I wonder what the role of ‘Pastoral Councils’ could be in relation to the New Evangelizaton?
My parish has started a “Welcome Home” committee that is planning evangelization activities for the parish. Interestingly some of the active members of the committee are still in RCIA! The Holy Father’s remarks are really an affirmation of the positive role of lay leadership in the Church which is too often dominated by thoughts of real or potential roles inside the Church and not of the essential and more fundamental role of the layperson “in the midst of the world.”
Pope Francis then went on to speak about clericalism, which he defined as “one of the ills of the Church. But it is a sin of complicity, as priests are subject to the temptation to clericalise the laity, while many laypersons ask on their knees to be clericalised, because it is convenient. … So this is a sin committed by two hands. We must resist this temptation. The layperson must be a layperson, baptised and with the strength that comes from baptism. A servant, but with a lay vocation, and this cannot be sold, bargained for, and one is not complicit with the other, because it is a question of identity. … Is the deacon or the priest more important than the layperson? No! … The function of the layperson cannot be exercised by the priest, and the Holy Spirit is free: sometimes it inspires a priest to do something, and at other times it inspires a layperson. This is something that is discussed in the pastoral Council, which is very important. A parish that does not have a pastoral Council and a Council for economic affairs is not a good parish: it lacks life”.