From the Catholic News Service
Catholic laity must follow authoritative church teachings, pope says
By John Thavis

"VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II said U.S. bishops need to remind lay Catholics of their duty to follow authoritative church teachings, whether in private life or in social roles.

The separation between church and state should be respected, but there can be no separation between one's personal faith and one's political and professional participation, he said..."

I must say that I am thrilled by this report, and hopeful that the Pope will take this message to the Canadian Bishops as well. Considering it has been Catholic Prime Minisisters (Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Cretien, and Paul Martin) have been running this country for the last 35 years (brining in liberal divorce laws, unrestricted abortion, gay marriages, and other policies in direct conflict with Catholic teachings), there can be little doubt that we need it.

For the full text of the Pope's statement to the Bishops, please go to

"2. As the Second Vatican Council clearly stated, the exercise of the episcopal munus regendi by its very nature requires a recognition of the contribution and charisms of the lay faithful (all emphasis original) and their proper role in building up the Church’s unity and carrying forward her mission in the world (cf. Lumen Gentium, 30-31). Each Bishop is called to acknowledge the "essential and irreplaceable role" of the laity in the Church’s mission (cf. Christifideles Laici, 7) and to enable them to carry out their proper apostolate, "guided by the light of the Gospel and the mind of the Church, and impelled by Christian charity" (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 7).

In your ministry of governance, you should consider it a clear pastoral priority to assist the lay faithful in understanding and embracing the munus regale which they have received by their baptismal incorporation into Christ. As the Church’s tradition affirms, this kingly office is expressed first in that "royal freedom" which enables the faithful to overcome the reign of sin in their own lives and, "by serving Christ in others..., to guide them to that King whom to serve is to reign" (Lumen Gentium, 36). The lay faithful, however, exercise this kingly office in a specific way through their efforts to extend the Kingdom of God in and through their secular activity, so that "the world will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ and more effectively attain its purpose in justice, in love and in peace" (ibid.).

3. It follows that lay men and women must be encouraged, through sound catechesis and continuing formation, to recognize the distinctive dignity and mission which they have received in Baptism and to embody in all their daily activities an integrated approach to life which finds its inspiration and strength from the Gospel (cf. Christifideles Laici, 34). This means that the laity must be trained to distinguish clearly between their rights and duties as members of the Church and those which they have as members of human society, and encouraged to combine the two harmoniously, recognizing that "in every temporal affair they are to be guided by their Christian conscience, since there is no human activity – even of the temporal order – that can be withdrawn from God’s dominion" (Lumen Gentium, 36)..."

To have Bishops who are actually teachers of the faithful... And to see this Pope quoting directly from Vatican II to remind these men of their duty as shepherds of the flock...

These are good times for the Church.



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