Tuesday, May 11, 2021



Can someone who knows please explain to me what has changed since Pope Francis opened up the former “minor orders” of lector and acolyte to both lay men and women?  Since the late 70’s and certainly by the 80’s most parishes in the USA have had female lectors and altar servers and some serving as adult “acolytes.” 

Now that these lay men and women can be installed “officially” into these ministries, are there any dioceses doing so and how do the “installed” versions of the uninstalled versions of these two ministries inter-relate? 


And the same with the brand new ministry of “CATECHIST” which Pope Francis has formerly established. 

Francis' motu proprio "Antiquum Ministerium", instituting the "ministry of Catechist"






How would the officially recognized CATECHIST relate to those who we already have teaching in religious education programs, both for children and adults?

Already, most dioceses have ways to certify who will be called a Director of Religious Education, DRE, and those who have lesser degrees called “Coordinators of Religious Education” or CRE’s. 

We have CCD teachers, some of whom are certified by diocesan programs and guidelines and others that aren’t.



Anonymous said...

These regulations are aimed at pushing the modern models we already practice on to the more troublesome African and Eastern European etc churches who have refused to get with the program, so that they can be just as wonderful as USA and Western European churches.

John Nolan said...

Everything's a 'ministry' these days, from giving out hymnbooks to singing in a choir. It's bollocks, and PF is an expert on the subject.

I have no interest in what Bergoglio says or does; he's an Argentine nincompoop with an acute case of verbal diarrhoea.

Anonymous said...

Romulus Augustus here, women in priestly cassocks as seen in the photo above only tells them that they can become priests which Bergoglio is trying to push on us and it will divide the Church even more that it is.

Pierre said...

John Nolan,

I refer to clerics like PF as an “empty cassock.”

UK-Priest said...

Well these initiatives have only recently been announced and PF has said further guidance will be forthcoming - so you can hardly explain they aren’t making any difference when they haven’t fully become effective yet.

Secondly, okay so maybe any practical impact may be limited within USA but the Catholic Church is universal - so there is a need to consider the needs of other communities across the whole world. The real world is not US centric.

One of the strength’s of PF’s reforms in the area of lay ministries is exactly that it builds upon existing developments on the ground, as well as directly responding to instructions contained within V2.

Anonymous said...

The "UK-priest" comment strikes me as lifted verbatim from Austin Iverleigh texts, and a hoot if it Austin lowering himself to pose as a priest while trolling blogs.

It also strikes me as a shameless sycophantic lower management parroting of upper management buzzwords regarding a heavily pushed, even though failing miserably, new and improved efficiency model which has brought production to a screeching halt.

JR said...

I'm confused. Pope Francis is always harping on "clericalism" and then turns around and establishes "ministries" as if they are "semi-clerics" (or wannabe clerics???). I think this all started when he changed the Missal and in essence said anybody with feet can have them washed on Holy Thursday.

Unknown said...

It does not appear much visible change will be seen in many US dioceses. Much of the change will be the less visible actual institution of these persons to these specific ministries. Some change may be seen with the performer of actual acolyte duties to laypersons as opposed to altar server duties. Some diocese, Galveston-Houston for example, have been instituting males not pursing ordination as acolytes for a number of years. The process general includes an application, a recommendation by a pastor, interview, and some educational classes. Presumably female acolytes and lectors of both sexes may be instituted using the same or similar methods. One change which may occur is the increased ability of a particular church to remove instituted persons from said ministries.

Perhaps all this will bring more into focus the reform of these ministries by Paul VI and their assignment to the laity, to include lay persons not seeking or unable to seek ordination.

The relationship between those institute and those not, but still performing these ministries, is yet to be seen. Many of those currently performing these ministries may seek formal institution; some may not.


Anonymous said...

Romulus Augustus, It was pope John Paul II who gave approval to "altar girls." The idea of dressing woman as priests has been around for a long time. Pope Francis is just taking it to the next level. The Church has adopted the secular culture's move towards androgyny a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

There are some who will not be happy until we become fully domesticated court chaplains to secular humanism.

Anonymous said...

Most times, Catholic “progressives” will follow the culture - modern secular culture - not the magisterium.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

RF, thank you for your thoughtful response.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change except - ONE THING - the role and value of true priesthood will be diminished... and sadly, this is Francis goal... He is building new church exchanging all what was always a norm established by ages of growing up and maturing as a church. Now, he is dropping it, for his own ideas, which nothing to do with Christ Jesus!

ByzRus said...

As the Church continues to increases is reliance on the laity in the wake of a diminishing presbyterate, I could see this as being a way to simply formalize an existing role.

Tom Marcus said...

The very title of this encyclical, with its purported appeal to the past and tradition reflects the sheer cunning of how certain forces at the top manipulate language to suit their purposes.

Pope Francis declares that we are having a "renewal" of catechesis. If he means the Catechesis of Perdition, he is accurate. If he means the immutable unchanging truths of the Catholic faith, then someone needs to hand him a shovel, because he's knee-deep in it.

Other than low-information Catholics, few in the Church take this motu inapproprio seriously. We don't take it seriously because we can't take the claims of its author seriously. We can't take the claims seriously because some of us actually wake up in this strange realm called reality every day.

The Church is having a massive decline in credibility. Its current Sankt-Gallen appointed helmsman isn't helping matters.

Anonymous said...

I can recommend reading:
“Is Pope Francis Blocking Women’s Progress In the Church”
by guest writer William M Shea.

Shea spent 17 years working in Jesuit universities and many more under direction by Jesuits.

He believes Francis is “an old fashioned Jesuit who can’t be put in a box”.

Shea DISAGREES with Jamie Manson (NCR 4/14/20) who believes Francis is now blocking the advancement of women in the Church generally and in the diaconate in particular and who claims Francis is “heartless and cruel” in his recent acts.

YET Shea states that he wants “the desacralisation of the ordained”, which he believes is the only way to thoroughly end clericalism.

Shea also wrote:

“Women don’t need sacralisation in ministry any more than men do. They need a calling and reception but no sacralisation. The era of sacralisation via priestly ordination and episcopal consecration should be over as far as I can see, so why throw women back into the institutional structures of a passing era.....”

(By the way, in this article Shea agrees with Manson that Cardinal Pell is an ecclesiological dinosaur and a nasty person to boot BUT was relieved at Australia’s highest court’s unanimous decision, which stated that the evidence and the original verdict failed both Pell and the legal system...and saw Pell released from prison....)

It was interesting for me to read Shea articulate what it means to be a Catholic who is not orthodox yet remains a sincere Roman Catholic. He claims it was high point in his life as a Catholic when a Catholic Archbishop named him an apostate after reading his 2015 book “Judas Was a Bishop.”

Mark Thomas said...

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter, ANTIQUUM MINISTERIUM, is beautiful, inspiring, powerful, as well as rooted deeply in Sacred Scripture, and Holy Tradition.

Our holy Pope's Apostolic Letter has addressed the “urgent need today to bring the Gospel to the contemporary world.”

Pope Francis declared that the catechist is “all the more urgently needed today as a result of our increasing awareness of the need for evangelization in the contemporary world and the rise of a globalized culture.”

The Apostolic Letter, ANTIQUUM MINISTERIUM, reflects Pope Francis' love of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis' determination to fill the world with the Good News is manifested via ANTIQUUM MINISTERIUM.

-- Pope Francis declared that the establishment of the lay ministry of Catechist will not prejudice "the Bishop’s mission as the primary catechist in his Diocese, one which he shares with his presbyterate, or to the particular responsibility of parents for the Christian formation of their children."

-- Pope Francis emphasized "that those called to the instituted ministry of Catechist be men and women of deep faith and human maturity, active participants in the life of the Christian community...receive suitable biblical, theological, pastoral and pedagogical formation...'

"It is essential that they be faithful co-workers with priests and deacons, prepared to exercise their ministry wherever it may prove necessary, and motivated by true apostolic enthusiasm."

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter in question, if implemented in line with the Letter's teachings, will provide bishops and priests with a vast holy, spiritual army of laymen who will help to evangelize countless folks.

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter is an exciting, holy, God-centered gift to the Holy People of God.


Mark Thomas

Tom Marcus said...

Mark Thomas,

Congratulations! Pravda couldn't have done a better job than you.

"exciting". "holy" . "GOD-CENTERED".


Anonymous said...

Imagine living as most of our ancestors lived for over a 1,000 years (c. 800 to 1800 of the common era) in Western Europe and what is now the UK and Ireland....
That is working hard as peasants from dawn to dusk most days (except Sunday) and praying daily and attending Mass, and enjoying a cycle of life based around Church holy days and festivals....knowing only stability in their religion at their level in their times.......and blessed with knowing next to nothing about what the clerical scoundrels in Rome were up to.. truly blessed they were!

Anonymous said...

“Anon” at 6.06am,

Now that is eloquent!


(Your loving daughter) Monica A...