National Catholic Register

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The Limits of Lay Ministry

BY Stephen Banyra

November 30-December 6, 1997 Issue | Posted 11/30/97 at 2:00 PM

 

Following are excerpts from the new Vatican instruction The Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests:

%On Preaching

“The homily during the celebration of the holy Eucharist must be reserved to the sacred minister, priest, or deacon to the exclusion of the non-ordained faithful, even if these should have responsibilities as 'pastoral assistants'or catechists in whatever type of community or group.”

% On Eucharistic Ministers

“Extraordinary ministers may distribute holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute holy Communion. They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute holy Communion.”

% On Ministry to the Sick

“Since they are not priests, in no instance may the non-ordained perform anointings either with the Oil of the Sick or any other oil.”

% On Sunday Liturgies in the Absence of a Priest

“It must be clearly understood that such celebrations are temporary solutions and the text used at them must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority. The practice of inserting into such celebrations elements proper to the holy Mass is prohibited.”

—Stephen Banyra