More than boys; why men are needed to serve the altar
#31
I am an altar server. The priest asked for the fathers to serve as well as the sons. So a group of fathers serve, and the sons learn, first by watching, then by exercising the various duties as they get older and more responsible. I think it is very good for the boys to see their fathers taking the Faith seriously at the altar. There is no fooling around. There is also no sense that old ladies are fawning over their kids. It's a guy's world. It is sober and noble. We wear cassocks, and yes, sometimes they are red. None of it seems odd, so I don't know where you are going with the suggestion, Poche.

I read HK's article on this a long time ago, and have always thought he is right, not only on this topic, but also on his view of the Divine Office. There is not going to be a way to restore traditional practice in the Church without adult males taking their roles seriously, and there are many possible roles.

On a separate note, there is also a lack of a sense of what girls are supposed to do as well, though this is a different question, and one that falls under the umbrella-category of the "crisis of women" and so on in the Church. Sewing is an excellent example of what is wrong here: sewing used to be absolutely necessary decades ago. Now, if you want vestments, you go to a store and buy them, period. Thus, getting the girls to sew is not going to allow them to make any visible contribution, and I think they will find it hard to stick with it. It will seem useless to them. However, unless there are people with aesthetic sense involved in the making of vestments, they will become rare and/or those who make them will make horrid creations, of which we see many already. I have a young girl, and I find it a lot harder to know "where to go" with her in all this. Ideas welcome, ladies! I do my best to instill aesthetic good sense in her, appreciation for chant, love of poetry, etc. But it is a gaping hole for me. Sometimes I wonder: if all families had, say an average of 7 children, the girls would already be busy helping their mothers with all of the motherly duties. Problem solved. In such a case, it would be up to men again to deal with vestments.

Anyway, I think that there is no clear culture anymore about the roles of men and women in the Church, and what roles we thought there were are just getting more and more confused with every passing day. Maybe there will be deaconesses 10 years from now. To hear the reigning Pope, this is not necessarily a closed case anymore. If so, was I wrong to discourage and ultimately prevent my daughter from trying to be an altar server at a different, NO church? As far as I can see, in the NO parish (not where I serve), the priest celebrates mass, and ladies administer everything else. A guy does church repairs. The altar servers are girls, who look utterly ridiculous in large, white garments. So I don't know. Maybe I am wrong to think that there are indeed "roles." The current pontificate is full of surprises.

So maybe it is just an aesthetic preference I have, when I say I think HK is right on altar service, chant, the Office, and pretty much everything he posts on. If so, I can only hope that in the future, there will be churches for poor people like me with such preferences.
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#32
(05-24-2016, 10:17 AM)maldon Wrote: So maybe it is just an aesthetic preference I have, when I say I think HK is right on altar service, chant, the Office, and pretty much everything he posts on. If so, I can only hope that in the future, there will be churches for poor people like me with such preferences.

That's a big endorsement. Thanks.

The problem with red cassocks is that there really isn't any reason to use them unless the usage is determined by a longstanding privilege, e.g. a chorister in the Westminster Cathedral or Sistine Chapel choirs. Otherwise, as Dom Matthew Britt wrote in "How to Serve (in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions)" (1934):

Quote:Cassocks of altar boys should be black. It is fitting that a boy serving Mass should wear the clerical garb, which consists, for all clerics who are not prelates, of a black cassock and a white surplice...

The use of red for such cassocks and accessories...dates from the nineteenth century and no earlier, and however attractive red cassocks may be to some, and distracting to others, they do not harmonise well with the dignity of Christian worship. As ministers of the altar the servers have dignity enough from their office without these red vestments...

Admittedly, there's much bigger fish to fry out there....
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#33
The last time I saw red cassocks used was at a mass in Nice at a church run by the Red Penitents.  I assumed that it was a vestige of their old outfits which looked at bit like the KKK but in red.  Perhaps it wasn't that at all . . .
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#34
(05-19-2016, 10:40 AM)Fontevrault Wrote: Those young boys should be led by an older boy (at least) or a man.

In our parish they always are.
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#35
One of the local parishes here (SSPX) uses red cassocks for the servers for greater feasts.

What do you think of the servers' attire at Institute of Christ the King parishes...?  (For those who don't know, they wear a blue cassock with a white, collared surplice.)
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#36
(05-25-2016, 10:58 AM)ermy_law Wrote: What do you think of the servers' attire at Institute of Christ the King parishes...?  (For those who don't know, they wear a blue cassock with a white, collared surplice.)

I'm not a fan of the collars because they resemble mozzettas or pellegrini (both of which are marks of distinction or rank, not worn by just any old cleric). The blue is fine, though. It's part of a privilege granted to their society. From the Institute's FAQ:

Quote:In 2006, the Cardinal Archbishop of Florence, responsible for the overview of the Institute's life, bestowed upon our priests and oblates their specific choir dress. The choir dress consists of a rochet, a mozzetta, the cross of St. Francis de Sales on a blue and white ribbon, and a biretta with a blue pom-pom. The superiors have a blue mozetta, the priests have a black mozetta with blue piping, and the oblates wear the cross and ribbon on the surplice. The blue stands for our complete dedication to the Blessed Mother and is traditionally the color shown on St. Francis de Sales in most paintings of him. The choir dress expresses the strong unity, spiritually, and identity of the Institute and adds solemnity to the liturgy.

It would make more sense, however, if the Institute's seminarians also wore blue cassocks when sitting in choir. Since they wear black, it raises the question of why their servers would wear anything different. The whole idea of servers wearing choir dress is to imitate what the real clerics are wearing, since they stand in for minor orders.

[Image: Gricigliano_20140701_180448.JPG]
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#37
Interesting points, HK.  I hadn't considered the variance between the choir dress and the servers' cassock.  I happen to like the blue cassocks aesthetically in themselves, but they do create an odd color palate on days where the vestments are anything other than white -- particularly when seen at the altar paired with green or red vestments.  Not that aesthetics should carry the day on these questions, but there you have it.

What do you make of the medallions that servers are given as marks of distinction?  I've noticed this both at Institute parishes and at the SSPX -- I think that the latter has an altar servers' guild that awards service with red-corded medallions worn whilst serving.
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#38
(05-26-2016, 09:33 AM)ermy_law Wrote: Interesting points, HK.  I hadn't considered the variance between the choir dress and the servers' cassock.  I happen to like the blue cassocks aesthetically in themselves, but they do create an odd color palate on days where the vestments are anything other than white -- particularly when seen at the altar paired with green or red vestments.  Not that aesthetics should carry the day on these questions, but there you have it.

What do you make of the medallions that servers are given as marks of distinction?  I've noticed this both at Institute parishes and at the SSPX -- I think that the latter has an altar servers' guild that awards service with red-corded medallions worn whilst serving.

I tend to worry about altar servers who receive awards and medals of distinction. I still remember what happened to Dr. Fields. 
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#39
Quote:The overall decline of religiosity among men. It's often observed that, in Europe, the men tend to stay in the back of the church (if they bother to come at all) and chatter amongst themselves about sports or other trivialities while the women and children sit up front. Accounts of the 19th and early 20th centuries tell the same story, particularly amongst certain ethnic groups, such as Italians, where religion had become something deemed highly personal or worse, feminine.

I'm surprised to read this was happening in the 19th century??? That long ago! I kept thinking a lot of these issues were relatively modern, like mid-20th century.
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#40
(05-28-2016, 02:06 AM)introvert Wrote:
Quote:The overall decline of religiosity among men. It's often observed that, in Europe, the men tend to stay in the back of the church (if they bother to come at all) and chatter amongst themselves about sports or other trivialities while the women and children sit up front. Accounts of the 19th and early 20th centuries tell the same story, particularly amongst certain ethnic groups, such as Italians, where religion had become something deemed highly personal or worse, feminine.

I'm surprised to read this was happening in the 19th century??? That long ago! I kept thinking a lot of these issues were relatively modern, like mid-20th century.

I was a bit surprised at first too, but after thinking about it for a bit I think it makes sense. We often think of VII as the beginning of the deline, but really it was an endpoint. A series of innovations and changes that stretch back to the 19th century laid the groundwork for it to be even possible for it to happen. It was only a matter of time before it became widespread.
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