Stasha asked:

The Church isn’t united in its stance on girls serving as altar servers.


Patrick Madrid replied:

"In the Latin right Church the custom is to stand during the consecration not to kneel. Similarly in the eastern churches they stand after holy communion when they come back to their pews and they’re singing ... In the Latin right Church the custom is to kneel and certainly in the United States that has been the age old custom to kneel for the consecration and then return to one’s pew after holy communion to kneel down and pray until mass resumes.

Now those are customs that don’t indicate any sort of disunity, but rather two different valid ways of expressing respect for the Lord. The one grew up, it was the custom in the east the other grew up and it was the custom in the west and both are valid, but different.

... As it happens with girls as altar servers a bit of historical background might be helpful ... In the west it was never the custom for girls to be serving at the altar. It was actually something that was introduced in a scattered way in the United States we began to see it ... after the Second Vatican Council, not because of it ... At first it was regarded as a liturgical abuse and it was something that was resisted, although some parishes and some priests actually promoted it ... the Church under John Paul the second permitted it ... The pastor has the right and the ability to have girls serving at the altar ... Interestingly the pastor also has the right to not have them serve ...

Your comment about how your daughter feels she’s not important ... that’s one of the sad byproducts of this whole thing ... If I were you in your position I would try to emphasize to her that our importance in God’s eyes has nothing to do with whether or not we serve at the altar, whether or not someone is a lay person or a priest, whether someone is a man or a woman. We are all equal in God’s eyes..."


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Show air date: September 5, 2013

Question appeared in show: 7:41


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