Saturday, December 24, 2011

"..the lay faithful's role in the well-being of the Church is essential..."

In his Address to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conferences of the Pacific and of New Zealand on their Ad Limina visit, Pope Benedict XVI reminded the Bishops that, "..the lay faithful’s role in the well-being of the Church is essential since the Lord does not expect pastors 'to undertake by themselves the entire saving mission of the Church' (Lumen Gentium, 30). I understand from your reports that your task of spreading the Gospel often depends on the assistance of lay missionaries and catechists. Continue to ensure that a sound and ongoing formation be afforded them, especially within the context of their associations. In so doing, you will equip them for every good work in the building up of the body of Christ (cf. 2 Tim 3:17; Eph 4:12). Their zeal for the faith under your continued leadership and support will surely bear much fruit in the vineyard of the Lord."  See here.

Vatican II, in its Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church (Ad Gentes), has this to say: "The Church has not been really founded and is not yet fully alive, nor is it a perfect sign of Christ among men, unless there is a laity worthy of the name working along with the hierarchy. For the Gospel cannot be deeply grounded in the abilities, life and work of any people without the active presence of laymen. Therefore, even at the very founding of a chrch, great attention is to be paid to establishing a mature, Christian laity. For the lay faithful fully belong at one and the same time both to the People of God and to civil society...They also belong to Christ, because they were regenerated in the Church by faith and by Baptism, so that they are Christ's in newness of life and work (cf. 1 Cor 15: 23), in order that in Christ, all things may be made subject to God, and finally God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15: 28)." (Ad Gentes, No. 21).

One of the reasons for the rapid decay which is corroding the Catholic spirit in the United States and elsewhere is the spread of a so-called liberalism (neo-modernism) which fosters a secularist attitude in Christians, one that creates an animus against the Faith and works against evangelization.  The lay faithful who remain committed to the Church's teaching and who take seriously their vocation to convert those outside the Church are most often not encouraged.  Often they are discouraged (in the name of an unhealthy pluralism) from engaging in evangelization.

Pope Paul VI, in an allocution given on July 2nd, 1975, warned against this attitude:

"In practice many peoplewho call themselves Christians think so [that the field of faith can be separated from that of activity], believing that the adherence to religion does not involve other duties than some specific observances, such as Sunday Mass and the fulfilling of the paschal precept.  We must note, in fact, a certain allergy on the part of modern Christians to action qualified by their own religious sentiments, owing to a misrepresentation of so-called pluralism, as if every doctrinal opinion were admissible, and therefore it was not worthwhile to propose as necessary one's own faith to others; or because of an exclusive authority attributed to subjective conscience, to the detriment of the objective principle that must inform conscience itself."

Pope Leo XIII rejected this perverse attitude of doctrinal detente writing:

"We cannot consider altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some principles of Christian doctrine, for all the principles come from the Author and Master, 'the Only Begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father.' ...Concerning this point Vatican Council - says: 'All things are to be believed with Divine and Catholic Faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium, proposes for belief as having been Divinely revealed.'  Let it be far from anyone's mind to lessen or to suppress for any reason, any doctrine that has been handed down.  Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ.  There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ." (Apostolic Letter Testem Benevolentiae).

At my parish, I have been shunned for upholding the Church's teaching regarding abortion and homosexuality.  Because I objected to the promotion of the "Catholic" Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) in the parish bulletin, I am now persona non grata.  While our Holy Father insists that, "the lay faithful’s role in the well-being of the Church is essential," there are priests who actively suppress and shun members of the lay faithful who take their vocation seriously.


Meredith said...

Michael Voris and Real Catholic TV are being told they cannot use the word "Catholic."

But where is the concern for the use of the word "Catholic" in CCHD?

Ted Loiseau said...

A new church is being prepared which will usher in a New Age. In this FutureChurch, doctrinal orthodoxy will be a thing of the past. And syncretism will rule.

jac said...

Pope Paul VI suppressed the Oath against Modernism which every priest was obliged to take since it was initiated by Pope Piux X and now his successor Benedict XVI looks to be lamenting that the modernist heresies have spread everywhere in the Church.
In the past the Vatican used all the means at its disposal to discipline the disobeying priests.
Now these means are used only against the trad clergy which is the less prone to the Modernism.
Clearly the Vatican lacks the will to fight it thus adding to the confusion

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