The notion that theologians constitute a second Magisterium more or less in rivalry with the first Magisterium of pope and bishops has fallen into abeyance, but some years ago a theologian of note discerned a new threat to the second Magisterium from what he called the third Magisterium. This third Magisterium was said to be [...]

The notion that theologians constitute a second Magisterium more or less in rivalry with the first Magisterium of pope and bishops has fallen into abeyance, but some years ago a theologian of note discerned a new threat to the second Magisterium from what he called the third Magisterium. This third Magisterium was said to be [...]

The lay state is, of course, the normal condition under which life is led. The priesthood is defined in relief against the lay state. A priest in any culture is one set apart to mediate between God and man. He is the offeror of sacrifice on behalf of the people, the master of rite and [...]

Amid the sharp, even acrimonious, differences that have shaken the Catholic Church in the last several decades, one observation seems to invite general agreement: the role of the laity will become increasingly important. Alas, the general agreement stops almost right there, and differences about what the role should be take over. As distinctions between functions [...]

A recent trip to study the Italian lay movement Communion and Liberation led me to consider the self-imposed limits that most lay Catholics in the United States place on faith-inspired actions in American society and politics. It is time for lay Catholics in this country to establish a concrete Christian presence that will provoke a [...]

While a synod on the laity isn't as dramatic as a re-examination of Vatican II, this one is probably even more significant. So much of the absurdity and pain in the Catholic Church today stem from massive confusion over the role of the laity. One of the best statements on the role of the Catholic [...]

As with most things in post-conciliar Catholicism, the role of the laity in the Church has become problematic mainly because classical Catholic ways of thinking have been either forgotten or badly distorted. As a number of commentators have observed, in an odd way feminism has promoted a new clericalism. Spokesmen such as Rev. Richard McBrien [...]

Discourse about the new role of the laity easily assumes the grammar and rhetoric of rights, autonomy, and liberation. We hear about the right to dissent, the right to be a priest, freedom to be engaged with the world, the autonomy of Politics, and freedom of conscience. I would suggest that a theology of the [...]

In 1946, Pope Pius XII asserted that the "laity are the Church" and thereby signaled an entirely new way of understanding the Church and her mission. Vatican II, of course, articulated that understanding and the ensuing years have added clarification and development. The establishment of the Council for the Laity and the new Canon Law [...]

As I have had some experience this last year with organizing lay participation on an international level in preparation for the coming Synod, I shall center my brief remarks on that aspect of the whole vast set of issues of fostering a better level of lay participation. Last November I was invited to participate in [...]

The situation of laymen is very different from country to country. So is the awareness of the dignity and of the tasks of laymen as they were outlined in the constitution Lumen Gentium and the decree Apostolicam Actuositatem by the Second Vatican Council. While in Germany, where I write these lines, there exists a long [...]

Changes in the role of the laity in the Catholic Church over the next twenty-five years are difficult to project in particulars; general and substantive changes are not likely to be significantly different from changes that have taken place in the last twenty-five years. Those changes have been minimal in contrast with changes in the [...]

Although the term "the faithful" is comprehensively applicable within the Church, it is commonly used to designate the laity. The faithful — it is a praising and pro-vocative term, telling us, if not so much what in every instance we actually are, what unquestionably we should always strive to he: Faithful. We are all well [...]

I am probably not the likeliest contributor to a symposium on the vocation of the layman since I don't usually do the sort of things better Catholics do, like being active in the "faith community," the "parish family," and suchlike. Nor do I find myself caught up in any of the partisan movements which, to [...]

Most deeply, the vocation of the laity in coming decades will be what it has always been: to evangelize the world. That truth may seem too obvious to mention, but it was missed in a recent survey taken to prepare for a coming synod in a large Midwestern diocese. On the list of concerns of [...]

During the protracted controversies of the fourth century, Saint Gregory confessed that he felt "disposed to shun every conference of Bishops; for never saw I synod brought to a happy issue, and remedying, and not rather aggravating existing evils. For rivalry and ambition are stronger than reason . . . " This may not be [...]

“The people are the Church," they tell us. "They" are the theologians and their disciples in the community in which I teach and live. But who are these "people" who are the Church? I recently heard one of these modern theologians (a priest) who define the Church as "the people" (is he one of the [...]

The situation of the Church today, in regard to the lay vocation, is extraordinarily paradoxical. A staple topic of the last twenty years has been "the emerging layman" in the Church, and there is no question that the laity are now much more visible. Yet there is currently a very strong tendency, even among those [...]

The cynic might say that the typical diocese is headed by a bishop and has various operations which are run by priests, staffed by religious, and paid for by the laity. This checkbook approach to the apostolate of the laity certainly exists, even flourishes, in certain parts, but it has severe dangers for those on [...]

Does the larger world have a place in American education, in education for democratic citizenship? I believe that it does. In fact, it always has. To cite a great 19th-century educator by the name of Abraham Lincoln, every American's schooling should equip him "to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which [...]

Although volumes have been written about the failures of government welfare programs, the academic and scholarly community has paid surprisingly little attention to private sector charity. Yet the private sector is in fact playing an extremely important role. In 1984 total charitable contributions reached $74 billion, with contributions by individuals accounting for 83 percent ($61.5 [...]

One Saturday afternoon in Washington, I chanced to buy a day-old Washington Times on K Street. Walking up 20th Street, I noticed an article entitled, "Virginia 'Prohibition' Cramps Life on Campus." "Oh, those poor dears," I thought to myself, "how can they possibly survive in such austerity?" Coincidently, I had been reading Aquinas on the [...]