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Reprieve for altar girls after Vatican backdown

Rewriting a proposed Vatican document on liturgical norms, Vatican officials have dropped all references to altar girls and are substantially revising other points in the document, a Vatican official has said.

A ban against allowing ministers of other mainline Christian faiths to bless the congregation at the end of a Catholic liturgy also has been removed, an official familiar with the document told Catholic News Service.

The official said the document, which the Vatican hopes to release by December, will be less detailed than the draft circulated in June to members of the congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The proposed document was sent back to its drafting committee in June after cardinals and bishops raised some objections and encouraged some changes.

Catholic News Service

Australian Church official dismisses liturgical 'kite-flying' (25/9/03)
New document on Eucharist delayed by debates within Vatican (Catholic World News)
Magazine says Vatican set to ban altar girls (24/9/03)
Fishing at the Vatican: Journalists not sure what they're catching (Catholic News Service 26/9/03)
Vatican says Bishops cannot require priests to use altar girls (4/1/02)
Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II (full text, Vatican website)

31 Oct 2003