privilege to serve Holy Mass. It was a means by which many vocations to the sacred priesthood were discovered and nurtured. On this basis alone, it should be clear that a parish priest who only permits boys to serve Mass is not a misogynist, but is trying to encourage young men to consider a vocation as a priest or religious (and goodness knows we need them). Unfortunately, the current trend nowadays is that it must be something which everyone can enjoy. Again, this is a well-meant idea, but poorly considered. Serving the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should not be something 'to enjoy', it is a responsibility and a privilege, and this should be remembered as such. In case anyone would like to hear a lady's view on the subject, I can do no better than to recommend this article by Joanna Bogle. And please don't hesitate to share your views!

7 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

The girls, being slightly more mature at the same age, usually succeed in taking over when they are allowed to serve. The boys, being less mature, feel awkward and take a back seat. They then stop coming up to serve, being swamped by the overwhelming female presence...

Girl servers - big mistake!

Anonymous said...

I know a parish in the UK where rather than promoting the priviledge of serving for the glory of God, a present is given to each server every year. I wonder if this is usual?

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

As a mother of 8 daughters i heartly agree it should be reserved for the boys. I always remember after our 5th daughter was born, & the Priest announced girls would be allowed to serve & someone turned to us & said 'i bet you're pleased!', to which we gave a resounding 'no!'. I think they were quite shocked.

Our 8th & 9th children were boys & they serve wonderfully at The Oratory. It makes them special in a different way from their sisters.

I agree with mac that the girls would take over...

Emitte said...

I am afraid I can't answer the anonymous commentator here, since I have never served Mass regularly in a Parish, so I don't know what it's like 'in the trade'. But thank-you all for your feedback, keep it coming!

Ttony said...

At the Mass Centre we used to attend, altar serving was always male until a father with only girls persuaded the PP to allow mixed serving. My son was rapidly the only boy, and only stayed serving because of persuasion by two successive curates. As soon as the third came and indicated that he didn't care, my son was off the altar, and they have attracted no boys to serve since. Mac's right.

Andrew said...

It's very difficult to change and entrenched system. The priest was very brave.

The feminists will be up in arms.

Oliver McCarthy said...

Hmmm! Re: Jo Bo's article, the biggest problem facing young men who go to the O Young Catholic Adults' group is that the young ladies who go to it are then mysteriously absent from Sunday Mass. I wonder why! In fact it seems not unlikely that the Masses Mrs Bog refers to as "our Sunday liturgies" are not necessarily the sorts young men would be advised to attend anyway.

What has happened in the real world of course is that men in the West have rejected such effeminate things as churchgoing and the laity have rejected the authority of the clergy, and so the chances of boys wanting to serve Mass because they want to be priests is fairly remote.

BTW, does anyone realise quite how antipathetic modern mothers are to the idea of their boys becoming priests? Just wondering!