Monday, August 22, 2011

"Phoenix Diocese Cathedral Won't Allow Girl Altar Servers" by Michael Clancy/Arizona Republic/More Vocations for Women Priests

Girls no longer will be allowed as altar servers during Mass at the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, SS. Simon and Jude.
The Rev. John Lankeit, rector of the cathedral, said he made the decision in hopes of promoting the priesthood for males and other religious vocations, such as becoming a nun, for females.
Made up primarily of fifth- through eighth-graders the altar-server corps in American churches has included girls since 1983 in many places. Girls and boys regularly serve together at churches throughout the Phoenix Catholic Diocese.

Bridget Mary's Reflection

The bad news is that the institutional church is headed back to pre-Vatican, some would say medieval times. The good news is that girls are welcome to serve at Roman Catholic Women Priest liturgies!

1. In our world today, gender equality is a major issue. It is time for the Roman Catholic hierarchy to stop treating women as second class citizens. Like Rosa Parks who refused to sit in the back of the bus. Catholic women will no longer put up with discrimination. Sexism is a sin against God and our church, the people of God.

2. By our baptism girls and women are equals in Christ and, therefore, should be able to receive all the sacraments. Jesus did not ordain anyone. If the church does not treat girls and women as equals, it should stop baptizing them. What's next 'churching" women after childbirth?!

3. The Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976, the Vatican's own scholars, confirmed that there was nothing in scripture to prevent women from being ordained.

4. A call to serve as a priest comes from God and the community, not from the hiearchy. (Check out Council of Chalcedon).This is another example of clery fear, some would say, paranoia--- that girls who serve at the altar may become priests. On the other hand, this could be another bonanza for women priests as girls realize that there is a path toward gender equality in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. As an issue of justice, women are being ordained in the same way as men to serve in a renewed priestly ministry within empowered communities of equals.

5. The good news is that the hierarchy/Bishop of Phoenix is the gift that keeps on giving. Rigid Catholicism is dying, and a renewed, inclusive church is being born where girls and women are equals and all are welcome at the Eucharistic Banquet.

Let us rejoice!

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

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