Recently, a church in Mazomanie has notified parents that girls will no longer be allowed to assist at the altar. Years ago, Pope John Paul II signed off on this issue but there are accounts that his signature may have been affected by his illness and a 104 degree temperature.
Nevertheless, I don't believe young girls should have ever been given this role. Aside from the fact that young boys have a tendency to shy away from anything that girls are doing, there is the issue of priesthood and vocation. The Catholic church could use a few more good men in the ranks and most priests started thinking about their vocation as they served as altar boys. When young girls are included, it sends a mixed signal. What would a little girl aspire to be if she is serving in this position? Ordination?
This is precisely what I believe many "progressive" Catholics want. They truly envision a day when women will be ordained as priests. And what would this do to convents and cloistered monasteries? Why can't we encourage our young daughters to consider the vocation of being a nun?
So, here is my response to the article:
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a political football field, awaiting those who disagree with it to make a strategic play.
1) The priest is an icon of Christ. Assisting the priest during the Mass has been done by acolytes, those who wished to become priests. They have always been male.
2) Jesus Christ could very well have named one of the women following Him to be a fully recognized Apostle. (Mary, His mother, Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Bethany to name a few.) He didn't. Women have no Biblical justification for demanding ordination.
3) Young boys need strong leadership and guidance at this age. Aside from the snide sexual remarks made - it is a fact that when young boys want to get together, the presence of a young girl seriously hampers any useful purpose for their growth.
4) The Catholic church is lacking in priestly vocations. Part of the reason is liberal spiritual formation and seminaries. Another part of this is because young boys have difficulty hearing the call to this vocation if young girls are included in this area. It's confusing.
The purpose of the Mass isn't to satisfy a longing to be recognized. It is to remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and worship Him. It's not first about community - but about God.
Finally, if some don't like it, there are plenty of other churches: United Methodist, Unitarian, or even the Metropolitan Community Church. It's not that difficult in this day and age to find a church you can agree with.