Loyalty to the Pope DAILY CATHOLIC for November 28
The Vicar of Christ Speaks
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vol, 8
no. 41

Gif Animation Photos of Holy Father used with permission of EWTN

INTRODUCTION: With the release on November 13th of the document on the respective duties of priests and lay people, especially in parish life and ecause of its importance and need for dissemination, we will take the next several issues to bring you this document in installments, signed by the heads of the Congregation for the Clergy, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. It was approved by the Holy Father on August 13 this year and signed two days later on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released publicly November 13th, the feast of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, a saint known for education. Education on these guidelines is necessary for all parishes at every level. Therefore, we bring you the Holy See's complete document in installments.

THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
on the Role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

tenth installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 1
Need for an Appropriate Terminology
      In his address to participants at the Symposium on "Collaboration of the Lay Faithful with the Priestly Ministry", the Holy Father emphasised the need to clarify and distinguish the various meanings which have accrued to the term "ministry" in theological and canonical language.(53)
    (53: Cf. John Paul II, Discourse at the Symposium on the "The Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry" (22 April 1994), n. 3 L'Osservatore Romano, English Language Edition, 11 May 1994.)

1. "For some time now, it has been customary to use the word ministries not only for the officia (officies) and non-ordained (functions) munera exercised by Pastors in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, but also for those exercised by the lay faithful in virtue of their baptismal priesthood. The terminological question becomes even more complex and delicate when all the faithful are recognized as having the possibility of supplying-by official deputation given by the Pastors-certain functions more proper to clerics, which, nevertheless, do not require the character of Orders. It must be admitted that the language becomes doubtful, confused, and hence not helpful for expressing the doctrine of the faith whenever the difference 'of essence and not merely of degree' between the baptismal priesthood and the ordained priesthood is in any way obscured".(54)

    (54: ibid.)

2. "In some cases, the extension of the term "ministry" to the munera belonging to the lay faithful has been permitted by the fact that the latter, to their own degree, are a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The officia temporarily entrusted to them, however, are exclusively the result of a deputation by the Church. Only with constant reference to the one source, the 'ministry of Christ' (...) may the term ministry be applied to a certain extent and without ambiguity to the lay faithful: that is, without it being perceived and lived as an undue aspiration to the ordained ministry or as a progressive erosion of its specific nature.
In this original sense the term ministry (servitium) expresses only the work by which the Church's members continue the mission and ministry of Christ within her and the whole world. However, when the term is distinguished from and compared with the various munera and officia, then it should be clearly noted that only in virtue of sacred ordination does the work obtain that full, univocal meaning that tradition has attributed to it." (55)

    (55: ibid.)

3. The non-ordained faithful may be generically designated "extraordinary ministers" when deputed by competent authority to discharge, solely by way of supply, those offices mentioned in Canon 230, 3(56)

    (56: Cf. Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, Response (1 June 1988): AAS 80 (1988), p. 1373.)
and in Canons 943 and 1112. Naturally, the concrete term may be applied to those to whom functions are canonically entrusted e.g. catechists, acolytes, lectors etc.

      Temporary deputation for liturgical purposes - mentioned in Canon 230, 2 - does not confer any special or permanent title on the non-ordained faithful.(57)

    (57: Cf. Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, Response (11 July 1992): AAS 86 (1994), pp. 541-542. Any ceremony associated with the deputation of the non-ordained as collaborators in the ministry of clerics, must not have any semblance to the ceremony of sacred ordination, nor may such ceremony have a form analogous to that of the conferral of lector or acolyte.)

      It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as "pastor", "chaplain", "coordinator", " moderator" or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.(58)

    (58: Such examples should include all those linguistic expressions: which in languages of the various countries, are similar or equal and indicate a directive role of leadership or such vicarious activity.)

NEXT ISSUE: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 2

November 28, 1997 volume 8, no. 41
VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS



November 1997