Well, this here makes for interesting reading.
Of course, this is not an official statistic. Of course, this cannot have the same weight as a full research.
But boy, does it not tell the same story we see a bit everywhere, where the credibility of the priest and the size of his congregation is also determined by the exclusive presence of male altar servers?
I wonder what our Bishop of Rome, unluckily reigning, thinks of this?
From Fr Ray Blake’s Blog (who in turn has it from another source) we read this interesting piece about the disgraceful “Tablet” censoring readers’ letters when they show that the people at the Tablet… write things insulting to women.
Now, I do understand that the Tablet has all the right to edit the letters it publishes. But in this case it is very interesting to read what has been edited, and why.
The letter is as follows: the part in red is the part that wasn’t published. The issue is the presence of altar “girls” (I only seem to come across old sanctimonious busybodies; it must be me) at the Tridentine Mass.
As a woman who acts as a local representative in Arundel and Brighton of the Latin Mass Society, I find your claim (Leader, 18 June) that not allowing female altar servers at the Extraordinary Form insults me is quite absurd.
I challenge you to provide your readers with evidence for this bizarre claim that the tradition of male altar service has anything to do with “ritual uncleanliness” (sic). On the contrary, this tradition is quite obviously a reflection of the fact that only men can be ordained as priests, and it is because male service at the altar emphasises the different roles of the sexes in relation to the sacrifice of the Mass that it has special value. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass represents the preservation for future generations of this and many other venerable traditions, and it is for this reason described by Pope Benedict as a “treasure” for the whole Church.
Before you reject these traditions as ‘insulting’ you should reflect on the fact that they formed the basis of the liturgical life of women, as well as men, for countless centuries. Is it not more insulting to women to picture us as helpless and passive oppressed victims of a misogynistic Church for nineteen centuries? Give us a little more credit than that.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
The lady poses the (rhetorical) question brilliantly. Now, these are professional journalists. They can’t say, like a blogger could, “I don’t have time to deal with this now”, or “I prefer to do my research to write about my agenda, not about the writers’ one”. It is, I would say, their very job to expand and say some words about such an interesting question. The answer might, then, be more or less brilliant, but at least it would be an answer.
In this case, it is clear that the “Tablet” has no answer.