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In the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
the term minister enjoys a variety of usages. It most commonly refers to the person, whether lay or ordained, who is commissioned to perform some act on behalf of the Church. It is not a particular office or rank of clergy, as is the case in some other churches, but ''minister'' may be used as a collective term for vocational or professional pastoral leaders including clergy (
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s,
deacons A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...
,
priests A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particu ...
) and non-clergy (
theologians Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the un ...
and
lay ecclesial ministers Lay ecclesial ministry is the term adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to identify the relatively new category of pastoral ministers in the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic Church who serve the Church but are not Holy orders ...
). It is also used in reference to the canonical and liturgical administration of sacraments, as part of some offices, and with reference to the exercise of the lay apostolate. ''Minister'' is not used as a form of address (e.g., Minister Jones) in the Catholic Church. Scripturally, various passages utilize the language of servant (''ministri'') to indicate those charged with spiritual functions or pastoral care of the community: 1 Corinthians 4:1–2; Hebrews 8:2; Matthew 20:26, etc. Specific distinction in terminology may be found in various documents, among others: Participation of the Lay Faithful in the Presbyteral Ministry.


Lay ''ministers''

The Church calls people to the responsible stewardship of their time and talent in support of the Church. This often takes the form of volunteering for a specific lay ministry, most of which are liturgical, catechetical, or involved in pastoral care and social justice. Liturgical lay ministries include
lector Lector is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it bec ...

lector
s (Ministers of the Word) who proclaim
scriptural Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
(the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
) passages during the
Liturgy of the Word Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship ma ...
,
altar server An altar server is a lay Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community ...
s and
acolyte An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on ...
s who assist the presider at the altar,
cantor A cantor or chanter is a person who leads people in singing or sometimes in prayer Prayer is an invocation An invocation (from the Latin verb ''invocare'' "to call on, invoke, to give") may take the form of: * Supplication, prayer ...
s and music ministers who lead the singing, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who serve during Mass and/or who take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, and ushers or ministers of hospitality who direct the seating and procession of the assembly. Catechetical lay ministries include catechists (
Sunday school #REDIRECT Sunday school#REDIRECT Sunday school A Sunday school is an educational institution, usually (but not always) Christianity, Christian in character. Sunday school classes usually precede a Sunday church service and are used to provide cat ...

Sunday school
teachers and teachers at Catholic schools), dismissal leaders (ministers who lead RCIA catechumens on Sundays), retreat leaders, youth group leaders, and Scout religious emblems counselors. Other lay ministries include those who work with charitable activities, pastoral care and outreach, or advocacy for social justice.


Ecclesial ''ministers''

Some persons within the church are called by God and the assembly to serve as ministers to the whole people of God. These people respond to this vocation by receiving the proper formation, usually including graduate studies in theology or divinity, and then exercising some leadership role in the community. In common usage, when someone refers to a "minister of the church" they are referring to any one of these "professional" ministers. The Catholic Church identifies five ecclesial vocations, three of which are ordained. Theologians and lay ecclesial ministers are not necessarily ordained, while bishops, presbyters, and deacons are ordained. While only the latter are considered clergy by the Catholic Church, all are considered ''ministers'' in the professional and vocational sense.


Ministers of the sacraments

The other kind of ''minister'' in Catholic parlance is a person who administers a
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
, meaning that he or she is a conduit of sacramental grace. This is not an office or position but instead a function that different kinds of people may perform, depending on the sacrament. There are two kinds of ministers in this sense. The ''ordinary minister'' of a sacrament, who is the standard or normal minister of that sacrament, has the spiritual power to administer it (i.e., a valid sacrament), but not necessarily the canonical authority to administer it (i.e., a licit sacrament). Thus a bishop who consecrates another bishop without pontifical mandate exercises illicitly the spiritual power to consecrate him. While bishops, priests and deacons are ordinary ministers of holy communion, only someone who has been validly ordained as a priest is a minister of the Eucharist. If a priest is, for some reason, debarred and yet celebrates the Eucharist, he does so illicitly (i.e. against canon law), but the Eucharist is still valid. However, in the case of the sacrament of Reconciliation (the
Sacrament of Penance The Sacrament of Penance (also commonly called the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession) is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church (known in Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () ...
), although the priest is the minister, the only minister, since there are no extraordinary ministers of this sacrament, he must have been granted by the law itself or by a competent authority the faculty to celebrate this sacrament validly for the person to whom he imparts absolution. An ''extraordinary minister'' (Latin: minister extraordinarius) of a sacrament is someone, other than an ordinary minister, officially authorised to administer a sacrament by the law itself (as an instituted acolyte is an extraordinary minister of holy communion) or by being deputed for this purpose.General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 162 If an extraordinary minister of a sacrament administers it illicitly, the sacrament is effective, but the person ministering could be liable for an ecclesiastical penalty, such as an
interdict In Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christi ...
. By way of example, an
extraordinary minister of Holy Communion An extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, ...
is authorised to bring Holy Communion within a particular
parish A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ ( ...
or
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
. If a minister brings Holy Communion to someone outside of the authorised area, it is done illicitly, but the communicant does receive Holy Communion, as indeed the communicant would, even if the person administering it had no authorisation whatever. If a person who is not an ordinary minister of certain sacraments attempts to celebrate them, the sacraments are invalid. Below is a table outlining each sacrament, its ordinary ministers, and its extraordinary ministers (if any), with stipulations regarding its exercise by extraordinary ministers in parenthesis.


Instituted ministries

While the offices of
lector Lector is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it bec ...
(reader) and
acolyte An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on ...
were previously
minor orders Minor orders are ranks of church ministry lower than major ordersImage:Priestly ordination.jpg, Ordination of a priest The term major orders or greater orders was for some centuries applied in the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish what the Co ...
, with '' Ministeria quaedam'',
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the ...
abolished these and the
subdiaconate Subdeacon (or sub-deacon) is a major order or ministry for men in various branches of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a ...
, creating "instituted ministries" in their stead.


See also

* Will and Testament of Clerics


References

{{Catholicism, state=collapsed
Catholic ecclesiastical titlesEcclesiastical titles and styles used by the Catholic Church. Ecclesiastical titles Catholic Church organisation, Offices Catholic culture {{CatAutoTOC ...