11 January 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

How Nanny-Statism killed California. . .will we let this be a lesson for us all?

Roger Kimball on the coming of age of "democratic despotism."

No, Harry Reid is not a racist. . .but it sure is fun to watch the Dems sputter, jump, babble, and dodge to explain away their faux outrage at Trent Lott's gaffe while defending Reid's.  Besides, I don't think the GOP really wants Reid to resign. . .they need him right where he is to take back the Senate.

B.O. is failing as President b/c he doesn't know the American people". . .he is a man trying to govern a nation he doesn't genuinely know, stuck trying to communicate with, as we continue to find out, a nation that never really knew him when they elected him, so superficial and oh my God fantastic, if unrealistic, was the press bubble that surrounded him during the campaign."

On why we need the notion of human nature, or Why Nominalism is the Root of All Evil

Fr. Z. highlights a parochial program for establishing an all-male altar server guild.  I have to admit that I am still just enough of a 90's feminist to cringe at the idea of taking a co-ed server guild and making it all-male.  Don't get me wrong:  I get that that the boys love it, but my well-trained 90's feminist reflex jumps every time!  It doesn't help any that the usual suggestion for the girls' guild has something to do with cleaning, sewing, or wash up after Mass.  OY!

Looks like the anti-Catholic socialists in the U.K. want to see the RCC under persecution again.

If you are a compulsive back seat driver, you shouldn't watch this video

Ten apocalyptic scenarios. . .#5 is my fav. . . yea, physicists are very dangerous!  ;-) 


  1. That is perhaps my one complaint against returning to an all-male altar server scenario - what is offered to the girls seems, well, rather spiritually unfulfilling at best and moderately insulting at worst. Perhaps I worry far too much about that, I don't know. Of course, not being a young girl I have no idea what their opinion on the matter is - maybe I'm projecting concerns onto kids who don't share them at all.

  2. Trust me, they share them.

    One size doesn't fit all, either. My parish has equal numbers of boy and girls serving at the altar. No ranks, no cassocks, self-policing of attire (my son happily shops for ties, and carries his good shoes on his bike) and a steady number of vocations to both the priesthood and the religious life. Clear, we too are doing something "right" - even if it isn't the Fr. Z plan and even if we don't send the boys fishing or bowling with father.

    Perhaps what is happening at our parish is that those who serve at the altar (of all ages and sexes) also clean it. It is one way to teach the lessons of both Martha and Mary. I might cantor or lector or even preach at Morning Prayer upon occasion, I also crawl around on the floor cleaning the carpet, water the plants and pick up trash in the parking lot.

    Come to think of it, it may be because we are staffed by monastics -- and they clearly model the community life? In which everyone shares in the tasks?

  3. Annie8:04 PM

    I agree with you about the altar servers. I'm a girl, and my first real memories of mass are from when I was an altar server. I loved it so much. I'm so lucky that my first memories of church are of loving it. I still love being Catholic now. I think about God all the time. And I often wonder - how different might it be if when I was younger I had been told that I couldn't participate because I was a girl? I might still be ok, but who knows? Young people are so tender - a girl that was turned down wouldn't understand that it's an apprenticeship and that's why she can't do it, she would just feel hurt and go find another thing to get involved in, probably outside of the church. And who knows if she would ever come back? But maybe I'm just sensitive :p Still, you have to take care of sensitive people too!

    I've also heard it said that boys need the guidance of a priest, another male, more than girls do. Again just drawing from personal experience, priests have always been my heroes and I have treasured every minute I get to spend with them. A priest helped me when I went through a life-changing difficulty in college, a priest helped me break into young adulthood, and I remain good friends with several priests to this day. Girls need spiritual fathers just as much as boys do, and altar serving is a great way for them to feel like the priest can be a part of their lives and not just someone they see on Sunday.

    Thanks Fr Philip and frival for the thought provoking comments.

  4. I don't get the no girl altar server thing. I just.dont.get.it.

    we have both girls and boys...and frankly. with the cassocks they wear and the haircut styles of today...I frequently can't tell one from the other...sometimes the shoes give a clue, but not always!!
    and so long as they do an honest and respectful job...what's the big blinking deal?

  5. See, I completely get why having an all-male serving contingent could be a positive. First and foremost it has to do with the fact that it is in a way an "apprenticeship" to the priesthood whether one realizes it or not.

    That it provides a good and nurturing experience for girls is beside the point if it can be shown (and, despite exceptions here and there) that it has a detrimental impact on the participation of boys which then has a direct impact on their willingness to investigate a vocation to the priesthood. I have seen many churches where the girl altar servers outnumber the boys by a significant margin, particularly as they get older. There is no question these girls do a fine job, but I do think that is not the only end to which the role of altar servers is directed.

    As I said in my earlier comment, my problem is less with saying that it should be for boys alone than with what in its stead should be offered for girls. "Wash, fold and iron" doesn't seem particularly fulfilling, all the while acknowledging that the smallest work done for God is great. I do not yet have a good answer for that question, but there is certainly something out there. Remember, exceptions do not make the rule.

  6. Annie5:32 PM


    Those are interesting points. I've wondered about girl altar servers having a detrimental impact on vocations too, but I just don't buy it. A girl who is deepening her spirituality by altar serving might talk about God to her male friends and give them the spark they need to explore their own spiritual life, a girl serving devoutly might inspire a boy to do it like that too (I'm a teacher now, and I see this all the time - it's a myth that boys don't want to do anything that girls do. Both sexes can inspire one another to be kind, diligent, respectful, etc by their different strengths). God's call can come through many different outlets than directly altar serving, and I don't think that God's call would be silenced by girl altar servers.

    The kids in my parish who don't altar serve still do get involved by service projects, working the nursery, visiting the sick - I think it's great that these activities are all offered to both sexes and that a child can choose what is best suited to their temperament and grow to love the church by doing that thing. One girl might need to altar serve and one boy might need to visit the elderly to really get to know Christ. I think rules that are too restrictive in who can participate end up damaging certain personalities. I'm glad Father Z's plan worked for him, but every parish is different - it would be a huge mistake to shake things up that much here, for example!