In an accompanying letter to his January 11 Motu Proprio Spiritus Domini, that formally “allows” female lectors and acolyths, Francis distinguishes between lay ministries and ordained ministries.
He calls his decision a “doctrinal development.” In reality, women have been de facto acolytes and lectors for decades. Since Apostolic Times, the Minor orders of lector and acolyth were held only by men and were considered to be linked to the sacrament of Holy Orders. They are still used in the Old Rite while, in the New Rite, the Minor Orders were abolished and replaced with "ministries."
The Old Rite minor orders and the "ministries" of lector and acolyth are not the same. Consequently, Francis understands his ministries for women only as a lay ministries, calling it a "charism." He separates them from the three ministries bishop, presbyter, deacon. Thus, Francis seems to exclude female deacons.
He calls it appropriate to confer non-ordained ministries on women but repeats that "regarding ordained ministries, the Church does not have the faculty in any way to confer priestly ordination on women”.
In the letter, Francis presents the formal installation of women in liturgical roles as a result of the Amazon Synod that “signalled the need to think about new paths for ecclesial ministeriality.” However this is a change that want change anything.
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