United States: A Rector Refuses Altar Girls

Source: FSSPX News

Personally feeling the consequences of the lack of priests and noticing the absence of paternal presence in society in general and in particular in religious practice, Fr. John Lankeit made a decision in the end of August.  Rector of the Sts. Simon and Jude cathedral in the diocese of Phoenix, capital of the State of Arizona, he declared that he no longer wanted any girls in the altar service, but only altar boys.

“There were only about five or six girls left who served, and I called their parents to explain that there would be a transition.”  The rector of the cathedral than proposed to the altar girls the possibility of offering their services as sacristans.  He considers that this arrangement is a way of honoring the dignity given by God to both men and women.

Indeed, 80 to 95% of priests were altar boys, and although I do not know the percentage of altar boys who have chosen the priesthood, declared Fr. John Lankeit, I took this decision to favor priestly vocations among the boys and religious vocations among the girls.  If this decision provoked a shock for certain local Catholics, he explains, it is because they are – perhaps without realizing it – “more influenced by society than by the doctrine of the Church”, for “serving at the altar was a part of the preparation fro priesthood.”

In the dioceses and parishes where “the distinction and complementarity between men and women is clearly marked, you see vocations growing,” as much among the men as among the women.  Quoting examples from the diocese of Lincoln (State of Nebraska) and from an Ann Arbor parish in Michigan, Fr. Lankeit shows that this rule has borne fruit.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of Phoenix, who allowed him to make this decision, added the rector, published the announcement of this new arrangement on the diocese of Phoenix's website. (Sources: apic/diocesephoenix/catholicsun – DICI#241, October 1, 2011)

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