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December 18, 1987     The Message
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December 18, 1987

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December 18, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana .Question Corner 13 Q&A By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN NC News Service Columnist Are women lectors approved by the Church? Q. I am confused about something I read recently concerning lectors at Mass. An article in our Catholic paper said that the "ministries of lec- tor and acolyte were no longer reserved only for those about to be ordained. They continue to be canonically restricted to men, althm, gh women lec- tors are commonplace in U.S. parishes." That seems to imply that women lectors for Mass are not approved by the church. Is that true? In the same article someone at the recent synod on the laity was quoted as including perma- "" nent deacons as "lay ministers." I know you said recently in a column that permanent deacons should not be referred to that way. Which is correct? --Massachusetts A. Since the article you speak of was syn- dicated, I have seen it twice myself. The quotes you give are ambiguous at least. The church does have a solemn formal rite for what it calls "instituting" men as lectors (readers) and acolytes. Candidates for ordination as deacons and priests are to receive institution in these ministries as part of their preparation for sacred orders. In that sense, the ministry of lector is limited to men. However, at least since 1969 with the approval of Pope Paul VI, and in accord with a policy reaf- firmed by the church several times since then, women have served and, of course, continue to serve perfectly legitimately as lectors, ministers of the Word at Mass. Since they have received the sacrament of holy orders, permanent deacons share in the role and responsibilities of clergy in the church. They are not technically or properly referred to as lay ministers. Q. I have heard that my daughter and her hus- band are divorced but that there was no court pro- cedure or hearing and no papers. They were mar- ried in the Catholic Church. Is there any place where the church has on record that they are divorced? I know certain procedures are required when you go through the Catholic Church to get a divorce. --Texas A. Often a parish priest will be consulted when a marriage is in trouble and there is serious danger that it will break up. However while some i notes or forms may be filled out at that time, few if any actual records of a civil divorce are kept in parish churches or diocesan files. I'm not sure what you mean by your second point. Usually today, no procedures actually are required through the Catholic Church before a Catholic obtains a civil divorce other than the ob- vious obligation to do everything possible to keep the marriage together in a healthy way. As we know from human experience, sometimes this is just not possible. The only time actual documents relating to these actions could be kept by some Catholic agency would normally be when a marriage case (annulment, Pauline Privilege or other procedure) has been attempted or completed. A free brochure explaining Catholic regula- tions on membership in the Masons and other organizations is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Father John Diotzen, Holy Trinity Parish, 704 N. Main St., Bloom- ington, II1. 61701. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. Copyright (c) I987 by NC News Service BLOCK - CRUSH - CUBE r WHOLESALE&RETAIL DI IYIP HAUB STEAK HOUSE •  • • .,J 'lkL• • PRIME STEAKS - SEAFOOD- CHICKEN FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY [ 482.12oo] (1) 768-6462 LARGE PARTY ROOMS Haubstadt, Ind. ' ................................  ......................... COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE' Ph. (812) 425-8191 i i :----- GEORGE MOLL, Owner i i Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent 10HN P JamesL. 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