Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why This Mom's Daughters Are Not Altar Servers

Over at Catholic All Year, Kendra Tierney reiterated, from a mother's perspective, many of my sentiments about male and female altar servers. Two things worth quoting, although I recommend you read the whole article. It's not very long.

First, concerning the interplay between boys and girls (and she should know, she has seven kids):
Not because my girls wouldn't do a good job, or wouldn't enjoy it, but mostly just because once women get involved in something, we tend to kind of take it over, then boys and men don't feel so obligated or interested in doing it. Altar serving is something I want my boys to want to do, and to feel pride about, and to feel necessary for. I hope it will help them respond if they have a vocation to the priesthood.
"But father, couldn't altar serving help a girl discern a religious vocation?" No, it not really helpful in that area. Women can't be priests, and serving at the altar is akin to an apprenticeship, so if discernment of a vocation is the goal then we're helping young girls discern something they simply cannot have.

Also, any parent of a big family knows that boys and girls are just different, even as our society tries to deny this truth. Women will always have their dignified and exclusive territory of child-bearing and -rearing, because biology, but exclusive male-only territory has been reduced to the rather undignified areas of farting and football. Serving at the altar offers a chance re-masculate our emasculated male culture, if boys get to do it alone.

Kendra acknowledges that there is no doctrinal issue in women being altar servers, but she continues:
But I just don't find it necessary. In general, I am rather offended by the concept that in order for a woman to be empowered, she must stop doing women's things and do men's things instead. It's a misunderstanding of our dignity as women and our place in the world God created for men and women to share.

Being a man isn't superior to being a woman. Being a father isn't superior to being a mother. Being a priest isn't superior to being a nun. They are different, but equal in purpose and dignity and importance. I have no interest in devaluing traditional women's roles and suggesting that women can have purpose only in trying to be men.
Fr. Z has made this point many times. How insulting to women when we insinuate that the only way for them to have dignity, respect, or value is to do the things men to! How insulting to suggest that traditional female roles have no dignity!

But of course, I can't say this in our politically correct culture because I'm a man and a priest. That's why I'm glad that Kendra Tierney said it.

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