Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New Motu Proprio "Spiritus Domini" Clarifies Roles of Female Altar Servers

By Jean DuBois 


Today the Archfather Rutherford I released a motu proprio entitled Spiritus Domini to correct and clarify the correct Catholic position on female altar servers, lectors, etc.  His Holy Eminence referred to the long and cherished tradition of women in service to the Church, the distinctive merits of both men and women, and the nature of the roles of service in the Sacraments. The complete text is given below. 


Spiritus Domini 


THE spirit of the Lord Christ, Eternal Priest and Supreme King, is great and must permeate all that we do in the Holy Church. Chief within that is the sacred liturgy, of which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is principal as the true and living Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The highest care must be taken, and the greatest respect shown. It always is unfortunate when We hear challenges to the Sacred Tradition based on the ever-changing capricious whims of society. The political and social philosophies of the world must be influenced by the Church, not the other way around. To allow the doctrine, discipline, and tradition of the Church to be changed by secular societal philosophy and principles is the heresy of modernism. Most recent of these errors most sadly comes from Our Roman confratello, necessitating the need to issue a fraternal correction.

1. The church has always been served, even from the time Christ walked the earth as a man, by faithful women. Contrary to the calumny heaped upon the Church, the church has always honored and respected women, chief of which is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Women have served in many venerable and worthy capacities in the Church throughout her history.

2. Service at the altar is a privilege, not a right, for anyone, whether male or female.

3. Service at the altar during the holy mass is an extension of the priestly ministry, which our Lord established as strictly able to be exercised by ordained male persons. We do not possess the authority to change this, and neither does our Roman confratello, for We are both guardians and custodians of the sacred deposit of the Faith and tradition.

4. Thus the participation as altar servers must be limited to males duly authorised by competent ecclesiastical authority, preferably clerics when available. Properly-disposed females may be permitted, with approval of appropriate episcopal authority, on a limited basis as altar servers only if there is extreme need and no eligible males are available. This, however, is rarely necessary, as provisions exist for a priest to serve his own mas quite easily. Therefore, this option should only in the most extreme cases be exercised. It is further noted that this usage may reasonably be considered an extension of the duties of a sacristan, a function to which a female may be appointed, with historical examples thereof.

5. At no time during the holy mass should lay so-called "Eucharistic ministers" be employed for the distribution of Holy Communion.

6. The other functions during the mass, such as Lector have no justification to be appointed to anyone other than those provided for in the rubrics of the mass. The Order of Lector is among the minor Holy Orders and therefore likewise is restricted to males. Those direct functions within the mass such as reading of the lessons are exclusively clerical in nature and therefore necessarily restricted to males.

7. It is further noted that the office of Deaconess, a venerable office held by women from the time of the early church, is completely distinct from the Holy Order of Deacons. That is, a Deaconess is not a cleric and is not ordained.

8. God has established special distinctness between males and females as part of His holy plan. These distinctions should be honoured and venerated.

Datum Florentiae Novae Romae apud S. Stefani sub sigillo Diaconis die XII mensis Januarii A.D. MMXXI.

Ego Archipater R.