Laity and the role of the Priest

While there is of course a place for the laity in the Church where they work closely with the Bishop or Priest in a Diocese or Parish, there are also some instances where the laity can overstep their boundaries.  They can become the administrators who make all the decisions which can affect the other Priests and the laity in a very negative way.  When a community starts to fall apart and the fruits of a Priests work become less and less, it should be obvious what is happening.   I have seen this happening in a particular Parish which should be blossoming and full of life. A lay person has been given too much control and it has caused many problems for the Church and its community. 

A Priest is called by God especially to serve Jesus and his people, to minister to His flock, to be a Shepherd. The laity who work in the Church are not the Shepherds, they cannot do what a Priest can do.    The laity need to know their place, to serve the Priest and the Church and not to dictate or make decisions which should be made by the Priest or Bishop alone. 

In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI said.on the clericalisation of the laity.

It is important to avoid the secularisation of clergy and the 'clericalisation' of the laity", Pope Benedict said in his address at Castelgandolfo, to a group of Bishops from Brazil, who had just completed their 'ad limina' visit.

Highlighting the functions of the various members of the Church, the Pope explained how "the particular identity of priests and laity must be seen in the light of the essential difference between priestly ministry and the 'common priesthood'. Hence it is important to avoid the secularisation of clergy and the 'clericalisation' of the laity".

Benedict XVI indicated that "the lack of priests does not justify a more active and abundant participation of the laity. The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head".

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