Pope Calls Laity to Responsibility in the Church


Not sure this will be welcomed both by laity and clergy.

It would be good to read





This is the spirit of which Vatican II was based on and which Pope Benedict XVI is pointing to, in his call to the Laity.


I, for one, welcome this call to action!!! :thumbsup:

God bless,

could anyone briefly state what the message of the pontiff is…

Benedict has been firming up and clarifying the roles of religious, priests, deacons and now the laity.

The laity have a powerful and important role in the world and in the Church.

I’d love to have a cup of coffee with Pope Benedict and ask him exactly what he means by “co-responsibility” and to expand on this sentence:

“Feel the commitment to work for the Church’s mission to be your own,” he exhorted, “through prayer, through study, through active participation in ecclesial life, through an attentive and positive gaze at the world, in the continual search for the signs of the times.

What I want to see is how the Church both deals with the increase in the dependency on the Laity and the power shift that it causes. It seems to me that Rome and the local Bishops are trying to assert more top down control of doctrine in the last few years. But empowering the Laity will be a challenge to that. This might be painful, but I think a good thing in the long run.

Sounds good to me.

There shouldn’t be a power struggle:

In fact we should stop thinking about power when it comes to the Church.

To be a bishop, priest or deacon is to serve.

Empowering the Laity means they are more informed and active in their roles. It should not follow that they constitute a “new” magisterium.

I’m glad there’s more “top down control of doctrine” - we need a bit of focus, there’s been too much dissipation of energy as everyone has been making it up as they go along.

It presents the importance of the laity and the need for the laity to be more actively involved
in the mission of the Church in both parish life and in the sacraments.

It’s why we have lay people’s responses at Mass, which in the TLM there was none, and the laity singing. Also, the laity are Lectors, and when needed, which is more common than not these days, as Extra Ordinary Eucharistic Ministers.

Before Vatican II, the laity sat in the pews and observed the Priest, altar boys(girls were not allowed) and the Choir as the sole active participants in the Mass.

The Laity could follow along with their missal, and that was considered all the active participation that was needed.

The Church would’ve died if not for Vatican II reforms.


I don’t know what to think.

I am comfortable with “top down” structure. The laity have a tendency- on the liberal AND the traditional end, to muck things up.

That is a popular misconception. When we speak of our own “importance”, we lose sight of our call to serve the Church unselfishly and with humility. Each of us are called to support the Church, the faithful and God’s children according to our talents, in faith, love and charity.

The Holy Father is speaking specifically of our role in preserving the life, sanctity and dignity of our Church, and our obligation to be witnesses of Christ in all aspects of our lives. That has little to do with altar service, Eucharistic ministry, music ministry, etc.

There should not be a power struggle, I agree. The problem being that the Church has been forced to move from a Laity of observers to a Laity of participants, this is what Vatican II was about in many ways. The problem is that vocations have declined even more since then and the role of the Laity has become even more important. This is why I did not call it a power struggle, but a power shift.

This is the modern struggle of the Catholic Church. It is very hard to ask the Laity to participate more fully in the Mass and the running of a church and not expect them to want them to be heard more on certain issues. This is the core of what is going on in the Catholic Church the last 50 years.

I don’t know how it will play out, but we can’t go back. With less Priests and Sisters we will see either less and smaller Catholic institutions or we will continue to see a shift in how Mass is celebrated, churches and schools are staffed, and Catholic charity is dispensed. The Priesthood is being redefined and reduced by these basic facts. How the Catholic Church deals with it doctrinally is what we struggle with.

Be good Christians.

Precisely :thumbsup:

Not word one about “authority” of the laity…responsibility without authority is just bad from so many perspectives…I rare mis-step from His Holiness IMHO


You summarized my thoughts in one sentance. Like it or not the Priesthood is shrinking. Either Mass becomes less frequent, the Priesthood is opened up to more people / different forms, or let the Laity share more in the life and decision making of the Church.



That is a popular misconception.

Then you’re rejecting the article from the Pope, which is in the OP.

When we speak of our own “importance”, we lose sight of our call to serve the Church unselfishly and with humility.

We’re not speaking of “OUR” own importance but the importance of the laity as the body of Christ which is the Church.

Each of us are called to support the Church, the faithful and God’s children according to our talents, in faith, love and charity.

To support the Church means to serve others. But make no mistake about it, we are part of that Church and an important part.


Hardly. One can be a lay minister of every visible kind every Sunday, yet fail to be a witness of Christ and His Church in everyday life.

Then what did you mean by"

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