Pope Francis Admits Women To Ministries Of Lector And Acolyte In New Motu Proprio

Pope Francis issued a motu proprio Monday changing canon law to allow women to serve as lectors and acolytes.

In the motu proprio “Spiritus Domini,” issued on Jan. 11, the pope changed canon 230 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law to read: “Lay people who have the age and skills determined by decree of the Episcopal Conference, they can be permanently assumed, through the established liturgical rite, to the ministries of lectors and of acolytes; however this contribution does not give them the right to support or to remuneration by the Church.”

Prior to this change, the law formerly said that “lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.”

The roles of lector and acolyte are publicly recognized ministries instituted by the Church. The roles were considered “minor orders” in the tradition of the Church, and  have previously only been held by men. According to Church law, “before anyone is promoted to the permanent or transitional diaconate, he is required to have received the ministries of lector and acolyte.”

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