Thursday, March 23, 2006

Altar servers, part deux

Our local paper ran an article on this as well, and provides a little more depth to the background behind our bishop's decision. Amazingly, Mr. Krejci is not quoted in this article, which I can honestly say is the first time I've ever seen this happen.
Perhaps he was busy doing whatever "activists" do...
“The Diocese of Lincoln has chosen to follow the centuries-old liturgical custom of having men and boys serve at the altar,” said Father Mark Huber, Lincoln diocesan chancellor. “Pope John Paul II gave the individual bishops of diocese the right to decide about the use of men or women as altar servers or to continue with the traditional use of men and boys only, which continues to be the rule and order of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church throughout the world.” 

In upholding the traditional practice, Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is in agreement with a 2004 Vatican instruction that praised the use of only males as altar servers. According to that instruction, “it is altogether laudable to maintain the noble custom” of altar-serving duties being limited to males. “Nor should it be forgotten that a great number of sacred ministers over the course of centuries have come from among boys such as these.”

While denying altar-server duties to girls, the diocese offers “an abundance of (other) activities and undertakings for girls to help them in their spiritual and apostolic lives,” Huber said. “The diocese has been blessed with an exceptional number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and these vocations appear not only to be unaffected by maintaining ancient liturgical custom, but to be enhanced thereby.”

The Vatican gave bishops the authority to allow altar girls to serve at Mass in 1994, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops permitted the practice later that year. Nearly all dioceses quickly decided to allow altar girls. Bishops who resisted the change said they wanted to preserve altar service as a pathway for boys to become priests.


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