Permanently Instituted Acolyte?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,057
    I know that such things exist : Bill Riccio being one of them, but they are rare as hen's teeth. Without boring you with a bunch of details, suffice to say that I feel, and have felt for a while, that I am being called to be a permanent acolyte.

    My question is : does anyone know what the procedure might be? Should my Pastor simply write the chancery and request it? Can I get shuffled around to different parishes like permanent deacons, or would I simply stay where I am like ECMHCs? -- I want to stay in my current position as D.M.

    I realize that this probably isn't the place to ask these questions, but knowing my diocese, the people in charge of the Lay Ministry Formation thingy wouldn't know what an Acolyte was. Thanks for any help you can give me; and prayers are always welcome.
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 69
    I was recently thinking about this as well. Interested to see what people have to say on this.
  • Salieri,


    Acolytes are part of holy orders (Pope Paul VI not withstanding), so preparation for the minor orders would need to be done through some kind of seminary training.... at a seminary.


    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Ideally, you stay in a parish as far as regular duties go, but you may exercise them pretty much anywhere, per the canonical norms.

    I think ultimately just like any call to orders (or even confirmation–my bishop makes the confirmands write to him), ultimately you petition the Ordinary. He may or may not already have rules in place. The Ordinariate has one, Lincoln does, Galveston–Houston does...
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,109
    We have numbers of instituted acolytes at Walsingham - ditto throughout the Ordinariate. Last year they came from all over the ordinariate to Walsingham and were instituted in a special mass by Bishop Lopes. We also have instituted lectors.

    You might contact Fr Hough for details as to how to proceed.
  • stulte
    Posts: 140
    One thing that should be done first is to go in the correct order and receive the Lectorate first.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 hilluminar
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,023
    Depends on the diocese, I imagine, since bishops may choose to limit instituted lectors and acolytes to seminarians en route to Holy Orders (diaconate or priesthood).
  • drforjc
    Posts: 4
    Looking carefully at canons 230 and 231 in the 1983 CCL, CGZ, I see that it specifically mentions lay persons and does not mention receiving minor orders. Neither does the law itself require seminary training. I imagine that would be at the discretion of the ordinary or other competent ecclesiastical authority. Stulte, neither does it specify an order or that one cannot exercise the ministry of acolyte without having first received that of lector.
  • drforjc,

    (Is that pronounced "Doctor for Christ")

    I must ask in ignorance: have acolytes ever been something other than a part of minor orders?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 478
    CGZ, well they are no longer minor orders, as the EWTN link, above, says
    The lay ministries (they are no longer called minor orders) of lector and acolyte were established by Pope Paul VI in 1973 with the apostolic letter “Ministeria Quaedam.” They are to be given to all candidates for orders. These ministries are also open to male laity not aspiring to sacred orders, but in reality few dioceses have made effective use of this possibility.
  • Male laity


    Much lost in translation.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 478
    Maybe, but there isn't an official translation, and EWTN has summarised. What we have is two separate paragraphs :
    III. Ministeria christifidelibus laicis commetti possunt, ita ut candidates ad sacramentum Ordinis reservata non habeantur.
    VII. Institutio Lectoris et Acolythi, iuxta venerabilem traditionem Ecclesiae, viris reservatur.
  • Institutio Lectoris et Acolythi, iuxta venerabilem traditionem Ecclesiae, viris reservatur.


    This is the part that got lost in translation.

    For the non-Latin scholars hereabouts: juxta venerabilem traditionem Ecclesiae is "leaning on the venerable tradition of the Church" -- b/c "juxta" can mean "next to", but clearly doesn't imply physical location here; viris reservatur is "is reserved to men", where the male is clearly indicated.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Oh, yes, please get installed to lector first. It irritates me that this is done out of order. It can even be done on the same day, although the traditional minor orders are much more smoothly conferred, even with major orders.

    How the formation is given is not specified, true.

    Acolyte and lector might not be called minor orders, but they are. The church can never suppress them entirely, per the Council of Trent, since we must accept their existence as a doctrine..although this point is also made by the fact that tonsure never ceased to be given due to the SSPX and other groups, even though the church-legitimately but stupidly in my view-attempted to reform them.

    It is true that minor orders are holy orders. How is up for debate. I will put it in this convoluted way. There is more evidence that episcopacy is a part of holy orders (even though I insist on calling it consecration, because it also is jurisdictional, among other reasons) than there is for minor orders not being holy orders in the fullest sense. But they are holy orders nevertheless.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,109
    ...I insist on calling it consecration...

    As do I. As a former Anglican who is now an Ordinarian, I (we) have always referred to bishops as being not ordained, but consecrated. However, when Bishop Lopes was being ordained (consecrated) we were told that, being Catholics now, we should not refer to his 'consecration' but to his 'ordination'. I have not entirely made peace with this Roman imposition and will ever, within my own being, think of bishops as consecrated whilst outwardly humouring those who insist that they are ordained.
  • mahrt
    Posts: 485
    Many avoid the institution of acolytes, because this office is reserved to males, and they do not want to be part of what they take to be discrimination. There are bishops who have taken the same position about ordaining deacons.
    Thanked by 1Joseph Mendes
  • rarty
    Posts: 72
    It is exactly right that it never "took off" for the same reason instituted lectors never did. They co-incided with the allowance for non-instituted women servers and lectors and EMHCs.

    There are dioceses that have established programs to regularly institute acolytes though. There was, I think, a recent ruling that an instituted acolyte could purify vessels after Communion, but that non-instituted lay folk should not. So the few bishops that took that seriously set up regular programs.

    An instituted acolyte is, by canonical definition, not a cleric, so the bishop can't transfer you like a deacon or priest.
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,109
    In the Ordinariate we haven't got and won't have that gender problem in regard to instituted acolytes, lectors, and such. These roles are strictly male throughout the Ordinariate. This is not a problem for our women, who wouldn't have it any other way. It's only a problem where those in authority are intimidated by obstreperous feminist types (both male and female!) and those others who get bent out of shape if their daughters can't be servers at mass. It is curious the things that clergy have no trouble or qualms about saying no to or forbidding (such as certain music ordered by an oecumenical council to be preserved and cultivated) but they are frightened to death to say no to feminists.
  • Jackson,

    Bishops are consecrated, not ordained. Like you, I find it a demotion to say that someone was "ordained" to the episcopate. It makes some people uncomfortable to consider that differences -- in society, in law, in the Church -- are normal, natural and necessary.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Right, acolytes are always EMHCS and are the first pick if the number of priests & deacons are insufficient. But they can purify, which is why they should act as a subdeacon properly speaking in the TLM, even though tonsuring and having a straw SD who waits for some time to be ordained SD (yes even a layman, potentially even a married one-SDs promised celibacy, but if deacons can live with their wives...) is infinitely preferable in the long run.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,109
    Chris -

    When everyone at Walsingham began to speak of Bishop Lopes' 'ordination', I confidently corrected them, stating that 'bishops are consecrated, not ordained'. This resulted in my being corrected by clergy and others that 'we are Catholic now, and bishops are not 'consecrated', they are 'ordained'. I still don't believe it, but that seems to be the proper Catholic understanding. Or is it? Who among us is an authority on this?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,417
    From the Wikipedia:

    The ordination of a new bishop is also called a consecration. While the term "episcopal ordination" is now more common,[1] "consecration" was the preferred term from the Middle Ages through the period including the Second Vatican Council (11 October 1962 – 8 December 1965).[2]

    The Vatican II document Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy n. 76 states,


    Both the ceremonies and texts of the ordination rites are to be revised. The address given by the bishop at the beginning of each ordination or consecration may be in the mother tongue.


    When a bishop is consecrated, the laying of hands may be done by all the bishops present.

    The English text of Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, 1997, under the heading "Episcopal ordination—fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders", uses "episcopal consecration" as a synonymous term, using "episcopal ordination" and "episcopal consecration" interchangeably. (CCC nn. 1556–1558)

    The Code of Canon Law Latin-English Edition, (1983), under "Title VI—Orders" uses the term sacrae ordinationis minister "minister of sacred ordination" and the term consecratione episcopali "episcopal consecration". (CCL cc. 1012, 1014)
  • Jackson,

    As Matthew illustrates, the "ordination" of bishops is a modern, not a Catholic, invention. Not everything modern is (merely by the fact of being modern) suspect, but if someone insisted to you that 'now that we're Catholic, we're Eucharist to each other', you wouldn't wonder if the idea were Catholic, but rather if the speaker had had one too many mild altering substances.

    Stick to your guns.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,787
    The change in terminology probably was undertaken with the good intention of clarifying that the same sacrament is conferred upon bishops, priests, and deacons, although in differing degrees; and it is not conferred upon subdeacons, readers, and acolytes.
    Thanked by 3Liam fcb Joseph Mendes
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    True as far as their intention goes.

    From Ministeria Quaedam: “What is obsolete in these offices will thus be removed and what is useful retained.” Well, the number of times that no one has been responsible for the doors (Palm Sunday, pontifical Masses) or the bells makes me want porters.

    I understand and agree with not locking up minor orders to seminaries, but if one means that instituted ministries are not the same as minor orders, that doesn’t square with Trent. I will set aside that the traditional orders were providentially conferred without jnterruption. In fact, the new offices are requested just as holy orders (of diaconate and priesthood) via petitioning the one with a right to call to orders and are conferred in a similar but not wholly identical manner to the traditional orders.

    Basically, my point is that Vatican II and MQ raise more questions than they provide answers.
  • stulte
    Posts: 140
    Basically, my point is that Vatican II and MQ raise more questions than they provide answers.


    I completely agree. Quite frankly, even though Paul VI said that the subdeacon no longer exists in the Latin Church and the term acolyte is used, when one considers how it is conferred, it uses the instrument of the order of Subdeacon rather than that of the Acolyte. In practice, it was the order of Acolyte that went away, not the Subdiaconate.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    & the duties of the SD are divided between acolytes and the deacon; readings are given to lectors, but he who does the greater may do the lesser.

    The other question is if he is actually an SD. I think all acolytes who serve at TLMs wish they had been tonsured and ordained subdeacon, but there’s no good reason not to give them the maniple, since they function exactly like the SD without restrictions of someone who was only in minor orders. Here’s to hoping that diocesan seminarians will increasingly be given minor orders and that lay men receive them in the same way they can receive the instituted ministries of MQ.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    The change in terminology probably was undertaken with the good intention of clarifying that the same sacrament is conferred upon bishops, priests, and deacons, although in differing degrees; and it is not conferred upon subdeacons, readers, and acolytes.


    What Chonak said.

    1) The act of receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders is called "getting ordained" (just like the act of receiving the sacrament of Baptism is called "getting baptized").
    2) Men become bishops via reception of the sacrament of Holy Orders.
    3) Ergo, a man becomes a bishop by "getting ordained."

    Many in the Middle Ages did not accept premise #2, thinking that the sacrament of Holy Orders as ordered to the priesthood, and therefore a bishop was (sacramentally speaking) simply a priest with additional powers (e.g. ordaining and confirming). The Church has now clarified that this is not the case (see Lumen Gentium 21 § 2). The practice of speaking of "consecrating" bishops, rather than "ordaining," is at least in part a holdover from the earlier, erroneous (albeit widely held) view.

    Of course, it's also not wrong to speak of "consecrating" a bishop--as long as this does not constitute a denial that the bishop is being ordained. Indeed, in the very sentence where Lumen Gentium clarifies that bishops receive Holy Orders (indeed, that they possess the fullness of Orders), it speaks of "episcopal consecration." So if people want to use the term I see no need to correct them, unless, of course, they proceed to say, "You know, bishops are consecrated, not ordained."
    Thanked by 2Liam chonak
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 478
    the number of times that no one has been responsible for the doors (Palm Sunday, pontifical Masses) or the bells makes me want porters
    Petition your bishop. Ha!
    MINISTERIA QUAEDAM:
    ................
    In addition to the offices universal in the Latin Church, the conferences of bishops may request others of the Apostolic See, if they judge the establishment of such offices in their region to be necessary or very useful because of special reasons. To these belong, for example, the ministries of porter, exorcist, catechist, [5] as well as others to be conferred on those who are dedicated to works of charity, where this ministry had not been assigned to deacons.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 478
    Incidentally the mention in MQ of exorcist as a possible instituted lay office conflicts, or at least does not relate well to Canon Law:
    Can. 1172 §1. No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary.
    §2. The local ordinary is to give this permission only to a presbyter who has piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life.
    I presume it could relate to the exorcisms of catechumens occuring in the RCIA.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Exorcists never performed major exorcisms. I believe they assisted at baptisms and with similar prayers. Ideally, the thurifer is ordained exorcist, for the incense expels demons and so does holy water. The thurifer carries that before the Asperges and very often during ceremonies where he is not required to have the thurible.

    I would say a bishop is consecrated, not simply ordained, because of the jurisdictional aspects. He also has actualized in him powers which can only be actualized in a priest by the priest’s own bishop or the Apostolic See. Confirmation certainly is one. Ordination is probably another, if we hold that the ordinarions in 14th c. England by abbots who were only priests are valid. That a bishop can reach the highest levels of perfection also adds something to consecration.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,787
    It might be helpful for participants in this thread to read the Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, which in 1947 clarified what are the form and matter of the Sacrament in each case: bishop, priest, and deacon.

    It is surprising, I think, that the Church's teaching on this sacrament has been under development in this way so recently!

    For anyone tempted to quibble about the words, this document uses "ordination" and "consecration" side by side for the case of a bishop.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    It’s an interesting document, because it allows for the possibility that the porrection of the instruments was a part of the matter at one time, analalgous to the blessing of a marriage being required in the East. A future pope is perfectly free to emphasize again this part of the rite. I don’t know of anyone who does happen to stress the porrection who denies the importance of the laying of hands on the ordinand, FWIW.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,109
    This, and these nuances are informative to me. As an Anglican (and, apparently, for many Catholics) one was taught more or less what Deacon Fritz offers as the mediaeval understanding of bishops as being priests 'with additional powers' or authority; that nothing sacramentally was conferred in episcopal consecration that had not already been conferred in priestly ordination. It occurs to me that, since it is now taught that bishops are ordained, what of popes? When one becomes pope is he ordained pope or consecrated pope? What, sacramentally, is added to him that wasn't received when he was ordained a priest, and then a bishop? Does the authority inherent in papacy constitute a sacramental category for which one is ordained, or is it only an increase of authority granted to a priest-bishop.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,157
    A man becomes pope at the moment he says "I accept" to his electors. If he is not already a bishop, he receives episcopal ordination soon after that. But there is no additional "ordination" as pope.

    In the past there was a coronation liturgy with the papal tiara, but Paul VI did away with that practice. Today there is a Mass to mark the inauguration of the new pope's Petrine ministry but, as noted above, that is not the moment when he becomes pope.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,157
    Regarding Ministeria Quaedam's statement that "in addition to the offices universal in the Latin Church, the conferences of bishops may request others of the Apostolic See, if they judge the establishment of such offices in their region to be necessary or very useful because of special reasons," the conference of bishops in the USA discussed the establishment of two additional instituted ministries (director of music and catechist, neither ministry being reserved only to men) in the late-80's or early-90's. The motion was not approved. My recollection is that the motion was not sufficiently specific with regard to who would be the targeted candidates for such ministries. The intention of the drafters of the motion was that not every church musician or every catechist - not even the great majority of them - would be candidates for such instituted ministries, but only those in a high leadership positions. But that was not clearly spelled out to the satisfaction of the NCCB membership.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,157
    There have been some insightful comments in this discussion, but I'm still puzzled why someone who is de facto a minister of music in a parish (and a highly regarded one at that) would want to become an instituted acolyte.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,157
    By the way, the exorcisms in the RCIA (these being solemn prayers that the elect be strengthened against the temptation of sin and, at times, be freed from their former attachment to a false religion) have nothing to do with demoniacal possession.

    When I received the former minor order of exorcist (a few years before Ministeria Quaedam), it allowed me to bless rosaries and holy cards. Even in those days, only priests specially designated as exorcists by their bishop (usually only one in the diocese) could perform a solemn exorcism. Regarding the involvement of the young priest in The Exorcist, that would never have happened.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    ...former minor order of exorcist


    Traditional, seeing that it is still conferred. It is interesting to note that an exorcist has those powers of blessing.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    It would be interesting if a bishops' conference were to have an instituted order of "catechist" that would include permission to perform the exorcisms/scrutinies of the RCIA as well as the anointing with the oil of catechumens (both of which, as I recall, are reserved to priests and deacons). This could be very useful in situations where a priest or deacon is only rarely present, or has not other involvement in the RCIA. I know that catechumens find it very meaningful when I anoint them as part of our RCIA, since I'm with them every week and have some knowledge of the sorts of spiritual battles they are fighting. In many places it is a catechist who has that sort of relationship with them.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • Deacon Fritz,

    Whatever you do (which you call anointing) and however "meaningful" this action is to the catechumens: are you claiming that you dispense (and they receive) sacramental grace? If you are, wouldn't that make it impossible for a lay catechist to do whatever you do... and if you aren't, what are you doing?
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    The anointing of catechumens is not a sacrament, so, no, I am not dispensing sacramental grace in the strict sense. The anointing of catechumens is a sacramental, meaning that grace is made present by the opera operantis ("the work of the doer"), so subjective elements like "meaningfulness" certainly have a role to play.

    Also, lay people can, under certain circumstances, dispense sacramental grace, as when they baptize in an emergency or contract marriage (in the Latin Rite).
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 478
    The rite (RCIA) includes a selection of eleven texts for minor exorcisms, which may be performed on one or more occasions during the months when a person enrolled as a catechumen is preparing for baptism. Anointing with the oil of catechumens may be repeated on several occasions. The notes also indicate that the minor exorcisms may be carried out by a lay catechist deputed for this purpose by the bishop, though the use of the oil of catechumens is reserved to deacons and priests.
    In addition to these exorcisms, the Rite for Adults includes three ceremonies called scrutinies, to be celebrated as integral parts of the Sunday Eucharist on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent. Each scrutiny contain a prayer of exorcism reserved to the deacon or priest.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    Thanks for the citation. So I guess the minor exorcisms can already be deputed to a lay catechist. I think there could be great benefit to allow the scrutinies to be similarly deputed in those communities where a priest or deacon cannot be present on the 3rd-5th Sundays of Lent.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,157
    Regarding sacramental grace, all lay persons may validly baptize a person in danger of death. So they would be ministers of sacramental grace in such instances. In addition, in some territories catechists are deputed to baptize infants. So they would be ministers of sacramental grace as well.
    Thanked by 1rarty
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,023
    Hey, not just lay persons but even infidels can validly baptize.....
  • Fr. Krisman, Deacon Fritz,

    Can one (or both) of you help me out with a really confusing knot I have in front of me?

    True statements?

    1) RCIA is and can only be required for the unbaptized.
    2) Unbaptized persons can't receive any other sacraments, nor can they receive sacramental annointings.
    3) RCIA is often made the SOP for non-Catholics to come into Communion with the Catholic Church.
    4) Some people in RCIA might be able to receive annointings, but others wouldn't -- if some of them are already baptized and others not.
    5) Fr. Ron Krisman has written excellent settings of the psalms for the Scrutinies of Lent?
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    Chris,

    1) True
    2) True: unbaptized people cannot receive sacraments. But the anointing done during the RCIA are not sacraments. They are like the anointing of infants prior to their baptism in the Rite of Infant Baptism.
    3) True, in the sense that non-Catholic coming into full communion often join in the catechetical sessions of the RCIA. In some cases, however, this might not be appropriate and in some places it's actively discouraged. In no case should baptized non-Christians be anointed with the oil of catechumens, receive minor exorcisms, or go through the scrutinies, since all of these rites presume that the person undergoing them is unbaptized. Places that do this should knock it off right now!
    4) False: Only the unbaptized should ever be anointed with the Oil of Catechumens (see above).
    5) I haven't heard them, so I can't say, but I do like his adaptation for the new translation of the New Mass for Congregations Gloria.
  • Deacon Fritz,

    Thank you for your answers. I'm still a little puzzled. Where, in the set of 5 dubia should I be mentally situating the anointing you say you do with the catechumens?
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    Number 2: just as infants are anointed prior to their baptism, so are adults. But in the case of adults this can be done numerous times over the course of their catechesis. It's not a sacraments (as you rightly say, unbaptized people cannot receive sacraments) but rather a part of the rites of baptism, which for an adult is spread over the period of the Catechumenate. Does that make sense?