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Am I right in thinking that priests may prohibit female altar servers?

Full Question

Our parish priest says the Church does not permit the exclusion of female altar servers. I thought a priest can choose whether or not to have girl altar servers. What’s the correct answer?


You are correct. The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship has made it clear that while permission has been given to bishops to allow girls to serve at the altar, a bishop cannot force a priest in his diocese to admit women and girls to service at the altar.



  1. Kathi Reply

    Having been the co-ordinator for Altar Servers for our parish for 10 years now, I get much more respect, reverence, and female volunteers than those of the male gender. I think it’s time to move past “caged thinking” and encourage a dimensioning generation that does not believe in religion of any kind. We need to encourage faith, not put up doors and stop signs. Too many do’s and don’ts cause detours to places where people need to find acceptance and it often should be where the church should be found.

  2. Helen Reply

    We need more priests, and one of the ways young men hear the call into the Priesthood is during their time as an altar server, and getting to know and work with their priest.
    When there are more girls, than boys as servers, it could mean that maybe there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
    If a priest feels that in his parish he can help by having only boys, let him.
    The Church needs more young men in the Priesthood, badly.
    No Priests, no Eucharist.

  3. A.V. Reply

    You wrong!
    In our religious history of Christ. Females had shown them to lamented, suffered & show sorrowed in praising our Lord Jesus. Even in Lord ressurection, Christ had shown to them.
    I guest the Last Supper only represent his body as a holy grace to rised from the graved. With only chosen disciples around Him.
    To show us He is God the truely almighty.

  4. A.V. Reply

    A altar server, it didn’t disgrace or condoned the holy serviced. If this is wrong why up to now, God showed or appeared in dreams or unexplained appearances & cured to many females all over world. I think God show to us all, a man or woman are equal.

  5. Maria Christina Reply

    The way I see it there are more females that donate their time to the church then men.

  6. Mike Loria Reply

    I was an altar boy in the mid 1970s when it was unheard of to have female altar servers. I was away from the Catholic Church some years but have since attended some masses. I think the inclusion of the female gender as altar servers has been a wonderful addition. I have never been so moved by a mass than when I chaperoned March for Life earlier this year and the Mass in DC. The Catholic Church is alive and well and doing many good things.



  8. Stella francis Reply

    We should respect to girls n women’s to serve alterservice then only we can make a happy world for our lord jesus. Amen

  9. Danielle D. Reply

    I was an altar server and it was one of the best ways for me, as a young girl, to experience and fully understand the Mass. I appreciate that only allowing males could lead to possible priesthood, but allowing females could also lead to sisterhood. I hope that both my son and my daughter will be allowed to experience altar service in their teen years. It was a fantastic experience.

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