Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

VATICAN-SERVERS Aug-9-2010 (340 words) With photos. xxxi

Allowing girl servers ended prejudice, inequality, says Vatican paper


Young men and women participate in a vigil in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Aug. 3 during a pilgrimage for altar servers. Allowing girl servers ended an inequality in Catholic education, said the Vatican newspaper. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Permitting girls to serve at the altar marked the end of a form of inequality in the church and allowed girls to experience the formative power of directly assisting with the mystery of the Eucharist -- the core of the Christian faith, said the Vatican newspaper.

Assisting the priest during Mass is both a service and a privilege and represents "a deep and responsible way to live one's Christian identity," said an article published Aug. 7 in L'Osservatore Romano.

"The exclusion of girls from all of this, for the sole reason of their being female, has always weighed heavily and represented a deep inequality within Catholic education," it said.

Even though there may have been many parishioners who begrudgingly accepted the presence of girls as servers only when there were no boys to fill the role, "overcoming this barrier was very important for young women," it said.

Permitting girls to assist at the altar "has meant the idea they were impure because of their gender came to an end" and has meant girls, too, "could live out this extraordinarily important formative experience," it said.

The article came the same week Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 53,000 altar servers from Europe during his Aug. 4 weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. The majority of young pilgrims, aged 14-25, were female -- 60 percent, according to organizers.

The pope thanked the young people for their important service to the church and said by assisting priests at the altar, they were helping bring Jesus closer to the people and helping to make him ever more present in the world.

In 1994, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued rules officially stating that local bishops could allow women and girls to be altar servers.

The Vatican clarified in late 2001 that bishops could not require priests to use altar girls and that the use of male servers should be especially encouraged, in part because altar boys are a potential source of priestly vocations.

END


Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250