Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Passion reading

Passion reading QUESTION from Michael O'Brien March 8, 2001 Is it appropriate for a layperson (lector) to read the part of Christ during the Passion proclamation on Palm Sunday? If so, is it appropriate for that person to be a woman? Under what circumstances is this permissable, if at all?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on April 17, 2001 Dear Mr. O'Brien:
This question is one of those questions that raises my blood pressure. Not the question, or you, but the fact that there is some parish out there abusing the liturgy.
The Instructions for the reading of the Passion are as follows:
The passion is read by the deacon or, if there is no deacon, by the priest. It may also be read by lay readers, with the part of Christ, if possible, reserved to the priest. This makes it clear that having laymen reading the passion at all is NOT the norm. It should be read by the deacon or the priest. The liturgy is NOT an activity to play, let us all take turns. Unfortunately the reading of the Passion, the washing of feet (which must be men alone), and the use of extraordinary ministers has become a method to involve the Faithful in the Mass. THIS IS WRONG.
The faithful have a job in the Mass -- IN THE PEWS.
Anyway, if laymen are used in the reading of the Passion, the Instruction clearly indicates that the part of Christ is to be the Priest. There is NO justification whatsoever to allow a woman to read this part. Christ was male, not female. To have a female voice reading the part of Christ when a priest, or other male is available, is offensive.
We need to stop playing around with the liturgy and stop using roles that should be reserved to clergy and installed officers as a tool to involve the laity in the pew.
Bro. Ignatius
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