THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON POPE FRANCIS
THE LAITY IN THE CHURCH’S MISSION - 2
April 26, 2016
The New Evangelization is about empowerment of the laity.
With 99 lost sheep out of a hundred, the bulk of the workers
that will bring in the harvest will necessarily be the laypeople.
Laypeople are not second-class in the Church, in relation
to clerics and the hierarchy. There are just different roles,
but all participate in the priestly, prophetic and kingly
ministry of Jesus. Laypeople are not to wait for their marching
orders from clerics, but are directly commissioned by Jesus
and sent by the Holy Spirit.
I want to go further. While the hierarchy does speak about
the important role of the laity, oftentimes it is associated
with being a positive influence on the temporal order. They
are encouraged to be involved in and bring the light of Christ
to the social, economic and political spheres. But the laity
are called also to be deeply involved in the spiritual realm,
including the work of evangelization and formation of God’s
One lay response to the call to the New Evangelization is
LCSC. This is about mainstreaming Catholic lay evangelization.
This is about getting all Catholics not only to live Christ
but also to share Christ. This is about forming leaders and
workers in parishes. This is about animating and strengthening
the localized units of parishes, which are the Basic Ecclesial
Communities (BECs). This is about partnering with clerics
and religious in order to do a holistic work of building up
and renewing our Church.
Arise, laity, and onward to the New Evangelization!
raps clericalism, encourages lay evangelization
April 26, 2016
"Clericalism leads to the homogenization of the laity,"
Pope Francis complained in a message to the Pontifical Commission
for Latin America.
The Pope's message -- which was dated March 19 but released
by the Vatican press office on April 26-- stressed that the
Church is not the "property" of the clergy or the
hierarchy. Pastors, the Pope wrote, should serve their people.
"A pastor cannot conceive of himself without a flock,"
he remarked. The Pontiff urged priests to be mindful that
all Christians share a common
vocation, and "we all enter the Church
as lay people."
When clerics try to control the apostolic work of the laity,
the Pope continued, they tend to limit "the boldness
necessary to be able to bring the Good News of the Gospel
to all areas of social and above all political activity."
In that field, he said, lay people can and should take the
"Clericalism, far from inspiring various contributions
and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame
of which the entire Church is called to bear witness,"
the Pope wrote. He observed sadly that "he have generated
a lay elite, believing that committed lay people are only
those who work in relation to 'priests' matters,' and we have
forgotten and neglected the believer who very often exhausts
his or her hope in the daily struggle to live the faith."
Pope Francis remarked on a "very interesting phenomenon"
that has appeared in Latin America, which he described as
"popular pastoral ministry." He said that clerics
should support this trend, "looking for a way to encourage,
accompany, and stimulate all attempts and efforts that today
are already being made to keep hope and faith alive in a world
full of contradictions, especially for the poorest, and especially
with the poorest."
The Spirit is not the 'property' of the ecclesial hierarchy,
writes the Pope in his letter to president of the Pontifical
Commission for Latin America (Bollettino)