Catholic Dictionary




Exclusive control of Church affairs by the laity. A laicistic program, denying the value of religious ideals for civil, social, and political life, prevents the Church from functioning outside her churches and chapels. Anti-clerical proponents of separation of Church and State laicize by government supervision and control functions rightly belonging to the Church, such as education, marriage, hospitals, parishes, convents, churches, and other organization. It appeared historically as Gallicanism, Febronianism, and Josephinism and in the anti-religious laws of France and Mexico. It is part of the political theory of Communism and prevalent in all countries where the government interprets separation of Church and State as subordination of Church to the State. Etym. Latin laicus, pertaining to the people; from Greek lāos, people.)