Ministeria Quaedam 4: Revision

A reminder that not all post-conciliar reforms were covered by the conciliar documents.

While Vatican Council II was in preparation, many bishops of the Church requested that the minor orders and subdiaconate be revised. Although the Council did not decree anything concerning this for the Latin Church, it stated certain principles for resolving the issue.

It is a common fallacy, especially in circles of resistance that if a council document didn’t legislate it, it can’t be done, or it can be easily undone. Not so fast. Popes and bishops still have resources to revise and reform the Church. Minor orders are hardly the stuff of institution by Christ.

Given that, how are traditions like acolytes, readers, porters, subdeacons, and such reformed? By general principles laid down in the liturgy constitution:

There is no doubt that the norms laid down by the Council regarding the general and orderly reform of the liturgy [CF. SC 21, 62] also include those areas that concern ministries in the liturgical assembly, so that the very arrangement of the celebration itself makes the Church stand out as being formed in a structure of different orders and ministries. [Cf. old GIRM 58]

This is a significant principle to recall:

Thus Vatican Council II decreed that “in liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” [SC 28]

Basically, it means that other things being equal, clergy don’t do things lay persons do. Vice versa, obviously.

There is no English translation of this document, but I did find an English rendering here on the Adoremus site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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