Q: When a baptism is taking place outside Mass, the Rite for Baptism with Children (no. 81) speaks of choices for Gospel readings—but then it also speaks to “other passages which meet the wishes or needs of the parents.” Is it mandatory that a Gospel passage be read? If the Gospel passage MUST be read, can a lay person (a person from the family) read the Gospel or does it need to be read by the priest?
A: The RBC was one of the very first rituals out of the starting blocks following Vatican II, and the rubrics are not very tight. For example, that same paragraph actually permits people to sit through two gospel readings. It’s just odd. I think it does have in mind that a gospel will be proclaimed and that other readings may be added. Normally the proclamation of the gospel is done by a deacon, but the 1969 RBC is unclear. It says the gospel “is read” without specifying who does it. Given the unusual nature of the rubric, I think that having someone else read the gospel falls within what this rubric permits. But if the presider wants to proclaim it, I think that that is his prerogative.