3 Powerful Reasons It Will Take the Laity to Renew the Church in Crisis, According to this Parish Priest

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0 / Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

It is said that for the Catholic Church to be renewed it will take the laity.

This is absolutely true for 3 reasons.

1) The laity make up the overwhelming amount of the Church.

They have strength in numbers. This doesn’t mean that the Church is a democracy. No, it does mean they have the largest influence in the future. From the laity come future clergy.

The clergy of the Church is not an inherited priesthood as was the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament. The laity is the initial seedbed of priestly and religious vocations. The clergy serve Christ and His Church…they are not to be served by Christ and His Church.

The laity need to take this role seriously and hold their clergy to high standards of holiness. They also need to be sure they are just to the well-being of their clergy.

2) The laity hold the power of the purse.

This is not a power to be abused or used to buy heresy. However, the hierarchy is completely dependent upon the charity of the laity.

While the laity have a duty to make sure the clergy are justly paid (and lay staff as well), they have the duty to be sure their thanksgiving offering is being used for the ends for which it is given.

3) The bulk work of evangelization is to be done through the laity, especially in the family.

They have a greater ability to take the teachings of Christ and His Church into the larger world so as to effect change and justice. This does not mean compromising the Gospel to make it more palatable to secularism. It does mean being the front lines against such motion.

This does not let the clergy off any hooks.

We must train the laity well so they can properly do their jobs. We must make sure the sacramental grace needed for them to execute their duties faithfully and with excellence is readily available. We must be wise guardians of the trust shown us through the thanksgiving offering and the education offered.

The relationship between the laity and the clergy is a symbiotic relationship. We need each other. We need to look for and bring out the best in each other.

A resurgence in fidelity must start in the laity with the assistance of the clergy. From that laity come all out future leaders, both lay and cleric.

From the laity we will get the clergy that they recruit. Recruit with an eye to strength and fidelity. Look for men who would also be good and faithful husbands and prudent and just dads.

This post originally appeared on Facebook.

[See also: “The Catholic Church Gone in 25 Years?”: This Bishop’s Epic Comeback to Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte]

[See also: Taking Up Your Cross Is About More Than Bearing Burdens, Priest Explains in Powerful Lenten Reflection]

Fr. Bill Peckman
Fr. Bill Peckman is the pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Boonville, MO and St. Joseph Parish in Fayette, MO.