Monday, March 08, 2010

The Headline Didn't Do Justice

Yesterday Pope Benedict visited a parish in his diocese. The homily he gave at St. John of the Cross Parish invited a conversion of mind. One headline expressed it in negative terms: "Laity Are Not Priests' Collaborators, Pope Says." That didn't do justice to the pope's intended message. He spoke to a young parish, which not long ago finally built its permanent church building. As they were responsible for their beginnings and movement to their present building, Pope Benedict encourage them--and all Catholics--to be actively co-responsible for the Church and its way of proclaiming and living the gospel. He moved from his reflection on the gospel to his call for all to be "'co-responsible' for the being and action of the Church."
I know that your parish is young. In fact, it began its pastoral activity in 1989, for a period of 12 years in a provisory location, and then in the new parish complex. Now that you have a new sacred edifice, my visit aims to encourage you to realize more and more that Church of living stones that you are. ...

...I call on you to continue in this direction with courage but also to dedicate yourselves to bring all of these realities together into a unified pastoral project. I was happy to hear that your community wishes to promote, in regard to the vocations and the role of consecrated persons and the laity, the co-responsibility of all the members of the People of God. As I already noted, this demands a change in mentality, above all with regard to the laity, “moving from considering them ‘collaborators’ of the clergy to recognizing them as truly ‘co-responsible’ for the being and action of the Church, promoting a mature and dedicated laity in this way” (cf. “Address a the Opening of the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Rome,” May 26, 2009).

The video of the pope's arrival at the parish and the mass may be viewed in Italian with Italian commentary (posted by the Vatican on its website).

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