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Magazine says Vatican set to ban altar girls

The Vatican is about to publish a series of instructions banning altar girls and liturgical dancing, according to the Italian Catholic monthly Jesus.

The initiative is being reported widely this morning in The Australian and the Murdoch tabloid newspapers in this country.

The Italian magazine said the Vatican would issue 37 specific measures this year or early in 2004. They were foreshadowed in Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia on the Mass published in April.

The magazine also claims that Catholic priests will no longer be able to take part in joint liturgical celebrations with Christian ministers of other denominations.

Also listed for exclusion from the Mass is readings from texts other than the Bible, and applause.

The reports indicate that no reason was given for the move, and all Catholics - clerical and lay - will be encouraged to denounce "abuses" of the regulations to their bishops, or even to the Vatican itself.

Jesus is published by the St Pauls Publications in Italy, the publishing house responsible for the weekly mass circulation Famiglia Christiana.

Daily Telegraph/AP

Jesus Magazine
Vatican split over wine and girls (Irish Examiner)
No Clapping, Dancing at Mass, Vatican to Warn (Reuters)
Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II (full text, Vatican website)
Australian bishops welcome Papal Encyclical on Eucharist (22/4/03)
Encyclical reflects pope's own eucharistic devotion, bishop says (Catholic News Service)
Vatican says Bishops cannot require priests to use altar girls (4/1/02)

24 Sep 2003