The ladies at the women’s ordination conference–sponsors of Elsie and Rose’s Excellent Adventure— have issued a press release condemning the decision of Father of John Del Priore to discontinue the use of female altar servers in his parish in the Diocese of Madison. So far, Bishop Robert C. Morlino has backed him up.
Women’s Ordination Conference Decries Ban on Altar Girls in Wisconsin Diocese
WASHINGTON, DC – July 3, 2008 – On Tuesday, June 24, Rev. John Del Priore of St. Barnabas Parish in Mazomanie, Wisc. declared that he will no longer allow girls to serve at liturgy. Rev. Del Priore was assigned to the parish on June 1, 2008. In response, Women’s Ordination Conference has requested that Bishop Robert C. Morlino, of the Madison diocese, overturn Rev. Del Priore’s decision and reinstate female altar servers in that parish. Women’s Ordination Conference members have made dozens of calls to the church [Let’s see– 12 members x 2 calls each = dozens of calls], asking to speak to Rev. John and expressing their serious concerns about this decision.
“With this policy, Rev. John brings the Madison diocese into the infamously sexist ranks of only one other diocese in the country that bans young women and girls from faithfully serving their church in this capacity,” [It would be nice to see the WOC actually promote “faithfully serving their church] said Aisha Taylor, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference. “Around the country, young women have been lawfully serving at the altar for well over a decade.” [Because the women’s ordination conference is all about following canon law].
Since 1994, the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops have allowed female altar servers. There is no restriction in Canon Law for women to help at the altar during the liturgy. [And there is certainly no requirement either. There IS a nearly 2,000 year tradition of having only men fulfill liturgical functions in the sanctuary].
“Rev. John has told our members that he banned female altar servers because he wants only boys to prepare to be priests in this way. This is not only untenable, it is impractical. Women comprise at least 80 per cent of church lay ministers, and they are backbone of most parishes around the world,” continued Taylor. “If young women in the Madison diocese want to grow up to work for the Church – or even aspire to the priesthood – I, and the vast majority of U.S. Catholics, don’t see the harm in that. [The crux of the matter: girls cannot grow up to be priests, and the church’s teachings are not subject to opinion polls or popular vote].
You see, in spite of themselves, they know exactly what is at stake over girl altar servers. It would be wise for those who support the infallible teaching of the Church on priestly ordination to understand this, too.