Get those girls off the altar

by

This just in from The Arizona Republic:

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.

Rather than discuss the merits of this decision, let’s consider these questions instead: How aggressive should the Episcopal Church be in promoting itself–explicitly–as an alternative to what some of us see as the discriminatory, authoritarian aspects of Roman Catholicism? Do you see many disaffected Catholics in your newcomer programs? What is the best way to reach out to these folks?

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revsusan
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revsusan

What Jim said. I think there's work for us to do both in supporting those who have a vocation to stay within their own faith traditions and advocate for change AND to those who choose to leave. And given this "decree" I can't imagine there won't be some of both.

(And sorry, Jim ... I know you said to stay away from the merits of the decision but I can't resist noting that in IMHO this does nothing to promote priesthood and everything to promote sexism.)

One thing we do at All Saints is to give new and/or visiting folks a chance to tell us if they're coming from another tradition and hooking them up with someone on our newcomer team with the same background -- if possible.

Good questions.

Susan Russell

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

The two aren't mutually exclusive, Meredith.

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Meredith Gould
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Hey, way to ecumenical go! Use Roman Catholic mishagas as a tool for evangelism? How about supporting those of us who are called to fight within rather than switch? Just a thought...and a prayer, my brother in Christ.

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Nicholas Knisely
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Nicholas Knisely

Our experience here in Phoenix has been that an increasing number of young Roman Catholic families are actively looking for alternatives. The unexpected consequence is that our children and youth programs are growing much faster than you'd expect at an inner-city church close by a major university campus.

Our focus in welcoming these families is to highlight some of the unspoken differences between their former denomination and ours - like the basic idea that Episcopalians are not expected to agree with the bishop, their priest or even each other. They just asked to pray with one another.

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Kraut1701
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Kraut1701

I've always felt that TEC should be more aggressive in "marketing" to former and disaffected Catholics. I joke to my wife that TEC could be one of the largest denominations in the US if it captured a majority of recovering Catholics. Catholics should know that there is a place where you can celebrate the Mass like before, but where reason and equality is respected.

Morris Post

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