The Mission of the Laity

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI:
The Mission of the Laity

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This chapter discusses the mission of the laity, people belonging to a religious order who are not in the clergy. In some past centuries it might almost have seemed that the laity had no mission. Sensing the advent of a new situation, the popes at the beginning of the twentieth century began to involve the laity in the ministry of the Church. Pius X established Catholic Action, and Pius XI assiduously fostered its growth. As a general description of what the lay faithful are to do, the Vatican II council selected the term “apostolate”. The council defined the apostolate as the sum total of the activity whereby the Mystical Body spreads the kingdom of Christ and thereby brings the world to share in Christ's saving redemption. The discussion suggests that lay ministries in the Church, properly conducted, can greatly help to offset the forces of secularism.

Keywords: lay ministries; laity; clergy; Pius X; Pius XI; apostolate

Chapter.  4856 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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