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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Ministers > On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest  Back one page.

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Table of ContentsPart II. Practical ProvisionsPart II, Article 2: The Ministry of the Word [59]Endnotes

Part II, Article I. Need for Appropriate Terminology

In his address to participants at the Symposium on "Collaboration of the Lay Faithful with the Priestly Ministry", the Holy Father emphasized 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 (offices) 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 obscured".[54]

§ 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]

Table of ContentsPart II. Practical ProvisionsPart II, Article 2: The Ministry of the Word [59]Endnotes

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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Ministers > On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest  Back one page.

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