Minor Orders: a Major Matter – by Dr. Carol Byrne

The disrepute into which the Minor Orders have fallen after Vatican II was the direct result of the derision heaped upon them by influential reformers eager to “close the gap” between clergy and laity. This, in turn, was a consequence of a process of rationalization of the supernatural that began with the early 20th-century modernists and pursued its destructive course via the Liturgical Movement. The traditional scale of Orders – rejected by Vatican II progressivists It is inconceivable that such attacks could have succeeded unless the Orders themselves had first been undermined by doubts as to whether the end to which they aimed (the Catholic Priesthood as defined by the Council of Trent) should be upheld as sacrosanct. And it is precisely on this point that the progressivists – neo-modernists – diverged from Catholic doctrine: These proponents of the revolutionary “new theology” were no longer convinced that the sacramental priesthood, to which the Minor Orders and sub-diaconate were incremental stages, transcended all other states of life in dignity and holiness. In fact, the very idea of climbing a ladder from the lay state to attain this summit of greatness flies in the face of the modern egalitarian Church. According to Pope Francis, “within the Church, no one can be ‘raised up’ higher than others.” (1) The ladder, being of no further use to the reformers, was consequently kicked away.

Minor Orders: a Major Matter – Dialogue Mass 103 by Dr. Carol Byrne

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