More than boys; why men are needed to serve the altar
#11
The lapsing of the minor orders was something that happened cyclically.  We see that in Trent Session XXIII, which admits even married men can serve provided married no more than once, that unmarried clerics are not available, and that they wear cassock and tonsure in church.  We also saw it by the early 20th century.

Pinning down when they lapsed again is difficult.  Proper minor orders still seem to be assumed in the late 19th century...  My territorial parish has a book from the 1830's "Teachings of the Holy Catholic Church Embracing His Dogmas, Sacraments, and Sacramentals" with the Imprimatur of PT O'Reilly, Bishop of Springfield definitely assumes their presence and describes their duties.  Fortescue in the 1920 edition of Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described still seems to assume their presence (while he also concedes a lack of Sacred Ministers outside of seminary in England at the same time).  By the time of O'Connell took over, lay substitutes are definitely expected.

My conjecture would be the World War I was, as  Benedict XV said, the suicide of Europe.  How many potential clerics were lost in those wars from the children never born of the entire generation of young men lost?  Or from WW2?  To the Communist domination of Eastern Europe?

Recall that the seminary system itself was a product of Trent.  Before that, Charlegmagne's system of every cathedral having a university attached to it was the formal mechanism combined with a practical parish apprenticeship was the norm.  Ultimately, I posit the issue does connect with Sacred Ministers, as well... specifically their lack of availability outside of seminary: the normalization of Low Mass.  It was not an accident that the Caermoniale Episcoporum forbids incense without the presence of a deacon...  the Missa Cantata being a concession granted by bishops recognizing their near universal absence from parishes, which have always needed deacons and subdeacons as much as they will always need acolytes and ostiarii...  even if Exorcists and Lectors were always rather superfluous without the formal Catechumenate in the west...  even if priests retain their lower orders, it isn't ideal that they should serve lower except for necessity (IOW, somewhere between that routine use before the Council and the effective ban on it after).

Going forward, the diocesan systems should do well to mix seminary formation with service in the parishes, at least in later years.  To some extent, if Ministeria Quaedam was ever implemented by the bishops as Paul VI intended, one could consider only admitting those already instituted as Acolytes to seminary, offloading at least some level of basic formation to the parish level.  They should also be serving the altar in the meantime and if they should discern they don't have a priestly vocation, why should they not continue to serve?  If acolyte was already an entry point to seminary, longer interstices could be laid out, perhaps subdeacon by 2nd year (without any change of legislation necessary - just the designation applied by the Episcopal Conference as explicitly allowed by MQ), and deacon by 5th year with priesthood at end of 7th year.  Any leaving seminary would be as "permanent" as an acolyte who didn't feel the call to higher vocation anyway...
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#12
Uxi, just one minor correction: there is a difference between a university and a cathedral school.  In Charlemagne's day, they were not one and the same. 
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#13
The schools came after but were almost obvious adjunct given that Charlemagne ordered every Cathedral in his realm have a university, no?
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#14
No Uxi, it's the other way around.  Charlemagne was fighting basic literacy and priests with little knowledge of Latin.  Cathedral schools came first.  Universities didn't come into existence until the High Middle Ages.  Even the palace school at Aachen was intended to create an educated group of bureaucrats who could help administer a huge empire.  These guys needed basic skills: reading, writing, arithmetic.  Carolingian minuscule was a new form of writing created because it was easier to read and replicate.  The more familiar and commonly perceived as medieval Gothic script was (like universities) a product of the High Middle Ages (well, perhaps a bit earlier but mostly high).  It is much harder to read with the number of minims running together and the sheer number of abbreviations used in manuscripts.

Geeking moment over.
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#15
(05-19-2016, 12:14 PM)Fontevrault Wrote: When we explained to the boys that altar servers learn the mass and perhaps one day might consider a vocation to the priesthood, my daughter wanted to know what kind of "training program" there is for becoming a nun.  :LOL:
Nursing, child care, assistant to the catechist, sewing, singing in the choir, arrangement of flowers, arts and crafts, 
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#16
(05-19-2016, 10:37 AM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(05-18-2016, 11:25 PM)Poche Wrote: It is the tradition of the Catholic Church to recruit young boys to serve at the altar. It is from them that we hope to inspire with a vocation to the priesthood..

Actually, if you had read the post, that's mostly a product of the Industrial revolution/war. The norm used to be to have adult men, instituted in minor orders, to serve. It's only once men stopped doing it that boys were recruited.

Even so, this is a good way for them to think of their future as priests. Every now and then I like to ask the altar boys who will be saying the 10:00 mass 20 years from now?
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#17
PrairieMom, thanks for sharing. I wished for this article to go as viral as possible, and it almost has.

(05-19-2016, 11:01 AM)Fontevrault Wrote: That's him alright!  He used to post her a lot.  He was always an advocate for bringing back the minor orders which is what made me think of it.  :grin:  He's a great guy and married now.  I think he's got at least one kiddo by now.  His stuff is well worth reading.  He is usually logical, historically based, deeply reverent, and a lot of fun all at the same time. 

Yes, it is indeed me. I quietly left the forum a while back because the atmosphere was no longer what I remembered when I first joined; but then I saw one of my articles posted here, via a tracker I use to see who reposts my stuff. (It's all very Person of Interesty, I know.) I'm going to take a look around and see what's up at FishEaters recently. One thing I like the design overhaul since I was last here.
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#18
(05-21-2016, 12:26 AM)Poche Wrote:
(05-19-2016, 10:37 AM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(05-18-2016, 11:25 PM)Poche Wrote: It is the tradition of the Catholic Church to recruit young boys to serve at the altar. It is from them that we hope to inspire with a vocation to the priesthood..

Actually, if you had read the post, that's mostly a product of the Industrial revolution/war. The norm used to be to have adult men, instituted in minor orders, to serve. It's only once men stopped doing it that boys were recruited.

Even so, this is a good way for them to think of their future as priests. Every now and then I like to ask the altar boys who will be saying the 10:00 mass 20 years from now?

Poche, I encourage you to read the article.

If a boy is inspired to consider priesthood through serving the altar, this is happy fruit, but an accidental one. The minor order of acolyte stands on its own; if anything, the acolyte is a servant of the deacon, not the priest.
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#19
(05-21-2016, 12:09 AM)Poche Wrote:
(05-19-2016, 12:14 PM)Fontevrault Wrote: When we explained to the boys that altar servers learn the mass and perhaps one day might consider a vocation to the priesthood, my daughter wanted to know what kind of "training program" there is for becoming a nun.  :LOL:
Nursing, child care, assistant to the catechist, sewing, singing in the choir, arrangement of flowers, arts and crafts, 

With the exception of perhaps singing and (in some orders, nursing), none of those things have anything to do with religious life for women! Even the singing is primarily for a religious sister's obligation to pray the Divine Office in common. But in the parish, the primacy of place in choirs should go to men and boys. I'm aware this ideal is so rarely realized that it's almost entirely forgotten, but it is, in fact, the subject of my next upcoming blog post.
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#20
There is a solid response blog post made by the recently instituted acolyte/subdeacon for Mater Ecclesiae in New Jersey: the only ordinary diocesan parish in the US that's dedicated solely to the traditional Latin rites: http://johnrotondijr.blogspot.com/2016/0...e-dei.html

Quote:"while I have little to add or complement to his [the Modern Medievalist's] words, I take this opportunity to reiterate that the Minor Orders ought to be restored in the parishes...Really, what he and I would argue are much the same: to restore and augment the Liturgy lived and experienced to its fullest potential in every parish, and to this end we need MEN to step up to make it happen..."

I highly encourage all to check it out.

[Image: Pent%2BVigil.JPG]
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