"Save the altar girls.” The prestigious and influential American Jesuit journal, America, which has always been one of the most liberal examples of “Made in the USA” Catholicism, is now mounting a campaign to save the altar girls, who have been penalized by parish priests favoring males as “potential future priests.” The Jesuits, whose journal articles have not gone unnoticed by the Vatican, say that serving mass is not a sacrament, and not even a ministry. It is simply a “service” that is open to all - even to lay people. The issue of altar girls is, in fact, purely “pastoral.” The first altar girls appeared in the most “progressive” countries, such as the United States, Holland, and France immediately after the Second Vatican Council. Until 1994, the Vatican considered this “opening” an “abuse” to be tolerated. For girls to enter the space of the altar means the end of any attribution of impurity to their sex; it means that they too can have this important formative experience in religious education, a different focus than liturgy, and an approach to faith through its heart.
Link (here) to Inside the Vatican to read the full article