Pope Francis and the reform of the laity

Some insight into the pope’s mindset from Fr. Roger Landry in the National Catholic Register: 

The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy.

It also will involve a thorough reform of the laity, since some of the cancers the cardinals elected him to confront in Rome have metastasized throughout Christ’s mystical body.

In his conclave-changing address to the cardinals four days before his election, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio identified what he believes is the Church’s fundamental illness: “ecclesiastical narcissism.”

“When the Church does not come out of itself to evangelize,” he said, “it becomes self-referential and then gets sick.”

That inward looking Church, which doesn’t look sufficiently to Christ and doesn’t reflect him, his light and his love for those walking in darkness, quickly succumbs to what he called the worst evil of all, a “spiritual worldliness … living in itself, of itself, for itself.”

That, for him, is the fundamental corruption of the Church that needs to be reformed…

…In a 2011 interview with an Argentinian Catholic news agency, he said [a] contagious spiritual sickness comes from a clericalism that passes from clergy to laypeople.

“We priests tend to clericalize the laity. We do not realize it, but it is as if we infect them with our own disease. And the laity — not all, but many — ask us on their knees to clericalize them, because it is more comfortable to be an altar server than the protagonist of a lay path. We cannot fall into that trap — it is a sinful complicity.”

Clericalization means focusing fundamentally on the things on the things of the clergy and, more specifically, the sanctuary, rather than bringing the Gospel to the world.

Clericalism ails the clergy when they become too self-referential rather than missionary. But it afflicts laypeople worse, when they begin to believe that the fundamental service God is asking of them is to become greeters, lectors or extraordinary ministers of holy Communion at Church rather than to live and spread the faith in their families, workplaces, schools neighborhoods and beyond.

The reform that’s needed, he continued in that interview, is “neither to clericalize nor ask to be clericalized. The layperson is a layperson and has to live as a layperson with the power of baptism, which enables him to be a leaven of the love of God in society itself, to create and sow hope, to proclaim the faith, not from a pulpit but from his everyday life. And like all of us, the layperson is called to carry his daily cross — the cross of the layperson, not of the priest.

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  2. [...] Francis may be starting to reform the Church — including the laity. Click here for story. This entry was posted in General by gadsdenknights. Bookmark the [...]

  3. [...] Pope Francis and the reform of the laityPatheos (blog)The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy. It also will involve a thorough reform of the laity, since … [...]

  4. [...] many — ask us on their knees to clericalize them, because it is more comfortable to be an altar server than the protagonist of a lay path. We cannot fall into that trap — it is a sinful [...]


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