Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who are the Laity?

There is a balance that is required in response to the Church and the role we play in it. In a sense it has every thing to do with the secular world and yet we are compelled to be merciful as our Father is merciful and to seek unity. Cardinal John Henry Newman when asked what he thought of the laity responded "well we would look pretty silly without them" I believe that it is our responsibility to reform the Church where it needs reform. In 1851 Newman said "What I desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is — I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity — I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion." We have to stand up, resolve to protect the sacred and not allow the creeping norms of the secular world to take over. That requires to be well read and understand our faith. To keep up with the Holy Father, to understand the theology and sometimes react with your gut feelings. Be prayerful, asking the Holy Spirit for the words and the courage to find the way. Paul said it Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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