Catholic World News

Lay Catholics should 'take the initiative without fear,' Pope says

June 17, 2016

Lay Catholics should play an active role in a "permanently outbound Church, an evangelizing community that knows how to take the initiative without fear," Pope Francis said in a June 17 address to members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The Pope said that the Church-- particularly during this Year of Mercy-- should function as "the house of the Father where the doors are always open to each person." The laity, he said, should be active "not by 'delegation' from the hierarchy, but rather because its apostalate is participation in the salvific mission of the Church."

Noting that the Pontifical Council for the Laity will soon be merged into a new Vatican dicastery for the laity, marriage, and family, the Pope recalled the history of the body, which was created by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council. He cited some of the important developments supervised by the council, including the emergence of the new lay movements and the institution of World Youth Day. He asked the members of the council-- who were assembled in Rome for their annual meeting-- to welcome the changes that are coming in their role.

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  • Posted by: wcbeckman51 - Jun. 18, 2016 6:55 PM ET USA

    No, this comment is not confusing. The clergy and the laity are co-responsible for the Church. Lay people do not need the permission or pre-authorization of clergy to express the gifts of baptism. We don't need to wait to see if father says it's OK.

  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 18, 2016 10:04 AM ET USA

    So is the laity supposed to evangelize the community without the support of the clergy? Whatever happened to the Body of Christ working to evangelize the world? The Holy Father's off the cuff remarks are often confusing.