Sacraments for persons with disabilities

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Is it ever OK for a lay minister to assist the priest in reading the parts of the mass like the collect and other prayers if the priest is incapacitated in anyway, i.e. having difficulty reading, loss of voice etc? I am not advocating the lay person perform the function of the priest, merely just read the parts from the missal while the priest performed the actions?


A:  Sorry to hear about this situation. The USCCB has revised its policy on sacraments for persons with disabilities. Here’s a paragraph dealing with holy orders: “40. Some men with disabilities already serve the Church as bishops, priests, or deacons. Clergy who have or acquire a disability are to have access to resources and accommodations that will aid them in continuing in their ministry.”

It’s pretty vague. But having a lay person read instead of the priest would not be correct, even if the priest performed the actions. The priest should probably do his best to speak, as far as he is able. Printed resources could help the faithful follow along. But this is one for the bishop to resolve.