January 27, 2015

San Francisco priest bars altar girls, sparks another controversy

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(RNS) The Catholic priest behind the new boys-only policy made waves at another parish when he said parishioners who voted for Barack Obama had to go to confession. The latest uproar comes amid a wider debate over whether the Catholic Church has become too “feminized.”

  • Ed Van Herik

    I have a couple of questions about the pastor’s analysis. To begin, how does he know that the reason for an increase in attendance and donations is the boys-only policy? And how does he know that it is not just a blip, since he only changed the policy a couple of months ago?

  • Art Deco

    His remarks make perfect sense. It’s odd that his stand (which is within his discretion as pastor or administrator) is a public controversy. Prior to 1980, it was not done to have girl acolytes, and prior to 1994, it was done only by parishes going rogue. What Fr. Neuhaus said applies here: when orthodoxy is optional, sooner or later orthodoxy will be proscribed.

    To begin, how does he know that the reason for an increase in attendance and donations is the boys-only policy?

    How does one verify any sociological proposition? This is suggestive: Lincoln, Neb. has long had a surfeit of vocations. The indifference to contemporary fashion was a characteristic of Bp. Bruskewitz ministry and is a motor of the refusal to institute girl acolytes.

  • said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone — a vocal culture warrior

    I.e. he says things in plain language which irritate bourgeois types who manipulate words and images for a living.

  • Pamela Stevens

    Those altar girls will be welcome in my Episcopal parish to serve at the altar, and if any of them want to be priests, they will be welcome to do so.

  • Susan

    If the future of the Catholic Church is at stake if girls are alter servers than the Catholic Church is in trouble.

    Why are girls being punished for performing too well?

  • Larry

    Women should just stop going to church altogether, Its obvious they are not welcomed there,

  • Fran

    What is the Biblical basis for “altar boys” anyways? Just curious, since there is no mention of them in the New Testament regarding first-century Christians that I can find. Or is this just another man-made tradition adopted by the church?

  • You’re not familiar with parish life, among the many things on which you opine but about which you know nothing.

  • Fran, you have a canon of Sacred Scripture because it was so declared at Church councils in the 3d century. God founded not a book but a Church.

  • They’re not being ‘punished’, much less for ‘performing well’, but if the rhetorical gamesmanship of domestic arguments pleases you in this forum, fine.

    The priest makes his reasoning plain You elect not to understand him.

  • The Episcopal Church does not have valid holy orders. They will be pretend priests.

  • Religion is an assault on women.
    This priest is no different.

    GOD’S HATRED OF WOMEN IS ETERNAL

    “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” – God (Genesis 3:16)

    What could go wrong with such a philosophy?

    BURN YOUR DAUGHTERS ALIVE
    “And the daughter…if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

    “Blessed are you, Lord God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” — Jewish Morning Blessings, Siddur, p. 12.

    So…Why shouldn’t godly men hate women too?

    “WOMAN, WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH YOU?” – Jesus (John 2:4)

    And why shouldn’t godly women hate themselves?

    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission..I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).

    A godly wife is only the property of a godly man, after all.

    “If a man sells his daughter as a slave [for sex], she is not to go free as male servants do.”
    (Exodus 21:7)

    If you can beat your slave, why not beat your wife?

    “Do not rape my beautiful sons, rape my virgin daughters instead.” Lot – (Genesis 19:4-8)

    AN Atheist can be mean to women, but at least we don’t have INSTRUCTIONS from an Almighty God COMMANDING BRUTALITY towards all women!

    If you have a daughter, abandon the Jesus nonsense while you can.
    Take a stand against this woman-hating garbage.

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    I believe in roles. A mother is not a father and a father is not a mother. Without both parents both boys and girls suffer from the lack of male and female role models.
    This priest is courageous and I, a woman, agree with him! The women who want to be ordained priests perceive themselves to be less than equal to men, in my opinion. I don’t see it that way at all. Men and women are different, but equal! But women cannot do everything a man can do physically, for example. In the 1970’s, Army women demanded to be allowed to march with the men. When permission was given, several women ended up with hip fractures! They could not match the longer stride of the male! Equality resides in equal treatment and justice, not in role reversal.

  • Miss_H

    Good for him. We need more women atheists, and this is a perfect way to inspire girls to take a long, close look at Catholic teaching, and then drop it like fifth period algebra. Thank you, Rev. Illo, for clearly demonstrating, once again, why sensible people of any gender should stay as far away from your church as possible. I can’t wait to see what you ban next!

  • Cecilia

    Punished? A Catholic woman who doesn’t understand her role in this Church should spend more time praying the Rosary and studyng, for it is pure ignorance to protest like a spoiled child demanding “equality”. God made you a woman for a very precise reason and that reason involves not being in the Altar when Mass is being celebrated. GROW UP in your faith and understand that our role is very different than that of a man.

  • Miss_H

    “Without both parents both boys and girls suffer from the lack of male and female role models.” Studies have found that there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. You are presenting it as if it were a matter of fact – it is not. It is simply your personal opinion, which you are misrepresenting as a factual statement.

  • Miss_H

    According to you, but not to millions of Episcopalians, who obviously have no interest in your views on the matter.

  • Studies have found that there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

    No studies are needed to demonstrate that people utter nonsense on the internet. No one who has ever prepared a bibliography of work on the sociology of family life would utter such a remark.

  • Miss_H

    It’s true, I am irritated by people who lay claim to some sort of “moral authority”, and then fly across the country to publicly march with a known anti-gay hate group, as Archbishop Cordileone did when he joined up with the odious “Focus on the Family”. Yes, that is repellent behavior indeed. And he had so recently been arrested for drunk driving too. One would think he’d be a little less eager to lengthen his list of shameful deeds quite so soon.

  • Larry

    Again, why should women bother going to church then?

    Stockholm Syndrome?

    It is obvious that any notion of treating them with dignity and respect is far beyond what its leadership is capable of. Nobody needs to spend their Sunday mornings being attacked and demeaned based on their gender. As many an expert will tell you, the best way to deal with an abusive relationship is to get away from it.

  • Larry

    Art, your ignorance and cretinous attitude are duly noted.

  • I’m irritated by people who are incapable of even minor exercises which would require a critical distance from themselves. Do not imagine my irritation will have much influence on you, Miss H.

  • ‘Millions of Episcopalians’ are adherents to Thomas Cranmer’s church of expediency, and Cranmer certainly wished to claim the mantle of valid holy orders.

  • Again, why should women bother going to church then?

    I dunno, Larry. Maybe she values the sacraments and is not influenced much by contemporary fashion nor fancies that it’s the object of ancient institutions to flatter her in particular ways.

  • Get back to me when you’ve finished your literature review of the work of Norval Glenn, Bradford Wilcox, and Andrew Cherlin.

  • Garson Abuita

    Why are you assuming she’s Catholic? Most commenters here aren’t. I wager that according to you most people who call themselves Catholic aren’t Catholic.

  • Pingback: Servers, Service, and Sex | Catholic Sensibility()

  • Nicholas Alexander

    “…Cranmer certainly wished to claim the mantle of valid holy orders.”

    What? Artie, you need to check your facts before you speak. Thomas Cranmer had valid orders — Henry VIII secured a papal bull naming Cranmer to Canterbury; he was consecrated by a Catholic bishop, John Longlands; and they use the medieval Catholic Ordinal for the rite.

    Cranmer was a validly-ordained Catholic bishop, my friend. Sorry…

  • Miss_H

    And I’m sure you take idea seriously. Good for you. Have fun with that. I don’t.

  • Miss_H

    I note that you claim “nonsense”, yet you fail to produce any studies to refute my claim. You want to be taken seriously? Produce evidence.

    http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/gay-parents-as-good-as-straight-ones/

  • Larry

    A woman who prefers to be abused and mistreated in the name of old traditions.

    Stockholm Syndrome.

  • Larry

    Get back to me when you can give me a sane reason why someone would want to put up with being demeaned, patronized, insulted and attacked in public in the name of their religious faith.

  • Thecla

    Even if you buy the ‘Nag’s Head’ story according to which the Apostolic Succession was broken, currently all clergy in the Episcopal Church can trace their ecclesiastical geneology back to Old Catholic bishops whose ordination the RC Church recognizes.

  • Fran,

    Altar servers are a recent development in the Catholic liturgy (just about 100 to 200 years), before this time their tasks were reserved to men who had received on the minor orders of Acolyte, Exorcist, Reader and Porter. There has never been an age limit to these (other than “the age of reason” which is about 6-7 y/o). With time these fell from use as less men sought these orders Children filled the void in the liturgy. In the 70’s they were changed into “ministries”. There is ample evidence of men (and women) serving in the Jewish temple but not been the Chief Priest.

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”
    DHS

  • Max>“Blessed are you, Lord God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” — Jewish Morning Blessings, Siddur, p. 12.

    I’m I the only one detecting a bit of antisemitism in Max daily diatribe???

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”
    DHS

  • Cranmer

    Contrary to the unfortunate Apostolicae Curae, Holy Orders in the Anglican Communion are and always have been valid.

  • Cranmer

    Fran, while I certainly don’t agree with the more conversation Catholics here about the gender of altar servers, I do agree with them that it was the church that Christ founded and which in turn authorized the Canon of Sacred Scripture. I’ve read your posts before and I will pray that you turn to the true, “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” as proclaimed in the creed of Christians for the past 1300 years.

  • Joseph Sciame

    Do we not have anything better to do but watch each and every move that the Catholic Church does in every single aspect of its running its activities! As one who was an Altar server from 4th grade thru high school, it was always an honor and no one ever noticed, but it was THE boys who were the servers. The young girls were the ones who were more in the processions, and took care of the altar cloths, etc. Let go of it…for if that bothers you so much, whoever you all are, then there are other ways to express your faith. Congratulations to the pastor for making the decision, and God willing, it will afford young men the opportunity to see what a privilege and honor it is, and maybe even a future vocation or two to happen!

  • Garson Abuita

    Max is quoting accurately — other than I should add he’s quoting from Orthodox prayerbooks [siddur]. More liberal streams of Judaism have changed this liturgy to “who has made me in his image.” Unlike more recent changes like women’s ordination and LGBT acceptance, that change in liturgy happened much earlier in the 20th century. As a defender and commenter of the Jewish perspective, I don’t find what Max here said to be anti-Semitic.

  • Cranmer was a validly-ordained Catholic bishop, my friend. Sorry…

    See Leo Xiii on Anglican ‘holy orders’ here.

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13curae.htm

    And I’m not your friend.

  • No, they are not, and never have been. And it’s not for heretic pretend bishops to say.

  • A woman who prefers to be abused and mistreated in the name of old traditions.

    An adolescent who would not know the inside of a Catholic parish from a candy factory tells us all what it means.

  • Get back to me when you can make a remark which is not a rude non sequitur.

  • Garson,

    I don’t know about that Usually he limits his quotations to Holy Scriptures. This is the first time I see him quoting from a prayer that like you say has fallen under disuse.. God knows he could have quoted from ancient Christian prayers to prop some of his other arguments, but to my knowledge he has never done this. Perhaps he is starting to branch out since Christians here do not take him seriously.

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”
    DHS

  • Miss H,

    If you would like to consult Sociological Abstracts, PsychInfo and like databases, you can construct a bibliography to produce a literature review on the ill effects of divorce. If you’re interested in a monograph which acts as a guide to longitudinal studies done, see here:

    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AJudith%20Wallerstein

    That aside, a little common sense might do on your part, which is to say a disposition to look at the conventions of human affairs and ask what purpose they might serve. None of this is esoteric. Your blather about ‘scientific basis’ is a complete ass pull.

  • Larry

    “An adolescent who would not know the inside of a Catholic parish from a candy factory tells us all what it means.”

    Neither of them are particular safe for children to hang around.

  • Nicholas Alexander

    Oh Artie….again you flaunt your ignorance.

    The encyclical you cite refers to ordinations carried out according to the EDWARDIAN ordinal (cf. No. 15). Since Cranmer was consecrated before that ordinal was written its determination couldn’t apply to him! If fact, he was consecrated using the medieval Catholic rite. So whether you like it or not, Cranmer was a validly ordained Catholic bishop.

    You may contend that he defected from the Church and that the consecrations carried out by him as archbishop were invalid, but you cannot say that he was not a validly consecrated Catholic bishop.

    Neither Catholic theology, nor history, support you.

    So get your facts straight before you spout off. Otherwise you just sound ignorant.

  • Miss_H

    But we’re not talking about single-parent homes. We’re talking about Sister Geraldine Marie’s baseless claim that “without both parents both boys and girls suffer from the lack of male and female role models.” Neither you, nor she have offered any evidence to support this statement. We can wait all day. As it turns out, numerous studies show that poverty is the number one factor that adversely impacts a child’s well-being and later success in life. If you cared about improving children’s lifetime chances, you’d be focused on eradicating poverty, and not obsessing over gender roles.

  • Madam, sociological studies have been done on that question as well, some with better methodologies than others. Mark Regnerus has been viciously attacked because his meta-analyses came to the ‘wrong’ conclusions.

    And, no, the burden of demonstration for people advocating strange social innovations is on those advocating them, not on those defending normal life.

    And, yes, it is very peculiar and implausible to propose that father’s have no distinct function and flies in the face of common experience.

    And, if you’re citing newsletters, you’re telling all of us you’ve never read anything with more depth. I’m sorry, it’s plain effrontery for such a person to babble to people better informed about ‘science’ this and ‘science’ that;.

  • Jordan of Saxony

    A large portion of women already HAVE stopped going to church where
    they are not welcome. BRAVA to them!!!

  • Jordan of Saxony

    They can be bishops, too! Yessssss!

  • Jordan of Saxony

    Were her parents apprised before she received the Sacrament of Baptism that all seven sacraments are available to men only. Women may receive
    only 6 of the 7!

    What kind of a God sets that up? The “Church” has no right to ignore what
    Jesus did and how he made it obvious that men and women are equal.

    Only gay-supportive priests want the system to stay the same: MEN ONLY!
    Makes it a neater lifestyle, yes?

  • Jordan of Saxony

    “If this altar boy policy bothers us, we must ask ourselves if we have not unconsciously accepted the errors of the current age;…”

    Any priest who makes this kind of off-the-wall statement plain and simple should not be a pastor, or a priest, or a seminarian–definitely not a bishop! People do not stand for this kind of sleazy rhetoric.
    WHO BELIEVES THIS??? Priests and bishops who speak
    like this are totally out of touch with their constituents.

    That San Francisco parish is so incongruent with Silicon Valley situated just to the north.

  • Jordan of Saxony

    Sorry, I meant to say that silicon valley is to the South!

  • Jordan of Saxony

    Back to the drawing board, Sr. Geraldine!

  • Uh Oh, Truth Comes to Town

    “[B]oys usually end up losing interest (in altar service) because girls generally do a better job.” — Rev. Illo

  • Gregory

    Art deco is a disruptive Troll. Next time on NCR or Crux the name and those of the other disaffected Francis haters will have changed but the same mantras will be trotted out. These are pre-digested and pre-packaged by their mentors at the lunar end of the Right wing.

  • “Disruptive troll” = defends Church and its Tradition on a commentary site run by Vichy evangelicals with comment boards overrun with the worst sort of Planned Parenthood volunteer.

  • Deacon,

    “Perhaps he is starting to branch out since Christians here do not take him seriously…”

    All religions are built against humanity – and women in particular.
    I don’t mind whistling in the dark as long as my whistling is honest.

  • @Miss H,

    “Thank you, Rev. Illo, for clearly demonstrating, once again, why sensible people of any gender should stay as far away from your church as possible. I can’t wait to see what you ban next!”

    So true!
    And yes – the world desperately needs more women Atheists.
    And we need them in powerful positions especially of science and politics.

  • Deacon:

    “detecting a bit of antisemitism in Max…?”

    Of course not.
    Funny though that a litany of woman-hating screeds from your religion would elicit a question about the messenger rather than the message:

    “I hate women” – YAHWEH,
    “I deliberately did not choose women to be my apostles” – JESUS
    “I’m disgusted with myself for inventing women. Cover them up totally!” – ALLAH

    If God so loved humanity – why does he HATE the half that is female?

  • Religious people praying for and against each other.
    So rational.

  • Miss_H

    “Mark Regnerus has been viciously attacked because his meta-analyses came to the ‘wrong’ conclusions.”

    Mark Regnerus has a bigoted ideology to promote, and his studies have been thoroughly discredited, as you well know. He’s just another fraud with an agenda. Falsified studies are the favorite fallback of zealots and bigots, alas.

    “And, no, the burden of demonstration for people advocating strange social innovations is on those advocating them, not on those defending normal life.”

    The studies demonstrate quite clearly that that children do just as well in two-parent same sex homes as they do in two parent opposite sex homes. That’s very unfortunate for those who wish to promote bigotry. The facts do not support your case.

    “And, yes, it is very peculiar and implausible to propose that father’s have no distinct function and flies in the face of common experience.”

    Fathers are great. And so are mothers. But there’s no particular advantage to a child because a parent has a particular set of genitalia. Parents are not tabletop salt and pepper sets in which it’s best to have one of each. Apparently having a home with two loving parents is just fine, and the gender of each isn’t a factor for success.

    “And, if you’re citing newsletters, you’re telling all of us you’ve never read anything with more depth. I’m sorry, it’s plain effrontery for such a person to babble to people better informed about ‘science’ this and ‘science’ that.”

    I cited a quick read that links to the study. I’m not writing a paper here, I’m commenting on a blog (apparently to anti-science religious zealots, so no, I’m not going to devote a lot of time to their education). If you’re better informed about science, as you amusingly claim, by all means, produce the studies that support your claims! Talk is cheap! We’re waiting! Tick tock!

  • Joe Pahlavi

    Bishop Cordileone wants a ortho/traddy parish where he can make an appearance without getting catcalled. Star of the Sea is going to be it. That’s why Illio is there. I’m not sure there are even enough of them in the city. We’ll see.

  • Suzy

    How do you know a large portion of women already have stopped going to church? A large portion of what number? List the source of your data, please. I suspect your statement is based on your own personal belief and not a fact.

  • Sean

    It’s more obvious that you have no sense of history beyond your own lifetime.

  • Sean

    Amen. The sooner the lprogressive feminists leave the Catholic Church and decamp to the Episcopals, who make up their teaching as they go along, the happier we all will be.