See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, August 13, 2010

The 'rights of the laity'.


I didn't know the laity had rights.
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Call me old fashioned or call me traditional, but I have to admit I am not happy about women on the altar - not as servers or lectors or EMHCs.  I know!  But I have no say in the matter and so I take what I get - no use arguing with priests and bishops and women.  That said, factions in the blog-o-sphere are pretty happy with the Archbishop clarifying an issue concerning female altar servers for the extraordinary form of Mass.  (Yep - I think it should apply for the ordinary form as well, but like I said, my opinions mean zilch.) 
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Archbishop Burke on altar girls and women assisting at the altar.
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American archbishop went on to point out that certain elements may need to be clarified in this regard. For example, he wrote, among the "rights" of the baptized, assistance by "persons of the feminine sex" at the altar is not included. Additionally, serving as a lector or as an extraordinary distribution of communion is not a right of the laity, he noted.
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As such, out of respect for the integrity of the liturgical discipline within the Roman Missal of 1962, these more modern modifications are not observed in the extraordinary form.
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This clarification comes just a week after L'Osservatore Romano writer Lucetta Scaraffia published an article on the altar server pilgrimage to the Vatican which drew thousands of boys and girls alike. She drew some attention as she proposed that the introduction of girls into the position of serving at the altar "meant the end of every attribution of impurity to their sex ... it meant a different attention to the liturgy and an approach to the faith in bringing it near to their very hearts."
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Archbishop Burke clarified, however, that the reality of the matter is that neither the presence of girls at the altar, nor the participation of lay faithful "belong to the fundamental rights of the baptized." - CNA
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Just thinking out loud here, but I wonder what the Archbishop thinks about transsexuals and homosexuals in religious life?

12 comments:

  1. Sure wouldn't want those girls and lay folks gettin' uppity or nothing...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:18 PM

    Coming from Mainline Chrstianity, I want women well away from the altar. When Protestant denominations took on women pastors the creeds went out the window and apostacy sets in. As a Catholic I am happy leaving all altar service to the guys. God bless Archbishop Burke.

    Faustina

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  3. This is already creating "hysteria" on "Pray Tell"...
    I'm not even going to comment there (tempted as my evil heart is to do some "blasting")...so I'll just say,
    he's talking about the EF; and also when you say "rights" to a canonist (of which he is an eminent one), it means very certain things.
    It's true: by Church law and immemorial practice, women serving in any capacity at the altar is not a "right"; it's an "indult", which means, basically, that it is not the "norm"...a special permission, based upon certain circumstances.
    However, in this country, everybody has to have the right to do everything; it's not only in the Sacred Liturgy.
    Anyway.
    Terry, you rock!!

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  4. One of the best preachers I ever heard was a woman Presbyterian minister...her sermons were very well prepared, easy to understand, and tied in to the Scripture readings. She was also an excellent public speaker..prior to her being a minister she had interned under Dr Martin Luther King....

    She also had no problem talking about Hell...nothing was watered down with her...

    Sara

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  5. Sara:
    Women "preaching", as in teaching the Word of God and the requirements of living a life faithful to the Gospel, I have no problem with...Mother Teresa and Mother Angelica being primary examples; their words and lives have made a distinct difference in many peoples' acceptance of the truths of the Gospel.
    It is the liturgical ministries that are being discussed here; and it is not in the tradition of either the East nor the West (Catholic or Orthodox) to admit women as ministers at the altar.
    That is a very contemporary "indult", for whatever reason, and it is not a "right" (in the true sense of the clerical state).
    It may sound horribly sexist and "rigorist", but in the many centuries of Catholic worship, women, until the last years, have not been admitted to the altar, not because being a woman is somehow "less" than being a man, but the "sacramental symbolism" present in the priesthood and the ministers of the altar (which means "male")...the symbolism of "sacrifice" and "servants of the altar"...as opposed to the Feminine symbolism of Mary, Mother of the Church, who stands beneath the Cross as a recipient, as well as participant, in Her Son's Sacrifice.

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  6. Maria9:50 PM

    This is one of my pet peeves: altar girls. My man Fr. Hardon SJ on the matter...

    "Then, since I’m sure this is on everyone’s mind, I’d like to briefly read to you from a communiqué I received from Rome yesterday regarding the altar servers—women, therefore, serving at the altar. I have been asked to make public comment which I have not made, and I’d rather not make any public commentary now too, except to state certain facts.

    It seems that the official newspaper of the Holy See, Observitore Romano, has still even to mention the fact that altar girls have been approved. It would seem, my informant tells me, that the policy of the Holy See is to downplay the significance of the event. It is based on an interpretation of Canon 230 in the Code of Canon Law. It is said that the Holy Father personally reviewed the decision already back in July—July the11th, 1992, and ordered it to be promulgated. It is not clear why the issue is being kept, you might say, so quiet and secretive except that there has been an uproar. The official decision on Canon 230 made by the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, as approved by the Holy Father, it is due to be published in the next new volume of the Actsa Apostoli Dulcedis. Until it appears there it is not yet official.

    All the evidence indicates that TH REASON FOR THE APPROVAL OF ALTAR GIRLS CAME FROM A STRONG REPRESENTATION BY BISHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES. Now I have the document here in Italian. It is signed by the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and is dated March the15th of this year. And it’s in answer to a question whether both men and women can participate in assisting in the liturgy, and the answer is in the affirmative according to instructions given by the Holy See. In other words, the document approving women altar servers stands here approved by this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It does not, at least what I have; it does not include a formal statement by the pope.

    Among other questions that this raises, so my Roman informant tells me, is the age of the women who participate as altar servers, which is not a minor matter. In any case, this letter states, as far back, therefore, as 1992 there had been a formal approval for altar servers being women given, first by this congregation, and then, about two weeks later, by the Holy Father approving the decision of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. It is, however, to be voted on, and voted on by the bishops—Conference of Bishops in the different countries—and it says they can, they need not, however, as Conference of Bishops, give the approval, they can give the approval. Indeed, this is not only dependent on the Conference of Bishops but on each individual bishop in his diocese. And the question then remains what will, say, the Council of Bishops in the United States do, having been, according to this information, been behind, pressuring, urging that women altar servers be approved by Rome? What then will the Conference of American Bishops vote on and will they vote on collectively the approval of altar servers as girls, whether each individual bishop, apparently not, would not be bound by the decision of the Conference of Bishops. We may say, therefore, that this only the beginning of what I firmly believe will be a highly controversial issue for months, maybe even years to come. No question that bishops have tremendous power, and as we know, and this is a pattern for over thirty years, in one country after another, ****the bishops take it upon themselves to jump the gun, to approve what is not approved by general law for the Church, and then, post factum, after a practice has become widespread, then they appeal to the Holy See to approve what they had been doing without even consulting the Holy See, as, for example, Communion in the hand***".

    He just keeps on teaching us from his heavenly realms, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Maria9:51 PM

    This is one of my pet peeves: altar girls. My man Fr. Hardon SJ on the matter...

    "Then, since I’m sure this is on everyone’s mind, I’d like to briefly read to you from a communiqué I received from Rome yesterday regarding the altar servers—women, therefore, serving at the altar. I have been asked to make public comment which I have not made, and I’d rather not make any public commentary now too, except to state certain facts.

    It seems that the official newspaper of the Holy See, Observitore Romano, has still even to mention the fact that altar girls have been approved. It would seem, my informant tells me, that the policy of the Holy See is to downplay the significance of the event. It is based on an interpretation of Canon 230 in the Code of Canon Law. It is said that the Holy Father personally reviewed the decision already back in July—July the11th, 1992, and ordered it to be promulgated. It is not clear why the issue is being kept, you might say, so quiet and secretive except that there has been an uproar. The official decision on Canon 230 made by the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, as approved by the Holy Father, it is due to be published in the next new volume of the Actsa Apostoli Dulcedis. Until it appears there it is not yet official.

    All the evidence indicates that TH REASON FOR THE APPROVAL OF ALTAR GIRLS CAME FROM A STRONG REPRESENTATION BY BISHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES. Now I have the document here in Italian. It is signed by the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and is dated March the15th of this year. And it’s in answer to a question whether both men and women can participate in assisting in the liturgy, and the answer is in the affirmative according to instructions given by the Holy See. In other words, the document approving women altar servers stands here approved by this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It does not, at least what I have; it does not include a formal statement by the pope.

    Among other questions that this raises, so my Roman informant tells me, is the age of the women who participate as altar servers, which is not a minor matter. In any case, this letter states, as far back, therefore, as 1992 there had been a formal approval for altar servers being women given, first by this congregation, and then, about two weeks later, by the Holy Father approving the decision of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. It is, however, to be voted on, and voted on by the bishops—Conference of Bishops in the different countries—and it says they can, they need not, however, as Conference of Bishops, give the approval, they can give the approval. Indeed, this is not only dependent on the Conference of Bishops but on each individual bishop in his diocese. And the question then remains what will, say, the Council of Bishops in the United States do, having been, according to this information, been behind, pressuring, urging that women altar servers be approved by Rome? What then will the Conference of American Bishops vote on and will they vote on collectively the approval of altar servers as girls, whether each individual bishop, apparently not, would not be bound by the decision of the Conference of Bishops. We may say, therefore, that this only the beginning of what I firmly believe will be a highly controversial issue for months, maybe even years to come. No question that bishops have tremendous power, and as we know, and this is a pattern for over thirty years, in one country after another, ****the bishops take it upon themselves to jump the gun, to approve what is not approved by general law for the Church, and then, post factum, after a practice has become widespread, then they appeal to the Holy See to approve what they had been doing without even consulting the Holy See, as, for example, Communion in the hand***".

    He just keeps on teaching us from his heavenly realms, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maria9:51 PM

    This is one of my pet peeves: altar girls. My man Fr. Hardon SJ on the matter...

    "Then, since I’m sure this is on everyone’s mind, I’d like to briefly read to you from a communiqué I received from Rome yesterday regarding the altar servers—women, therefore, serving at the altar. I have been asked to make public comment which I have not made, and I’d rather not make any public commentary now too, except to state certain facts.

    It seems that the official newspaper of the Holy See, Observitore Romano, has still even to mention the fact that altar girls have been approved. It would seem, my informant tells me, that the policy of the Holy See is to downplay the significance of the event. It is based on an interpretation of Canon 230 in the Code of Canon Law. It is said that the Holy Father personally reviewed the decision already back in July—July the11th, 1992, and ordered it to be promulgated. It is not clear why the issue is being kept, you might say, so quiet and secretive except that there has been an uproar. The official decision on Canon 230 made by the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, as approved by the Holy Father, it is due to be published in the next new volume of the Actsa Apostoli Dulcedis. Until it appears there it is not yet official.

    All the evidence indicates that TH REASON FOR THE APPROVAL OF ALTAR GIRLS CAME FROM A STRONG REPRESENTATION BY BISHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES. Now I have the document here in Italian. It is signed by the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and is dated March the15th of this year. And it’s in answer to a question whether both men and women can participate in assisting in the liturgy, and the answer is in the affirmative according to instructions given by the Holy See. In other words, the document approving women altar servers stands here approved by this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It does not, at least what I have; it does not include a formal statement by the pope.

    Among other questions that this raises, so my Roman informant tells me, is the age of the women who participate as altar servers, which is not a minor matter. In any case, this letter states, as far back, therefore, as 1992 there had been a formal approval for altar servers being women given, first by this congregation, and then, about two weeks later, by the Holy Father approving the decision of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. It is, however, to be voted on, and voted on by the bishops—Conference of Bishops in the different countries—and it says they can, they need not, however, as Conference of Bishops, give the approval, they can give the approval. Indeed, this is not only dependent on the Conference of Bishops but on each individual bishop in his diocese. And the question then remains what will, say, the Council of Bishops in the United States do, having been, according to this information, been behind, pressuring, urging that women altar servers be approved by Rome? What then will the Conference of American Bishops vote on and will they vote on collectively the approval of altar servers as girls, whether each individual bishop, apparently not, would not be bound by the decision of the Conference of Bishops. We may say, therefore, that this only the beginning of what I firmly believe will be a highly controversial issue for months, maybe even years to come. No question that bishops have tremendous power, and as we know, and this is a pattern for over thirty years, in one country after another, ****the bishops take it upon themselves to jump the gun, to approve what is not approved by general law for the Church, and then, post factum, after a practice has become widespread, then they appeal to the Holy See to approve what they had been doing without even consulting the Holy See, as, for example, Communion in the hand***".

    He just keeps on teaching us from his heavenly realms, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Maria9:52 PM

    Terry:I apologize. This posted twice. Mea culpa.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maria9:56 PM

    Padre: Thank you for your beautiful explanation. Girls cannot aspire to the priesthood and therefore should not be altar girls, servers, et cetera.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Maria: Fr. Hardon got it right.
    Archbishop Burke is just doing his job: making the "legislation" of the Church clear; these "indults" (which by the way, Pope Benedict has made clear the EF is NOT an indult, but a "right") are "permissions"...and they may be easily changed; maybe not right now, but their status is NOT universal nor "right" by the Law of the Church.
    Choke on it, liberals and dissenters.
    That's the truth:<P***, as "Edith Ann" used to say!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am an EM in my parish, and I think the BIG problem is that you can't get anyone to do anything anymore...we continually short of EMs, lectors, altar servers, ushers, younmame it, you even have to twist people's arms just to bring up the gifts. No one wants the "committment" or 'Obligation'. Once I asked a couple of people if they would train to be EM, and the responses were interesting .."I'm not holy enough," "I want to sit with my family", "Well, you're at Mass every Sunday so you should do it" or the killer "Washing up the vessels takes too long after Mass and I want to just leave."

    Don't get me wrong--it's a wonderful blessing to be able to assist my priest in such a rsponsibility--something I don't take lightly in any way. However, when I am doing it EVERY Sunday I don't feel like I'm getting into the Mass, as i am mentally preparing myself for this awesome responsibility... hard to describe, but ocasionally I do want to be "part of the audience" and just soak in the Mass.

    Sara

    ReplyDelete


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