If we look back into history we see several Popes condemning this practice. It seeped into the Greek Church back in the mid 1700s, and was out rightly condemned by Pope Benedict XIV. An encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on July 26, 1755 titled Allatae Sunt, addressed problems with the Oriental Churches. Female servers was one of the problems addressed. Pope Benedict XIV plainly referenced two of his predecessors who also condemned this practice, "Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: "Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry." We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21." So we have here at least three Popes calling this practice, "evil" and an abuse, yet we have the Pope today plainly contradicting his predecessors. I am aware that this is an issue of praxis, and is not strictly dogmatic in nature, nonetheless it seems to me to be quite perplexing for the Pope to be furthering this practice rather than taking it back in the other direction. Any thoughts?
Freiburg im Bresgau, 8.26.11 (KIPA) The Vatican has given a green light for female altar servers for the papal visit to Freiburg (Germany). Nine female and eight male servers from the Freiburg Archdiocese will minister at the youth prayer and the closing liturgy on September 24-25, the diocese announced on Friday. It is customary that no female serves are used at papal liturgies in the Vatican. By contrast, there were female servers at the liturgies for Benedict XVI’s visit to Bavaria in 2006.Link to German article.