"Minor Orders Supressed" - Gasp - No Exorcists


#1

Another thread laments some of the changes that have occured within the church. The scope of the thread is far too broad to facilitate effective discussion (there’s enough there for a dozen threads). But one aspect of the post that seems to have generated the most feedback is the suppression of the “minor orders” (acolyte, lector, porter, and exorcist). I wanted to open a thread here to discuss this topic.

 Minor orders were a *ceremonial* recognition of a man’s progress through his seminary training.  They were NOT Sacramental, and they did NOT confer any spiritual privileges (and, historically, they could be bestowed upon laypeople, as the are today, in *de facto* fashion, in the case of acolyte and lector).   This is why Pope Paul VI (rightly, IMHO) regarded them as superfluous and suppressed them.

 Nobody seems to mind about the first three, but suppression of the “exorcist” minor order is controversial.  People seem to believe that the Church no longer has exorcists.

 This is **NOT **true.  However, present Canon Law requires that anyone performing the ministry of exorcism be at least a priest and operate only with the expressed consent of his Ordinary (Bishop):

 *No one may lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary… This permission is to be granted by the local Ordinary only to a priest endowed with piety, prudence, and integrity of life (Canon 1172).*

 Any priest may be an exorcist, regardless of whether he has received this so-called minor order, provided he has his Bishop’s permission.  So-called "minor orders" have NOTHING to do with the Church's ministry of exorcism.

#2

Out of curiosity, must an appointed exorcist receive the permission on the local Ordinary in order to perform the rite each individual time??? Thanks and God Bless.


#3

[quote=slinky1882]Out of curiosity, must an appointed exorcist receive the permission on the local Ordinary in order to perform the rite each individual time??? Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

It depends on the Bishop. All Bishops are expected to appoint at least one exorcist (though not all do - often because they cannot find a priest who will accept the assignment - which is another issue!). Some Bishops give this apointee wide latitude, whereas others want to “micromanage” their exorcists. Canon Law does not mandate what level of oversight the Bishop should have.


#4

I recall when my brother was in seminary back before the minor orders were suppressed. He received the “tonsure” signifying entry into the clerical state, and then the minor orders of acolyte, lector, porter, and exorcist. As you state, they were ceremonial and had no real effect. Thankfully, he did not attempt to perform an exorcism on me at that time. (There were, however, some of his old neighborhood pals who probably could have benefited from it.)


#5

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