Tuesday, January 12, 2021



Throughout his papacy and even recently, His Holiness, Pope Francis has warned the Church about clericalizing the laity who actually want to be. Recently it was directed toward permanent deacons who see their role as serving the altar, becoming "mini" or wannabe priests. But deacons DO enter the clerical state.

But hasn't Pope Francis himself now done just that? Permanently installing laity into two liturgical ministries, lector and acolyte once reserved for those preparing for the diaconate and/or priesthood and thus just for men?

Was this "development of doctrine" itself a misnomer, it should be "development of canon law", well thought out?

I am beginning to have some second thoughts. 

Pope Francis' quote:

No to clericalizing the laity

Setting aside his prepared text, Pope Francis warned against the danger of what he termed as “clericalizing the laity”.  Sometimes, he said, permanent deacons, who are to be the custodians of service in dioceses, soon find themselves “looking at the altar” and end up as “wannaby priests”.  Work with the laity but don’t clericalize them, the Pope said. "Move the deacons away from the altar… They are the custodians of service, not first-class altar boys or second-class priests,” he added.

How much more for a permanent installation of lectors and acolytes from the laity?


Anonymous said...

Is choosing, training, and employing a bank teller to perform a teller's usual duties turning that individual into a branch manager, bank president, or director of human resources?


Neither is choosing, training, and assigning a Lector or Eucharistic Minister to perform the usual duties of that post into a priest, pastor, or cleric of any kind.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mixing apples and oranges. So don't talk about secular jobs in anyway being equal to church volunteer ministries.

We are speaking now of permanently installing lay people into the formal ministry of lector and acolyte. When that person moves from one parish to the other, do they have a right to continue since it is the bishop's designation, not the pastor's.

If a deacon is assigned to a parish, the pastor can't make him do something lesser at the liturgy, like be an altar server and not proclaim the gospel or the other deacon jobs.

Can you make an installed lector or acolyte be a choir member or usher instead?

Can you only be one, a lector or acolyte but not both?

Since it is now under the domain of the bishop, these two lay ministries are now under his supervision and guidelines and no longer how we have managed it since laity could be readers or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion or adult servers.

Clericalization will be taking place!

John Nolan said...

I regularly see priests function as deacons, subdeacons and MCs in both forms of the Roman Rite. I recall singing in a schola for an EF sung Requiem and a priest acted as cantor. Like the rest of us he wore clerical choir dress (we were singing in the sanctuary) but unlike the rest of us he was not substituting for a cleric!

Recently we had a permanent deacon who regularly assisted at an EF Missa Cantata. He sang the Epistle (without diaconal stole) and the celebrant sang the Gospel.

In traditional monasteries priests serve Mass for other priests - a laudable custom. Choosing some members of the laity over others based on conferred 'status' rather than acquired skills, such as serving or singing, is not a good idea. I suspect there will be someone without humility who will 'try it on', and it is up to the parish priest to tell her she is out of order.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking how prior, it was specifically stated by Rome that folk who were lectors were NOT to have that duty as some regular job, but that as many competent and various a folk as possible be given a shot, to prevent blurring of priestly and lay, lest these folk see themselves as holding some true office and be some manner of bigshot over other lay members...

Of course the exact opposite happened, and just TRY to be a lector at most parishes..."so sorry, we really have no open slots just sorry, it takes SPECIAL training and we are not scheduling any training just now."

Bergoglio just institutionalized this state throughout the Church, not just A local church.

John Nolan said...

It's beyond satire. I realize that lay readers are referred to as 'lectors' in the United States. There and elsewhere they stroll up to the lectern and read the first two lections in the OF, plus the RP and so-called Gospel acclamation. Sometimes well, often badly.

How many are competent to sing the first two readings? Very few. So we are encouraging the laity to perform functions for which they are not suited. Come to think of it, how many permanent deacons actually sing the Gospel in Latin or the vernacular? It should go with the dalmatic, but clearly doesn't.

It is hardly surprising that our Eastern brethren hold the modern liturgical practice of the RC Church in contempt.

As do I, as experienced in most places.