Ministers of Christ: Recovering the Roles of Clergy and Laity in an Age of Confusion
In this bold and powerful book, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski marshals an irrefutable defense of the Church’s historical teaching that her liturgical ministries — including those of lector and altar server — should be performed exclusively by men.
God created the two sexes for profound reasons, explains Dr. Kwasniewski, and we diminish human beings when we lose sight of those reasons. He asserts that the interdependence of the two sexes strengthens both men and women and that the complementary characteristics of masculinity and femininity are indispensable to human development. The manifest differences between the sexes have informed the Church’s vision on the roles of men and women in the liturgy for centuries, and they are now under attack not only from outside the Catholic Church but also within it, threatening the very order and coherence of civilization itself.
Dr. Kwasniewski thoughtfully reflects on Scripture, Church teachings, and human nature to determine the proper callings of the laity and clergy as well as their diverse but integral modes of participation in the liturgy. He connects the male priesthood to the Incarnation of Our Lord, and he explains the Old Testament background and New Testament roots of the diaconate, subdiaconate, and minor orders. He then stunningly reveals how these roles are designed to reflect and radiate the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Finally, Dr. Kwasniewski charts a path to a healthier church life, one that replaces the “heresy of activism” with the primacy of prayer and the power of contemplation. He argues that we should set aside the push to “update” everything and return to the serene embrace of the essential changelessness of the Christian religion. Only then can we adequately worship the immutable God in His eternal truth, which is reflected in the liturgical rites of Catholic tradition and the stable forms of life they call forth and bless.