Monday, 16 August 2010

sisters in the sanctuary

I’m fairly sure that St Paul somewhere in 1 Corinthians talks about “things that are Lawful but do not edify”. Well, I’d say that women in the sanctuary definitely falls into that category. However the message is clear; women are welcome to a role serving at Mass (in the OF Roman Rite only), but can in no way be ordained as priests.

Is there not a delicious irony here? That in allowing women into the sanctuary in the guise of greater equality, the Church is making one BIG statement reinforcing the divinely ordained inequality between the sexes.

As there are as yet no gender specific rubrics for roles within the sanctuary (and there jolly well should be); here are my suggestions.

1. In recruiting girls and boys to serve, there must be equal numbers of both. If a boy drops out, so must a girl, and vice versa.
2. If girls decide to stay on and serve into womanhood, bearing in mind that many men serve into their dotage, we may in the future be faced with fully grown women actually being sole servers at Mass, they must dress to the smart standard that the men dress. I’ve never seen a layman serve, or read or be an EMHC in anything less than a suit. Ladies, the same applies to you. Rainbow-plaid, elephant’s ar*e trousers and Scholl sandals are not acceptable. Dress like you want to taste the banquet of heaven not like you’re about to down two pints of scrumpy at a Folk Festival.
3. Modesty is essential, men can not show cleavage or muffin tops, neither can women. And whilst you sisters are think about this, DISCRETELY cover your heads in the sanctuary, you are praying in a very holy space. If you can’t do that, shave all the hair off your head, you know it makes sense.
4. No woman or girl can wear a cassock and cotta, ever. Yes, I know the cream polyester hooded garment you have to wear as servers is revolting. IMHO it should be banned, it is an insult to monks and their vows. Might I suggest a tabard style garment over your modest clothes, like dinner ladies wear only not nylon and not in pink. Might I suggest starched grey linen. The tabard is the best sign of servitude and humility I can think of. And linen is a pain to keep looking good, so it will make you think about what and why you are doing what you do. Strict punishments for a crumpled tabard.
5. Ask yourself sisters, if with all your excellent feminine talents, this really is the best use of them in the service of the Church.

6 comments:

Robert B. Heath said...

I'm very much in favor of your dress standards for women in the sanctuary, especially what not to wear, and the tabard-style garment. I confess I didn't know what a tabard was and had to look it up. It seems rather like a scapular, and very appropriate.

Maybe you should seek a liturgy council position...;-)

Autumn said...

I absolutely agree with you Rita, and am glad to have caught up with your blog after a summer out of the loop (I've only just recently caught up with mine!)
I hope the tests you have had recently shed some light on your condition, and shall pray to that end. And thanks for this thought-provoking post, it's refreshing to read it :)
Take care, Autumn x

mum6kids said...

I think the server's uniform should have a broom handle sewn into the back. NO SLOUCHING with that candle boys and girls!
LOL.

I still have mixed feelings about both genders as servers. My real irritation is the ever present EMHCs-but then to be fair to them at our parish at least I know many of them visit the sick and those who can't get out much.
There's just something uncomfortable about them going and taking Him out of the Tabernacle, Surely only consecrated hands should enter the Holy of Holies.
Don't know-just feels that way.

Robert B. Heath said...

EMHC really can help Father bring communion to the sick and homebound, but in most cases, there is no need for them at Mass. Whatever little time is saved by their helping to give communion could have been used for most communicants to make a thanksgiving, or is in fact lost again by how long it takes to give each EMHC communion in the annoying little procedure we all have to sit and watch.

Rita said...

Hello All,

Thanks for posting.

I'd agree about EMHCs. They would be unnecessary if the altar rails were returned and there was some decent catechisis as to the validity of communion under one kind.

Lay people opening the tabernacle is not an edifying sight (Shell, are you sure this is allowed?) and I get worried when some priests use EMHCs to clean the sacred vessels.

mum6kids said...

Rita I am not at all sure EMHCs sticking their hands into the tabernacle is allowed- but when I raised the problem which the MC he insisted it wasn't disallowed. *sigh*.
Father isn't in a good political situation in our church to go around changing stuff like that.
And we don't have Communion in both kinds. We just ALWAYS have to have a couple of EMHCs help give HC out-regardless of how busy or otherwise the Mass is. I know it shouldn't- but it does irritate me.