The richness of Vatican II has to be newly understood and assimilated in each generation, Pope Francis said in a message today to the Pontifical Council for the Laity marking the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document Apostolicam Actuositatem.
The document considers the laity “in a whole vision of the People of God, to which they belong together with the members of Holy Orders and Religious, and in which they take part, in a way proper to them, in the priestly, prophetic, and royal function of Christ Himself,” the Pope said.
For the Council, the laity aren’t a second class, but rather are “called to animate every environment, every activity, every human relation according to the spirit of the Gospel, bringing light, hope, and the charity received from Christ to those places that otherwise would remain foreign to God’s action and abandoned to the misery of the human condition.”
The Holy Father noted that Apostolicam Actuositatem “reminded forcefully that ‘by its very nature the Christian vocation is also a vocation to the apostolate’” and that the proclaiming of the Gospel is not reserved to “professionals” but “must be the profound yearning of all the lay faithful.”
By virtue of baptism, the Pope said, the laity are called “not only to Christian animation of temporal realities, but also to works of explicit evangelization, of proclamation and of sanctification of men.”
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