Ministers of Christ

Recovering the Roles of Clergy and Laity in an Age of Confusion

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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.

Pater Edmund photo

"The relation of man and woman is a profound and beautiful sign of the relation of Christ and His Church. In this challenging and brilliant book Peter Kwasniewski explores the depths of this sign, and shows the consequences that follow for the liturgical life of the Church."

Pater Edmund
The Most Reverend Thomas E. Gullickson, JCD photo

"In his latest book, Ministers of Christ, Peter Kwasniewski remains true to form and takes on squarely what amounts to nearly a half century of cultural drift in the Catholic Church."

The Most Reverend Thomas E. Gullickson, JCD
tit. Archbishop of Bomarzo
Fr. Thomas Kocik photo

"Readers will be enlightened as to the sacramental and liturgical significance of sexual differences, which grounds a proper understanding of the roles of the clergy and laity. At stake is the nuptial relation that forms the very order of the New Covenant of salvation."

Fr. Thomas Kocik
Fr. Armand de Malleray, FSSP photo

"These timely reflections on Holy Orders will encourage the laity to pray for priests and will help clerics in their configuration to Christ the Sovereign High Priest."

Fr. Armand de Malleray, FSSP
Author, X-Ray of the Priest in a Field Hospital, Arouca Press, 2020
  • Pages: 336
  • Format(s): Paperback, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-64413-536-5
  • Product Code: 5365
  • Availability: In Stock
  • Publication Date: November 23, 2021
  • Categories: By title, New Releases, Sacraments, Latin Mass
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Understanding Catholic liturgical roles
Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has done us a favor in writing this well- researched book. Dr. Kwasniewski uses Sacred Scripture and Church teaching to make a compelling argument for having only men serve in liturgical roles at the altar. Each chapter builds upon the previous chapter. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to deepen their understanding of the variety of beautiful roles within the Mystical Body of Christ. I've come away with the understanding that it's not a question on inferiority or superiority, but a question of the different roles we play so that a man is the symbol of Christ and a woman is the the symbol of the Church. Dr. Kwasniewski literally covers everything in the 3 sections of the book, Foundation, Deviations, and Restoration and does so in way that someone like me can understand it. He hits the bullseye on the target and shows how these changes have helped to deconstruct the holiness of the Liturgy. Dr. Kwasniewski helps eliminate the confusion of the past 60 years in the Liturgy. Too many wish to reform the Body of Christ instead of reforming themselves! The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not ours to do with as we please, and so must ask ourselves, do I worship God the way I want to worship Him, or do I worship Him the way He has revealed He desires to be worshipped? Add this book to your Catholic library to understand why the Church teaches what it does on the Liturgy. God bless Dr. Kwasniewski for writing this book!
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Strong defense of this aspect of the Catholic Faith and Liturgy
While so far I have only skimmed through the book, I am very impressed. As usual, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski writes very well. clearly, and strongly defends his position. One I agree with.
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Clear account of the roles of men and women in the life of the Church
I am grateful to Dr. Kwasniewski for sharing his keen knowledge of the specific role of men in the Church, as it has been clearly and unequivocally stated in Scripture and followed for millennia. "Ministers of Christ" comes to us with exquisite timing in light of recent developments - and future ones lingering in the horizon - which threaten to derail the specific roles of men and women in the life of the Church. May all Catholics find this book enlightening and helpful in reaffirming their faith as they realize (or rediscover) the wisdom and beauty of Tradition in our Catholic Church.
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Distinct roles of clergy and laity
This book is a thought provoking and timely exploration of the distinct roles of clergy and laity, and men and women, in the Catholic Church. Some of the author's conclusions are sure to be controversial to the average Catholic reader. However, even if one disagrees with this work, it is an important contribution to the discussion of the proper role of lay people in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. I would also note that this work contains beautiful reflections on the priesthood and the diaconate; the discussion of the diaconate is one of the most profound I have ever read. Additionally, the author's arguments, which rely solidly on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, are considerably strengthened by his regular references to the documents of Vatican II, and the teachings of St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II. This demonstrates an incredible amount of continuity in how the Church has understood the distinct, but complimentary, roles of clergy and laity. St. John Paul II's prophetic warning of the danger of confusing the proper roles of the clergy and laity, and Dr. Kwasniewski's discussion of it, was in my opinion the most compelling section of the book; the clergy are being laicized, and the laity are being clericalized. Finally, I believe this book begins to explain why many families of young children feel alienated by their parishes and the ever growing number of lay led programs and ministries that they are expected to be active in to be considered "part of the parish."
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Lex orandi, lex credendi
The law of prayer is the law of faith. Over the last fifty years, we have witnessed the wreckovation of the liturgy of the Roman Rite. The replacement of the Mass of all Ages with a “banal and on the spot product” to quote Benedict XVI, has been a radical departure from the Tradition and faith of our fathers. The stripping of the minor orders of the Priesthood in favor of female altar boys, lectors, and lay Eucharistic ministers has proved to be nothing short of a disaster. What has followed has been a lack of belief in the Real Presence, a drastic decline in Mass attendance & vocations, and an age of confusion for the faithful who remain. In this timely work, Dr. Kwasniewski clearly lays out where we came from, where we deviated, and road to restoration. The faith is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This book lays out the case for the necessity of returning to the traditional theology and sacred ministry of the Church. The future is Tradition... Highly recommend!
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Ministers of Christ Set bundle

Ministers of Christ Set

$29.99

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