Benedict Constable, the nom de plume of a noteworthy traditional Catholic scholar and author, has recently penned an article for the website OnePeterFive, dealing with the question of whether or not women should be lectors at Mass.
Though currently in many places this is far from obvious, the tradition of the Church has been - and, as far as instituted lectors and acolytes go, still is - for male-only service within the sanctuary (cf. Paul VI, Ministeria quaedam, no. 7). But why is this, and has it been beneficial for the Church in our time to allow women as well as men to read the scriptures at Mass in the absence of an instituted lector?
In the style of a Thomistic question, Constable does a great job of examining the issue. A few selections from his article:
First, the ever-increasing number of parishes and chapels in which the Extraordinary Form is celebrated have reintroduced all over the world, to the relief of traditionally-minded men and women, the custom of male-only service in the sanctuary. But the very experience of this once-universal practice necessarily prompts Catholics to raise the question of why it “had” to change at all, and the related question: Is the Church better off for the change, or, as with communion in the hand while standing or communion under both kinds, worse off?
Second, we are living in an age when many believers are revisiting and critically examining the blithe assumptions and hasty moves of the past half-century—and are finding, perhaps to their surprise, that the rationales behind many of the changes are shallow at best, ideological at worst.
Third, now that the evil fruits of a disordered feminism are far more apparent in society and in the Church than ever before, Catholics who have their heads screwed on straight are more open than ever to a fundamental critique of the modern tendency to treat men and women as interchangeable entities...
It may be said, in addition, that rationalism has played far too great a role in the liturgical reform and the evils that have followed from it, as Joseph Ratzinger frequently observes. We are considering here a poignant example. Could anything be more rationalistic than ignoring the raw, earthy, elemental differences between man and woman? Could anything be more Cartesian than pretending they are the same, or indistinguishable, or interchangeable, or substitutable? Our age will surely go down in history, if there is much of history left, as the age in which common sense met its demise.Head over to OnePeterFive to read the whole article and the follow-up, Male-Female Symbolism in Liturgical Roles: Not Bizarre, Just Catholic.