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Vatican says Bishops cannot require priests to use altar girls

In an English-language document, the Vatican said bishops cannot require their priests to use female altar servers.

While upholding bishops' authority to permit use of female servers in their dioceses, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said the use of male servers should be especially encouraged, in part because altar boys are a potential source of priestly vocations.

The document, a 27 July letter responding to a query from an unidentified bishop, was published in late December in Notitiae, the congregation's bulletin.

The bishop was considering whether to authorize the use of female altar servers in his diocese.

Congregation for Divine Worship