Friday, February 05, 2010

B16 today

From today's Ad Limina address to the Bishops of Scotland:

"Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest’s role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council’s vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church’s mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society."

In the end, it's not what we do, but who we are.

3 comments:

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

"Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role."

No kidding! Many of the documents of Vatican II spoke of the vocation and apostolate of the laity; two that come to the fore are Lumen Gentium and Apostolicam Actuositatem, the latter of which was the document ABOUT the laity. That one makes clear, over and over, that the lay apostolate is primarily a mission ad extra.

Religious and ordained members of the Church are, for the most part, carrying out their ministries inside churches and monasteries and convents. It's not a priest's job to decorate his cubicle at the office with a crucifix and rosary because, well, he doesn't have a cubicle at some secular office!

The apostolate of the laity is to sanctify the world OUTSIDE the Church in an effort to bring mankind closer to God and, hopefully, INTO the Church.

And that document on the laity -- indeed, all of Vatican II's documents -- mention lay ministry in the liturgy a whopping ONE time, in article 24.

Ellen said...

When I first clicked on your blog and saw this picture, all I could think about was Anthony Hopkins as Hanibal Lechter. No offense to B16, but you've got to admit, he's got some scary eyes in this photo.

NC Sue said...

I don't mean to be dense, but I'd appreciate it if you'd blog further on this issue so that I can fully grasp why it's apparently a "faux pas" to refer to my living my vocation faithfully as a "ministry".

I don't mean to equate what I do with the office of a priest or to disparage the special vocation of those called to religious life. But I look at the word "ministry" as a way of describing the service I perform for others in His name.