21: The Laity the Church, and Society


The role of the Catholic laity in both the Church and the changing society of today is crucial. Lecturers and cantors, lay ministers of the Eucharist, lay teachers in Catholic schools provide perfect examples of this. The mission of laity in the Church finds consistent parallels with its mission in the world, both directed toward the actualization of Christ's message. The Church's specific mission is a religious one – to put into action the Kingdom of God; the lay, in virtue of their special vocation, must contribute to the sanctification of the world by fulfilling their respective duties at home, in the workplace, and in the public forum. Members of the Catholic laity find salvation not only in their service to the church on Sunday, but also through their daily lives. The importance of an interior life is crucial and so, says the Cardinal, the fostering of lay spirituality will be essential in the future roles of the Catholic laity. Everyone has a distinct role within the Church. For example, the Church should participate in politics via lay people, who in turn must be encouraged by bishops in undertaking this vocation. The U.S. Church has confronted many issues, such as war and peace, economy, abortion, capital punishment, human rights. New members of the church continue to see a growing open-mindedness in the Church's examination of these fundamental issues.