Are altar girls in bishop’s plan for Arlington?

In Summer 2003, a group of parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP) parish petitioned Bishop Loverde “to prayerfully consider allowing girls to serve on Arlington altars.” On March 15, 2004, the bishop wrote to Ms. Margaret McBride in response to a June 24, 2003 letter from two girls characterized in the parish bulletin as “OLQP cross-bearers.” (Author’s comment: I have written Bishop Loverde on a number of occasions and have yet to get a direct response on any subject.) A copy of the letter was attached to the April 18, 2004 bulletin, available to read online at:


In the letter, Bishop Loverde says he is not opposed to girl altar boys and continued to permit them where they were already allowed under Bishop Keating: at college campuses, convents, home Masses, hospitals and convalescent homes. His problem is with the July 27, 2001 letter that Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote forbidding bishops from forcing girl altar boys upon any pastor even, even if the bishop wants them in his diocese.

Online at: www.adoremus.org/CDW-AltarServers.html.

Bishop Loverde states that the Cardinal’s letter “works contrary to the normal leadership structure of the Church” and says if he allows girls to serve, “there will likely be a great deal more frustration or anger directed at priests within our diocese who have stated they will likely use this letter as a means to not allow female altar servers at their parish.” He hopes the Congregation for Divine Worship will change its position, which “would allow a decision to be made that could be followed by unity on this issue.” In effect, the bishop blames the Cardinal for depriving him of the right to impose girl altar boys on all parishes at once, and he’s protecting his priests from the sensitivity of their parishioners.

Bishop Loverde rounds out his letter with a testimonial to his “strong regard for women and the talents they offer the Church both in ministry and professional positions.” He names the women who direct diocesan offices, also indicating that three women serve on or assist the Finance Committee, and he promises to keep urging priests to invite women to participate at parish and diocese levels. The letter is an unmistakable assurance to the feminists that he is on their side, but it is the mean men in Rome who are tying his hands.

Clearly the bishop is unpersuaded by the very real and valid reasons for restricting service on the altar to young men. Historically, altar service has helped young men begin to discern vocations to the priesthood (hence the old saying “Good altar boys make good priests.”) When you put boys and girls of that age together in the same endeavor (particularly one that involves wearing attire that resembles robes and dresses), invariably the little girls take over and organize everything, and the little boys leave in favor of other activities. Bye-bye to the vocations.

But, more sinisterly, the cause of girl altar boys is championed by those who won’t take the Holy Father’s “No” for an answer to their demand to ordain women. Raise a generation of girls permitted to serve at Mass, and one can use their frustration when told they cannot go on to be priests to pressure the Vatican to cave in. After all, Rome capitulated on communion on the hand and girl altar boys, and we all know some in the hierarchy want to ordain women. So who knows? It is shocking to see the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass debased into a mere tool to advance a political agenda, but there it is.

We can be grateful to the publisher of the Sunday bulletin at OLQP for showing us the true mind of our bishop on this subject. Otherwise, we might be tempted to ascribe higher motives to his reluctance to change the existing policy. We might also note that the bishop has apparently nodded and winked at the use by OLQP of girls as cross-bearers at Mass (I guess that’s not quite allowing them to “serve,” right?). We must all pray intensively for the bishop and the priests of OLQP, that the Holy Ghost turns their minds and wills to serve the Church and to act as true shepherds of souls. Chris Cummings, Manassas, VA

OLQP has a long history of dissent. Former pastor, Fr. Jim Healy C.S.Sp., who “came out” shortly before dying of AIDS, relentlessly promoted deviance. The parish website does the same including in a list of “excellent” parishes around the country some with “large and active gay and lesbian” communities. The parish sponsors monthly meetings of Voice of the Faithful, a clone of Call to Action which agitates to undermine the faith. They promote Pax Christi, another infamous group. On January 9, 2004 the bulletin ran a National Catholic Reporter (NCR) article calling “courageous” an attack on the Vatican by 23 Chicago priests objecting to the “increase in the use of violent and abusive language” in documents about “gays,” i.e., telling the truth about the disordered nature of sodomite relationships. NCR is a heretical paper that features some of the most malicious dissenters in the Church. They also endorse same-sex marriage. Those with same-sex attraction should be treated with compassion, but that does NOT mean blessing their perverted practices. It’s time to give the Holy Ghost fathers the boot. Editor

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