Non-Catholic Reader

Can a non-Catholic, specifically a catachumen or candidate, be a reader at Mass?

If your answer is "no" I would greatly appreciate a reference.

If your opinion is "no," that's another thing. :D

Thanks

Here was an answer that relates to weddings, but I think it would apply at any Mass:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=114377

I don't know that exact documentation for this. Maybe the General Instructions of the Romal Missal (GIRM)?

GIRM

[LEFT]101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim
the readings from Sacred Scripture. They should be truly suited to perform this function and
should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred[/LEFT]
texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture.[FONT=Times New Roman][size=1]86[/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=1][/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=1][/size][/FONT]
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According to the DIRECTORY FOR THE APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND NORMS ON ECUMENISM

  1. The reading of Scripture during a Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church is to be done by members of that Church. On exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the Bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another Church or ecclesial Community to take on the task of reader.

Surriter, thanks for the answer, but the link is confusing. The writer uses "lector" and "reader" interchangably and they are different. As I understand it, which of course may be totally wrong :o, a lector is insitutued and blessed by the bishop. A reader is neither of these.

kage_ar, thanks for your answer. I guess "other laypersons" could mean anyone suited, prepared, and commissioned by the priest?

Yes -- I too think that lector is an installed position. So I guess the generic term reader is used. But I would say Phemie's post is the best answer.

Phemie, thanks, that's the answer!

This "Directory" is a stand-alone document, or is it a part of something else?

[quote="GwenL, post:1, topic:180208"]
Can a non-Catholic, specifically a catachumen or candidate, be a reader at Mass?

If your answer is "no" I would greatly appreciate a reference.

If your opinion is "no," that's another thing. :D

Thanks

[/quote]

Gwen,
First of all, we need to keep in mind that proclaiming the readings at Mass is first reserved to an Instituted Lector (a man appointed by the bishop in a special ceremony very similar to an ordination). Only if there is no Instituted Lector available, can one of the faithful be deputed to temporarily fulfill the function of a Lector. That means that this isn't just something "anyone" can do. It's a ministry in the Mass.

In order to have a non-Catholic do the readings at Mass, it must be an exceptional occasion, and there must be a just cause. There's no "exceptional occasioin" where a Catechumen or Candidate would be called upon to do the readings--since there would always be qualified Catholics to do so.

Here's a reference from the Vatican
vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/general-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19930325_directory_en.html

  1. The reading of Scripture during a Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church is to be done by members of that Church. On exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the Bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another Church or ecclesial Community to take on the task of reader.

[quote="GwenL, post:5, topic:180208"]
Surriter, thanks for the answer, but the link is confusing. The writer uses "lector" and "reader" interchangably and they are different. As I understand it, which of course may be totally wrong :o, a lector is insitutued and blessed by the bishop. A reader is neither of these.

kage_ar, thanks for your answer. I guess "other laypersons" could mean anyone suited, prepared, and commissioned by the priest?

[/quote]

The only place I've ever seen this differentiation between lector & reader is on these boards. In real life in parishes the term is used interchangeably. When they are referring to an Instituted Lector they call him that.

[quote="GwenL, post:5, topic:180208"]
Surriter, thanks for the answer, but the link is confusing. The writer uses "lector" and "reader" interchangably and they are different. As I understand it, which of course may be totally wrong :o, a lector is insitutued and blessed by the bishop. A reader is neither of these.

kage_ar, thanks for your answer. I guess "other laypersons" could mean anyone suited, prepared, and commissioned by the priest?

[/quote]

The words reader and lector mean the same thing--and that often causes confusion. Many people (myself included) use the term "Lector" to refer to a duly instituted Lector, and the term "reader" to refer to a temporarily deputed lay reader. That's nothing more than a convenient way to save some typing.

As for the "other laypersons" part, that does refer to Catholics. It's a rather lengthy explanation, but suffice to say that "laypersons" refers to baptised members of the Church. When speaking of persons in other categories, different vocabulary is used.

Sorry my first post seems out of place---my browser got "jammed" while it was trying to submit the post.

I am very confused about this. You mean women aren’t supposed to read at mass? I have heard the word “installation” before. I am guessing that means becoming an Instituted Lector, but a bishop has to do this? (I couldn’t wade through all that link you put up there-- thanks in advance for response).

Fr David may have to correct me here, but I think he was saying that an officially installed lector is to be a man. It actually is (or used to be?) a minor rite leading up to priestly ordination, and for that reason, the official office of lector is for men.

But women can certainly do the readings! No worries there -- it's just that they are not officially installed by the bishop as a lector, even though they serve the exact same function. Many folks use the term lector even for a non-installed reader, and I don't think that's a problem.

Our parish has boys and girls as altar servers. This is now permitted, but I have to admit I don't like it when folks in our parish call them acolytes, because acolyte is another "official" office (I guess my logic isn't consistent).
Nobody at any parish near us is an installed acolyte; that's usually just at the seminaries.

[quote="surritter, post:12, topic:180208"]
Fr David may have to correct me here, but I think he was saying that an officially installed lector is to be a man. It actually is (or used to be?) a minor rite leading up to priestly ordination, and for that reason, the official office of lector is for men.

Lector used to be a minor order on the way to ordination. It's still a step toward ordination but no longer a minor order but an "Instituted ministry" reserved to men. The average parish will not see an instituted lector unless they have someone in the seminary who comes home on holidays or they have a man studying for the Permanent Diaconate. Few dioceses have permanent Lecto

Our parish has boys and girls as altar servers. This is now permitted, but I have to admit I don't like it when folks in our parish call them acolytes, because acolyte is another "official" office (I guess my logic isn't consistent).
Nobody at any parish near us is an installed acolyte; that's usually just at the seminaries.

[/quote]

Lector and Acolyte used to be minor orders on the way to ordination. That was discontinued (at least in the ordinary rite) and those minor orders became 'instituted ministries'. They can be permanent or steps on the way to ordination to the diaconate (permanent or transitional). Few dioceses have permanent instituted lectors and acolytes, they limit those instituted ministries to those preparing for ordination. I know in our diocese we don't even have Permanent Deacons, let alone Instituted Lectors and Acolytes, although I think for different reasons. Formation to become a Permanent Deacon would require going away to study as there is nothing in our diocese or even in our province. People aren't lining up to do that. But when it comes to the instituted ministries I'm convinced from the things I've seen and heard that it's strictly for PC reasons, just because it's reserved for men and having these instituted ministries in parishes would be interpreted as a mysogenistic move by the Church. Most bishops won't go there.

Since they are scarser than hen's teeth, someone has to fill their role and that's where ordinary people in the pew come into play. Men and women take on the role of lector (reader) and in most parishes, children, both boys and girls if the pastor wishes, take on the role of acolyte. I would venture to say that in many parishes you won't find any altar boy old enough to be an instituted acolyte since, in the US, they have to be 21.

[quote="Bailey2, post:11, topic:180208"]
I am very confused about this. You mean women aren't supposed to read at mass? I have heard the word "installation" before. I am guessing that means becoming an Instituted Lector, but a bishop has to do this? (I couldn't wade through all that link you put up there-- thanks in advance for response).

[/quote]

"Duly Instituted Lectors" are men who have been appointed and installed by the bishop in a special ceremony (similar to an ordination, but not an ordination).

In the absence of one, laypersons (men, or women) can be temporarily (for that particular moment) appointed by the priest at Mass to read for that Mass. But priests cannot apoint non-Catholics to do the readings. That was the original question.

The paragraph #133 is from the link I posted. Since it answers GwenL's question from the original post, I did a "cut and paste" but I referenced the document if anyone wants to either read the whole thing, or check to verify the source I gave. I wouldn't worry about reading the whole thing (not in this context).

The point I was trying to make there is that doing the readings at Mass is not something we should take too casually–and unfortunately, that’s often the case. People who do the readings can’t be “just anyone”, even though many people either think that way, or want it to be that way.

I’m not trying to distract from the OP by talking about “Duly Instituted Lectors” as distinct from laypersons who are temporarily appointed–different topic, different thread. The purpose was only to show that the Church regards the question of “who can do the readings” much more seriously than people (yes, some very well-meaning people) think.

Thank you! I actually didn’t know all this. I did know about acolytes because we always have one or two seminarians and/or deacon candidates at our parish… probably because we are so close to Mexico and also our pastor is an active recruiter, so to speak. We are spoiled that way.

Our lectors have to go through a training or two and are “installed.” It sounds like that’s not right. That they cannot be “installed.” I am guessing that was a move to make it special somehow… sounds like it is technically incorrect. Yes? Of course not being a lector I don’t know if the bishop has a say in this or not or if there is paperwork. Curious about all this, interesting…

I take that back: that installment thing was in my old parish up north. Here the priest calls them up (after their training) at the very end of a mass at the part after he blesses and sends the extraordinary ministers (to the home bound) and simply reads a blessing out of a book.

[quote="Bailey2, post:17, topic:180208"]
I take that back: that installment thing was in my old parish up north. Here the priest calls them up (after their training) at the very end of a mass at the part after he blesses and sends the extraordinary ministers (to the home bound) and simply reads a blessing out of a book.

[/quote]

We call it a commissioning. All the different ministers (readers, EMHC, servers, etc) are commissioned. The Pastor vets those who would like to be EMHCs. They are trained and once he's satisfied they meet the requirements he sends their names to the Bishop for approval. The Bishops sends back certificates giving them a commission for a set period of time (usually 2 years). When they are approved by the Bishop they are commissioned in a ceremony which is in one of our Canadian ritual books.

If the bishop does it in a specific ceremony, they are “Instituted” If a priest (or even the bishop himself) deputes them for a temporary period, they are “commissioned.”

There’s no problem using the word “installed” for the later. We just don’t have an adequate vocabulary anymore to describe these things. Until about 1972, they were ordained–and there’s little ambiguity in that word. But we’ve lost (or maybe, since 72, we’ve never adopted) a meaningful and clear vocabulary to describe the difference between “Duly Instituted Lectors/Acolytes” and laypersons who are temporarily deputed to these functions. The Church gives us the vocabulary, but it’s never taken hold, and it’s confusing in itself. We see that on these threads many times. People don’t understand why someone is not a “duly instituted lector” (for example) because they do indeed recall some ceremony where the pastor commissioned them to do the readings–it is confusing.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:19, topic:180208"]
If the bishop does it in a specific ceremony, they are "Instituted" If a priest (or even the bishop himself) deputes them for a temporary period, they are "commissioned."

There's no problem using the word "installed" for the later. We just don't have an adequate vocabulary anymore to describe these things. Until about 1972, they were ordained--and there's little ambiguity in that word. But we've lost (or maybe, since 72, we've never adopted) a meaningful and clear vocabulary to describe the difference between "Duly Instituted Lectors/Acolytes" and laypersons who are temporarily deputed to these functions. The Church gives us the vocabulary, but it's never taken hold, and it's confusing in itself. We see that on these threads many times. People don't understand why someone is not a "duly instituted lector" (for example) because they do indeed recall some ceremony where the pastor commissioned them to do the readings--it is confusing.

[/quote]

Thank you very much. Got it now! :)

Phemie, you too! :)

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