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Archive for the ‘Liturgy’ Category

Altar Servers: A Boys’ Club?

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Recently the Commonweal blog had a post about how some parishes and dioceses still do not allow girls to serve at the altar, 15 years after official permission was given.

This made me think of a book called Our New Friends. It was the Catholic version of the Dick and Jane elementary school readers, published by Scott, Foresman and Company. I remember this book from my own grade-school days; it was used during my schooling in the late 1960s, even though it had not changed much since the ’40s. A few years ago I found a copy on eBay, and I thought I’d share with you a chapter that explains why girls cannot be altar servers in typical 1940s logic.

This book is interesting because first of all it appears to acknowledge that this was a common question even back then. Secondly, it is interesting because today it somehow manages to be quaint, cute, humorous and horrifying, all at the same time. The way the priest dismisses the girls’ desire to serve at the altar of God is probably typical of how girl’s desires were treated in all walks of life then. It is so sad that some priests and bishops today are using the same line of reasoning.

1940s grade school reader

1940s grade school reader

By the way, this book has the name of the young student displayed prominently inside, written boldly in magenta crayon: Donald Coates. If you are Donald Coates or one of his children or grandchildren, contact me and I will send you a free copy of Ascend!

To see either of the images in a larger size, click on it.