From a reader…
Greeting Father! Corpus Christi Watershed has an interesting post regarding female altar servers:
In this article they mention Pope Paul VI allowing the use of female readers. It shows clearly they are allowed only when a male is not available and they must be outside the sanctuary.
Has this “directive” been changed or modified or amended or does it remain in force as originally written? I have not seen anything on this anywhere else. Thank you!
This matter has been wholly reordered by the 3rd editio typica of the Roman Missal and it’s accompanying General Institution.
Under the provisions of can. 20 in the 1983 CIC, a later law (such as the GIRM and the rubrics in the Missal) abrogates the earlier law.
The 1969 permission of Paul VI regarding women as readers performing their functions outside of the sanctuary is no longer in force.
For good or for ill, the current GIRM 101 states:
In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, people who are truly suited to carrying out this function and carefully prepared, so that by their hearing the readings from the sacred texts the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture.
Further in GIRM 309:
The dignity of the Word of God requires that in the church there be a suitable place from which it may be proclaimed and toward which the attention of the faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word. It is appropriate that generally this place be a stationary ambo and not simply a movable lectern. The ambo must be located in keeping with the design of each church in such a way that the ordained ministers and readers may be clearly seen and heard by the faithful. From the ambo only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed; likewise it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should stand at it.
The use of a suitable ambo for the proclamation of Holy Scripture has much more to do with the inherent dignity and sacrality of the Word of God than of the one who proclaims the readings.
These are not issues when the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is used.