2. 1. Introduction• Set Vatican II’s teaching in historical context• Explore Vatican II’s teaching on the laity• Where do we go from here?
3. 2. Reclaiming the LaityReclaiming from what?• Relative obscurity• Negative associations
4. 1861 1870Italy, 1796
5. 2. Reclaiming the Laity‘It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.’ Pius X, Vehementer Nos §8
6. 3. The Road to Vatican II Pius XI Cardinal CardijnCatholic Action Young Christian Workers
7. 3. The Road to Vatican II‘Tell your faithful children of the laity that when,united with their pastors and their bishops, theyparticipate in the works of the apostolate, bothindividual and social, the end purpose of which is tomake Jesus Christ better known and better loved,then they are more than ever "a chosen generation,a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchasedpeople," of whom St. Peter spoke in such laudatoryterms. (I Peter ii, 9)’ Ubi Arcano §58
8. 3. The Road to Vatican II ‘I consider you missionaries of the Church to the world of work.’ Pius XI Cardijn in Australia, 1958
9. 4. Vatican II on the Laity
10. 4. Vatican II on the LaityWhat do the debates reject?• Laypeople have no mission (Ruffini)• The world as insignificant/evil (McGrath, Geise)• Rarity of spiritual gifts (Suenens)• Different grades of holiness (Ruffini)• Laypeople as ‘little acolytes’
11. 4. Vatican II on the Laity ‘The faithful have been waiting for four hundred years for a positive conciliar statement on the place, dignity and vocation of the layman.’ Bp. Wright of Pittsburg
12. 4. Vatican II on the LaityThere is then one People of God: One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph 4:5); the dignity the members have from their rebirth in Christ is common to all, so too is the grace of sonship, and the call to perfection; their salvation is the same, their hope is the same, and there is no division in charity...…A certain number are appointed by Christ’s will as teachers, stewards of the mysteries and pastors for the sake of others, yet all are on a truly equal footing when it comes to the dignity and action common to all the faithful with regard to the building of Christ’s body.’ Lumen Gentium §32
13. 4. Vatican II on the Laity‘The Church was founded for the purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God the Father, to enable all men to share in His saving redemption, and that through them the whole world might enter into a saving relationship with Christ. All activity of the Mystical Body [the church] directed to the attainment of this goal is called the apostolate, which the Church carries on in various ways through all her members.’ Apostolicam Actuositatem §2
14. 4. Vatican II on the Laity• Not just sharing in the work of the hierarchy• Unique vocation• ‘Transforming the temporal order’• All spheres of life are relevant!
15. 4. Vatican II on the Laity‘The specific vocation of the laity is to make the Church actively present in those places and situations where the very salt of the earth can only be spread by their efforts.’ Lumen Gentium §33
16. 4. Vatican II on the Laity‘This is where they have their call from God to make their contribution to the sanctification of the world from the inside, as a leaven, by tackling their own job with the spirit of the gospel as their guide. This is the principal way in which Christ is to be shown to others, by their life’s witness, in the glow of their faith, their hope and their charity.’ Lumen Gentium §31
17. 4. Vatican II on the Laity• Family• Work• Social milieu• Importance of cooperation with all people of goodwill
18. 5. Where are we now?• Shortage of priests• Role of laypeople - too much or too little?• Two dangers: missing the point missing the challenge
19. 6. Where do we go from here?Twofold vocation of the laity: Finding God in all things Bringing Christ to all people and placesWhat helps us to do this? Where do we need support? What can I do?