Cleansing Fire

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Margot Van Etten believes the Church Disdains Women

February 18th, 2012, Promulgated by Abaccio

Have you ever noticed how tiresome the arguments put forth by the pseudo-Catholic left become over time?  If not, grab yourself a coffee and read these remarks from one of Bishop Clark’s beloved army of “Lay Ecclesial Ministers,” Margot VanEtten, Campus Minister/Director of the Newman Community at SUNY Brockport.  Isn’t it nice to realize that Bishop Clark’s reign of heterodoxy has but 148 days until he submits his retirement papers?  After that, this craziness will be on borrowed time.  Mrs. VanEtten, commenting on this article in America Magazine, (a notoriously heterodox catholyc weekly loved, adored, and glorified by those who worship the “Spirit of Vatican II,”) says the following, emphasis and (commentary) mine:

Of course young women are not attracted to the Church.  Why would anyone be drawn to an institution that seems to have such little respect for them? Here’s the evidence:
-before you even begin to discuss the priesthood, the Church has not made the steps it would if women were truly valued, such as opening the diaconate to them.(see later in this post, when we cite Margot’s semi-official bio.)
-Women are not being listened to adequately.  Women’s experience too often appears to be ignored or disdained.  Like most women, I am not interested in a form of “feminism” which has been developed by men and imposed on me as “authentic”. (Clear rejection of Theology of the Body, and essentially of a great multitude of Catholic teachings.  I would suggest she, or any other woman blinded by this misconception, read this book.  The Church has repeatedly failed to seek out, value or listen to the experience of women. Rather, leaders still continue to write of us as the “Other”.
-Most of the activities which in an earlier day required women to be members of a religious order if they wished to undertake them can now be engaged with in the secular world.  You don’t have to be a sister to teach, to be a nurse, to be a missionary-or even to get and advanced education. Moreover, the opportunities women have in the secular world are far more determined by their skills rather than their gender. Why should it be surprising that women focus there? (The same can be said of men…so this is not gender-specific in the least…)

If the Church truly values women, it will address their experience of these issues rather than ignore, stifle or spin them. (Read: Let me be a priest)
I say this as a minister who is loyal and loves the faith despite these grave deficiencies, and I continue to encourage young women to see the Church as a spiritual home. Unfortunately, all too often the voice that discourages them comes from the Church’s leaders-(might I note that perhaps the voice that discourages true femininity are the wannabewomymnpreestz who are all too often the “Church’s leaders” in Rochester.  Why would a young woman wish to join a religious order filled to the brim with bitter, embattled old women who despise the very Church they claim to serve? What intelligent, self-respecting young woman would choose to surround herself with post-menopausal women who wish nothing more than to diminish their femininity, in favor of masculinity and call it “feminism” and consider themselves young, hip, social change agents? Note that vocations to orthodox women’s religious orders where femininity is embraced are booming!) not from the secular world.

By Margot VanEtten on February 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Now, let us examine Mrs. VanEtten’s bio:

Margot is the Full-time Campus Minister for the Newman Community.  She has been involved in teaching, campus life, and ministry for more than thirty years.

Margot has a Masters’ Degree in Theology and is an ABD (“all but dissertation”) in English. Along with her husband Larry, she completed the Diocese of Rochester’s Permanent Deacon Training Program. (I wanna be a priest! I wanna be a deacon! I have the same training, so why can’t I do it?  You must hate women, Pope Benedict!) She taught English at Finger Lakes Community College and (many years ago) at Penn State.  At St. Bernard’s Institute she taught “Introduction to Spirituality” and developed a course in Sacred Ecology. (Sacred what now?  I will note that Mrs. VanEtten is somewhat obsessed with “animal rights,” so I should not be surprised.  Something tells me that her courses at St. Barnyard’s are…much like most of the courses at the French Road Heresy Factory.) She also developed a course in Self Defense for Women which she has taught at FLCC, Nazareth College and at Harp Karate in Rochester, where she is an instructor. (Margot holds Black Belts in four Martial Arts, which she has been practicing and teaching for more than fifteen years).  

In addition, Margot is a Certified Sign Language Interpreter.  She has been an Interpreter for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as Coordinator of Interpreters for the RIT Campus Ministry, and was Pastoral Assistant for St. Mary’s Church of the Deaf (now Emmanuel Church of the Deaf).  She has published two articles about religious interpreting and has designed programs for Sexual Harassment Awareness for a local consulting company as well as the Self-defense program offered at Harp Karate and various area colleges.  She has wide experience in interfaith ministries and worship,(Oh joy!) and brings a lot of enthusiasm to her work and ministry on campus.

Well, that doesn’t exactly sound like a Catholic bio, but rather that of an earth-obsessed, liberal feminist.  Well, let’s see what sort of mission statement Mrs. VanEtten’s SUNY Brockport Newman Community espouses:

In recognition of the importance of spiritual growth in the development of the whole person, the mission of the Newman Catholic Community at SUNY Brockport is to:

  • Promote and encourage the spiritual growth of all members of the College through opportunities for prayer, growth and study. (not necessarily, it appears, Catholic growth…)
  • Reach out to all members of the student community and support their growth in body, mind and spirit. (Apparently it’s the YMCA now)
  • Nurture a sense of community that respects and honors diversity. (Read: all religions are equal.)
  • Support the development of a strong interfaith ministry and community on campus. (Why?)
  • Encourage generous service to those in need.
  • Be present and available to listen, console, and challenge with love.

Now, far be it from me to judge an organizational leader by his or her supposed mission, but…well…actually…that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Does anything in that mission statement even suggest Catholicism specifically? Any mention of the Sacraments, of Holy Mass, of growing in knowledge of the faith?  Note the phrase “spiritual growth through…prayer, growth, and study.” First of all, how can one encourage spiritual growth through opportunities for growth?  That, my friends, is meaningless drivel!  Respect diversity and develop a strong interfaith community?  That sure doesn’t sound like someone who believes that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.”  Perhaps the lack of an authentically Catholic presence on college campuses plays some part in the lack of twenty-somethings who attend Mass regularly, hm?

It’s amazing what rotten fruit has arisen in the thirty years since Bishop Clark published “Fire in the Thornbush,” his infamous pastoral letter on “Women in the Church.” You can find Cleansing Fire’s review of his 2010 book on essentially the same subject, Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry” here.  Finally, I will note (again) Ecclesiae de mysterio 4, which essentially explains that what happens here in Rochester is quite illicit:

Article 4

The Parish Priest and the Parish
The non-ordained faithful, as happens in many worthy cases, may collaborate effectively in the pastoral ministry of clerics in parishes, health care centers, charitable and educational institutions, prisons, Military Ordinariates etc. Provisions regulating such extraordinary form of collaboration are provided by Canon 517, 2.

1. The right understanding and application of this canon, according to which “If the diocesan bishop should decide that due to a dearth of priests a participation in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish is to be entrusted to a deacon or to some other person who is not a priest or to a community of persons, he is to appoint some priest endowed with the powers and faculties of a pastor to supervise the pastoral care”, requires that this exceptional provision be used only with strict adherence to conditions contained in it. These are:

a) ob sacerdotum penuriam and not for reasons of convenience or ambiguous “advancement of the laity“, etc.;

b) this is participatio in exercitio curae pastoralis and not directing, coordinating, moderating or governing the Parish; these competencies, according to the canon, are the competencies of a priest alone.

Because these are exceptional cases, before employing them, other possibilities should be availed of, such as using of the services of retired priests still capable of such service, or entrusting several parishes to one priest or to a coetus sacerdotum [group of priests].(75)

In any event, the preference which this canon gives to deacons cannot be overlooked.

The same canon, however, reaffirms that these forms of participation in the pastoral care of parishes cannot, in any way, replace the office of Parish Priest. The same canon decrees that “The diocesan bishop … is to appoint some priest endowed with the powers and faculties of a pastor to supervise the pastoral care”. Indeed, the office of Parish Priest can be assigned validly only to a priest (cf. Canon 521, 1) even in cases where there is a shortage of clergy.(76)

2. In the same regard, it must be noted that the Parish Priest is the Pastor proper to the parish entrusted to him(77) and remains such until his pastoral office shall have ceased.(78)

The presentation of resignation at the age of 75 (Clark mandates retirement at 70.) by a Parish Priest does not of itself (ipso iure) terminate his pastoral office. Such takes effect only when the diocesan Bishop, following prudent consideration of all the circumstances, shall have definitively accepted his resignation in accordance with Canon 538, 3 and communicated such to him in writing.(79) In the light of those situations where scarcity of priests exists, the use of special prudence in this matter would be judicious.

In view of the right of every cleric to exercise the ministry proper to him, and in the absence of any grave health or disciplinary reasons, it should be noted that having reached the age of 75 does not constitute a binding reason or the diocesan Bishop to accept a Parish Priest’s resignation. This also serves to avoid a functional concept of the Sacred Ministry.(80)

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25 Responses to “Margot Van Etten believes the Church Disdains Women”

  1. avatar Bernie says:

    Margot Van Etten is on a journey going nowhere –but with many detours.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Hello,

    What about listening to the needs and opinions of ALL women and not just the feminazies? What about the opinions of those women who love the Majesterial teachings.

    This dribble has been going on for 33 years. Hopefully it will be over soon. May it rest.

  3. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    “What about the opinions of those women who love the Majesterial teachings.”

    A woman who truly loves, respects and observes the majesterial teachings will not respond or complain. As Paul says, she will keep her head covered and not speak in the assmbly!!

  4. avatar Diane Harris says:

    More like these wannabe priestesses disdain the Church.

    And they do so not only at our risk, but at their own risk. It would be well for them to meditate on the sin of Miriam in Numbers Chapter 12, when Miriam and Aaron both struggled for power against their brother, Moses. But who got punished? Miriam….with leprosy. Why did she get punished and not Aaron? Because he was a priest; but she was reaching for a power to which she had no right. This will go on until servanthood is understood as key to the priestly role. Then these wannabes will wannabe someplace else. It is not about power; it is about servanthood.

    And now, a public service announcement from Numbers:

    Num 12:1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman;

    Num 12:2 and they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.

    Num 12:3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth.

    Num 12:4 And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out.

    Num 12:5 And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward.

    Num 12:6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream.

    Num 12:7 Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house.

    Num 12:8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

    Num 12:9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed;

    Num 12:10 and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.

    Num 12:11 And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned.

    Num 12:12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb.”

    Num 12:13 And Moses cried to the LORD, “Heal her, O God, I beseech thee.”

    Num 12:14 But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.”

    Num 12:15 So Miriam was shut up outside the camp seven days; and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again.

    Num 12:16 After that the people set out from Haze’roth, and encamped in the wilderness of Paran.

    And, I dare say, “After that Miriam kept her mouth shut,and kept her proper place.” Amen?

  5. avatar brother of penance says:

    I had barely finished reading Abaccio’s title about the Church disdains women when almost immediately I thought how tired I am of hearing that.

    The very first sentence in Abaccio’s post asks rhetorically if readers have noticed how tiresome the arguments have become. Yes. They are tiresome and I am tired of them.

    Is it a lack of charity to be tired of the people themselves? It probably is. But to be honest I am tired of them too. More likely than not, it is a lack of conversion on their part. They deserve our heartfelt prayers.

    For all of their education; for all of their ministry experience; for all of the natural good they do; they probably need old fashion conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. Until then they will have difficulty beholding him in His Church over whom He is Lord and Savior; in whom He is present; through whom He speaks, heals, forgives, sanctifies and promises everlasting life.

    Alas, apart from the Grace of God we might also think poorly of her whom Christ calls His Bride.

    A true story.
    I remember participating in a discussion at the Pastoral Center with a number of married couples. A few of the married women went on and on about the Church depriving women. My own wife spoke of how she never felt deprived, discriminated against or treated poorly by the Church. What an uncomfortable silence followed after this Catholic Church respecting woman spoke up. How counter-cultural!

    Now that was 21 years ago and she was still relatively new to the USA. After 33 years in the Diocese of Rochester, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if her experience of “church” is expressed differently.

  6. avatar Scott W. says:

    How many DOR parishes are run by lay administrators?

    How many of these lay administrators are men?

  7. avatar BigE says:

    So a large number of women feel disrespected by the church…and you want to discount their feelings/perceptions just because some women don’t?

    I call that solving a problem by putting one’s head in the sand.

    It usually solves nothing.

  8. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Wait a minute. Large number? Where are you getting your numbers? From this woman? If I remember correctlly, lack of listening and respect were the same words used by Bishop Clark when he started instituting female lay pastoral associates who then ran the parishes, appointed women from the Woman’s ordination Confrence to [positions of leadership in the diocese.

    For the last 30 years, power has been given to women at the expense of males. These women want to be priests. What kind of dialogue do you do with these kind of people. Unless they are ordained, they will always think they are not respected by the Church.

    I think there were abuses to women pre Vatican 2.

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Raymond,

    St. Catherine of Sienna told the Pope to get his high horse back to Rome where he belonged.

    And St. Francis Cabrini who worked for the poor. I had a friend who knew her. This notion of her always being silent and prayful is BS. She took a kick butt approach. She literally told numerous bishops where to get off. Her way, or the highweay. She was cantankerous. She had to be. She felt God had asked her to do His work and she would take no prisoners. Not even from a bishop.

  10. avatar woman of hope says:

    If the church goes against her conscience and beliefs,and she is so stifled, why does she continue to work in the church? Should we add hypocritical and self-promoting to her bio? Clearly she is in it for a paycheck (no matter how small)and for self-glorification. She is not interestd in defending the Catholic Church, especially in critical times such as the present.
    If she was employed by a public organization, she would be called into the office and reprimanded for her lack of loyalty to the organization. I challenge Buffalo Road to call her and review her agenda with the church and her manner of representing the Catholic Church to college students. What other points of dissention does she inflict on these young adults who are the future torchbearers?

  11. avatar Scott W. says:

    So a large number of women feel disrespected by the church…and you want to discount their feelings/perceptions

    Not at all. I’d be willing to listen. But all cards have to be on the table. That is, if they affirm the following binding and settled teachings:

    1. The Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
    2. Abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are intrinsically evil.
    3. The priesthood is reserved only to males.

    then we can talk. Deny any of them, and this isn’t about feelings or being disrespected. This is just dime-a-dozen dissent from those trying to Episcopalize the Church.

  12. avatar Mike says:

    There are many resources online refuting in no uncertain terms Van Etten’s premise that the Church holds women in contempt. One of these is the 1998 address of Dr. Suzanne Scorsone to the UN Commission on the Status of Women:

    In addressing the Commission on the Status of Women today, the Holy See speaks from a 2,000-year involvement on behalf of the human rights of women and girls. From the earliest days of its existence the Catholic Church has worked for changes in law and custom to forbid the exposure of female children, infanticide and other forms of abuse.

    The Church, throughout its long history, has been peopled with empowered women – military leaders, judges, chatelaines and controllers of property – many of whom are now revered as saints. Among these women are: St Bathildis, the wife of Clovis II and regent of his kingdom, who fought slavery and abusive taxation; Matilda of Quedlinburg, who ruled in the name of her brother, the Emperor Otto II; St Isabel of Portugal, who won fame as a peacemaker, and Countess Matilda of Tuscany, who wore armour into battle. Other striking examples of empowered women are the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Frankish abbesses of the early Middle Ages, who not infrequently ruled over double monasteries composed of both men and women.

    Examples of such women are St Hilda, the abbess of Whitby, Walburga, the abbess of Heidenheim, and Edburga, the abbess of Minister-in-Thanet. In the 11th century the brilliant Dr Trotula de Ruggiero held a chair as a professor of medicine at the University of Salerno. A few centuries later, St Catherine of Siena and St Rose of Viterbo played powerful and dramatic roles in the political life of their time.

    In addition, the Church has had a long history of involvement with the education of women and girls. The monasteries of St Benedict and his sister, St Scholastica, preserved and promoted learning during the Dark Ages of Europe. There, at a time when the general population was illiterate, women in religion often learned to read. The monasteries sometimes produced great women scholars, such as the polymath Hildegarde of Bingen, who was poet, scientist and musician, and the poet and mystic, Catherine of Bologna. At the time of the Renaissance, Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Order with the specific purpose of educating poor girls; since’ then, countless other women’s orders have dedicated themselves to women’s education.

    Van Etten’s basic gripe seems to be that the Church won’t share power with radical feminists, with women’s ordination appearing to be her vehicle of choice for accomplishing that sharing.

    Peter Kreeft had something to say about this thirst for power:

    The most egregious error of all is the demand to ordain women for “empowerment.” I can think of no term that more perfectly proves the speaker’s utter incomprehension of what she says than that. It is like wanting to manage the Boston Red Sox because of your thirst for “success.”*

    Priests are not power brokers, or managers. They are sewers. Like Christ, they drain off the world’s sins. They are garbage men. Like Christ, they clean up our spiritual garbage. They wash feet—dirty, smelly souls—ours. The Pope, priest of priets, is servus servorum dei, servant of the servants of God. This is not a clever P.R. slogan; this is his real job description. Even if all my other reasons against priestesses were invalid, this total misunderstanding of priests’ essential job description would invalidate the feminist claim.

    *[Kreeft delivered this address in 1993, some 75 years after the Sox’ last World Series victory in 1918.]

  13. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Ray,

    Some of these women who stte they have been disrespected by the church suffered terrible abuse from their fathers, uncles or other significant males in their lives when they were real young.

    They carry a huge hurt into adult life. Some of their hatred for the “Male” church is displaced anger toward their abusers.

    A psychiatrist told me that a tip off is the number of nuns in convents and nursing homes that have stuffed animals as pets. These animals are an attempt to calm, love and heal the inner child that was so terribly abused.

    So, even if you are terribly angry toward these women who have done so much damage, they need prayers and Christ’s loving tough.

  14. avatar Dr. K says:

    How many DOR parishes are run by lay administrators?

    How many of these lay administrators are men?

    Laywomen/women religious [18 churches]
    1. Sr. Joan Sobala (St. Anne, Our Lady of Lourdes)
    2. Sr. Karen Dietz (St. Agnes, St. Paul of the Cross, St. Rose)
    3. Sr. Chris Treichel (Sacred Heart, St. Ann)
    4. Sr. Joan Cawley (Resurrection)
    5. Charlotte Bruney (Nativity)
    6. Anne-Marie Brogan (St. Mary downtown)
    7. Irene Goodwin (Assumption, St. Vincent, St. Columba)
    8. Barbara Swiecki (Good Shepherd, Guardian Angels, St. Joseph)
    9. Margaret Ostromecki (St. Thomas More, Queen of Peace)

    Laymen [5.5 churches]
    1. Michael Sauter (Holy Angels, St. Lucy, St. Mary, St. Patrick, and a weekday Mass at St. Thomas)
    2. William Rabjohn (St. Pius X)

    Deacons [8 churches]
    1. Deacon David LaFortune (St. Gabriel, St. Mary)
    2. Deacon David Palma (St. Michael, Corpus Christi, Annunciation)
    3. Deacon Dean Condon (St. Vincent, Immaculate Heart, St. Mary)

    So around 31-32 churches are run by non-priests as of February 2012. This figure does not include college communities like SUNY Brockport and Nazareth that are run by laypersons. With a handful of priestly retirements coming in June, the number could increase.

  15. avatar Sassy says:

    One thing that has always struck me as an outside observer is how little mention or reverence the DOR displays for The Virigin Mary. This is not to say that individual churches do not display such reverence. Rather, I read very little written about Marian theology. I cannot understand how any Catholic can deny Mary’s special role in our faith. I only wish that she was held up more as an example in the DOR.

  16. avatar Bruce says:

    No layperson is a pastor, per Canon Law. These women and handful of men (says a lot, doesn’t it?) are not “leaders of parishes” anymore than Mickey Mouse is. For all matters, go to the priest, and if he doesn’t want to help you, admonish him for being derelict of his duties. Ignore these “lay pastors” because they are pure fiction and should be treated as such. They have no more power than any other lay person. Period.

  17. avatar Bruce says:

    BTW, Rochester needs a Cardinal Burke appointed bishop who will toss these dames out of rectories and onto their ears.

    Sisters are not priests, and neither are lay men or women. Priests are pastors. If there’s not enough, close parishes until there are.

    Lay “pastors” are not Catholic. They’re not Christian. They are of Satan.

  18. avatar militia says:

    With a few exceptions, e.g. elderly, ill, those who can’t drive, etc. a big part of the fault lies with the people in the pew who don’t get up and leave the moment — the VERY MOMENT!– s lay pastoral assistant is named…..yes, priests are overworked but they should say more Masses, as needed, and cut back on the silliness of pastoral planning, worthless parish councils, diocesan committees, and make-work things that laity can do as well or better. Priests should be doing what only priests can do, what they are ordained to do, and that means being pastor, not pushing off vital duties to priestesses.

  19. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    St. James, anyone?
    (first reading)
    http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022012.cfm

    But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
    do not boast and be false to the truth.
    Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above
    but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

  20. avatar Nerina says:

    One thing that has always struck me as an outside observer is how little mention or reverence the DOR displays for The Virigin Mary

    Sassy, I’d say that’s because our Holy Mother isn’t the “right” kind of woman. She was far to obedient and faithful.

  21. avatar Gretchen says:

    Dr. K, down here at All Saints Parish in Corning, we not only have Deacon Dean as our ‘pastor’, but Deacon David LaFortune’s wife is our pastoral associate. It’s a very small diocese. 😉

    Gretchen from SOP

  22. avatar militia says:

    Yikes! who is the priest on the front page of the emailed Courier, and the woman giving him ashes? If I go up for ashes and a non-ordained is giving them out, I cross over to the priest’s line. Anything we can do to make a statement that priestesses are not acceptable is helpful. We are saying too little. We are putting up with too much. Picture even looks like he is making an Obama type bow to she who is shah.

  23. avatar Dan Riley says:

    There is a picture of Father John Mullligan giving ashes at the democratandchronicle.com web site. Is that a man or woman on the right side of Father Mulligan giving ashes?

    50 parishioners showed up for ashes at the 6:30 Mass this morning. How pathetic. This is the fine result of Bishop Matthew Clark’s renovation of Sacred Heart Cathedral and the forced closing of Sacred Heart School.

    Where is Bishop Clark hiding? Why didn’t he give out ashes?

    Sacred Heart Cathedral is now known as one more inner city church in the City of Rochester.

  24. avatar Hopefull says:

    Looks like a woman to me, but conveniently hidden. Can lay people give ashes? A friend was at a Mass this morning where the priest and 2 women gave ashes. Is that okay? she crossed over to the priest’s line because she wasn’t sure.

  25. avatar BigE says:

    Ashes are a sacramental not a sacrament and so can be distributed by lay people. The priest or deacon however should bless the ashes.

    From the Book of Blessings:
    1659: “This rite may be celebrated by a priest or deacon who may be assisted by lay ministers in the distribution of the ashes. The blessing of the ashes, however, is reserved to a priest or deacon.”


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