QUAERITUR: Acolyte as subdeacon for NO 1st Mass

I got this urgent question by e-mail:

Fr. Z –
 
I am a transitional Deacon preparing for Ordination and First Mass on June 28 and 29 respectively.  I would like my friend, who is an installed acolyte and fellow seminarian to serve as subdeacon at a NO Mass.  I was wondering if he would be allowed to vest in the tunicle, and if so, is there any documentation on this?
 
Thank you for your time.

Yes, I am sure that this is possible, for the acolyte… not for the non-acolyte.

But if you are looking for documents, I just don’t have time to look them up at this moment.

We know from Ministeria quaedam of Paul VI, that the acolyte substitutes for the subdeacon and can even be called the subdeacon.  Also, I have seen this in practice at St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, properly, for years… omnibus contrariis errantibus.

 

Readers… help this guy!!

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to QUAERITUR: Acolyte as subdeacon for NO 1st Mass

  1. I think that Fr. Z has said a while back that the Subdeaconate does not exist anymore. It is *never* mentioned or even needed in any N.O. celebration; otherwise, Paul VI would not have gotten rid of it at all.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Fr. Z said: “We know from ‘Ministeria quaedam’ of Paul VI, that the acolyte substitutes for the subdeacon and can even be called the subdeacon.”

  3. Ioannes Andreades says:

    First of all, the warmest of congratulations and assurance of prayers!

    These are the only current documents I know of that attain. It looks to me that the alb is the way to go without anything else for the N.O. If a tunicle were worn, I would think that it would have to be crystial clear that your friend’s tunicle differs from a deacon’s dalmatic to avoid “any” confusion. Sorry I don’t have anything more helpful. Perhaps someone sees something I don’t.

    Ecclesia de Mysterio:
    6.2 In the same way, the use of sacred vestments which are reserved to priests or deacons (stoles, chasubles or dalmatics) at liturgical ceremonies by non-ordained members of the faithful is clearly unlawful. Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices. As the sacred ministers are obliged to wear all of the prescribed liturgical vestments so too the non-ordained faithful may not assume that which is not proper to them. To avoid any confusion between sacramental liturgical acts presided over by a priest or deacon, and other acts which the non-ordained faithful may lead, it is always necessary to use clearly distinct ceremonials, especially for the latter.

    GIRM:
    336. The sacred garment common to ordained and instituted ministers of any rank is the alb, to
    be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without such. Before the alb
    is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be
    put on. The alb may not be replaced by a surplice, not even over a cassock, on occasions when a
    chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when, according to the norms, only a stole is worn without
    a chasuble or dalmatic.
    337. The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly
    connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.
    338. The vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole. The
    dalmatic may, however, be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity.
    339. In the dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other
    lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified
    clothing.

  4. RBrown says:

    I think that Fr. Z has said a while back that the Subdeaconate does not exist anymore.

    In the NO, yes. But in orders using the 1962 Missal, there is still ordination to the subdiaconate.

    It is never mentioned or even needed in any N.O. celebration; otherwise, Paul VI would not have gotten rid of it at all.
    Comment by latinmass1983

    Excellent point. There is really nothing for a subdeacon to do in the NO.

    Dressed in the tunicle for what? To be dressed in the tunicle?

  5. Ioannes Andreades says:

    My reading of Ministeria Quaedam is that the duties of the subdeacon are divided among the reader and the acolyte and saying that “the acolyte substitutes for the subdeacon” is not exactly what Ministeria Quaedam says. Sorry, Fr. Z.

    Ministeria Quaedam:
    Two ministries, adapted to present-day needs, are to be preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those of reader and acolyte. The functions heretofore assigned to the subdeacon are entrusted to the reader and the acolyte; consequently, the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church. There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops.

  6. prof. basto says:

    I agree with both points made by RBrown and Ioannes Andreas.

    Now, regarding the EF, where was it that I saw a recent statement by a Vatican official stating that the conferral of minor orders and subdiaconate will continue for the institutes fully dedicated to the TLM? I know that I saw this, but can’t remember where…

    In any event, given that this is a NO Mass we are talking about here, I agree that there is no place for a subdeacon. Certainly, there is no role for a subdeacon, as the duties of one were divided between reader and acolyte. Thus, in the NO, the acolyte is to perform his duties (which were increased by Ministeria Queadam because they now include part of the duties of the subdeacon) as an acolyte, vested as an acolyte and (unless the Conference of Bishops has authorized that acolytes be called “subdeacons”) he is also to be called “acolyte”.

  7. prof. basto says:

    Earlier, I wrote: Now, regarding the EF, where was it that I saw a recent statement by a Vatican official stating that the conferral of minor orders and subdiaconate will continue for the institutes fully dedicated to the TLM? I know that I saw this, but can’t remember where…

    I have now found the reference to the statement above. It turns out that I read it in this blog, more precisely in Cardinal Castrillón’s interview to the Italian magazine Jesus.

    As many of the readers here are aware, the practice of conferral of tonsure, minor orders and subdiaconate is already customary in the FSSP and other institutes in full communion with Rome. So, the Cardinal’s statement goes to show that Rome legitimizes the practice.

    So, it really seems that Paul VI’s statement that the acolyte and reader would take up the fuctions of the subdeacon, and that as a consequence the subdeaconate would no longer exist in the Latin Church – a statement made having the post-Conciliar Mass in mind – clearly applies only to the Novus Ordo. That’s the only interpretation that explains Rome’s acceptance of ordinations to the subdiaconate in the institutes permanently dedicated to the TLM.

    After all, given that the major order of the subdiaconate, as well as the minor orders, are not Sacramental Orders, but merely liturgical ministries instituted by the Church, then, they can exist in one liturgical form and not in another. And it really seems that Paul VI’s abolition of the subdiaconate in the Latin Church had only the Novus Ordo in view.

    It reminds me of the legislation on papal elections: there are references to “Cardinals” as the ones who receive votes (for instance in the recent Motu Proprio Constitutio Apostolica ), but that is not meant to exclude non-Cardinals from receiving votes as a possibility. This goes to show that sometimes the Legislator uses inexact language. And it is the intention, more than the language, that matters.

    So, in the case of the subdiaconate, the same logic applies: Paul VI said “Latin Church”, but it is clear that he only said it because he tought of the Novus Ordo as the rite of the Latin Church, and therefore the abolition of the subdiaconate only applies to it. That interpretation is legitimized by the statement of the Cardinal President of the PCED, according to which the practice of granting the tonsure, minor orders and subdiaconate will continue in the institutes permanently dedicated to the TLM.

    However, in the case of the Novus Ordo, I believe the acolyte should act and dress solely as an acolyte, there being no place for a subdeacon.

  8. Papabile says:

    I am not making any assertion here, but just calling to mind a couple of facts….

    1. The Motu Proprio Ministeria Quaedam was issues August 15, 1972. Up until that point, the Ordinary Form involved the use of a subdeacon. The Motu Proprio became effective on 1 January 1973.

    2. Ministeria Quaedam divided the duties of subdeacon to that of reader and acolyte, while maintaining that the acolyte could be called a subdeacon is the local Bishops’ Conference was open to it.

    3. While Ministeria Quaedam indicated only acolyte and reader as two ministries, it did not exclude the creation of other ministries. It said that ministries were open to laymen.

    4. Ministeria Quaedam mentions the reader taking the place of “the psalmist” if there was no psalmist. Is the psalmist also a ministry? Who would perform that duty prior to this reform? The subdeacon. The same could be said with respect to the bidding prayers.

  9. Papabile says:

    Also, I am not asserting a justification for using a subdeacon within the ordinary form. However, there are many examples that have been tolerated for decades. St. Agnes, the Oratories, Farnborough Abbey among them.

    http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/pictures/liturgy/highMass/large/elevation.jpg

  10. Fr.Fern says:

    ” Ministeria in tota Ecclesia Latina servanda, hodiernis necessitatibus accommodate, duo sunt, Lectoris nempe et Acolythi. Partes, quae hucusque Subdiacono commissae erant, Lectori et Acolytho concreduntur, ac proinde in Ecclesia Latina ordo maior Subdiaconatus non amplius habetur. Nihil tamen obstat, quominus, ex Conferentiae Episcopalis iudicio, Acolythus alicubi etiam Subdiaconus vocari possit.” (MINISTERIA QUAEDAM # 4)

    In some Dioceses of Spain and Latin America Acolito are called subdiacono and they use tunicle at mass, and they do what the GIMR # 142 -147 and #301.

  11. Peter says:

    I have seen several Australian cathedrals vest the Cross bearer at the principal (ordinary form) Sunday Mass in a tunicle.

  12. Peter says:

    Not on the OF Q, but readers may be interested in PCED correspondence about the role of subdeacon in the EF (courtesy St Bede Studio Blog)

    Dubia re EF layman as subdeacon:

    http://saintbedestudio.blogspot.com/2007/03/clarification-on-ecclesia-dei.html

    and the PCED answer
    http://saintbedestudio.blogspot.com/2007/03/ecclesia-dei-commission-decisions1.html

  13. RBrown says:

    2. Ministeria Quaedam divided the duties of subdeacon to that of reader and acolyte, while maintaining that the acolyte could be called a subdeacon is the local Bishops’ Conference was open to it.
    Comment by Papabile

    You’ve touched on the problem created by Ministeria Quaedam: The Subdiaconate and four minor orders were no longer to be grades of Holy Orders–they were redefined merely as functions. Those functions were then assigned to Lay Ministries (Acolyte and Lector).

    Thus: When a a man wears the tunicle, it indicates not only a liturgical function but more importantly that he is a Subdeacon, the first of the Major Orders. In the NO Church, however, this grade of Order is in disuse, and its functions have been given to lay ministries.

    Thus: The purpose of men wearing the dalmatic and tunicle is not merely to dress up as many as possible in the sanctuary.

    Congrats to the ordinandus for his perseverance.

  14. Philip-Michael says:

    The question of whether or not a properly instituted Acolyte may serve in the Novus Ordo Missae as a subdeacon has behind it a much greater issue that I seriously believe our Holy Father and the Sacred Congregations need to take a more profound look at: what are the minor orders/ministries?
    As a seminarian who goes to a Ordinary Form seminary but is greatly “attached” to the more ancient form of the liturgy many questions have arisen in my mind in light of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict the Great. I agree with all of those who above have stated that the Motu Proprio Ministeria Quaedam was written solely with the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite in mind. Clearly this must be the case being that our Eastern Rite counterparts have maintained to this day the Major Order of Subdiaconate and that even before the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei Tradition Mass Society and even certain Religious Orders and Congregations had retained the subdiaconate. So, in this regard the Roman Rite has never really been without the subdiaconate. The emerging Ordinary Form of the Mass during the 1970’s also did not at first exist without the subdiaconate, all though there was great confusion already within the Church in the late 1960’s in regards the duty, role and in some regards necessity of the subdeacon. This is made clear by the fact that there was already great discussion on whether or not a subdeacon could and should where the Maniple as early as the mid to late 1960’s. Surely with the advent of Ministeria Quaedam the role and order of subdeacon was completely removed from the Novus Ordo liturgy. So, in response to the person’s initial question, Can I vest an acolyte as subdeacon at my first mass in the Novus Ordo? Although possible, as has been shown by other people’s comments, since 1973 there really is no role of Subdeacon in the Novus Ordo liturgy.
    But there is still an even more poignant question needing to be answered. Are the minor ministries of the Ordinary Form completely compatible with the minor orders of the Extraordinary Form? Being that all things are equal within the one Roman Rite among its different forms, YES. But, there are still some things that need a more developed query.
    Firstly, The subdiaconate was considered and is still in the Extraordinary Form and the Eastern Churches as an ordination, and not an institution as is Lector and Acolyte. Pope Innocent III authoritatively declared the subdiaconate a Major Order. The subdeacon even makes promises, such as celibacy and to pray the Divine Office and is not needing any special dispensation if called to the Episcopacy. Such would say to me that a subdeacon is clearly receiving the sacred character of an ordained minister. For a subdeacon is the minister who prays the prayer of co-mingling in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Granted, that with the power of the Keys Pope Paul VI extended the role of the subdeacon to a properly instituted acolyte but the Ordinary Form’s understanding of an acolyte is without similar or compatible sacred power. Unless it does retain these sacred powers but such is not the understanding of seminary formation faculty and what would seems the majority of the hierarchy of the Church.
    I believe that that a properly instituted acolyte can serve as a subdeacon in the Extraordinary Form all things between the forms of the same Roman Rite being equal. My uneasiness is brought on by the fact that the two forms prayers, rites and understanding of the minor ministries/orders seem to be quite at odds with each other. Tonsure, for instance, made one clergy, Candidacy, its Ordinary Form counterpart, does not. The minor orders are considered consecrations. Are the minor ministries? Clearly when a Novus Ordo seminarian goes to a parish their is no distinction made between a lay man and a seminarian instituted Lector or Acolyte. This is not the same in the Extraordinary Form. What then is the relationship between these two forms in regards the minor orders/ministries? Please help me to understand. Can a instituted Lector or Acolyte give those blessings granted to such seminarians in the Rituale Romanum? Can an Acolyte Co-mingling in the absence of a Deacon in the Novus Ordo Missae? Is an Acolyte bound to say the Divine Office as is the duty of a subdeacon in the Extraordinary Form? I pray that the Vatican can provide some clarity.

  15. Sacristy_rat says:

    I think the “plan” is great. It may be a “liberal” application of minesteria quedam, but it works for gravitational pull.

    What can’t one functioning as sub deacon do in the OF that he can do in the EF? The Paten remains in use on the altar… so the SD would do what he does at Requiem Mass, hold his place. He could still sing the Epistle and help at the offertory.

    If he’s not an instituted Acolyte then why not place the tunic over a cassock and surplice which could demonstrate that he is like a “subdeacon of honor”.

    I wonder how things became “tolerated”? It must have been communities just doing it for so long it became custom. It is intresting that MQ seems to engage in a little bit of semantics. While it takes away the name, it doesn’t really take away from the function.

    Not to enrage but to engage. The Rite of Eucharist in the Episcopal BCP can use an SD…. in fact Our Community borrowed a tunic for triduum svc from a near by Episcopal Church (talk about Eccumenism!) Aside from a valid consecration what is the marked difference between the ceremonial of the BCP and the OF Roman Mass? Ha

  16. Martin_B says:

    When looking at churches, that have obviously used Subdeacons in the NO in the last years, always be sure that those Churches aren’t run by certain orders.

    I have witnessed myself a Subdeacon in a NO-Mass 1,5 years ago in a cisterciensian abbey, and was afterwards told that this was, in fact, a Subdeacon.

    Things like this may still be subject to the remains of the proper rites of that order.

    Concerning the roman rite I am of the same opion as most of you:

    There is no subdeacon anymore,
    there are no specific duties for a subdeacon in a NO-mass,
    the use of the tunicle is forbidden because of the danger of being mistaken for a dalmatic and
    there is no “just” reason, why someone should want to dress up as someone he is not, except to fill a vacant role (which does not exist in this case).

  17. Papabile says:

    It is not outside longstanding custom in the EF for a layman to wear a tunic. In particular when the layman fulfills the role of a straw subdeacon.

    Before anyone points to the PCED letter on this, I am perfectly aware of this.

    I am more interested in knowing if the PCED has the power to overrule SCR and SCDW and CDW decisions from the past. We have never seen the PCED’s constitutions and do not know.

    The SCR has specifically confirmed this in the past.

  18. William S. says:

    As the deacon who posed the question, I thank Fr. Z for posting it and for all the responses. My intent was not to “dress up” as many people as possible, but to fulfill the intent of the Holy Father to demonstrate the sacredness of the liturgy.

    I also thank all those who have promised prayers as I prepare for ordination. The prayers are very welcomed.

    Again, thank you to all and please know of my prayers for you.

  19. Jeff says:

    First of all the Order of Subdeacon did survive into the OF, if you looks at the GIRM prior to the merging of the subdeacon with the ministry of Acolyte you will see what a subdeacon would do at the OF. Like the deacon, who would wear the dalmatic, the subdeacon could wear the tunic. However, out of a desire for less solemnity, both the deacon and subdeacon could omit the wearing of their traditional outer vestment. This would leave the deacon wearing a transverse stole over the alb and the subdeacon wearing only the alb. With the resulting Ministry of Acolyte in 1972, the vestment proper to this Ministry is now the alb (which is the vestment also common to Institured Lectors). Any mention of the Tunic has now disappeared from the documents in relation to the OF since 1972, just as any mention of the maniple has not been seen since 1967. This would seem to spell the end of the Tunic for an Instituted Acolyte in the OF, but liturgical law is very intersting.

    It is interesting to look at the mind of the Church in regards to the Ministry of Acolyte, does it not have any of the character of the subdeacon? In the apostolic letter Ministeria quædam, we find the following provision. Two ministries, adapted to present-day needs, are to be preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those of lector and acolyte. The functions heretofore assigned to the subdeacon are entrusted to the lector and the acolyte; consequently, the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church. There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops. There seems to be some connection in the mind of the Church.

    Building on this we find in the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 65:

    “The vestment common to ministers of every rank is the alb, tied at the waist with the cincture, unless it is made to fit without a cincture. An amice should be be put on first if the alb does not completely cover the minister’s street clothing at the neck. A surplice may not be substituted for the alb when the chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when a stole is used instead of the chasuble or dalmatic. When a surplice is worn, it must be worn with the cassock.

    Acolytes, readers, and other ministers may wear other lawfully approved vesture in place of the vestments already mentioned.”

    The last provision is very interesting. It if for the Bishop to approve other vesture. Other vesture has often come to mean, street clothes, but this need not be limited to it. Could not the Bishop approve the use of a Tunic for an Institued Acolyte?

    In EF a tonsured minister could wear it. The PCED has authorized it use when an Instituted Acolyte acts as a subdeacon in the EF. The Church certainly sees that the Acolyte has much in common with the subdeacon, going so far as to allow for the Acolyte to be called a subdeacon. Finally the Church allows Bishop to regulate the vestment worn by instituted ministers in his diocese. It seems at least a possibility.

    As a matter of record, in some places Instituted Acolytes do wear the Tunic in Solemn Masses in the OF.

  20. Alessandro says:

    I completelty agree with Jeff. The argumentation is logic and well put. If you take off dalmatic and tunic
    from a Deacon and a subdeacon, you will have a Deacon with a stole, and an acolyte. If you put on those
    vestments back you you will have the same two ministers but with a clear continuity with the past.
    Which is good. I think the reason for reserving the instituted ministries to lay men (which is for the
    new CIC not so logic, being “lay” ministries) is continuity with the past tradition, so using the old
    form of vesting can’t be a problem.

  21. Alessandro says:

    The problem is, in OF, the provision of the new Pontificale Romanum (nn. 21 & 22), which forbids to priests the use of
    dalmatic and tunicle if there are no “real” deacons at the celebration. The priest must concelebrate
    and wear priestly vestments while taking the function of deacon and even reader, in contrast to the use of the EF.

  22. Alessandro says:

    The problem is, in OF, the provision of the new Caeremoniale Episcoporum (nn. 21 & 22), which forbids to priests the use of
    dalmatic and tunicle if there are no “real” deacons at the celebration. Priests must concelebrate
    and wear priestly vestments while taking the function of deacon and even reader, in contrast to the use of the EF.

  23. Kieran says:

    “The SCR has specifically confirmed this in the past.

    Comment by Papabile — 1 June 2008 @ 11:02 am ”

    Have you got any past decrees by SCR on this??

    So Paul VI ABOLISHED the order of Sub deacon, so it does not exist anymore.( except of course for ICRSP, FSSP etc) Then abolished 2 of the 4 Minor Orders. The other 2 Lector and acolyte he reduced to Ministries. He said Acolytes may be referred to as subdeacons if the bishops wanted to.
    So it seems clear the installed Acolyte is not equal to the subdeacon. But rather the installed acolyte is equal to the ‘minor order’ acolyte except he is not a cleric. Now remember a man in minor order back in the day could wear the tunicle so why can’t an installed acolyte which would be equal to someone in the minor orders not wear a tunicle and function as a subdeacon did before it was abolished. If its not expressly forbiden why not?

  24. Joe says:

    I think perhaps we are looking too much into the recent past to resolve a recently present issue: with the liberalization of the EF in your average parish through the MP, where non-FSSP and other EF communities pastor parishes, what is of the sub-deacon? I speak on my own, but if straw subdeacons existed in the past, atleast in the context of the MP, a properly trained man, and preferentially an (OF) instituted acolyte at a nearby seminary, could serve as subdeacon in a Solemn High Mass. Of course, it’s also great to see three priests up on the altar fulfilling the three offices, but its not a bad thing to reintegrate the subdeaconate if the Holy Father is liberalizing the EF. If we are to stay in continuity as a Church, the subdeaconate has to have a part in it. This framed question is big talk in many seminaries in the US.

    Pax.

  25. Aquino says:

    “The problem is, in OF, the provision of the new Caeremoniale Episcoporum (nn. 21 & 22), which forbids to priests the use of dalmatic and tunicle if there are no “real” deacons at the celebration. Priests must concelebrate and wear priestly vestments while taking the function of deacon and even reader, in contrast to the use of the EF.”

    In this case, priests of the UK Oratories (and other priests) are in breach of this rule because that is how they usually celebrate their Solemn Masses (OF) – often enough in the presence of bishops.

    There is a sense of a muddle around all this. I think common sense should prevail. A priest has also been a deacon, acolyte/reader (sub-deacon). He is also never obliged to concelebrate. If, therefore, the solemnity of the occasion warrants it, I can’t see anything wrong in their assuming dalmatic/tuncle if there are no ‘lesser’ ministers available.

  26. A few comments from the perspective of the Eastern Catholic Churches found in “Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches” issued by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, 1996.

    Section 72 states that the minor Orders are “governed only by the particular law of their own Church sui iuris.”

    Section 73 states, “Whoever has received these orders, [minor orders] therefore, is no longer a lay person…”

    Section 74 states that the ancient practice of minor Orders is to be maintained and “it would not seem helpful to introduce a differentiation of usage with respect to the Orthodox Churches….Every change that has been improperly introduced in more or less recent times should be re-exmined based on these principles.”

    Section 75 requires a real and coherent practice of the Orders. This is especially in regards to the minor Orders and the diaconate. “Thus, the ministers necessary for a dignified and fitting celebration of the liturgy are obtained, avoiding the practice, different also in this case from the Latin Church in which it is no longer in use, of having ministers of a higher range perform the liturgical functions that should be reserved to those of lower range (the most frequent case is the of presbyters functioning as deacons), or of permanently appointing to the laity liturgical tasks expected of a minister: practices to be eliminated.”

    I will limit my comments to the Byzantine Rite Churches. The following minor orders are currently in use: lector-cantor, and subdeacon. According to the service books a man receives the following 1)taper-bearer, 2) tonsure, 3) lector-cantor [he is vested in the little phelonion (chasuble) and when this is removed in the sticharion (alb), the little phelonion is never worn again], 4) subdeacon [to the sticharion is added the insignia of the orarion which is worn always crossed-saltire.
    Thus the subdiaconate is a minor order according to the CCEC and is to be regulated by particular law of each Church sui iuris.

    There is no acolyte any longer in the Byzantine Rite Churches. When a bishop ordains [the word is cheirothesia for minor orders and sacramentals such as archimandrite, protopresbyter, protodeacon, and cheirotonia for major orders] a candidate, the man receives taper-bearer, tonsure, lector-cantor in a sequence without intervals. A man might remain a lector-cantor for his entire life and never receive another order. Cantors are essential to a fitting celebration of the Byzantine liturgy.

    The Byzantine subdeacon’s liturgical role is much more like the Roman Rite acolyte than like to subdeacon of the EF.

    It is prohibited for presbyters to function as deacons. When there is no deacon available which is the usual practice, the priest takes most but not all of the deacon’s liturgical functions, however, he does not vest as a deacon. The priest always functions as priest even when out of necessity, the diaconal function must be aggregated to the presbyteral functions. This makes it more difficult for the priest to focus on the priest’s role and tends to create a different dynamic in the liturgy than what the rubrics dictate, thus, “the minsters necessary for a dignified and fitting celebration of the liturgy are obtained,…”

    It seems that the rational of the legislator is for “a real and coherent practice of Orders”. This has profound ecclesial implications. The laity are not to be “permenently” appointed to tasks expected of lector-cantors and subdeacons. There will have to be a great shift in practice in most Churches sui iuris of the Byzantine Rite to realize this. [In my own eparchy, the bishop has initiated a program to train candidates for the subdiaconate and some twenty candidates will soon be ordained.] Usually, the subdeacon’s role is assumed by “altar servers” at present.

    The other prescription to prohibit presbyters vesting as deacons and functioning as such is easy to put into practice – just don’t do it.

    I understand that this solution may not seem so easy for the EF in the Latin Church, when it comes to services that require a deacon or even a number of them. However, given that the Latin Church has now restored the diaconate to a permanent rank, there is no theological, canonical or liturgical reason that religious institues that permanently follow the EF should not have permanent deacons or enough transitional deacons for “a real and coherent practice of Orders.” Where the EF of the Latin Church is to be celebrated, permanent deacons should receive the necessary training.

    Prior to Vatican II, and this is not the doing of the Council of Trent which called for a renewal of the minor orders, the subdiaconate and the diaconate, the diaconate had attrified into little more than a liturgical role. Unfortunately, since Vatican II the Latin Church has placed little importance upon the training of permanent deacons for a liturgical role. There needs to be a balance of liturgy, word and charity in regards to the diaconate. Possibly, the greater use of the EF will help in this regards?

  27. Daniel Hill says:

    The provision for ‘other approved vesture’ cearly allows the tunicle (without maniple). In fact, I would argue that it gives the possibility of the LECTOR wearing the tunicle also.
    Both share in the former role of sub-deacon.

    Whether instituted or not I think is the question. Recent tradition (straw subdeacons/lay clerks) demonstrates that one does not need to be instituted, but recent letters regarding the EF say that institution should have occured.

    The key thing is to not write a letter to the CDWDS. Just let the tradition of ‘Tunicled Acolyte’ build up again until it becomes a force to be reconed with.

    I am having a Tunicled acolyte, crucifer and Lector at my OF wedding.

  28. Daniel Hill says:

    The other think to note in the nomenclature is that an acolyte does not ‘act as a subdeacon’ in the OF. He acts as an acolyte, no matter what he is wearing.

    The other question is Cantors in Copes in both the OF and EF

  29. chris says:

    Well, on June the 14th, I am one of the many subdeacons in Westmnister Cathedral. I am just a lover of the EF, and the LMS asked if I would be a sub, and I said yes.
    Now on to other matters, the picture you have seen from farnbourough abbey

    “Also, I am not asserting a justification for using a subdeacon within the ordinary form. However, there are many examples that have been tolerated for decades. St. Agnes, the Oratories, Farnborough Abbey among them.”

    The subdeacon in that Mass was in fact a priest, so I don’t think it is a safe example.

    Chris

  30. Cerimoniere says:

    Some comments on a few of the issues raised here:

    1) Having something that looks like an EF Solemn Mass in the OF, is almost always contra legem for the OF. It’s designed to “rescue” continuity of appearance between the two forms, in a way that the OF specifically does not allow for. The churches which have such Masses regularly typically have a priest acting as deacon, and someone who’s probably not an instituted acolyte as subdeacon (either another major cleric, or a novice who hasn’t yet received the ministry). They are aware of this, and have been pushing this particular envelope for years; it happens to be one of the things that has been gotten away with in a traditional direction, in a few places.

    2) Papabile says: “It is not outside longstanding custom in the EF for a layman to wear a tunic. In particular when the layman fulfills the role of a straw subdeacon.”

    Yes, it is. “Straw” subdeacons had to be tonsured clerics, not laymen.

    “I am more interested in knowing if the PCED has the power to overrule SCR and SCDW and CDW decisions from the past. We have never seen the PCED’s constitutions and do not know.

    The SCR has specifically confirmed this in the past.”

    SCR has confirmed what in the past? It sounds as if you have something backwards here. SCR forbade laymen to act as subdeacons. PCED permits instituted acolyes (who remain laymen) to do so. This is the potential conflict; not the other way around.

  31. Cerimoniere says:

    I was just looking at the Commission’s response posted above, and it seems not to be the one I had seen before on this topic.

    Interestingly. the Commission says that it had waited for a response from the CDW before issuing its own response. This seems to indicate (a) that it didn’t have competence to respond on its own, and (b) that insofar as this did overrule earlier law, the CDW approved it. Nonetheless, the substance of the response is rather odd, in two ways.

    It says that “in the past, a person who had received the ministry of acolyte acting as subdeacon was tolerated…This usage may continue to be tolerated.” So, the permission is presented as confirming earlier law, when in fact it is new. In the past, one “received the ministry of acolyte” by being a cleric already, and then being ordained to the highest of the minor orders. It had already been tolerated for one to act as subdeacon since one had received the tonsure. However, someone who receives the ministry of acolyte in the OF is not a cleric, and does not become one by receiving it. So (some) laymen are now permitted to act as subdeacons, where this was not previously the case.

    After thus permitting laymen to wear a vestment associated with a major clerical order and exercise its functions, the Commission then states that laymen acting as cantors may not wear the cope, though this is a lesser function which only ever required one to be tonsured, and though the cope isn’t specifically associated with major orders.

    The logic of this escapes me. Can anyone shed further light?

  32. Philip-Michael says:

    One quick question: If a lay man, such as an OF acolyte, can subdeacon in the EF and the subdeacon in the EF says the prayer of commingling than can an acolyte take the place of the one real sacred liturgical function of the deacon of the altar in the OF and commingle?

  33. Dear Philip Michael,

    The rubrics of the OF: if a deacon is serving, the deacon adds commingles, if there is no deacon, the priest commingles.
    Canon Law both in the West and the East makes it clear that the only major orders are bishop, priest, and deacon.
    The particular law of a Church sui iuris governs the minor orders [this is the case for the Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris] and in the West, the Pope of Rome makes the particular laws for the intituted ministries. Those who are still being ordained to minor orders in the West, if these orders are valid, there must be an indult exempting them from the general particular law of the Latin Church which no longer has the subdiacoante and minor orders but rather intituted ministries of the lector and acolyte.
    I am going to presume that permission from the Holy See has been granted to those religious institutes in the West that still ordain to the minor orders. However, permission to celebrate the EF does not give permission to ordain to the subdiaconate, etc.
    There seems to be the presumption that “Summorum Pontificium” takes one back to 1962 in regards to Church law. This is not the case. “Summorum Pontificium” does not exempt the clergy and the faithful from the general law of the Church.
    The best possible practice at present for the EF is to have an institued acolyte serve as subdeacon. This is in conformity with the general law of the Church.

  34. Cerimoniere says:

    Fr Protodeacon: You are correct that those institutes whose members receive the minor orders and subdiaconate have an indult from the Holy See. The indult is granted by the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which has the power to grant the use of all the liturgical books in force in 1962, including the Roman Pontifical. The understanding that this extends to the ordinations no longer conferred in the Ordinary Form is confirmed by the fact that the Curia has evidently been aware of their practice since 1988 and has not corrected it.

    The relationship between the law governing the Extraordinary Form and the general law of the Latin Church is complex and presents many questions to which we await answers. However, I would refer you to one question which the Holy See has already answered authoritatively; a link to the response appears above in this thread.

    We are told by the Commission, on the advice of the CDW, that the practice of an acolyte acting as subdeacon in the Extraordinary Form “may continue to be tolerated.” The best practice is still for one who has received at least the subdiaconate to minister in that capacity.

  35. RBrown says:

    As the deacon who posed the question, I thank Fr. Z for posting it and for all the responses. My intent was not to “dress up” as many people as possible, but to fulfill the intent of the Holy Father to demonstrate the sacredness of the liturgy.
    Comment by William S

    Does that mean your first mass will be in Latin ad orientem?

  36. RBrown says:

    This discussion has caused me to recall the words of a Roman friend, now a fairly well known priest in England:

    After having spent a few years in formation, a seminarian, with the permission of the rector, then makes a formal request to his bishop for acolyte or lector. The bishop replies formally with a dimissorial letter.

    And what does the seminarian receive? A Lay Ministry.

  37. sleepybrowneyes says:

    Great excitements grips a seminarian as they know tomorrow I will become a Lector and will be able to do that which a 70 year old man can. Then, about a year later the big day comes, they receive acolyte and can do exactly what a five year old girl does every day.

  38. Holy Orders and the liturgical ministeries are not about doing something someone else cannot or does not do. They are not about status or power. They are about service in and to the Body of Christ. To act “in persona Christi” is to act in the power of Christ, rather than on one’s own authority. The ‘old Adam’ fell by pride, he wanted to make himself like God and thus was cast out of paradise. The ‘new Adam’ by humility raises up the ‘old’ and leads us into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, all are in Christ – there is no status and no place for arrogance or pride. It is always an honour to serve, to lay down one’s life [the old Adam] for the 70 year old man and the five year old girl, to love them as Christ loves them, so that you and they might shine through grace in the uncreated light of the resurrection.

  39. Pingback: More interesting links over at WDTPRS « ••• Welcome to the Jackass Trilogy •••