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Lay people co-responsible for the being and acting of the Church

Benedict XVI to the International Forum of Catholic Action

Co-responsibility demands a change of mindset, particularly with regard to the role of lay people in the Church. The Pope wrote this in a Message addressed to the participants in the International Forum of Catholic Action, taking place in Iaşi, Romania. Benedict XVI emphasized the need for “a mature and committed laity” to be consolidated, “which can make its own specific contribution to the ecclesial mission with respect for the ministries and tasks that each one has in the life of the Church and always in cordial communion with the bishops”.

This implies that in serving the Church lay people must take on “the apostolic aim of the Church in its entirety,” in “a fruitful balance between the universal Church and the local Church”, in a spirit “of close union with the Successor of Peter”, and with that style which Benedict XVI described as “active co-responsibility” with their pastors.  The laity's role is of fundamental importance, especially “in this phase of history”, the Pope stressed, to be interpreted “in the light of the Church’s social Magisterium”,  and also to be, “increasingly, a laboratory of the globalization of solidarity and charity”, so as to grow, with the whole Church, in the co-responsibility of offering humanity a future of hope and with the courage to formulate demanding proposals”. Lastly,  recalling the “long and fruitful history” of Catholic Action written by “courageous witnesses of Christ”, Benedict XVI invited the participants in the Forum to renew their commitment “to walking on the way of holiness, keeping up an intense life of prayer, encouraging and respecting personal ways of faith”.


After: Osservatore Romano, August 24, 2012

Photo by Sr. Miriam Studzinska, SAC

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