(Christ in Gory: Roman rite church, Monastery of Chevetogne, Beligium)
A reader writes:
“How would all of this apply in case of someone belonging to a minor order in the Byzantine tradition, e.g. a Byzantine lector occasionally or regularly assisting at Latin Mass (such as singing the psalms)?”
Protodeacon David replies:
I am going to presume by “Latin Mass” you are referring to the liturgical rites permitted by Summorum Pontificium, and by this you mean bi-ritual faculties. My comments will be based on these presumptions.
A person needs faculties if he or she is doing something that requires such which is usually to have some type of jurisdiction to act. The lector or to use the Byzantine designation of reader/cantor requires no faculties to act according to the liturgical texts.
Please note that no one needs faculties to serve as reader/cantor in the Byzantine rite. The vast majority of readers/cantors in the Byzantine rite have never received cheirothesia. Laymen and women, and non-clerical male monastics, as well as female monastics have for centuries served as readers/cantors in the Byzantine liturgical services.
(Cheirothesia of readers/cantors. Note they are wearing the short phelonion. It looks like a small white cape. This will be the only time they will wear this vestment. It will be removed and replaced with the sticharion.)
A reader/cantor who has received cheirothesia according to the Byzantine rite of a particular Church can if invited serve occasionally as a reader/cantor in another rite of the Catholic Church. There should be at least the presumed consent of both his own bishop and of the pastor/rector of the church in which he will serve. Note that such a lector has no “right” to serve in another Church sui iuris. Even within his own Church sui iuris, the reader/cantor cannot go from one parish to another without the consent of his bishop. When a man receives cheirothesia as a reader/cantor in the Byzantine rite, he is assigned to a specific parish in which he will fulfill his ministry under the direction of the local pastor. He has no “right” to serve, as reader/cantor in any other parish be it of his own rite or the rite of another.
I would ask the reader/cantor: Do you have the blessing at least presumed of your own bishop to serve at a Latin Mass? Do you have the consent at least presumed of the pastor of the parish in which the Latin Mass is to be celebrated? If he answers no to either of these questions, then the reader/cantor should not serve. If he answers yes to both, then he may serve. If he does serve, he is to vest in the vesture of his own rite, namely, the reader’s sticharion. One may not wear the vestments of a rite to which one does not belong.
(Following the bestowal of the short phelonion, the reader/cantor chants a prokeimenon and a reading from the liturgical text known as the Apostolos. This reader/cantor [Cyril Kennedy] received cheirothesia from his bishop [His Grace David Motiuk] at Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Ottawa, for St. Josophat Cathedral in Edmonton.)
It is also important to note that Summorum Pontificium and this means the liturgical books that are permitted to be used by it, are governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law. According to the law, one does not need to be “ordained” to function as a lector in the Roman rite in either of its two forms. And this is also true of the Byzantine rite which is governed generally by 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, and the 1996 Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, as well as the particular law of each Church sui iuris. For the Eastern Catholic Churches most of the liturgical law is found in the liturgical books of each Church sui iuris.
If a reader/cantor of a Byzantine rite Church is to act as a lector regularly in the Roman rite, he must have the permission of his own bishop, and the Roman rite bishop. This is not a matter of faculties but a matter of taking on a public liturgical role in a Church sui iuris to which one does not belong.