a lady's place

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in a recent post the lady in the pew mentioned the female's conference held this weekend at boston college entitled envisioning the church women want. now, my first reaction was who gives a rat's rip what kinda church you want? our pew lady's article didn't focus on female angst, per se, but it got my blood perking. and then wouldn't you know, mrs. vonhuben posted about jewish female angst toward tradition and after reading that article, my blood was full boil.

whatever happened to the good old days when women knew their place? well, when women at least knew that their place was not at the altar (unless they were cleaning it), not center-stage, if you will. and, as ms. clark so keenly points out, that is precisely what most of the hullabaloo about "female __fill in the blank with any church-related positions__" is all about. it's all about the "but, what about me" of feminism.

don't mistake me, i don't fancy that all women should be forever barefoot and pregnant -- well, actually i do, but that's a post for another mood swing. for now let me just make it clear that i don't have any pie-in-the-sky illusions about "the good old days" for women. i had a grandmother -- one that didn't mind telling it like it was either. i support fair treatment under the law, even equal pay for equal work. these were good ideals, still are. but somehow my mother's generation didn't know where to stop. not unlike a snowball rolling downhill, these women who bought the feminist notion got what they wanted, including good stuff like the vote, the jobs, and the pay, and the ick stuff like more cancer, stress, and divorce -- and still they didn't know when to slam on the brakes. and my generation is paying for it. this bizarre and frightening momentum built up during the ERA/feminist movements of yesteryear is still bounding down the hill, gathering momentum and knocking down a lot of innocent and unsuspecting women in its path. by the way, when did feminism start believing itís own publicity and swallow the dung that women are a second class? and do you really believe that being a woman means being inferior? this woman doesn't.

i'm convinced that the evil one got hold of the movement somewhere along the line, and it was at that point that "the right to work outside the home" became "you're a goober if you don't." it was at that point that "we're as good as men" became "we're only good if we become pseudo-men." it was at that point that femininity became a forbiddance and wishes became rights. it's when i am woman, hear me roar became i am feminist, hear me whine. and satan doubled up with laughter as desire for fairness became hunger for power, a need for equal treatment became lust for control, feminism reared its ugly horned head, all hell broke lose, and then ...

women wanted to be priests. they wanted to take the Holy Sacrament of Orders instituted by Christ Himself and twist and manipulate it into something to suit their agenda. just what is that agenda, ladies -- and i use the term loosely -- that you seek with such vigor, such verve, such venom?

when did feminists decide that being a woman wasnít enough? and, if they thought being a woman was enough, why did they start seeking male roles? who decided that nuns just werenít good enough? why did these females start demanding that their female offspring be allowed to serve at the altar alongside their sons? who decided that jenny wasnít worthy if she wasnít next to johnny at the altar? don't kid yourself. the one who decided it was a bitter misandristic female.

what really bludgeons the hearts of our daughters, not to mention their futures, is the evil backlash against men in general, and young boys -- our own brothers and nephews and cousins and sons -- in particular. it isn't just about being "as good as men" anymore. oh no, it's about being better, being superior. as the article on the female seder (where women celebrated and young boys served them) proves, it's about putting males down and taking delight in humiliating the opposite sex. as one young boy said, "My mom and sister tease me when I go out there." it was wrong when it was done to our grandmothers, so why don't we see it for the evil it is when our girlfriends do it to their own sons? and do we really want our daughters with boys whose self-images have been belittled from day one? this mother doesn't.

if females getting their feet-washed or females serving at the altar or females becoming preists is about fairness or equality, i'll kiss your alb. it is all about self-serving pride and arrogance which is wicked and foul.

why do we let little girls serve at the altar anyway? do we want to unfairly plant the dangerous seeds of desire within our little girls' hearts? this mother doesn't.

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Smock Rant from De Fidei Oboedientia on April 20, 2004 3:42 PM

If you guys think I get riled up about feminism... Read More

27 Comments

I agree soo much with all of that. I'm just not good at putting things into words like you are. ESPECIALLY boys being put down. My sister had on some shirt that said something about boys, I can't even remember. But I told her not to wear it around my sons. HELLO?! I don't want my 5 year old reading that. It's mean. It isn't fair. There are all these shirts out there about girl power and then the ones right next to them insulting boys. That is what they want to do with their power?! Okay. As a mother of sons I have strong feelings on this subject!! As for barefoot and pregnant - i'm all for it.

Ok, Smockmomma, your take on this is what then?

All kidding aside - my wife stays home with the girls. Notice I didn't say that "my wife doesn't work." She works harder than I do, I just have to drive to an office and get paid for it.

You'd be amazed at how many people raz us about this. Some guys joke that I'm keeping my wife home and do the barefoot-and-pregnant routine. Yeah, I never heard that one before. >yawn

Well done Smockmomma and I agree 100%. My only daughter will serve the chuch someday, but it won't be as an altar server!!

Well spoken...and here is my 2 cents:
We are ALL (men and women equally) called to serve God. However, HOW we are called is unique. Jesus personally (as a Person of the Trinity) called 12 men for a specific job. I have trouble believing that after 2000 years, God would change his mind and say, "I want women now." But I have a theory regarding why Jesus chose only men: In my opinion (as a man), men are the most sinful creatures in the world! That is not to say that woman are perfect, but most of the worst sins imaginable were done by men. By instituting Holy Orders for men it gave us hope that we all can be saved. Again, this is obviously just my opnion.

I would also like to see women ( my wife in particular) barefoot and pregnant. But I also realize that not all women are blessed with that vocation. My wife tried that not very long ago and we both believe that for the sake of our family and her sanity, she needed to work. She does, however, envy those who do!

As usual, I find your family values refreshing in these "progressive" times.

God bless

I imagine that if I'm planting any seeds of desire in my daughter's heart by letting her be an altar server, it is the seeds of service to God. Of course, I am blessed with a terrifically sensible daughter who has about as much patience for women wannabe priests as she does for any other variety of fool.

And until our particular parish has enough altar servers to go around (a parish of 4500 people and we have about half a dozen kids who show up regularly to serve), my daughter will be serving Christ in this particular way. Or until our Monsignor tells us different, anyway.

Love ya, hon. Don't buy into the women not serving near the altar bit, though. We've got a word for girls who grow up wanting to be boys . . . Episcopalians.

And until our particular parish has enough altar servers to go around (a parish of 4500 people and we have about half a dozen kids who show up regularly to serve), my daughter will be serving Christ in this particular way.

is it fair to understand this to mean that your daughter would not be an altar server if there were enough responsible parents of boys encouraging their sons to serve Christ as altar boys?

I agree with much of what you said, but not all, smockmomma. I have seen alter server programs deepen the faith of both boys and girls, and lead them down the road to holy vocations. One is my very best friend, who is 26 years old, and is saving her virginity (and everything else too, besides a kiss of the lips!) for her husband, whoever that man may be. Her brothers also served on the alter, and they often served as a family group.

She attributes much of her faith, and her knowledge of faith, to her parents and alter serving.

I think we have to ask ourselves this question: who served the Lord and His chosen Twelve during the Last Supper? We don't know, but we do know that the female disciples were their usual servers in their need for food and drink. The Gospels tell us that. Were they humbly serving the food at the Last Supper?

I think it comes down to that: humbly serving. Our alter server programs have to stress that, for boys and girls, but especially girls. For boys, the emphasis should be on manly service, and consideration of the vocation of priest.

All that being said, I certainly wouldn't flip if girls were no longer serving on the alter. The servant doesn't complain when the Master dismisses her from a service.

I too, get royally ticked off at all the boy-bashing, and the "I wants" and "gimmes" of modern feminism and society's view of girlhood. How self-centred and disgusting!

And, speaking of nurturing our children, and teaching them about service, what ever happened to single-sex church organizations that existed for that purpose? Those groups inspired girls and boys to vocations appropriate to gender. The only ones I know about lately is one in a Eastern rite Catholic church in another city. It has a Squires of Columbus, and an Immaculate Heart Club for girls. Guess what else it has? Novice nuns and seminarians. Go figure.

If the altar were swarming with respectful lads, intent upon service, I would rejoice. I think that the girls here do a good job of serving, and that they should have a chance to serve if they're needed. But if my priest decided otherwise, or if the archbishop decided to go back to all-male servers, I would comply without objection. My daughter knows well what a priveledge it is to serve . . . and the *serving* has to be first. If she was up there prancing about like the Mass was all about HER, I'd smack her upside the head. There's a couple of servers I know who need that . . . alas, they're the two boys whose mothers "organize" the altar servers.

FWIW, I've known a lot of boys who didn't want to be altar servers because of all the girls involved. We have such a need for masculine formation that having some service, including serving at altar, distinctly male is necessary for boys to feel like they have a place in church.

Amen, Smockmomma!
::claps::

laura touches on something that i didn't mention, perhaps for fear of belaboring the obvious. those who have no problem with female altar servers fail to see the forrest through the trees. altar boys should be exclusive. girls served at the altar through altar guild. those specific roles were intentionally blurred in America post VatII for the express purpose of blurring gender roles.
if you honestly believe that it is right to allow girls to step into the gender specific role of altar boy to meet a supposed "shortage" of boys, how do you defend the all-male preisthood, especially considering our "shortage" of priests?

Hey Smock (and everyone, really),
Here's a really good homily on why altar girls are a bad idea (mentioning the same reasons Laura and Smock are discussing here): http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/ALTBYHOM.TXT.

This article is what finally pushed me over the fence to be quite squarly against altar girls. I mean, I'd never walk out of a Mass if girls were serving, but this is why I'm now completely convinced that letting girls serve was an imprudent idea.

kudos, miss jeanetta!

My hackles get up the moment I see buzz words like "envisioning." Or "imagining." Or "imaginisioning." They all scream R-U-N!!!

Sorry, smock, gotta draw the line firmly between allowing altar girls and allowing female priests.

We don't allow female priests because Christ never ordained a woman. Period. Simple. We do as our Lord did in the sacraments He instituted. Women were not chosen to serve in persona Christi.

Christ never chose altar boys. Period. And they are not ordained. Period. They do not serve in persona Christi. Theirs is a role that arouse out of practicality, not sacramentally or through the example of Christ. Huge difference. Remember that we don't even need altar servers -- one adult acolyte is usually enough. Many times, not even that.

That being said, I agree boys often start thinking about a priestly vocation while serving at the altar. If there was any concrete proof that allowing altar girls drives the boys away, I'd be all for chucking the girls.

But the history is the other way around here in Canada: boys started running away from the altar in droves, and the girls started serving to fill the void.

So I think we need to focus on how to get the boys back, and we need to ask them how. If having "boys altar teams" would do it, that's great. If girls stepping down gracefully would do it, bring it on.

But I suspect the real problem is in the home. How many Catholic parents suggest altar serving to their boys? How many teach the Faith thoroughly, everyday? The boys I know who served on the altar as children had a rock-solid founding in the Faith, and it came from Mom and Dad.

How about this.

THE Pope has called upon priests to set a good example to altar boys in order to encourage them to join the priesthood.

In his annual Easter Week letter to priests, Pope John Paul II commented that the number of priests is dwindling in some parts of the world "without sufficient replacements from the younger generation" and he urged priests to look to altar servers as potential successors.

The idea behind the altar boy was apprenticeship. Boys learn, apprentice and from that perhaps grow into the vocaton of the priesthood from loving to serve at that altar. In my opinion, which is squarely in line with smockmomma, girs take up space that really should be taken by young men. Altar server shortage? simply puts more pressure on the guys to step to the plate. And I reiterate MY DAUGHTER WILL NEVER be an altar server.

Good job, smockmomma! I love it! I also find the discussion on altar boys and girls quite intriguing.

There are NEVER shortages of altar boys at Traditional Latin Masses where altar girls are forbidden. It's so simple -- serving the altar will seem girly to little boys if many girls are serving. But it only boys serve, helping Father, then they think it's the coolest thing in the world.

this is why i enjoy blogging. it truly gives me a sense of community. it's wonderful and soothing to my spirit to know that there are like minded brothers and sisters out there in the real world! and even those who don't agree seem to at least "catch my drift" so to speak.

many sincere thanks to everyone who has stopped by and left a comment or emailed. y'all are really neat people! no foolin'.

Yes, there is no shortage of male altar servers at the traditional Latin mass here in Canberra, Australia, although I should add that most of the servers are young men rather than boys.

I deliberated hard over permitting my daughter to serve at the altar in the local parish. In the end I decided not to. I felt that this would send a message. I believe that it did.

Julian

Aw, smockmomma, now that's the Texas hospitality y'all are so famous for, even up here in Canada. :-)

Yes, this is why I love blogs, too. Sometimes I feel like most people at my parish think I'm nuts becasue I choose to obey the Church, and defend her, on the "hot topics" (contraception, abortion, female priests, generous giving to the Church *not quite up to tithing yet, but trying to get there*, gay marriage, etc.) There are some wonderful, faithful ladies, but all so much older than me, and that's discouraging.

Here in blog land, I meet women and men of all ages who agree that being a Catholic is an all or nothing affair, and who value the teachings of the Church over their own human opinions and whims. What a relief!

You've all read my arguments on this topic, now for the litmus test: would I allow a daughter to altar serve? I just don't know. I'm very conflicted. But I do know one thing: NONE of my children will serve unless properly trained, and trained by my husband, who knows the Mass, the rubrics, and the role of an acolyte or server backwards and forwards.

Hubby started an altar servers' training at our parish, and was (believe or not!) DISCOURAGED by the priest! I don't know why, either, but I know hubby was pretty ticked.

OK -- I'll be bold -- I just discovered this blog, but it is just tickling me pink! Maybe smockmamma will tackle the always touchy issue of wearing veils . . . .

You are right on target about the way things are heading. Saw a bumper sticker yesterday: "Boys are stupid -- throw rocks at them."

Hmmm, well at my church I was an altar server... at the grand age of 25. For the longest time, I was the only woman, the rest were men. We ranged in age from about 18 to 35. The reason? It's the chapel at NYU, and there weren't very many little kids. I served at altar only because I was the only one who showed up for the 10am Mass. One Sunday, I served at altar =and= was lector =and= was Eucharistic minister. I was rather peeved. Lazy college students.

Now we've merged with a local parish, which has kids, but still it's almost all adults at the Mass. So we've got kids and adults serving.

As for barefoot & pregnant, my husband and I have split up the roles - he gets to be barefoot, and I get to be pregnant. We prefer this division of labor. ;) For all the "strangeness" of our family arrangement, we are the most traditional Catholics in our family (and Stu even more so, as he's a convert!) A male, celibate priesthood, thank you very much. My own take has been, especially after having given birth, is that men need to have something to themselves alone. Women have an enormous gift in being able to give birth. Any time someone tries to tell me that there's no difference between men & women, I show them my pics of me 9 months pregnant. No difference, my 3-acre fanny. It's sad to me that so many throw this away as worthless, and want to mess about with tradition so they can feel important.

Shockmamma,
I am disgusted with what a brainwashed fool you are. I do not understand how you can write this as a woman. Women have every right to become preists and should not be put down by idiots like you. Men no longer need to take the standing positions in society. Please have someone give you a swift slap across the face so you can wake the hell up.

Hey! I was raised Episcopalian and rather resent that one comment. On the other hand maybe that's why I'm a RC now. In any case, I have no problem with my daughters being alter servers. I am (of course) a Stay-at-home, homeschooling, traditional mom. And I will teach my daughters their place in the church, the family, and the society. What I resent is the idea that the church is something that we can make into what we want. The Church is the BODY OF CHRIST. We are His Bride. We should be more concerned about making the Church what He wants it to be. Perhaps these women approach their own husbands that way. Too bad.

hmmm....second barbara there, the angry female who posted on may second, i think your email address says it better than i ever could. alas, thanks for visitin'.

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