01 April 2015, The Tablet

US Archbishop Cordileone defends right to ban altar girls

Controversy erupted at a mid-February meeting of the Priests’ Council in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, after a retired priest, Fr J Michael Strange, raised concerns about the decision by Fr Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish, to ban altar girls from his parish. The National Catholic Reporter obtained minutes of the meeting.

According to the minutes, Fr Strange said parishioners at the parish where he lives raised concerns about the decision. He also noted that Fr Illo did not consult the deanery in advance of the decision. According to the minutes, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone argued that a little diversity was no bad thing. “There are some people in the archdiocese that like worshipping in this way, they like seeing only altar boys on the altar, and [Cordileone] wonders why we can't have one or two parishes ... with this practice, so the lay faithful with this preference have a space to go,” the minutes report the archbishop as saying. “The Archbishop does not want to impose a policy that would restrict a pastor from exercising pastoral discretion in situations where the Church allows such discretion.” 

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