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Canadian Bishops Write Letter Affirming Importance of Laity

Echo criticism of clericalism often made by Pope Francis

The Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a new document entitled “The Co-responsibility of the lay Faithful in the Church and the World.”

This pastoral letter explores the great responsibility of the laity in God’s plan for the world, in which they are not simply collaborators of the clergy but are truly “co-responsible” for the Church’s being and acting. It notes the unique mission of the laity as being “in the world” and transforming it from within through their life and witness. It also discusses the danger of clericalism, and considers several areas of society today that stand in need of the transforming power of the Gospel brought by the Church’s lay faithful in communion with members of the clergy and consecrated life.

The Bishops of the Commission insist on the importance of promoting the lay vocation. “Bishops and priests must do their utmost to foster the sense of the co- responsibility of the laity. The daily contact with the internal life of the Church must not lead the hierarchy and clergy to mistrust the authentic responsibility of the laity, even implicitly, nor should it lead them to reduce that responsibility merely to consultation on material or worldly matters” (no. 9).

Dated the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8, 2016, the Bishops conclude their document by expressing their hope that “all the members of the Body of Christ take up together the responsibility of bringing Christ, the only Saviour, to the world, in a spirit of family, friendship, and communion.”

Printed copies of the document are on sale from CCCB Publications (or by emailing [email protected]).


Link to the Document (PDF)

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