Thursday, December 8, 2011

Altar Girls Revisited

If you are in the Diocese of Arlington, you've probably read or heard about the altar girl brushfire that was sparked when Fr. Michael Taylor, Pastoral Administrator of Corpus Christi Mission in South Riding, decided to reinstitute the practice of having only boys serve at the altar. He made the change and "grandfathered" (grandmothered?) the current girls who may continue to serve until they age out. The subsequent controversy was fanned by the Washington Post and the local news who covered a protest at the chancery attended by a meager crowd. The Post subsequently ran a survey on altar girls, a manipulated poll I might add. Fr. Z blogged about it. The Post apparently wasn't getting the results they wanted, so they tried again. It still ended up overwhelmingly against altar girls. That hasn't stopped the altar girl cheering section that includes Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, and the Women's Ordination Conference among others.

Fr. Taylor's action follows one taken earlier this year by Fr. John Lankeit pastor of the Cathedral parish in Phoenix. His approach was a little different. He ended altar girls immediately and established a sacristan group for the girls. Their are other priests around the country, even in liberal dioceses, who quietly continue to use altar boys only. Hopefully, this is a growing trend that will expand because of the very publicity meant to force altar girls on unwilling priests.

I wrote an article on the Arlington fuss for the Autumn issue of the Les Femmes newsletter entitled Back to the Future: Revisiting Girl Altar Boys. I invite you to stop by and read it. And if you have a pastor who maintains the time-honored tradition of using only boys as servers, tell him thank-you. You can be sure others are complaining.