ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING
THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED
FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST
LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA
VATICAN CITY 1997
The source of the call addressed to all members of the
Mystical Body to participate actively in the mission and
edification of the People of God, is to be found in the mystery
of the Church. The People of God participate in this call
through the dynamic of an organic communion in accord with their
diverse ministeries and charisms. The call has been forcefully
repeated in the documents of the Magisterium, particularly since
the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council(1) and thereafter. This is
especially true of the last three General Ordinary Assemblies of
the Synod of Bishops which reaffirmed the particular identities
of the lay faithful and of sacred ministers and religious, in
their proper dignity and diversity of functions. These
Assemblies encouraged all the faithful to build up the Church by
collaborating, in communion, for the salvation of the world.
The necessity and importance of apostolic action on the part
of the lay faithful in present and future evangelization must be
borne in mind. The Church cannot put aside this task because it
is part of her very nature, as the 'People of God', and also
because she has need of it in order to realize her own mission
This call for the active participation of all the faithful in
the mission of the Church has not been unheard. The 1987 Synod
of Bishops observed "The Holy Spirit continues to renew the
youthfulness of the Church and has inspired new aspirations
towards holiness and the participation of so many lay faithful.
This is witnessed, among other ways, in the new manner of active
collaboration among priests, religious and the lay faithful; by
active participation in the Liturgy; in the proclamation of the
Word of God and catechesis; in the multiplicity of services and
tasks entrusted to the lay faithful and fulfilled by them; by
the flourishing of groups, associations and spiritual movements
as well as by lay commitment to the life of the Church and in
the fuller and meaningful participation of women in the
development of society".(2) This was likewise verified in the
preparation for the 1994 Synod of Bishops on Religious Life
where it is stated: "Through all, there should be a sincere
desire to instill an authentic rapport of communion and of
collaboration between the Bishops, institutes of consecrated
life, the secular clergy and the laity".(3) In the subsequent
Post-Synodal Exhortation the Supreme Pontiff confirmed the
specific contribution of religious life in the mission and the
building up of the Church.(4)
In effect, a collaboration of all the faithful exists in both
orders of the Church's mission; whether it is in the spiritual
order, bringing the message of Christ and his grace to men, or,
in the temporal one, permeating and perfecting secular reality
with the evangelical spirit.(5) This is especially true in the
primary areas of evangelization and sanctification — "It is in
this sphere most of all that the lay apostolate and the pastoral
ministry complete each other".(6) In these areas, the lay
faithful of both sexes, have innumerable opportunities to be
actively involved. This is possible through bearing consistent
witness in their personal, family and social lives by
proclaiming and sharing the gospel of Christ in every situation
in which they find themselves, and by their involvement with the
task of explaining, defending, and correctly applying Christian
principals to the problems of today's world.(7) In particular,
Pastors are exhorted to "...acknowledge and foster the
ministries, the offices and roles of the lay faithful that find
their foundation in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation,
indeed for a good many of them, in the Sacrament of
The present reality is that there has been an astonishing
growth of pastoral initiatives in this area. This is especially
true after the notable impetus given by the Second Vatican
Council and the Pontifical Magisterium in this regard.
The priority of the task of the New Evangelization, which
involves all the People of God, requires that, today in
particular, in addition to a "special activism" on the part of
priests, there be also a full recovery of the awareness of the
secular nature of the mission of the laity.(9)
This enterprise opens vast horizons, some of which have yet
to be explored, for the lay faithful. The faithful can be active
in this particular moment of history in areas of culture, in the
arts and theatre, scientific research, labor, means of
communication, politics, and the economy, etc. They are also
called to a greater creativity in seeking out ever more
effective means whereby these environments can find the fullness
of their meaning in Christ.(10)
In this great field of complementary activity, whether
considering the specifically spiritual and religious, or the
consecratio mundi, there exists a more restricted area
namely, the sacred ministry of the clergy. In this ministry the
lay faithful, men or women and non-ordained members of
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
are called to assist. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
refers particularly to this when it teaches: "The hierarchy
entrusts the laity with certain charges more closely connected
with the duties of pastors: in the teaching of Christian
doctrine, for example, in certain liturgical actions in the care
Since these tasks are most closely linked to the duties of
pastors, (which office requires reception of the sacrament of
Orders), it is necessary that all who are in any way involved in
this collaboration, exercise particular care to safeguard the
nature and mission of sacred ministry and the vocation and
secular character of the lay faithful. It must be remembered
that "collaboration with" does not, in fact, mean "substitution
It must be noted with great satisfaction that in many
Particular Churches the collaboration of the non-ordained
faithful in the pastoral ministry of the clergy has developed in
a very positive fashion. It has borne an abundance of good
fruits while, at the same time being mindful of the boundaries
established by the nature of the sacraments and of the diversity
of charisms and ecclesiastical functions. It has also brought
about bounteous and tangible results in situations of a shortage
or scarcity of sacred ministers.(12) In situations of emergency
and chronic necessity in certain communities, some of the
faithful, despite lacking the character of the sacrament of
Orders, have acted appropriately and within their proper limits,
in dealing with these realities. The necessary aspect of
hierarchical relationship has been maintained while constantly
seeking to remedy the situation of emergency.(13) Such faithful
are called and deputed to assume specific duties which are as
important as they are sensitive. Sustained by the grace of the
Lord and by their sacred ministers journeying alongside them,
they are well received by the communities which they serve.
Sacred Pastors are extremely grateful for the generosity with
which numerous religious and lay faithful present themselves for
this specific service, carried out with a loyal "sensus
Ecclesiae" and an edifying dedication. Particular thanks and
encouragement should be extended to those who carry out these
tasks in situations of persecution of the Christian community.
This is also true for mission territories, whether these be
geographical or cultural, and for places where the Church is
newly planted or where the presence of the priest is only
This is not the place to develop the theological and pastoral
richness of the role of the lay faithful in the Church which has
already been amply treated in the Apostolic Exhortation
The scope of this present document is simply to provide a
clear, authoritative response to the many pressing requests
which have come to our Dicasteries from Bishops, Priests and
Laity seeking clarification in the light of specific cases of
new forms of "pastoral activity" of the non-ordained on both
parochial and diocesan levels.
Though being born in very difficult and emergency situations
and even initiated by those who sought to be genuinely helpful
in the pastoral moment, certain practices have often been
developed which have had very serious negative consequences and
have caused the correct understanding of true ecclesial
communion to be damaged. These practices tend to predominate in
certain areas of the world and even within these, a great deal
of variation can be found.
These matters cause the grave pastoral responsibility of many
to be recalled. This is especially true of Bishops (15) whose
task it is to promote and ensure observance of the universal
discipline of the Church founded on certain doctrinal principles
already clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council(16) and by the Pontifical Magisterium(17) thereafter.
This document came into being as a result of deliberations
within our Dicasteries as well as from a Symposium attended by
representatives of the Episcopates most affected by the problem.
Finally, there was an extensive consultation of many Presidents
of Conferences of Bishops, of individual Prelates, as well as
with experts from the various ecclesiastical disciplines and
from different parts of the world. From all of the foregoing, a
clear convergence emerged which is faithfully presented in this
Instruction. However, the document does not claim to be
exhaustive nor can it address every possible variation which
might present itself. It is limited to consideration of the best
known of these as there is great variety of particular
circumstance possible which can give rise to these situations.
This text was drawn up based on the solid foundation of the
ordinary and extraordinary magisterium of the Church and is
entrusted for its faithful application, first of all to the
Bishops most affected by the issues raised. It is also brought
to the attention of the Prelates of those ecclesiastical
jurisdictions where, even though the practices described are not
found in those territories at this time, given their rapid
diffusion, such situation could change quickly.
Before addressing the concrete situations which were
presented to us, it is necessary to look briefly at the
essential theological elements underlying the significance of
Holy Orders in the organic make-up of the Church. This is so
that the ecclesiastical discipline will be understood better in
light of the truth and of ecclesial communion which are
concerned with promoting the rights and obligations of all, and
for which in the Church "the salvation of souls must always be
the supreme law".(18)
1. The Common Priesthood of the Faithful and the
Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, wished that his one
and indivisible priesthood be transmitted to his Church. This
Church is the people of the New Covenant who, "through Baptism
and the anointing of the Holy Spirit are reborn and consecrated
as a spiritual temple and a holy priesthood. By living the
Christian life, they offer up spiritual sacrifices and proclaim
the prodigious deeds of Him who called them from darkness into
his own wonderful light (cf. 1 Pt 2, 4-10)".(19) "There
is but one chosen People of God: 'one Lord, one faith, one
Baptism' (Eph 4, 5): there is a common dignity of members
deriving from their rebirth in Christ, a common grace of filial
adoption, a common vocation to perfection".(20) There exists "a
true equality between all with regard to the dignity and to the
activity which is common to all the faithful in the building up
of the Body of Christ". By the will of Christ some are
constituted "teachers, dispensers of the mysteries and
pastors".(21) The common priesthood of the faithful and the
ministerial or hierarchical priesthood "though they differ
essentially and not only in degree... are none the less ordered
one to another; (since) each in its own proper way shares in the
one priesthood of Christ".(22) Between both there is an
effective unity since the Holy Spirit makes the Church one in
communion, in service and in the outpouring of the diverse
hierarchical and charismatic gifts.(23)
Thus the essential difference between the common priesthood
of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood is not found in
the priesthood of Christ, which remains forever one and
indivisible, nor in the sanctity to which all of the faithful
are called: "Indeed the ministerial priesthood does not of
itself signify a greater degree of holiness with regard to the
common priesthood of the faithful; through it, Christ gives to
priests, in the Spirit, a particular gift so that they can help
the People of God to exercise faithfully and fully the common
priesthood which it has received".(24) For the building up of
the Church, the Body of Christ, there is a diversity of members
and functions but only one Spirit who, for the good of the
Church, distributes his various gifts with munificence
proportionate to his riches and the needs of service, (cf. 1
Cor 12, 1-11).(25)
This diversity exists at the mode of participation in
the priesthood of Christ and is essential in the sense that
"while the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the
unfolding of baptismal grace, — a life of faith, hope and
charity, a life according to the Spirit — the ministerial
priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood... and
directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all
Christians".(26) Consequently, the ministerial priesthood
"differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful
because it confers a sacred power for the service of the
faithful"(27). For this reason the priest is exhorted "...to
grow in awareness of the deep communion uniting him to the
People of God" in order to "awaken and deepen co-responsibility
in the one common mission of salvation, with a prompt and
heartfelt esteem for all the charisms and tasks which the Spirit
gives believers for the building up of the Church".(28)
The characteristics which differentiate the ministerial
priesthood of Bishops and Priests from the common priesthood of
the faithful and consequently delineate the extent to which
other members of the faithful cooperate with this ministry, may
be summarized in the following fashion:
a) the ministerial priesthood is rooted in the
Apostolic Succession, and vested with "potestas sacra"(29)
consisting of the faculty and the responsibility of acting in
the person of Christ the Head and the Shepherd.(30)
b) it is a priesthood which renders its sacred
ministers servants of Christ and of the Church by means of
authoritative proclamation of the Word of God, the
administration of the sacraments and the pastoral direction of
To base the foundations of the ordained ministry on Apostolic
Succession, because this ministry continues the mission received
by the Apostles from Christ, is an essential point of Catholic
The ordained ministry, therefore, is established on the
foundation of the Apostles for the upbuilding of the Church:
(33) "and is completely at the service of the Church".(34)
"Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial
ministry is its character of service. Entirely dependent on
Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly
?servants of Christ' (Rom 1, 1) in the image of him who
freely took for us ?the form of a slave' (Phil 2,7).
Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not
their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of
others, they must freely become the slaves of all".(35)
2. Unity and Diversity of Ministerial Functions
The functions of the ordained minister, taken as a whole,
constitute a single indivisible unity in virtue of their
singular foundation in Christ.(36) As with Christ,(37) salvific
activity is one and unique. It is signified and realized by the
minister through the functions of teaching, sanctifying and
governing the faithful. This unity essentially defines the
exercise of the sacred minister's functions which are always an
exercise, in different ways, of the role of Christ as Head of
Therefore, since the exercise of the munus docendi,
sanctificandi et regendi by the sacred minister constitute
the essence of pastoral ministry, the diverse functions proper
to ordained ministers form an indivisible unity and cannot be
understood if separated, one from the other. Rather they must be
viewed in terms of mutual correspondence and complementarity.
Only in some of these functions, and to a limited degree, may
the non-ordained faithful cooperate with their pastors should
they be called to do so by lawful Authority and in accordance
with the prescribed manner. "He (Jesus Christ) continually
provides in his body, that is, in the Church, for gifts of
ministries through which, by his power, we serve each other unto
salvation...".(38) "The exercise of such tasks does not make
Pastors of the lay faithful, in fact, a person is not a
minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental
ordination. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained
minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the
Shepherd and Head in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised
in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and
immediately from the official deputation given by Pastors, as
well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of
This doctrine needs to be reaffirmed especially in the light
of certain practices which seek to compensate for numerical
shortages of ordained ministers arising in some communities. In
some instances, such have given rise to an idea of the common
priesthood of the faithful which mistakes its nature and
specific meaning. Amongst other things, it can encourage a
reduction in vocations to the (ministerial) priesthood and
obscure the specific purpose of seminaries as places of
formation for the ordained ministry. These are closely related
phenomena. Their interdependence calls for careful reflection so
as to arrive at well considered conclusions in their regard.
3. The Indispensability of the Ordained Ministry
For a community of the faithful to be called a Church, and
indeed to truly be a Church, it cannot be guided according to
political criteria or those of human organisations. Every
particular Church owes its guidance to Christ since it
was He who fundamentally linked apostolic mission to the Church
and hence no community has the power to grant that mission to
itself(40) or to delegate it. In effect, a canonical or
juridical determination made by hierarchal authority is
necessary for the exercise of the munus of teaching and
The ministerial priesthood is therefore necessary for a
community to exist as "Church": "The ordained priesthood ought
not to be thought of as existing (...) posterior to the
ecclesial community, as if the Church could be imagined as
already established without this priesthood".(42) Indeed, were a
community to lack a priest, it would be deprived of the exercise
and sacramental action of Christ, the Head and Pastor, which are
essential for the very life of every ecclesial community.
Thus the ordained priesthood is absolutely irreplaceable. As
an immediate consequence of this there is the necessity for a
continuing, zealous and well-organised pastoral promotion of
vocations so as to provide the Church with those ministers which
she needs and to ensure a proper seminary training for those
preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Any other solution
to problems deriving from a shortage of sacred ministers can
only lead to precarious consequences.
"The duty of fostering vocations falls on the whole Christian
community, and they should discharge it principally by living
full Christian lives".(43) By following Christ more closely and
in overcoming indifference, all the faithful have a
responsibility to foster a positive response to priestly
vocation. This is especially true for those nations where a
strong sense of materialism is evident.
4. The Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in
Among the various aspects of the participation of the
non-ordained faithful in the Church's mission considered by the
conciliar documents, that of their direct collaboration with the
ministry of the Church's pastors is considered.(44) Indeed,
"when necessity and expediency in the Church require it, the
Pastors, according to established norms from universal law, can
entrust to the lay faithful certain offices and roles that are
connected to their pastoral ministry but do not require the
character of Orders".(45) In this way, it is not one merely of
assistance but of mutual enrichment of the common Christian
vocation. This collaboration was regulated by successive
post-conciliar legislation and particularly by the Codex
The Code, having referred to the rights and duties of all the
faithful,(46) in the subsequent title devoted to the rights and
duties of the lay faithful, treats not only of those which are
theirs in virtue of their secular condition,(47) but also of
those tasks and functions which are not exclusively theirs. Some
of these latter refer to any member of the faithful, whether
ordained or not,(48) while others are considered along the lines
of collaboration with the sacred ministry of cleric.(49) With
regard to these last mentioned areas or functions, the
non-ordained faithful do not enjoy a right to such tasks and
functions. Rather, they are "capable of being admitted by the
sacred Pastors... to those functions which, in accordance with
the provisions of law, they can discharge" (50) or where
"ministers are not available... they can supply certain of their
functions... in accordance with the provisions of law".(51)
To ensure that such collaboration is harmoniously
incorporated into pastoral ministry, and to avoid situations of
abuse and disciplinary irregularity in pastoral practice, it is
always necessary to have clarity in doctrinal principles.
Therefore a consistent, faithful and serious application of the
current canonical dispositions throughout the entire Church,
while avoiding the abuse of multiplying "exceptional" cases over
and above those so designated and regulated by normative
discipline, is extremely necessary.
Where the existence of abuses or improper practices has been
proved, Pastors will promptly employ those means judged
necessary to prevent their dissemination and to ensure that the
correct understanding of the Church's nature is not impaired. In
particular, they will apply the established disciplinary norms
to promote knowledge of and assiduous respect for that
distinction and complementarity of functions which are vital for
ecclesial communion. Where abusive practices have become
widespread, it is absolutely necessary for those who exercise
authority to intervene responsibly so as to promote communion
which can only be done by adherence to the truth. Communion,
truth, justice, peace and charity are all interdependent
In the light of the aforementioned principles, remedies,
based on the normative discipline of the Church, and deemed
opportune to correct abuses which have been brought to the
attention of our Dicasteries, are hereby set forth.
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)
§ 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
§ 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)
§ 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) 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)
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)
The Ministry of the Word(59)
§ 1. The content of that ministry consists in "the pastoral
preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction,
among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of
The exercise of its respective functions is properly that of
the Bishop of each particular Church since he is the moderator
of the entire ministry of the Word in his Diocese (61) and it is
also properly that of his priests who are his collaborators.(62)
In communion with the Bishop and his priests, this ministry also
belongs to deacons.(63)
§ 2. The non-ordained faithful, according to their proper
character, participate in the prophetic function of Christ, are
constituted as his witnesses and afforded the "sensus fidei" and
the grace of the Word. All are called to grow even more as
"heralds of faith in things to be hoped for (cf. Hebrews
11, 1).(64) Today, much depends on their commitment and generous
service to the Church, especially in the work of catechesis.
Therefore, the faithful, especially members of Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life can be invited
to collaborate, in lawful ways, in the exercise of the ministry
of the Word.(65)
§ 3. To ensure the effectiveness of the collaboration
mentioned in § 2 above, it is necessary to note some conditions
relating to the operation of this same collaboration.
Canon 766 of the Codex Iuris Canonici establishes the
conditions under which competent authority may admit the
non-ordained faithful to preach in ecclesia vel oratorio.
The use of the expression admitti possunt makes clear
that in no instance is this a right such as that which is
specific and proper to the Bishop (66) or a faculty such as
enjoyed by priests and deacons.(67)
The terms in which these conditions are expressed — "If in
certain circumstances it is necessary..., ...if in
particular cases it would be useful..." in canon 766,
make clear the exceptional nature of such cases as well as the
fact that such must always be done iuxta Episcoporum
conferentiae praescripta. In this final clause, this Canon
establishes the primary source for correct discernment with
regard to necessity or useful in specific cases.
The prescriptions of the Conference of Bishops in this matter,
which must receive the "recognitio" of the Apostolic See, are
obliged to lay down those opportune criteria which may assist
the diocesan Bishop in making appropriate pastoral decisions,
proper to the nature of the same episcopal office.
§ 4. In some areas, circumstances can arise in which a
shortage of sacred ministers and permanent, objectively
verifiable, situations of need or advantage exist that would
recommend the admission of the non-ordained faithful to
Preaching in churches or oratories by the non-ordained
faithful can be permitted only as a supply for sacred
ministers or for those particular reasons foreseen by the
universal law of the Church or by Conferences of Bishops. It
cannot, however, be regarded as an ordinary occurrence nor as an
authentic promotion of the laity.
§ 5. Above all in the preparation for the sacraments,
catechists take care to instruct those being catechized on the
role and figure of the priest as the sole dispenser of the
mysteries for which they are preparing.
§ 1. The homily, being an eminent form of preaching, qua
per anni liturgici cursum ex textu sacro fidei mysteria et
normae vitae christianae exponuntia,(68) also forms part of
The homily, therefore, during the celebration of the Holy
Eucharist, must be reserved to the sacred minister, Priest or
Deacon(69) 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. This
exclusion is not based on the preaching ability of sacred
ministers nor their theological preparation, but on that
function which is reserved to them in virtue of having received
the Sacrament of Holy Orders. For the same reason the diocesan
Bishop cannot validly dispense from the canonical norm(70) since
this is not merely a disciplinary law but one which touches upon
the closely connected functions of teaching and sanctifying.
For the same reason, the practice, on some occasions, of
entrusting the preaching of the homily to seminarians or
theology students who are not clerics(71) is not permitted.
Indeed, the homily should not be regarded as a training for some
All previous norms which may have admitted the non-ordained
faithful to preaching the homily during the Holy Eucharist are
to be considered abrogated by canon 767, § 1.(72)
§ 2. A form of instruction designed to promote a greater
understanding of the liturgy, including personal testimonies, or
the celebration of eucharistic liturgies on special occasions
(e.g. day of the Seminary, day of the sick etc.) is lawful, of
in harmony with liturgical norms, should such be considered
objectively opportune as a means of explicating the regular
homily preached by the celebrant priest. Nonetheless, these
testimonies or explanations may not be such so as to assume a
character which could be confused with the homily.
§ 3. As an expositional aide and providing it does not
delegate the duty of preaching to others, the celebrant minister
may make prudent use of "dialogue" in the homily, in accord with
the liturgical norms.(73)
§ 4. Homilies in non-eucharistic liturgies may be preached by
the non-ordained faithful only when expressly permitted by law
and when its prescriptions for doing so are observed.
§ 5. In no instance may the homily be entrusted to priests or
deacons who have lost the clerical state or who have abandoned
the sacred ministry.(74)
The Parish Priest and the Parish
The non-ordained faithful, as happens in many worthy cases,
may collaborate effectively in the pastoral ministry of clerics
in parishes, health care centres, charitable and educational
institutions, prisons, Military Ordinariates etc. Provisions
regulating such extraordinary form of collaboration are provided
by Canon 517, § 2.
§ 1. The right understanding and application of this canon,
according to which "si ob sacerdotum penuriam Episcopus
dioecesanus aestimaverit participationem in exercitio curae
pastoralis paroeciae concredendam esse diacono aliive personae
sacerdotali charactere non insignate aut personarum communitati,
sacerdotem constitat aliquem qui, potestatibus facultatibus
parochi instructus curam pastoralem moderetur", requires that
this exceptional provision be used only with strict adherence to
conditions contained in it. These are:
a) ob sacerdotum penuriam and not for reasons
of convenience or ambiguous "advancement of the laity", etc.;
b) this is participatio in exercitio curae
pastoralis and not directing, coordinating, moderating or
governing the Parish; these competencies, according to the
canon, are the competencies of a priest alone.
Because these are exceptional cases, before employing them,
other possibilities should be availed of, such as using of the
services of retired priests still capable of such service, or
entrusting several parishes to one priest or to a coetus
In any event, the preference which this canon gives to
deacons cannot be overlooked.
The same canon, however, reaffirms that these forms of
participation in the pastoral care of parishes cannot, in any
way, replace the office of Parish Priest. The same canon decrees
that "Episcopus dioecesanus (...) sacerdotem constituat aliquem
qui potestatibus et facultatibus parochi instructus, curam
pastoralem moderetur." Indeed, the office of Parish Priest can
be assigned validly only to a priest (cf. Canon 521, § 1) even
in cases where there is a shortage of clergy.(76)
§ 2. In the same regard, it must be noted that the Parish
Priest is the Pastor proper to the parish entrusted to him(77)
and remains such until his pastoral office shall have
The presentation of resignation at the age of 75 by a Parish
Priest does not of itself (ipso iure) terminate his
pastoral office. Such takes effect only when the diocesan
Bishop, following prudent consideration of all the
circumstances, shall have definitively accepted his resignation
in accordance with Canon 538, § 3 and communicated such to him
in writing.(79) In the light of those situations where scarcity
of priests exists, the use of special prudence in this matter
would be judicious.
In view of the right of every cleric to exercise the ministry
proper to him, and in the absence of any grave health or
disciplinary reasons, it should be noted that having reached the
age of 75 does not constitute a binding reason for the diocesan
Bishop to accept a Parish Priest's resignation. This also serves
to avoid a functional concept of the Sacred Ministry.(80)
The Structures of Collaboration in the Particular Church
These structures, so necessary to that ecclesial renewal
called for by the Second Vatican Council have produced many
positive results and have been codified in canonical
legislation. They represent a form of active participation in
the life and mission of the Church as communion.
§ 1. The norms of the Code with regard to the Council of
Priests (Presbyteral Council) specifies those priests who
can be its members.(81) Because the Council of Priests is
founded on the common participation of the Bishop and his
priests in the same priesthood and ministry, member ship in it
is reserved to priests alone.(82)
Deacons, non-ordained members of the faithful, even if
collaborators with the Sacred Ministers, and those priests who
have lost the clerical state or who have abandoned the Sacred
Ministry do not have either an active or a passive voice in the
Council of Priests.
§ 2. Diocesan and parochial Pastoral Councils(83) and
Parochial Finance Councils,(84) of which non-ordained
faithful are members, enjoy a consultative vote only and cannot
in any way become deliberative structures. Only those faithful
who possess the qualities prescribed by the canonical norms(85)
may be elected to such responsibilities.
§ 3. It is for the Parish Priest to preside at parochial
councils. They are to be considered invalid, and hence null and
void, any deliberations entered into, (or decisions taken), by a
parochial council which has not been presided over by the Parish
Priest or which has assembled contrary to his wishes.(86)
§ 4. Diocesan councils may properly and validly express their
consent to an act of the Bishop only in those cases in which the
law expressly requires such consent.
§ 5. Given the local situation Ordinaries may avail
themselves of special study groups or of groups of experts to
examine particular questions. Such groups, however, cannot be
constituted as structures parallel to diocesan presbyteral or
pastoral councils nor indeed to those diocesan structures
regulated by the universal law of the Church in Canons 536, § 1
and 537.(87) Neither may such a group deprive these structures
of their lawful authority. Where structures of this kind have
arisen in the past because of local custom or through special
circumstances, those measures deemed necessary to conform such
structures to the current universal law of the Church must be
§ 6. The Vicars forane, sometimes called deans,
archpriests, or by suchlike titles, and those called "assistant
vicars", "assistant dean", etc., must always be priests.(88) The
non-ordained faithful cannot be validly appointed to these
§ 1. Liturgical actions must always clearly manifest the
unity of the People of God as a structured communion.(89) Thus
there exists a close link between the ordered exercise of
liturgical action and the reflection in the liturgy of the
Church's structured nature.
This happens when all participants, with faith and devotion,
discharge those roles proper to them.
§ 2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in
this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of
canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations
deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not
pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with
its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy
reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or
non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions
which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave
abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi
preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal
participation to the priest which is necessary to secure
In the same way, the use of sacred vestments which are
reserved to priests or deacons (stoles, chasubles or dalmatics)
at liturgical ceremonies by non-ordained members of the faithful
is clearly unlawful.
Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of
confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices.
As the sacred ministers are obliged to wear all of the
prescribed liturgical vestments so too the non-ordained faithful
may not assume that which is not proper to them.
To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts
presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the
non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use
clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter.
Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest
§ 1. In some places in the absence of priests or deacons,(90)
non-ordained members of the faithful lead Sunday celebrations.
In many instances, much good derives for the local community
from this useful and delicate service when it is discharged in
accordance with the spirit and the specific norms issued by the
competent ecclesiastical authority.(91) A special mandate of the
Bishop is necessary for the non-ordained members of the faithful
to lead such celebrations. This mandate should contain specific
instructions with regard to the term of applicability, the place
and conditions in which it is operative, as well as indicate the
priest responsible for overseeing these celebrations.
§ 2. 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.(92) The practice of
inserting into such celebrations elements proper to the Holy
Mass is prohibited. So as to avoid causing error in the minds of
the faithful,(93) the use of the eucharistic prayers, even in
narrative form, at such celebrations is forbidden. For the same
reasons, it should be emphasised for the benefit of those
participating, that such celebrations cannot substitute for the
eucharistic Sacrifice and that the obligation to attend mass on
Sunday and Holy days y obligation is satisfied only by
attendance at Holy Mass.(94) In cases where distance or physical
conditions are not an obstacle, every effort should be made to
encourage and assist the faithful to fulfil this precept.
The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
The non-ordained faithful already collaborate with the sacred
ministers in diverse pastoral situations since "This wonderful
gift of the Eucharist, which is the greatest gift of all,
demands that such an important mystery should be increasingly
better known and its saving power more fully shared".(95)
Such liturgical service is a response to the objective needs
of the faithful especially those of the sick and to those
liturgical assemblies in which there are particularly large
numbers of the faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion.
§ 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary
ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as
to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes
that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the
Priest and the the Deacon.(96) Extraordinary ministers of Holy
Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so
deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.(97)
A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true
necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the
appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an
extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of
liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a
more stable period. In exceptional cases or in un foreseen
circumstances, the priest presiding at the liturgy may authorize
such ad actum.(98)
§ 2. 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.(99) 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. (100)
This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101)
and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is
thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms
concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in
complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should
regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such
norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as
the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be
extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the
service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence
to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction
concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.
To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be
avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular
— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from
the other faithful as though concelebrants;
— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at
the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of
faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as
extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;
— the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy
Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of "a
great number of the faithful".
The Apostolate to the Sick
§ 1. In this area, the non-ordained faithful can often
provide valuable collaboration. (102) Innumerable works of
charity to the sick are constantly provided by the non-ordained
faithful either individually or through community apostolates.
These constitute an important Christian presence to sick and
suffering of the greatest importance. The non-ordained faithful
particularly assist the sick by being with them in difficult
moments, encouraging them to receive the Sacraments of Penance
and the Anointing of the Sick, by helping them to have the
disposition to make a good individual confession as well as to
prepare them to receive the Anointing of the Sick. In using
sacramentals, the non-ordained faithful should ensure that these
are in no way regarded as sacraments whose administration is
proper and exclusive to the Bishop and to the priest. Since they
are not priests, in no instance may the non-ordained perform
anointings either with the Oil of the Sick or ony other oil.
§ 2. With regard to the administration of this sacrament,
ecclesiastical legislation reiterates the theologically certain
doctrine and the age old usage of the Church (103) which regards
the priest as its only valid minister. (104) This norm is
completely coherent with the theological mystery signified and
realized by means of priestly service.
It must also be affirmed that the reservation of the ministry
of Anointing to the priest is related to the connection of this
sacrament to the forgiveness of sin and the worthy reception of
the Holy Eucharist. No other person may act as ordinary or
extraordinary minister of the sacrament since such constitutes
simulation of the sacrament. (105)
Assistance at Marriages
§ 1. The possibility of delegating the non-ordained faithful
to assist at marriages may prove necessary in special
circumstances where there is a grave shortage of sacred
This possibility, however, is subject to the verification of
three conditions. The diocesan Bishop, may concede this
delegation only in cases where there are no priests or deacons
available and after he shall have obtained for his own diocese a
favourable votum from the Conference of Bishops and the
necessary permission of the Holy See. (106)
§ 2. In such cases, the canonical norms concerning the
validity of delegation, (107) the suitability, capacity and
attitude of the non-ordained faithful must be observed. (108)
§ 3. With the exception of an extraordinary case due to the
absolute absence of both Priests and Deacons who can assist at
marriages provided for in Canon 1112 of the Code of Canon Law,
no ordained minister may authorize the non-ordained faithful for
such assistance. Neither may an ordained minister authorize the
non-ordained faithful to ask or receive matrimonial consent
according to the norm of Canon 1108 § 2.
The Minister of Baptism
Particularly praiseworthy is the faith with which many
Christians, in painful circumstances of persecution, or in
missionary territories or in special cases of necessity, have
afforded and continue to afford the Sacrament of Baptism to new
generations of Christians in the absence of ordained ministers.
Apart from cases of necessity, canonical norms permit the non
ordained faithful to be designated as extraordinary ministers of
Baptism (109) should there be no ordinary minister or in cases
where he is impeded. (110) Care should be taken however to avoid
too extensive an interpretation of this provision and such a
faculty should not be conceded in an habitual form.
Thus, for example, that absence or the impediment of a sacred
minister which renders licit the deputation of the lay faithful
to act as an extraordinary minister of Baptism, cannot be
defined in terms of the ordinary minister's excessive workload,
or his non-residence in the territory of the parish, nor his
non-availability on the day on which the parents wish the
Baptism to take place. Such reasons are insufficient for the
delegation of the non ordained faithful to act as extraordinary
ministers of Baptism.
Leading the Celebration at Funerals
In the present circumstances of growing dechristianization
and of abandonment of religious practice, death and the time of
obsequies can be one of the most opportune pastoral moments in
which the ordained minister can meet with the non-practising
members of the faithful.
It is thus desirable that Priests and Deacons, even at some
sacrifice to themselves, should preside personally at funeral
rites in accordance with local custom, so as to pray for the
dead and be close to their families, thus availing of an
opportunity for appropriate evangelization.
The non-ordained faithful may lead the ecclesiastical
obsequies provided that there is a true absence of sacred
ministers and that they adhere to the prescribed liturgical
norms. (111) Those so deputed should be well prepared both
doctrinally and liturgically.
Necessary Selection and Adequate Formation
Should it become necessary to provide for "supplementary"
assistance in any of the cases mentioned above, the competent
Authority is bound to select lay faithful of sound doctrine and
exemplary moral life. Catholics who do not live worthy lives or
who do not enjoy good reputations or whose family situations do
not conform to the teaching of the Church may not be admitted to
the exercise of such functions. In addition, those chosen should
possess that level of formation necessary for the discharge of
the responsibilities entrusted to them.
In accordance with the norms of particular law, they should
perfect their knowledge particularly by attending, in so far as
possible, those formation courses organized for them by the
competent ecclesiastical Authority in the particular Churches,
(112) (in enviornments other than that of the Seminary, as this
is reserved solely for those preparing for the priest hood).
(113) Great care must be exercised so that these courses conform
absolutely to the teaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium and
they must be imbued with a true spirituality.
The Holy See entrusts this present document to the pastoral
zeal of diocesan Bishops in the various particular Churches and
to other Ordinaries in the hope that its application may produce
abundant fruit for the growth, in communion, of sacred ministers
and the non-ordained faithful.
The Holy Father reminds us that, "the particular gift of each
of the Church's members must be wisely and carefully
acknowledged, safeguarded, promoted, discerned and co-ordinated,
without confusing roles functions or theological and canonical
While on the one hand the numerical shortage of priests may
be particularly felt in certain areas, on the other, it must be
remembered that in other areas there is currently a flowering of
vocations which augurs well for the future. Solutions addressing
the shortage of ordained ministers cannot be other than
transitory and must be linked to a series of pastoral programmes
which give priority to the promotion of vocations to the
Sacrament of Holy Orders. (115)
In this respect the Holy Father notes that in "some local
situations, generous, intelligent solutions have been sought.
The legislation of theCode of Canon Law has itself
provided new possibilities, which however, must be correctly
applied, so as not to fall into the ambiguity of considering as
ordinary and normal, solutions that were meant for extraordinary
situations in which priests were lacking or in short supply".
The object of this document is to outline specific directives
to ensure the effective collaboration of the non-ordained
faithful in such circumstances while safeguarding the integrity
of the pastoral ministry of priests. "It should also be
understood that these clarifications and distinctions do not
stem from a concern to defend clerical privileges but from the
need to be obedient to the will of Christ, and to respect the
constitutive form which he indelibly impressed on his Church".
The correct application of these same directives, in the
context of a living hierarchial communion, is
advantageous to the lay faithful who are called to develop the
rich potentiality of their specific identity and the "ever
greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one's proper
The impassioned appeal which the Apostle to the nations
addresses to Timothy:" I charge thee in the sight of God and
Jesus Christ, (...) to preach the Word, be urgent in season and
out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke (...) Be watchful in all
things, fulfill thy ministry" (2 Tim 4, 1-5) which
applies in a special way to the sacred pastors who are called by
office, "to foster the discipline which is common to the whole
Church (...) pressing for the observance of all ecclesiastical
This grave duty constitutes a necessary means by which the
richness present in every state of ecclesial life can be
correctly conformed to the promptings of the Spirit and by which
communion becomes an effective reality in the daily
journeying of the entire Community.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to whose
intercession this document is commended, assist all in
understanding its purpose, and bring to fruitful completion
those efforts, made in apostolic concern, to apply it
All particular laws, customs and faculties conceded by the
Holy See ad experimentum or other ecclesiastical
authorities which are contrary to the foregoing norms are hereby
The Supreme Pontiff, in Audience of the 13th of August
1997 approved in forma specifica this present Instruction
and ordered its promulgation.
Vatican City 15 August 1997, the Solemnity of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Congregation for the Clergy
Darío Castrillón Hoyos
Pontifical Council for the Laity
James Francis Stafford
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Tarcisio Bertone SDB
Congregation for Divine Worship and the
Discipline of the Sacraments
Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez
Geraldo Majella Agnelo
Congregation for Bishops
Bernardin Card. Gantin
Jorge María Mejía
Congregation for the Evangelization of
Jozef Card. Tomko
Congregation for Institutes of
Consecretated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Eduardo Card. Martínez Somalo
Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti CP
Pontifical Council for the Interpretation
of Legislative Texts
1. The Common Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial
2. Unity and Diversity of Ministerial Functions
3. The Indispensability of the Ordained Ministry
4. The Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in Pastoral
(1) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the
Church, Lumen gentium, n. 33; Decree Apostolicam
actuositatem, n. 24.
(2) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n. 2: AAS 81
(1989), p. 396.
(3) Synod of Bishops, IX General Ordinary Assembly,
Instrumentum laboris, n. 73.
(4) Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Vita consecrata (25 March 1996), n. 47: AAS 88
(1996), p. 420.
(5) 9Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam
actuositatem, n. 5.
(6) Ibid., n. 6.
(7) Cf. ibid.
(8) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n. 23: AAS
81 (1989) p. 429.
(9) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, n. 31; John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic
Exhortation Christifideles laici, n. 15, l.c., pp.
(10) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution
Gaudium et spes, n. 43.
(11) Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam
actuositatem, n. 24.
(12) 5Cf. John Paul II, Discourse at the Symposium on "The
Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry" (22
April 1994), n. 2, L'Osservatore Romano, English Edition,
11 May 1994.
(13) Cf. C.I.C., canons 230, § 3; 517, § 2; 861, § 2;
910, § 2; 943; 1112; John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic
Exhortation Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n.
23 and note 72, AAS 81 (1989), p. 430.
(14) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris
Missio (7 December 1990), n. 37: AAS 83 (1991), pp.
(15) Cf. C.I.C., can. 392.
(16) Cf. Especially Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic
Constitution Lumen gentium, Constitution Sacrosanctum
Concilium, Decree Presbyterorum ordinis and Decree
(17) Cf. Especially Apostolic Exhortations Christifideles
laici and Pastores dabo vobis.
(18) Cf. can. 1752.
(19) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, n. 10.
(20) Ibid., n. 32.
(22) Ibid., n. 10.
(23) Cf. ibid., n. 4.
(24) 5 John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), n. 17: AAS 84
(1992), p. 684.
(25) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, n. 7.
(26) Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1547.
(27) Ibid., n. 1592.
(28) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), n. 74: AAS 84
(1992), p. 788.
(29) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, nn. 10, 18, 27, 28; the Decree
Presbyterorum Ordinis nn. 2, 6; Catechism of the Catholic
Church, nn. 1538, 1576.
(30) Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), n. 15; AAS 84
(1992), p. 680; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 875.
(31) Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis, n. 16: l.c., pp. 681-684;
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1592.
(32) Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis, nn. 14-16: l.c., pp. 678-684;
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Sacerdotum
ministeriale (6 August 1983), III, 2-3:AAS 75 (1983),
(33) Cf. Eph 2, 20; Rev 21, 14.
(34) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), n. 16; AAS 84
(1992), p. 681.
(35) Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 876.
(36) Cf. ibid., n. 1581.
(37) Cf. John Paul II, Letter Novo incipiente (8 April
1979), n. 3; AAS 71 (1979), p. 397.
(38) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, n. 7.
(39) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Christifedeles laici (30 December 1998), n. 23: AAS
81 (1989), p. 430.
(40) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter
Sacerdotium Ministeriale, n. III, 2: l.c., p.
(41) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, Nota explicativa praevia, n. 2.
(42) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pastores dabo vobis, n. 16: l.c., p. 682.
(43) Second Vatican Council, Decree Optatam totius, n.
(44) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam
actuositatem, n. 24.
(45) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n. 23: AAS
81 (1989), p. 429.
(46) Cf. C.I.C., cann. 208-223.
(47) Cf. ibid., can. 225, § 2; 226; 227; 231, § 2.
(48) Cf. ibid., can. 225, § 1; 228, § 2; 229; 231, §
(49) Cf. ibid., can. 230, §§ 2-3, for that which
pertains to the liturgy; canon 228, § 1 in relation to other
areas of sacred ministry; the last paragraph applies to other
areas outside the ministry of clerics.
(50) Ibid., can. 228, § 1.
(51) Ibid., can. 230, § 3; cf. 517, § 2; 776; 861, §
2; 910, § 2; 943; 1112.
(52) Cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the
Discipline of the Sacraments, premiss of the Instruction
Inaestimabile donum (3 April 1980), AAS 72 (1980),
(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.
(55) 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.
(56) Cf. Pontifical Commission for the Authentic
Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, Response (1 June
1988): AAS 80 (1988), p. 1373.
(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.
(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.
(59) For the different forms of preaching, cf. C.I.C.,
can. 761; Missale Romanum, Ordo lectionum Missae,
Praenotanda: ed. Typica altera, 1981.
(60) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei
Verbum, n. 24.
(61) Cf. C.I.C., can. 756, § 2.
(62) Cf. ibid., can. 757.
(63) Cf. ibidem.
(64) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, n. 35.
(65) Cf. C.I.C., cann. 758-759; 785, § 1.
(66) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution
Lumen gentium, n. 25; C.I.C., can. 763.
(67) Cf. C.I.C., can. 764.
(68) Second Vatican Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum
Concilium, n. 52; cf. C.I.C., can. 767, § 1.
(69) Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi
tradendae (16 Oct. 1979), n. 48: AAS 71 (1979), pp.
1277-1340: Pontifical Commission for Interpreting the decrees of
the Second Vatican Council, Response (11 Jan. 1971);
AAS 63 (1971), p. 329; Sacred Congregation for Divine
Worship, Instruction Actio pastoralis (15 May 1969) n.
6d: AAS 61 (1969), p. 809; Institutio Generalis
Missalis Romani (26 March, 1970), nn. 41, 42, 165; the
Instruction Liturgicae instaurationes (15 Sept. 1970), n.
2a; AAS 62 (1970), p. 696; Sacred Congregation for the
Sacraments and Divine Worship, Instruction Inaestimabile
donum (3 April 1980), n. 3: AAS 72 (1980), p. 331.
(70) Pontifical Council for the Authentic Interpretation of
the Code of Canon Law, Response (20 June 1987): AAS
79 (1987), p. 1249.
(71) Cf. C.I.C., can. 266, § 1.
(72) Cf. ibid., can. 6, § 1, 2o.
(73) Cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory
for Masses with children Pueros Baptizatos (1 Nov. 1973),
n. 48: AAS 66 (1974), p. 44.
(74) For information on priests who have obtained a
dispensation from celibacy, cf. the Sacred Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, Normae de dispensatione a sacerdotali
coelibatu ad instantiam partis (14 October 1980), "Normae
substantialis" art. 5.
(75) Cf. C.I.C., can. 517, § 1.
(76) The non-ordained faithful or a group of them entrusted
with a collaboration in the exercise of pastoral care can not be
given the title of "community leader" or any other expression
indicating the same idea.
(77) Cf. C.I.C., can. 519.
(78) Cf. ibid., can. 538, §§ 1-2.
(79) Cf. ibid., can. 186.
(80) Cf. Congregation for the Clergy, Directory for the Life
and Ministry of Priests Tota Ecclesia (31 January 1994),
(81) Cf. C.I.C., cann. 497-498.
(82) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Presbyterorum
ordinis, n. 7.
(83) Cf. C.I.C., can. 514, 536.
(84) Cf. ibid., can. 537.
(85) Cf. ibid., can. 512, §§ 1 and 3; Catechism of
the Catholic Church, n. 1650.
(86) Cf. C.I.C., can. 536.
(87) Cf. ibid., can. 135, § 2.
(88) Cf. ibid., can. 553, § 1.
(89) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum
Concilium, nn. 26-28; C.I.C., can. 837.
(90) Cf. ibid., can. 1248, § 2.
(91) Cf. ibid., can. 1248, § 2: Sacred Congregation
for Rites, Instruction Inter oecumenici (26 Sept. 1964),
n. 37, AAS 66 (1964), p. 885; Sacred Congregation for
Divine Worship, Directorium de celebrationibus dominicalibus
absente presbytero, Christi Ecclesia (10 June 1988),
Notitiae 263 (1988).
(92) Cf. John Paul II, Address ad quosdam Americae
Septemtrionalis episcopos sacra limina visitantes (5 June
1993), AAS 86 (1994), p. 340.
(93) Sascred Congregation for Divine Worship, Directorium de
celebrationibus dominicalibus absente presbitero, Christi
Ecclesia (10 June 1988), n. 35: l.c.; cf. also
C.I.C., can. 1378, § 2; n. 1 and § 3; can. 1384.
(94) Cf. C.I.C., can. 1248.
(95) Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the
Sacraments, Premiss of the Instruction Immensae caritatis
(29 January 1973), AAS 65 (1973), p. 264.
(96) Cf. C.I.C., can. 910, § 1; cf. John Paul II,
Letter Dominicae coenae (24 February 1980), n. 11; AAS
72 (1980), p. 142.
(97) Cf. C.I.C., can. 910, § 2.
(98) Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the
Sacraments, Instruction Immensae caritatis (29 January
1973), AAS 65 (1973), p. 264, n. 1; Missale Romanum,
Appendix: Ritus ad deputandum ministrum S. Communionis ad actum
distribuendae; Pontificale Romanum, De institutione
lectorum et acolythorum.
(99) Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation
of The Code of Canon Law, Response (1 June 1998), AAS
80 (1988), p. 1373.
(100) Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the
Sacraments, Instruction Immensae caritatis (29 January
1973), n. 1; AAS 65 (1973), p. 264; Sacred Congregation
for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, Instruction
Inestimabile donum (3 April 1980), n. 10: AAS 72
(1980), p. 336.
(101) Can. 230, § 2 and § 3 C.I.C., affirms that the
liturgical services can be assigned to non-ordained faithful
only "ex temporanea deputatione" or for supply.
(102) Cf. Rituale Romanum - Ordo Unctionis infirmorum,
praenotanda, n. 17: Editio Typica 1972.
(103) Cf. James 5, 14-15; St. Thomas Aquinas, in IV
Sent. d. 4, q. 1; Ecumenical Council of Florence, bull
Exsultate Deo (DS 1325); Ecumenical Council of Trent,
Doctrina de sacramento estremae unctionis, chapter 3 (DS
1697, 1700) and can. 4 de extrema unctione (DS 1719);Catechism
of the Catholic Church, n. 1516.
(104) Cf. C.I.C., can. 1003, § 1.
(105) Cf. ibid., cann. 1379 and 392, § 2.
(106) Cf. ibid., can. 1112.
(107) Cf. ibid., can. 1111, § 2.
(108) Cf. ibid., can. 1112, § 2.
(109) Cf. ibid., can. 861, § 2; Ordo baptismi
parvulorum, praenotanda generalia, nn. 16-17.
(110) Cf. ibid., can. 230.
(111) Cf. Ordo Exsequiarum, praenotanda, n. 19.
(112) Cf. C.I.C., can. 231, § 1.
(113) By this is meant "Seminary" situations where laity and
those preparing for the priest hood receive the same education
and formation together, as though both were destined for the
same ministry. Sucn "Seminaries" have sometimes been called
"integrated" or "mixed".
(114) John Paul II, Discourse at the Symposium on "The
Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Priestly Ministry" (11
May 1994), n. 3, l.c.
(115) Cf. ibid., n. 6.
(116) Ibid., n. 2.
(117) Ibid., n. 5.
(118) John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Christifideles laici (30 December 1988), n. 58: l.c.,
(119) C.I.C., can. 392.