Friday, October 31, 2008

Roman Catholics (finally) recognizing women's role

In the recent 55 propositions proposed by the Roman Catholic's Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, proposition no.17 states,

It’s hoped that ministry of lector can be opened also to women, so that their role as announcers of the Word may be recognized in the Christian community.

Noticed the last two words "Christian community". Er... in the wider Christian community, the so-called "ministry of lector" is already opened to women and their role as announcers of the Word already been recognized.

The Roman Catholics is progressing.

Happy Reformation Day!


The Inquisitor said...

"Finally" recorgnising woman's role?

If having a woman as the chief saint and a "co-redemptrix" is not recorgnising woman's role in the Church, then I don't know what is!

And progressing?

To what end?

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Dom,

Ya, it seems that their recognition of Mary's high office doesn't tally with their view of women in the church.

Progressing? To be more inclusive and recognize the role of women in the church to be more acknowledged and widened. Don't u think so?

The Inquisitor said...

*Shrug*, they do not have an "official" view of woman in the Church.

And I would not call it "progressing". Maybe "modernising" or "compromising" with the times perhaps. But progressing seems to imply that they are approaching a *better* end goal, which does not seem so obvious to me.

Besides, the millions of Catholic woman who serve in the Church as nuns and other helpers do not (or at least should not!) covet recognition and praise from man (we know what Jesus says about those who do now don't we?), I am quite sure Mother Theresa would be entirely content to be without any UN awards, Nobel prizes or world fame if she could have help a few more hundred souls in India.

So, if the humble woman servers in the Catholic Church do not want nor need recognition from man but simply await the approval from the Lord at the judgment, then how exactly is "recognizing" and making a big fuss about woman's role in the Church "progressing"?

Besides, I was not aware that being there are different standards of assessment for whether a woman can be a communicant member of the Catholic Church from that of man. If this is not so, then how is giving woman a role in lectionary reading being more "inclusive", since they are already in the Church?

Sze Zeng said...

Yes, and this is a fuss because of the RC's own institution, the canon code. So it's their struggle to be clear on this issue.

The issue is not whether women can act as lectors, or Scripture readers, in Catholic liturgies. They already do so at Masses all over the world, including papal Masses.

The question is whether women can be installed officially in such a ministry. Until now, the Vatican has said no: Canon law states that only qualified laymen can be "installed on a stable basis in the ministries of lector and acolyte." At the same time, canon law does allow for "temporary deputation" as lector to both men and women, which is why women routinely appear as lectors.

Sze Zeng said...


I think the Bostonpilot article is referring to this canon code:

Canon 230
1. Lay men whose age and talents meet the requirements prescribed by decree of the Episcopal Conference, can be given the stable ministry of lector and of acolyte, through the prescribed liturgical rite. This conferral of ministry does not, however, give them a right to sustenance or remuneration from the Church.

2. Lay people can receive a temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions. Likewise, all lay people can exercise the roles of commentator, cantor or other such, in accordance with the law.

3. Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.