The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has clarified that girls are not allowed to serve at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
It made clear that the Instruction on Summorum Pontificum, Universae Ecclesiae, does not permit female altar servers at the older Mass.
Universae Ecclesiae states “the Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the Sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962”. Permission for female altar servers came with the Circular Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments of 1994. However, the rubrics of the 1962 Missal did not allow for females on the sanctuary during Mass.
The letter, signed by Mgr Guido Pozzo, Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, said that “permitting female altar servers does not apply to the Extraordinary Form”.
Fr Alban McCoy, university chaplain at Cambridge, has celebrated the Extraordinary Form with female altar servers. He said he did not seek to include women in his team of servers but “decided not to refuse the request of two young women to serve in the old form”.
His team includes six boys and four girls. “We have one team of servers for all Masses – Ordinary and Extraordinary; one rite of liturgy, one set of servers.”
A spokesman for the Latin Mass Society said the clarification was “significant” and that all bishops should practice in accordance with what has been stated in the letter.