Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why Girl Acolytes Have Never Bothered Me (or any other Lutherans, either?)

It's always a bit interesting to read articles like this, or blog entries like this or this, precisely because it seems so remote from my experience. Apparently, the role of the acolyte in the Catholic Church was traditionally conceived of as apprenticeship for the priesthood. So to anxious conservative Catholics, "altar girls" (apparently "girl altar boys" is the required RadTrad term) is jus one more violation of the traditional understanding of the priesthood.

Let me suggest a different way of looking at it. In our church, acolyte service has nothing to do with apprenticeship to the pastorate. Instead it is part of confirmation. All children being confirmed, boys and girls alike, in the two years of confirmation classes also serve as acolytes (and crucifers and other tasks in the liturgy). In so doing they are indeed apprenticed to the priesthood: that of all believers. They learn about the church year, the liturgy, the reverential treatment of the Sacrament, and decorum in the church (ideally, that is -- and they all try hard, despite the occasional attack of the sleepers).

Upon being confirmed, their acolyte service is concluded. Those who wish to become pastors, show it by doing mission trips, not by being acolytes.

So, for me at least "girl altar boys" is a non-issue.

Are there any Augsburg Evangelicals for whom it is a big issue?

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