Saturday, November 21, 2009

Altar Girls?

Sermon given by Rev. Peter R. Pilsner on the
Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 24, 1994


"My reason for being sad or dismayed at this change is that I am going to miss being a spiritual father to my altar boys. I will miss that joyful experience of trying to pass on to them something of myself, my love for the mass, and especially my priesthood. As I said, I have great respect for the girls. But boys and girls are different. And just as there is a special kind of relationship that a father can have only with a son, there is a special kind of spiritual fatherhood that I can exercise, not with girls, nor with a mixed group, but only with a group of boys. It seems that this will be taken away from me now, and it does make me sad.

"Oh, Father," some of you may say, "why do you say such things? You will still have altar boys. The only change is that now you will have girls too." The reason I say it is that, at the risk of making a self-fulfilling prophesy, I am afraid that if the American bishops mandate that girls must serve together with boys, we may not have many altar boys left. As I said before, girls tend to be more ready and willing than boys to step forward and participate in religious activities. I am sure that if we open serving at the altar to girls, many of them will volunteer, and they will do so with the most noble motives -- their love for God and their heartfelt desire to serve Him. However, since serving will then no longer be something for boys only, it will lose its attraction for the boys, and they simply won't want to do it anymore. This is not idle speculation on my part. In parish after parish it has happened that when the altar girls come, the altar boys go. If you have been reading the papers or listening to the radio, you may have heard about a parish in Manhattan that introduced altar girls twelve years ago. The media reported with glee that now girls outnumber boys. A week ago Friday, I spoke to a priest who was assigned to a parish with both male and female altar servers. When he arrived, there were three boys and fifteen girls. Then the parish went back to a policy of altar boys only. Now this priest has fifty altar boys. I hope that with the addition of girls we won't lose our altar boys, and I and a number of other priests have signed a petition to the Cardinal asking him to look into ways to prevent this from happening, but I am very much afraid that it will happen all the same."


Michael said...

I was an altar boy for 7 years, about 5 years into my service my Church down in NC allowed altar girls. I almost quit my Catholic faith because if it. You may think, "Oh really Michael, take a chill pill".. It meant allot to me, and I enjoyed that relationship that my Priest and I had. Without a father figure in my life, he was there for me at all times. So I can understand what this priest is talking about and I agree with him.. that altar girls are no more than just PC BS and have no place on the altar of God. This puts ideas into their heads that they too can be Priests.. which will never happen and it drives away the young men that NEED that relationship with God and the Priest.

Just my two cents!

Thom Nickels said...

You are correct, Father. Pope John Paul II forbade altar girls but the American bishops disobeyed him and "slid" the new rule through, despite the Pope's severe objections. This is yet another example of the downfall of the Church's liturgical life since Vatican II. Have you ever seen altar girls at a Vatican Mass? No, and you never will, unless the Church completely crumbles. Benedict XVI is currently conducting a "return to tradition," and altar girls one day may be eliminated, but that is unlikely. We need to get back to the Traditional Latin Mass. THe Novus Ordo world is far too Protestant and casual.