Monday, June 12, 2006
To re-evaluate these lay ministry formation programs to see if what they are teaching is consistent with the Church's teaching.
I heard a story about one diocesan training program in which it was reported to the bishop the day after Ratzinger's election as pope, every one of the instructors in that program expressed distress and worse at his election. And I'm funding this...why? that bishop wondered. And took care of it.
On the first point, that wasn't even a consideration in Kansas City. The bishop praised the work of lay ministry formation, and without fully understanding the scope of what his own employees did, said it was costing too much money. And on the second, one only has to visit the average conservative Catholic blog and examine posts and commentariat to see how these Christians love one another.
A rethinking of lay ministry - appreciating and justly compensating those who sacrifice much to engage in it (been there), but continually re-affirming the central lay apostolate - in the world.And I find this a curious thing. Conservative Catholics were the ones complaining (or so I recall) in the 80's when the US bishops dared to speak out in favor of peace and economic justice. Most often, Justice and Peace Catholics are criticized for being too worldly. I recall that criticism coming down hard on activists in Latin America.
Sorry, but ...
Vatican II has been all about a lay apostolate in the world. In part that's why progressives have been villified: too much of a willingness to engage the world. It's no secret that pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan wants to withdraw to a comfy community in Florida. Circle the wagons or whatever.
One last comment on lay ministry. The operative word here is "ministry," and by that, I would mean a lifestyle of sacrifice and service on behalf of others and Christ's gospel message. So any ol' lay person: a musician, a teacher, or even a janitor, could be conducting ministry, if that person were indeed a witness to the gospel in their relationships with others. And likewise, a bishop, a pastor, a bureaucrat or graduate of a lay ministry program might not be a minister if they were only in it for the power, the money, the prestige, or the title. I thought that would go without saying.
Apparently it needs to be said.