Among the minor orders a contract form is at your service in the Christian understood church, which had different characteristics and theological weightings in the course of church history. Clerics who received minor ordinations were also known as minorists .
In today's liturgical and sacrament-theological understanding of the Catholic churches, the minor orders are understood as sacramentals and not as a sacrament . The distinction between the sacrament and the sacramental is modern; It is important to keep this in mind so that the historical development of the Ordo is not misunderstood based on today's perspective .
With the circumcision of the main hair, the tonsure , the candidate was incardinated as a cleric and eo ipso in a spiritual home association ( diocese , religious community ) and was thus entitled to receive a benefice . This was the reason why, from the Middle Ages to the modern era, later-born nobles were ordained as so-called minorists (men who received lower orders). They were entitled to beneficence, but in case of doubt they could again be dispensed from the promises of consecration if the aristocratic family planning required this.
The minor ordinations originate from a time when a separate blessing was performed in the church for each of the services listed below, but like the subdiaconate and diaconate developed over time into a pure preliminary stage of the priestly ordination without the practical exercise of the respective service. The distinction between consecration, blessing and consecration has not been properly carried out either conceptually or in terms of content until modern times.
Not only was the granting of minor orders abolished in the Roman Catholic Church in 1973, but also consecration itself. Paul VI. ordered in the Motu Proprio Ministeria quaedam that the minor orders are to be understood as services that can also be transferred to laypeople. In religious institutes and societies of apostolic life that celebrate the liturgy in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite , however, they continue to be donated: So there is a rite in the Roman church in which there are only sacramentally consecrated clerics, as well as a rite in to whom there are both non-sacramentally consecrated and sacramentally consecrated clergy. In the Orthodox churches , especially of the Byzantine rite , the corresponding offices of minor orders still exist. These ordinations are also donated in some brotherhoods of the German high church movement .
Degrees of minor ordinations
The individual degrees of the lower orders are in ascending order:
- Ostiarians (since the 3rd century)
- Lecturer (since the 4th century)
- Task: reciting the readings from the Holy Scriptures (especially readings from the Old Testament)
- Exorcist (since the 3rd century)
- Task: to carry out exorcisms with the bishop's permission
- Acolyte (since the 3rd century)
In the Orthodox churches, the ordination to the subdeacon is counted among the lower ordinations, since there the diaconate, presbyterate and episcopate were always considered to be the three higher ordinations; In the Catholic churches of the West, however, the (non-sacramental) subdeacon, the (theologically certain) sacramental diaconate and the priestly ordination (dogmatically defined as a sacrament) are usually counted as the three higher ordinations.
Abolition of the donation and the steps by Pope Paul VI.
In order to “adapt to today's requirements in the whole Latin Church”, Paul VI decreed. in the Motu proprio Ministeria quaedam on August 15, 1972, among other things, the abolition of the dispensation and degrees of inferior ordinations. What was previously referred to as such should henceforth be referred to as a service that could also be transferred to laypeople. The subdiaconate, which was the first stage of higher ordinations in the Roman Catholic Church, was also abolished.
Editing and acolyte were to be continued with the reorganization by Ministeria quaedam in an assignment to these services for candidates of the priestly service and male laypeople, with the acolyte also taking on functions of the former subdeacon . In Germany, only candidates for the priesthood are as lectors and acolytes commissioned, however, their duties are often used by lay people of both sexes, such as the altar , accepted. In the final document of the Amazon Synod of 2019, the Pope is asked to allow women to be commissioned as acolytes and lecturers.
- Markus Adam Nickel : The Roman Pontifical - From the Latin with archaeological introductions and liturgical remarks . Kirchheim, Schott and Thielmann, Mainz, 1836.
- Raphael Molitor: From the sacrament of consecration. Considerations after the Roman Pontifical . 2 volumes. Pustet, Regensburg 1938.
- Bernardin Goebel: On seven steps to the altar. Reflection on the ordination liturgy. Pustet, Regensburg 1962.
- Reiner Kacynski: Low orders . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 7 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1998, Sp. 819 .
- John Mart Michetschläger: incardination . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 5 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1996, Sp. 498 .
- Herbert Vorgrimler : Sacraments. Third edition. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 278.
- ministeriales Quaedam I-IV; Reiner Kacynski: Low orders . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 7 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1998, Sp. 819 .
- Herbert Vorgrimler: Sacraments. Third edition. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 277.
- Herbert Vorgrimler: Sacraments. Third edition. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 301.
- So the 2nd chapter "The seven consecrations" of the 23rd session of the Council of Trent "De sacramento ordinis" on July 15, 1563 (DH 1765; 1772 [the texts also in Vorgrimler: Sacraments doctrine, pp. 283f.]), Different on the other hand: Herbert Vorgrimler: Sacraments. Third edition. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 278.
- Ministeria quaedam IV.
- Ministeria quaedam I-IV: “In the future there will no longer be a major consecration of the subdiaconate in the Latin Church”; Reiner Kacynski: Low orders . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 7 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1998, Sp. 819 .
- New ways for the church and a holistic ecology. Final document (October 25, 2019), No. 102.