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A Monumental De Facto Approval of Altar Girls

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.

Have you have ever seen a Pope saying a Mass served by altar girls? I have often seen women at the altar of Masses said by the conciliar Popes, e.g. bringing the Offertory gifts or reading the Epistles. Popes have also asked girls to perform secondary roles on the altar when they are not saying Mass, such as during a public Eucharistic adoration. I have not yet seen papal altar girls, however. So, I was wondering what circuitous route the Vatican would find to have the Pope rubber-stamp the practice of altar girls in the Church.

 Benedict amidst a crowd of Altar girls'

Benedict warmly greets the altar girls and boys
Last week saw the resolution to the question. Altar boys and girls met at St. Peter Square on August 4, 2010 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Coetus Ministrantium Internationalis (CMI), the International Movement of Altar Servers. Since it used to be altar boys who served Masses and were present at CMI special events, the great novelty here was the en masse presence of altar girls. There they were, coming from all over Europe, having their role endorsed by the presence of the Pontiff, who warmly addressed and blessed them.

Thus, the solution was found and the step was taken. Henceforth, altar girls have de facto papal approval. An important stride forward in the Conciliar revolution.

Having said this, let me focus on the moral and cultural aspect of that meeting.

The cultural revolution fully present

More than 50,000 altar servers gathered at St. Peter’s Square to hear the Pope speak at his general audience. They came from Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and even Georgia.

Altar girls dressed provocatively

Provocative dress for those who serve the Mass

an altar girl riding on her friends shoulders

Riding on her friend's shoulders...

dancing in St. Peters square

Dancing in St. Peter's Square
That Wednesday morning they filled the Square. Banners were unfurled, soft rock played, bodies swayed. At times, a group would spontaneously form to "line dance" through the crowds, the altar boys and girls linked and entwined in a long gyrating chain, taken by "the beat" and general exhilaration. Entertainment abounded – drummers, singers, jugglers, dancers.

The altar girls and boys looked very much like participants in a World Youth Day. Benedict XVI praised the group, saying that they had made the Vatican Square a “happier place” and gifted him with “a happier heart.”

My heart was far from happy as I viewed short videos of “the future of the Church,” as media reports called the youth. The altar girls clearly dominated, waving their arms and climbing up on boys’ shoulders. As in the WYDs, the girls were as immodestly dressed as the boys. While the general “uniform” at the event was unisex garb (t-shirts, khakis, tennis shoes and baseball hats), many of the girls wore short shorts revealing their legs and tight-fitting little tops that left their shoulders bare.

The youth sported colored bandanna scarves, the identifying mark of the event. A white bandanna was given as a gift to the Pope, who donned it amid applause and more frantic arm-waving.

I recently read that this summer the dress code is being seriously enforced at the Vatican. Shorts were banned for men. Women should not have their shoulders or knees showing. The dress code would apply not just to those entering St. Peter’s Basilica, but the whole Vatican grounds. Obviously, the code was disregarded for that meeting of altar girls and boys on their grand day at the Vatican...

Why wasn’t the dress code announced and enforced for this supposed crème de la crème of the youth 0 altar servers - who should be willing to make a small sacrifice of dressing decently for a papal audience, as was the custom in the past.

“Serve Jesus generously in the Eucharist,” Benedict told the youth in his short speech. “It's an important task, which allows you to be particularly close to the Lord and to grow as his true friends." It certainly seems that it would not be too much to ask this elite corps of youth to dress modestly and set aside rock music for their meeting with the Pope. It would be “a small act of generosity.”

But no, we see the customary tribal group scantily dressed, immersed in the youth rock culture for their appointment with the Vicar of Christ at his own home, Vatican Square. If this is the future, then it certainly appears that Progressivism has won the battle for changing the face and spirit of the Church. These altar servers have done more than adapt to the modern world – they have adopted its customs, habits and way of being.

Crowds of altar girls   Altar girls create a crowd

Altar girls, a marked presence in the crowds

immodest arm waving   immodest clothes

Immodest dress and constant arm waving

Papal blessing for the altar girls   Benedict blesses the crowds of altar girls

Papal blessings for altar girls

Posted August 6, 2010

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