Vatican City, Jan 11, 2021 / 04:05 am
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 persons of suitable age and with the gifts determined by decree of the Episcopal Conference may be permanently assigned, by means of the established liturgical rite, to the ministries of lectors and acolytes; however, the conferment of such a role does not entitle them to support or remuneration from the Church."
Before this change, the law 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."
Lector and acolyte are publicly recognized ministries instituted by the Church. The roles were once considered "minor orders" in the tradition of the Church and were changed to ministries by Pope Paul VI. 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."