'It is time for the laity to take a step forward, a step further. And find in the Church the necessary space to do so, the way to respond to their vocations ”. All times have their novelty, so we can say that we live in a new time. It is time for the laity to take a step forward, a step further. And find in the Church the necessary space to do so, the way to respond to their vocations. Drawing on the rich teaching of the Second Vatican Council, received by the Synod of Bishops and by my predecessors, this volume offers an in-depth reflection on the ministries that Pope Saint Paul reformed there, linking them no longer to the journey of preparation for the ordained ministry, but to the variety of vocations and lay services that the Holy Spirit arouses in the Church.
The Spirit is always active in the People of God, enriching them with new gifts each time, and we must be careful not to extinguish them (cf. 1 Thess 5:19) and not to sadden them (cf. Eph 4:30). Unfortunately, we do this every time we do not rely on its creative imagination, but we pretend to reduce its action within our schemes, without giving way to the primacy of grace and running the risk of becoming self-referential.
Vatican II, with the Constitution Lumen gentium, was the Council of the People of God, a People walking in history pushed by the wind of Pentecost. This holy people is continually enriched with ministries and charisms, rooted in the sensus fidei that makes the totality of the baptized infallible in credendo. It is a reality of grace that we must continually keep in mind in pastoral action, overcoming clericalism that is always harmful to the Church, as the Final Document of the Synod dedicated to young people also recalled.
The holy People of God, anointed by the Spirit, are all priestly, in that they participate in the one priesthood of Christ. The ordained ministers, who act in persona Christi capitis, are certainly indispensable for the growth of this people, since only they can preside over the Eucharist to feed it and absolve sins to prolong God's mercy in it.
At the same time, if the heart of the priest's identity lies in consecrating the Eucharistic bread, the center of the lay mission consists in consecrating the world according to God's plan. This action is one with the co-responsibility of the laity in building the Church, as The Christifideles laici of St. John Paul II is especially highlighted. The ministries established carry out this double mission in favor of the Church and the world, making the laity (women and men) active subjects of evangelization and mission. As I wrote in Evangelii gaudium, they are the overwhelming majority of the People of God and it is necessary that their specific vocation be recognized at all levels, avoiding in every way to clericalize them. We must verify if we are faithful to this lay identity, restarting the clock that seems to have stopped.
The time is now. The mission of the laity is not a privilege of a few and involves total dedication and full compromise. The laity themselves are asked to be happy in the gift of self and in prayer, to grow and to work within the Christian community to share and support its journey, in the mutual exchange of gifts aroused by the Spirit. This is precisely the synodality to which God calls us and which asks us to respond to the various calls; to walk together, shepherds and flock, on the paths of history'
Pope Francis October 13th 2020
Pope Francis wrote this in the preface, to the volume Symphony of ministries.A renewed presence of the laity in the Church, of Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops (Libreria Editrice vaticana - Edizioni San Paolo, Vatican City - Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2020, pages 128, euro 10
No one has been baptized a priest or a bishop. We have all been baptized as lay people.
Lay people are protagonists of the Church.
Today, it is especially necessary to create broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church.
And we must emphasize the feminine lay presence because women tend to be left aside.
We must promote the integration of women, especially where important decisions are made.
We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church, without falling into forms of clericalism that diminish the lay charism.
“Remember, the Church is the laity as well as the priests and bishops. The laity is also called to be apostles. The great tragedy of our times has its roots in the fact that, for a while, this wondrous and immense truth was forgotten. Under the duress and stress of the Reformation the laity was relegated to a secondary place and lost the vision of its apostolic vocation. It lost the knowledge that ordinary men and women were, in their fashion, a great part of the royal priesthood of Christ.”
Author: Dorothy Day
Author: Robert Ellsberg