Thursday, April 11, 2002

New Blog

There's a new blog, Integrity, devoted solely to commentary on John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici: On the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World. This is a great idea, as evidenced by Jack's introductory remarks, some of which are as follows:

For a while now I have felt that the Catholic Church in the United States has done little to help the laity develop a true understanding of how the laity is called to live out the Gospel. Somewhat understandable. If you aren't going to preach on the Church's doctrine, are you really going to help the laity thoughtfully develop a spirituality true to their state? I get frustrated by Catholics who are led to believe that the apostolate of the laity is to serve as lectors and eucharistic ministers. How limiting and troubling for the effort to convert society to the Gospel!

Amen, Brother Jack! I was just telling some people recently that Vatican II (and of course, JPII as well) sought to remind us all that we (the laity) have a real responsibility to bring the Gospel to the world; it's not just "Father's" or "Sister's" job -- it's yours and mine. If you don't believe me, read Christifideles laici, or Vatican II's Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity.

As Jack implies, our ministry is not primarily one of lector, acolyte, or extraordinary eucharistic minister: it's to bring the Gospel into our workplaces, universities, and "play places", by whatever suitable means.

Besides the documents linked, and Integrity, I would also highly recommend the Catherine of Siena Institute, whose mission is "Equipping parishes to form lay apostles." I was privileged enough to be present at their presentation The Parish: Mission or Maintenance?, and I would highly recommend reading it. The following quote illustrates the importance of recognizing the laity's responsiblity for bringing the Gospel to the world: "If we as a Church are to fulfill our mission, it is absolutely essential that we as a people know our true identity. Are we a Church made up of 1.4 million recognized apostles and 990 million recipients of their ministry? Or are we rather a community of over a billion commissioned apostles who have been called and gifted by Jesus Christ to participate together in his redemption of our world?" Exactly!

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