The Trenton diocese has invented a new order of acolytes to serve at the bishop’s liturgies in the cathedral. They are called “Guardians of the Altar.” Guardians? Really? Does the altar in Trenton need to be guarded? From whom? Girls?

It appears that plain old (“traditional”) acolytes won’t do for the bishop’s celebrations. These Guardians of the Altar are “highly trained” (in what?) to be the “elite of the servers.” Examples of the celebrations for which these super acolytes are needed, enumerated in the diocesan newspaper, the Trenton Moniter, are: ordinations, the Chrism Mass, and the Rite of Election.

Funny, but everywhere else general, all-purpose acolytes are able to handle these services just fine. Good training should be de rigeur for all liturgical ministers, especially servers. I have seen it done extremely well at the parish level and in cathedrals.

Isn’t it ironic that while Pope Francis is cutting down on ranks of monsignors, the bishop of Trenton is inventing new “ranks” for — altar servers! Apparently creating elites, not service, is what sells.

Oh yes, and they are all male.

“It has been a very, very good thing for the boys of our parish,” the religious education director said.

Ah, now we come to the nub of the issue. Relegating female altar servers to a lower status by creating bogus “special” skills that can only be performed by boys.

Sorry, but imho this isn’t good for boys, or girls, and it is not worthy of adults to play such games.