Often friends or relatives of the deceased are asked by the family to read prayers of the faithful or even scripture. While not the norm, it can be allowed by special permission.

The "Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism," issued by the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity in 1993, addresses the question of a non-Catholic fulfilling the ministry of reader at Mass.

The directory makes clear that normally "during a eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church" the readings are to be proclaimed by a Catholic. The directory goes on, however, to allow that "on exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another church or ecclesial community to take on the task of reader."

In other words, the bishop may allow a non-Catholic to proclaim a reading or prayers of the faithful according to his own pastoral judgement.