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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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The Conference of Bishops has given permission for women to serve as readers in accord with no. 66 of the «General Instruction» (November, 1969).

In February, 1971, the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy prepared a commentary on the liturgical ministry of women:

a. With the exception of service at the altar itself, women may be admitted to the exercise of other liturgical ministries. In particular the designation of women to serve in such ministries as reader, cantor, leader of singing, commentator, director of liturgical participation, etc., is left to the judgment of the pastor or the priest who presides over the celebration, in the light of the culture and mentality of the congregation.

b. Worthiness of life and character and other qualifications are required in women who exercise liturgical ministries in the same way as for men who exercise the same ministries.

c. Women who read one or other biblical reading during the liturgy of the word (other than the Gospel, which is reserved to a deacon or priest) should do so from the lectern or ambo where the other readings are proclaimed: the reservation of a single place for all the biblical readings is more significant than the person of the reader, whether ordained or lay, whether woman or man (cf. «General Instruction», no 272).

d. Other ministries performed by women, such as leading the singing or otherwise directing the congregation, should be done either within or outside the sanctuary area, depending on circumstances or convenience.


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