Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cardinal Arinze's opinion on altar girls

POLL: Are you in favor of Cardinal Arinze's opinion that altar girls should not be permitted? Although he also stated that he doesn't have the power to change what has been permitted.

Yes, the Cardinal is right.
  • 73 votes 
No, I have a contrary opinion
  • 15 votes 
I don't care
Prefer not to answer
  • 5 votes
  • I find it hard to comment on this.

    If we take sides with the Cardinal, we will be labelled as sexists, because if we do so, it means that we are barring women from the sanctuary. (Not so! Women have the ministry of proclaiming God's Word, singing for His glory, welcoming and directing His people inside the church). If we take sides with the Cardinal, we will be labelled as 'masyadong mayabang, masyadong tradisyonal at nagmamagaling', because people will think that we are bragging about what we know. We should remember though, that His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze is the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments- he surely knows what he is talking about.

    With the promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, some argued that this reservation to males no longer held, based on the inclusion of both males and females in canon 230 §2: "Lay persons can fulfil the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law." In some dioceses, females were allowed to act as altar servers under the new canon law, without any explicit clarification on the matter from the Holy See.

    The clarification came in the form of a circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to presidents of episcopal conferences on 15 March 1994, which announced a 30 June 1992 authentic interpretation (confirmed on 11 July 1992 by Pope John Paul II) from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. This authentic interpretation said that canon 230 §2 states that service at the altar is one of the liturgical functions that can be performed by both lay men and women. The circular letter, written by the cardinal-prefect of the Congregation, also clarified that canon 230 §2 has a permissive and NOT a preceptive character, that is, it allows, but does not require, the use of female altar servers. Thus it was for each diocesan bishop to decide whether to allow them in his diocese.

    A later document made clear that, even if a bishop decided to permit female altar servers, the priest in charge of a church in that diocese was not obliged to accept them, since there was no question of anyone, male or female, having a right to become an altar server.Furthermore, the document states that:

    it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar.

    This tradition has been maintained by most dioceses in the non-Western world, traditionalist Catholics, in some clerical societies, especially with regards to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
    Pope Benedict XVI has used female altar servers in Papal masses in London (2010), Berlin and Freiburg (2011). Today only one Roman Catholic diocese in America, the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska does not permit female altar servers.(

    It is up to the Bishop, as pastor of the local Church and as the competent steward of the mysteries of Faith and Liturgist of his diocese, to decide on the matter. and to top that, we are not bishops of our dioceses- So let him decide. If he says no, then let us submit as humble and obedient sons and daughters (keep in mind that there are only a few dioceses that ban girls for altar serving)- surely, he has a deep, realistic and intelligent reason for it.

    Let us also keep in mind that serving in the altar is not about achieving a position so as to tell men that 'you can, so we can. you're allowed, so we are.' (If this is our view, ano ang pagkakaiba natin sa mga dissident, ignorant and too-proud na advocates ng Women Priesthood? wala!) Do we expect men to say the same to nuns, and push themselves into our nunneries?

    Altar serving is about these young people saying Yes to God to become the sentinels and servers in His Most Holy Place. Let our bishops answer. Please.
  • Same as Joi Pi my ans also is no, I have a contrary opinion. Why? The banguet of the lord is for everybody. The are working for the lord and not for humans. They are also the best example of our new generation who accompanied Jesus! Luke 8:1-3

    Salamat po and God bless everyone!
  • Joi Pi Sison Santos · Answered No, I have a contrary opinion
    Sorry but it sounds a bit discriminatory. All I know is that Jesus said, "Let the children come to me". He didn't say, "Only the boys can come to me...the girls could just stay in a distance and sing or something..." Whereas the disciples rebuked those who wanted to bring their children to Him, Jesus was welcoming and very open to those who would like to come to Him (and serve Him) regardless of gender or age. He was very appreciative of their desire to be closer to Him. I understand that the reason why some people would rather disallow girls from being altar servers stems from the issue of some dissenting factionists in the Church who are erroneous in pushing for women to be allowed to become priests. However, this is a very different case. I strongly believe that the vocation of priesthood is reserved (and should be reserved) only for the men. But I also think it is unfair that because of the said issue, some people would even think of disallowing girls from being altar servers just because they fear it would somehow discourage boys from discerning about the priestly vocation or encourage girls to think about the priestly vocation. It is God who calls men to become priests. Whether or not a man has experienced becoming an altar server, he will still become a priest because it is God who calls him. And we could always educate the children about the precepts of the Catholic Church, about vocation, and why the vocation of priesthood rightly belongs to the men. But to wish to disallow something that has been allowed, sends the wrong signal to the boys that girls are lower or less important than they are.

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