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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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The Mission of the Laity

The Mission of the Laity

March 29, 2006

(p.485) 35 The Mission of the Laity
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

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

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