Acolytes and Lectors

I did notice this liturgical news earlier this week. Yay, but yawn.

I can imagine the hand-wringing about it in traditional circles. The so-called minor orders were suppressed in the early 1970s. But they made a comeback in the heady years of retreat from liturgical reform. The notion of men-only in these lowest of clergy ranks has been used as justification for the men-only practice in servers and lectors in many parishes and a diocese here and there. There’s hardly a connection with parish volunteers and the old clergy system anymore. Today’s lay lectors and servers are just better at their role, especially if they have been well-discerned and formed in the role.

In some places, the lingo has just been altered to satisfy some fragment of tradition. Readers instead of lectors. Servers instead of acolytes.

This would have been a positive development in 1975 or so. I can’t see significant impact today. Pastors in parishes and dioceses will still do as they have done or as they please. Lector and server rosters are populated with females and that will continue. There won’t be an uptick in numbers.

The real issues confronting us in liturgy and ministry are untouched by this. We need baptized persons realizing their vocation in the foundational sacrament as disciples. Not spectators. Liturgical ministers need discernment and formation, as they always have.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Acolytes and Lectors

  1. chemicalbean says:

    Hello! I’m surprised that so few people seem to have heard this or think it is no big deal. Yes, functionally, things probably stay the same. It might even be that individual bishops choose to continue to only institute lay men in preparation for ordination because it is required, and they do not want to mess with formation for a permanent, stable ministry outside of that. But, I do feel validated. I am so tired of hearing about how girls (like I once was) shouldn’t have ever been permitted to serve Mass (like I once did) and that it takes the role away from boys who need it more and are preferred by noble tradition and anyway only they would ever be able to be a priest, and by extension, a real acolyte. And now, as a grown woman, I get the idea that maybe we can accept little girls but the idea of a grown woman serving the liturgy as acolyte is culturally frowned-on. Finally, at least in the code of praxis, baptism is baptism and lay ministry is lay ministry.

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