An update on Father Lankeit’s vocations program

In MP: Straight Talk on Altar Girls (Oct. 19, 2011), I voiced support for a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix who had returned altar service to being open only to those capable of ordination. “If we may reasonably conclude that service as an altar boy is helpful in fostering vocations to the priesthood, it makes sense to prioritize unmarried men and especially boys for altar service,” I said, because “[g]iven the urgency of the concerns animating [Fr.] Lankeit’s decision and the paucity of empirical evidence available, allowing the experiment and seeing what happens over a reasonably brief period of, say, ten to twenty years, is valuable.” “[E]arly returns would appear within a matter of a few years if not a few months,” I said: “If altar girls discourage boys, ceteris paribus, we would expect to see an increase in males volunteering for altar service in short order.” Well, some tentative results are in. It’s working.

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