(WOMENSENEWS)–A proposal drafted by the Vatican, but not yet approved by Pope John Paul II, suggests that altar boys should have preference over altar girls, reported the Washington Post.

Citing a leaked directive published in the Jesus Magazine, a Catholic monthly, the Post reported that the proposal calls for permitting altar girls to serve only when there is “just pastoral cause,” a phrase not defined in the document.

“We had a whole generation of girls and women angry that they could not be servers at Mass,” Thomas Reese, Jesuit priest and editor in chief of the Catholic magazine America, told the Post. “We don’t need this grief.”

Pope John Paul II is generally seen as conservative and has made his opposition to the ordination of women widely known in the strongest of terms. However, in 1994, the Vatican gave bishops the authority to allow altar girls to serve at Mass and the practice is now widespread.

— Carline Bennett.