The Role of the Laity in the Extraordinary Form – International Federation Una Voce Position Paper
|Thousands of Catholics from France and other countries participate in the annual pilgrimage
from Paris to Chartres, attending Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form every day.
“It has been argued that the Extraordinary Form excludes the laity from liturgical participation by accommodating only a limited number of formal liturgical roles for the laity: thus they can be servers, but not readers or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. This claim is itself linked to accusations of ‘clericalism’. This paper shows that the formal liturgical roles are not intended to promote participation, but rather the worthy celebration of the liturgy, and the danger today, condemned notably by Pope St John Paul II and Pope Francis, is rather a clericalist ‘clericalisation’ of the laity, which seeks, on the basis of a perception that clerics alone in the Church have authority and prestige, to make an elite of the laity an adjunct of the clerical class. The clear demarcation between clerics and laity in the Extraordinary Form facilitates a strong sense of the proper lay role, of conforming the home and the worlds of work and politics to Christ. . . . . . .