24 September 2002 on the Pope's speech emphasizing the importance of liturgical laws to the bishops of Brazil.


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Instituted Lectors

Journal of 5 October 2002 about this speech


John Paul II on Ministries

Its pleasing to hear that the Pope has emphasized the importance of the liturgy in his addresses to the bishops of Brazil.

According to the Vatican Information Service (VIS) report:

... "To disregard the basic difference and the mutual ordination between priestly ministry and the common priesthood of the faithful," he continued, "has immediate repercussions in liturgical celebrations." In this sense, he reminded the pilgrims of the "scarce observance of certain laws and ecclesiastical norms, the arbitrary interpretation of the concept of 'replacement' and the lay tendency to be 'clerical'." ...

It is also encouraging that he spoke about the great benefit of permanent deacons. But it is disappointing that he did not speak about instituted ministers. According to the VIS:

... John Paul II indicated that "the lay faithful can exercise certain duties and functions in collaboration with the pastoral service, when they are expressly asked by their respective holy pastors." ...

That the duties of lay ministries should only be done "when they are expressly asked" does not seem consistent with the Catechism:

903. Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

Is there are proposal for a further revision of the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal? Instead of:

101. In the absence of an instituted reader, other lay people may be designated to proclaim the readings from the Sacred Scriptures.

Should it read: "Whoever the priest expressly asks is to proclaim the Sacred Scriptures."?

That John Paul II should promote the role of ordained ministers is appropriate. But before they can become ordained ministers they must become instituted ministers. I think more should be done to promote these ministries of lector and acolyte.

1230K Sat 5 Oct 2002

I am relieved to find that the English translation of the Pope's speech of 21 September does not have anything about a need to expressly ask lay ministers to perform their duties.

The closest he comes to what the Vatican Informatin Service reported him saying was:

"I wish to recall here that non ordained lay persons can exercise tasks and functions of collaboration in the pastoral service when they have been properly prepared for that by their Pastors and in accord with the prescriptions of law (can. 228 1)."

I agree with this and see it as completely reasonable.

By J.R. Lilburne, 24 September 2002. Updated 25 September 2002 and 5 October 2002. I give what I have written to the public domain.

Other Sites:

Speech of 21 September 2002, in Italian

VIS report on the speech

September Speeches

Link added 5 October 2002:

Speech of 21 September 2002, in English