Loyalty to the Pope DAILY CATHOLIC for November 18
The Vicar of Christ Speaks
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vol, 8
no. 33

Gif Animation Photos of Holy Father used with permission of EWTN

INTRODUCTION: With the release last week of the document on the respective duties of priests and lay people, especially in parish life. Because of its importance and need for dissemination, we will take the next several issues to bring you this document in installments, signed by the heads of the Congregation for the Clergy, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. It was approved by the Holy Father on August 13 this year and signed two days later on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released publicly November 13th, the feast of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, a saint known for education. Education on these guidelines is necessary for all parishes at every level. Therefore, we bring you the Holy See's complete document in installments.

THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
on the Role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

second installment: PREMISS - part two

     The present reality is that there has been an astonishing growth of pastoral initiatives in this area. This is especially true after the notable impetus given by the Second Vatican Council and the Pontifical Magisterium in this regard.

     The priority of the task of the New Evangelization, which involves all the People of God, requires that, today in particular, in addition to a "special activism" on the part of priests, there be also a full recovery of the awareness of the secular nature of the mission of the laity. (9)

    (9: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, n. 31; Pope John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, n. 15, l.c., pp.413-416.)

     This enterprise opens vast horizons, some of which have yet to be explored, for the lay faithful. The faithful can be active in this particular moment of history in areas of culture, in the arts and theatre, scientific research, labor, means of communication, politics, and the economy, etc. They are also called to a greater creativity in seeking out ever more effective means whereby these environments can find the fullness of their meaning in Christ.(10)

    (10: Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam actuositatem, n.24.)

     In this great field of complementary activity, whether considering the specifically spiritual and religious, or the consecratio mundi, there exists a more restricted area namely, the sacred ministry of the clergy. In this ministry the lay faithful, men or women and non-ordained members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, are called to assist. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council refers particularly to this when it teaches: "The hierarchy entrusts the laity with certain charges more closely connected with the duties of pastors: in the teaching of Christian doctrine, for example, in certain liturgical actions in the care of souls".(11)

    (11: Second Vatican Council, Decree Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 24.)

     Since these tasks are most closely linked to the duties of pastors, (which office requires reception of the sacrament of Orders), it is necessary that all who are in any way involved in this collaboration, exercise particular care to safeguard the nature and mission of sacred ministry and the vocation and secular character of the lay faithful. It must be remembered that "collaboration with" does not, in fact, mean "substitution for".
NEXT ISSUE: Premiss -part three

November 18, 1997 volume 8, no. 33
VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS



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