Invisible reform: role of lay people

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 One of the least visible aspects of Pope Francis' reform consists of reevaluating the role of lay people. It's no small issue considering the clergy only make up one percent of the world's nearly 1.3 billion Catholics.

The topic was key during the Second Vatican Council, but has yet to take hold among Catholics.

Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America
There's a notable lack of Catholic voices and leaders who are opening paths to the Gospel in the worlds of business, university and especially politics.”

The pope has warned against the mentality of those Catholics who are content with going to Mass but consider their faith and daily, social and political lives to be separate, unrelated areas. This is one of the results of clericalism.

Secretary of Dicastery for Laity, Family & Life
The pope insists that clericalism is commonly on the part of priests who don't allow lay people to take on these important roles in the Church as well as in society, but it can also be the case of lay people who get comfortable with saying, 'I go to Mass, I receive the Eucharist, I confess and that's enough.”

Pope Francis calls for the abandonment of a concept embedded in the mentality of some Catholics – that only clergy can fully live the faith and, thus, they are the only ones who can intervene in public debates regarding the Church.

The Holy Father and his predecessors have made sure to remind lay people that God must permeate throughout each one of their daily activities, just as early Christians lived.

Some think that holiness is putting on a pious face. No, that is not holiness. But father, if I work in a factory, or if I am an accountant...I can't be a saint. Yes! Yes! You can! You can become a saint there where you work. It is there where God gives you the grace to become a saint.”

This is one of the aspects that Pope Francis pointed out in documents such as his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exultate or Evangelii Gaudium. There he recalls proposals from his predecessors such as Paul VI.

In the end, the topic is a reality that has already been embodied by many of the Church institutions established in the 20th century.

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