Tag Archives: Laity

The Laity

 

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16). All those not baptized are sheep of Christ that have not yet heard His voice. They must also be brought into the Church. Protestants are sheep that have left the fold of Christ. They must return to the Church, if they would hear the voice of Christ, the Good Shepherd, Who lovingly calls them to His True Church.

 

    Who are the laity of the Church? –The. laity of the Church are all its members who do not belong to the clerical or to the religious state. 

  1. All members of the Church, whether clerical, religious, or lay, are termed “the faithful.” After Baptism we join the ranks.The laity must remember that they are part of the Church. They must understand that when anyone speaks of the “Church” they are included, as we include the heart and mind of a man with his soul when we speak of him. The Church is you and I. 
  2. The clerical state includes all priests and aspirants to the priesthood who have received tonsure. Students of seminaries are aspirants to the priesthood.“Tonsure” is the rite by which a layman is initiated into the clerical state. The bishop, or any delegated prelate, cuts the candidate’s hair in some prescribed form, and invests him with a surplice. 
  3. The religious state includes those who are members of religious orders or congregations, bound by either temporary or perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, obedience.Aspirants, postulants, and novices are preparing to embrace the religious state.
    Do Catholic Sinners continue to belong to the Church? –Yes. 

  1. Unless one cuts himself off by heresy, apostasy, or excommunication, a Catholic sinner continues to be a member of the Church. Those in mortal sin are called “dead members”, for their soul dead in sin.Indeed the Church is the Church of Saints; but the greatest part of its activities has to be for sinners. Perhaps we may say, without fear of contradiction, that most of the members of the Church are sinners. We all fall away from the ideal, at some time or other; then the Church calls, to bring us back. 
  2. Until we attain heavenly bliss, there will always be the darkness of sin, the pain of evil. Christ Himself spoke of bad fish with the good, of cockle among the wheat.Of the sheep in the fold, one wanders out. But Our Lord longs for the wanderer, let us help bring him back. 
  3. God gave Catholics the grace of their holy religion. But He also gave them their free will. And they are free to choose: whether to act in full accordance with His commands and counsels, or whether to practice only a part, or whether to violate those commands.There is a wide gap between belief and practice; it is that gap that divides Catholics into practical and nominal Catholics.
    Must the faithful think and act alike? –No. 

  1. The faithful must believe in all the doctrines entrusted by Christ to His Church, and act in accordance with those doctrines; but these pertain to the field of faith and morals, not to other matters. Therefore there is no question about “thinking and acting alike,” among the 425,000,000 Catholics in the world.Each Catholic is an individual. He must believe that Jesus Christ is God; but with one of his Catholic friends he may differ concerning the best political party to join. He must not deny his Church, but he may argue with the parish priest about who should be one’s favorite Saints. 
  2. The Church is for no particular class, whether millionaires, or laborers, scientists or children; the Church is classless, and for all classes, for all men. These cannot all act and think in one uniform pattern.The different classes among Catholics arise from causes apart from the Church, such as racial, cultural, and social causes. But anywhere and everywhere one can be a good Catholic. 
  3. Good Catholics believe alike in this: that they are members of a divinely-established Church, the well-being of which it is their duty to further, by striving to attain the perfection indicated by Christ.The Church presents us with the ideal, and provides the means to reach that ideal, inviting and urging us, feeding and shepherding the flock. But the Church does not guarantee salvation for all the faithful; because among its doctrines the freedom of the will is as fundamental as the divine authority of the Church.
    How can the laity help the Church in the care of souls? –The laity can help the Church in the care of souls by leading lives that will reflect credit on the Church, and by cooperating with their bishops and priests, especially through Catholic Action.“Even so, let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 

  1. A good Catholic makes serious efforts to save his soul. He keeps the commandments of God and the Church. He receives the sacraments. He does all things prescribed by Christ through the Church.Therefore, he must know his religion. He must not be ignorant of Christian doctrine, for by it he learns how to save his soul. By it he learns what to believe, and what to do. 
  2. A good Catholic obeys his ecclesiastical superiors in spiritual matters, and gives them due respect. He sees in his lawful superiors Christ’s representatives on earth.He is loyal to the Church in word and deed. He does not criticise it, or make derogatory remark about it. Even if his priests may have faults, he tries his best not to bring them and the Church into contempt. If the faults are public and grievous, he may bring the matter to the attention of lawful authority, but always with great prudence. 
  3. According to his means, he contributes towards the support of the Church.This is a serious obligation which too many Catholics neglect. The Church needs support as much as the civil government. It cannot subsist on air. Religion makes no progress where Catholics are so indifferent as to begrudge their material support. 
  4. A good Catholic has before him a wide scope of activity if he wishes to participate in the work of the Church; there are no barriers between man and God.Should a Catholic be moved by a spirit of reform, he need not cut himself off from the Church by founding a new sect. He busies himself within the Fold of the Church, taking active steps to attain the reform he desires. For always there is need of reform in practices and current conditions, though never in fundamental doctrine.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​Bishops and Priests

    What jurisdiction has a bishop? –A bishop rules over that part of the Church, an organized territory called a bishopric, diocese, or see, assigned to him by the Pope.The word “bishop” is a translation from the Greek episcopos, which means “overseer,” a term first applied during apostolic times. To Titus St. Paul wrote, “For this reason I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set right anything that is defective and shouldst appoint presbyters in every city” (Tit. 1:5). 

  1. The bishops are the major-generals in the vast army of the Church. They command the different divisions of that army, subject to the authority of the commander in-chief, the Bishop of Rome. Under their jurisdiction are the parish priests in charge of parishes. As the Pope is the successor of St. Peter, so the other bishops are the direct successors of the other Apostles. Bishops are called “princes of the Church.” To them Our Lord spoke: “He who hears you hears Me.” They and their vicars general are termed ordinaries because they have ordinary, or immediate, jurisdiction over the diocese 
  2. A bishop administers the temporal possessions of his diocese, and gives an account of their administration to the Pope. He provides for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood, and the religious education of his whole flock. He gives faculties to hear confessions, censors books on religious subjects, and has many other powers for the proper administration of his diocese. A bishop is supreme in his diocese, but he is subject in all things to the Pope, who appoints him. The Pope grants their jurisdiction to bishops; before a bishop can exercise his office, he has to be recognized and confirmed by the Pope. He is obliged to go to Rome at stated intervals, to report on the state of his diocese. A bishop has the right to be called to a General Council, which is an assembly of the bishops of the world, presided over by the Pope. But, “If anyone is eager for the office of bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Tim. 3:1) 
  3. A bishop is shepherd of his flock. He appoints and supervises parish priests to help him. In governing his diocese, he is assisted by a number of “canons”, or by diocesan consultors. A coadjutor or auxiliary bishop is commissioned to assist the bishop of a diocese. Usually a coadjutor bishop is one with the right of succession. The Pope addresses a bishop Brother, because as bishops they have the same rank. Bishops wear a mitre, and carry a crosier as a sign of their office of pastor. They wear a pectoral cross. They have a ring, as a symbol of their union with their diocese. The faithful kiss this ring in token of obedience and respect. 
  4. Vicar Apostolic is a bishop who rules over a territory that is not yet fully organized, called a Vicariate ApostolicWhen the territory is first organized, it is usually placed under the care of a priest, and not a bishop. This priest is called a Prefect Apostolic and his territory is an Apostolic Prefecture. 
  5. titular Bishop or Archbishop is one who bears the title of a diocese, but has no jurisdiction over it. Nuncios, apostolic delegates, coadjutor and auxiliary bishops, and vicars apostolic are generally titular. Titular bishops and archbishops have no actual sees; they are given the titles of certain sees that previously existed, but that have since disappeared in the reorganization of jurisdictions, or because of the inroads of Mohammedanism, heresy, or paganism. The names of the sees are kept intact, and awarded to those whom the Holy See wishes to raise to the rank of bishops, and given special work. 
  6. An Archbishop or Metropolitan is a bishop who has certain powers of jurisdiction granted by the Pope over neighboring dioceses composing his province. Archbishops wear a pallium, a white strip of wool, on the shoulders, as a symbol of gentleness. They act as first judges of appeal from a decision of their suffragan bishops.
    Who assist the bishops in the care of souls? –The priests, especially parish priests, assist the bishops in the care of souls. 

  1. Parish priests are captains in the great army that is the Church. They command the soldiers of the Church, all baptized persons residing in the particular districts, called parishes, assigned to them by the bishops. The parish priest carries out the purpose of Christ in founding the Church. He teaches the people their religion, their duties towards God and each other. He governs the people, leading them in Catholic work. He sanctifies them by administering the sacraments. 
  2. Parish priests receive their orders and jurisdiction from the bishop. They are his spiritual children, and are bound to carry out his commands. In the parish the parish priest represents the bishop, and no one may, without his consent or the bishop’s, exercise spiritual functions there, such as marrying, baptizing, preaching, burying, giving extreme unction, etc.vicar forane (called also urban and rural dean) is a parish priest having supervisory power in the name of the bishop over neighboring parishes. A vicar-general is the chief among the officers of a diocese. Parish priests of large districts have priests helping them, called curates or assistants. 
  3. The duties of parish priests are many, varied, and of great responsibility. Like all priests, they are pledged to lifelong celibacy. Daily they must recite the Breviary, the priests’ book, which cannot be read under less than an hour’s time. On account of these heavy responsibilities all Catholics have the obligation to pray for their priests, and to help them as much as possible, especially that they may continue in the love of God, and be enlightened by the Holy Ghost.A parish priest and his curates have to visit the sick of the parish any time of the day or night, whenever there is a call. He has to give the last sacraments to the dying, however contagious or repellent the disease of such persons might be. He has to hear confessions hour after hour; he has to fast as long as the Masses he is scheduled to say have not been said. He must renounce the world with all its worldly amusements for the love of God. As shepherd of his flock, he is responsible to God for the souls of those committed to his charge; and on the day of judgment, he has to render a strict account of his stewardship over them.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!