DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     July 20, 1999     vol. 10, no. 134

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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ARLINGTON BISHOP TELLS PRIEST TO END ALTAR GIRL PROGRAM

          ARLINGTON, Virginia (CWNews.com) - The new bishop of Arlington, Virginia, began his tenure as leader of the diocese by ordering a pastor to stop allowing girls to be altar servers because he failed to receive permission first.

          Bishop Paul Loverde told Father Horace Grinnell of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church to end the program which he did, but not without making a statement in his homily and church bulletin expressing his dissent. "Why is it normal that men and women should serve together as lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and choir members, yet not serve together as altar servers?" Father Grinnell asked in his bulletin. "Both male and female altar servers are the norm in the rest of the United States and most of the world (including Rome)."

          Diocesan chancellor Father Robert Rippy said the issue is one of obedience, not altar girls. "It's standard operating procedure that once a bishop has died, the policies he created do not end with his death," he said. "Therefore, the policy he made on female altar servers remains in force." Pope John Paul II in 1994 signed off on a statement that girls could be allowed to serve at the altar, but left the final decision up to each bishop. The late Bishop John Keating had wanted only male altar servers to encourage boys to consider the priesthood.

          Father Rippy said Bishop Loverde, who allowed altar girls in his former diocese of Ogdensburg, New York, will not make any changes during his first year as bishop in Arlington. The bishop also asked Father Grinnell to stop offering Communion under both species to the congregation at Mass on Sunday, which was also banned by Bishop Keating as a matter of "practicality," according to Father Rippy.


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July 20, 1999       volume 10, no. 134
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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