Synod Prop 17 calls upon women to be admitted to the “official” ministry of lector. Here it is, word for word:
The synodal fathers acknowledge and encourage the service of the laity in the transmission of the faith. On this point, women especially have an indispensable role above all in the family and in catechesis. In fact, they are able to awaken interest in the Word, the personal relationship with God, and to communicate the meaning of forgiveness and evangelical sharing.
It is desirable that the ministry of the lector be open also to women, so that the Christian community will recognize their role as heralds of the Word.
We had a discussion on this a few months ago. I can’t think of anything to add to it now.
The other two propositions are pretty tame fare:
Celebrations of the Word of God
The celebration of the Word of God is recommended according to the different forms received from the liturgical tradition (cf. SC 35). Many ecclesial communities, which do not have the possibility of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration, find in the celebration of the Word the food for their faith and for Christian testimony.
The celebration of the Word is one of the privileged places of encounter with the Lord, because in this proclamation, Christ makes himself present and continues to speak to his people (cf. SC 7). Even in the midst of today’s noise, which makes effective listening very difficult, the faithful are encouraged to cultivate a disposition of interior silence and of listening to the Word of God that transforms life.
The Synodal Fathers recommend that ritual directories be formulated, based on the experience of Churches in which formed catechists regularly lead Sunday assemblies round the Word of God. The purpose is to avoid such celebrations being confused with the Eucharistic liturgy.
Reception of the Word, the prayer of praise, thanksgiving and petition, which make up the celebration of the Word of God, are manifestations of the Spirit in the heart of the faithful and in the Christian assembly, gathered round the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, in fact, makes the proclaimed and celebrated Word of God fruitful in the heart and life of those who receive it.
We also believe that pilgrimages, celebrations, different forms of popular piety, the missions, spiritual retreats and special days of penance, reparation and forgiveness are a concrete opportunity, offered to the faithful to celebrate the Word of God and enhance their knowledge.
The Church has promoted Word services from the time of Vatican II. The laity largely push back in favor of Communion services. The Word is less important, thanks in part to Pope Pius X. Rather than see this as an obstacle, the challenge–opportunity, if you will–is to make that connection between Word and sacrament. The principles the bishops lay out in Prop 18 are valuable. It helps a community to be practicing these, applying them at Mass, before they are asked to go without Mass, then asked to “substitute” Word services.
Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours is a privileged way to hear the Word of God because it puts the faithful in contact with sacred Scripture and with the living Tradition of the Church. Hence, the Synod hopes that the faithful will participate in the Liturgy of the Hours, above all in lauds and vespers. Hence, it would be useful to prepare a simple form of the Liturgy of the Hours where it does not exist yet.
Bishops, priests, deacons, religious and those already delegated to it by the Church must remember their sacred duty to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. This is very much recommended to the lay faithful, so that this liturgy becomes, in an even greater sense, the prayer of the whole Church.
We’ve addressed the Hours in great detail back in 2007. That includes a look at the role of the Word in this prayer: psalms primarily, and the readings. I was a little surprised at the suggestion to produce a “simple form” of the LH. Thirty-five years after the GILH, and we get a useful suggestion. Liturgical publishers, of course, have already been doing this. Would some official endorsement be forthcoming for “simple forms” where they do exist?