'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.

Pope Francis

 

 

“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.”

 
                       - Catherine de Hueck Doherty (1953)
 
Pope Paul VI, addressing the members of the Congress on the Apostolate of the Laity on October 15, 1967, wishing to summarize what lay spirituality must be, stated: 'It will suffice to tell you in a word: only your personal and profound union with Christ will assure the fruitfulness of your apostolate, whatever it might be.”
― Father Jean C. J. D'Elbée
 
"We cannot build up the idea of the apostolate of the laity without the foundation of the liturgy."
Author: Dorothy Day
 
. "Consistently, [Yves] Congar emphasized the distinction between Tradition and traditionalism. The latter was an unyielding commitment to the past. The former was a living principle of commitment to the Beginning, a process that required creativity, inspiration, and a spirit of openness to the present as well as respect for the past. Two of Congar's works, on reform in the church and on the theology of the laity, proved especially controversial...Congar believed that reform was a vital and necessary dimension of the church. This was rooted in the distinction between the church and the kingdom of God and in the intermingling in the church of both divine and human elements. In light of the church's constant temptation to revert to institutionalism, it was always necessary to allow room for the prophetic voice, issuing from the margins, even though this might mean attending to uncomfortable truths."
Author: Robert Ellsberg
 
 
What I desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion. 
 
St.John Henry Newman