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Sunday, April 19, 2009

By What Authority?


This afternoon in our Ecclesiology class, our professor was lecturing on Mystici Corporis Christi, an incredible document EVERY Catholic must read.  

I experienced a revelation that was put together also with something learned from Canon Law either on Friday night or Saturday morning, and it seems so obvious it shouldn't even BE a revelation!  

Our professor was discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit; those that are hierarchical (i.e. pertain to  clergy of the hierarchy of the Church:  Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests) and the other charismatic gifts that are proper to the laity.  In Canon Law the other day that professor discussed the graces given, gifts of the Holy Spirit given through the Sacraments.  We receive extraordinary graces in our Vocations when we receive the Sacrament that effects what it is.  Thus, those who are Ordained receive the necessary supernatural grace to live a celibate life, those who are Married receive the graces which enable them to raise their children. 

Then, today, in musing about the nature of the gifts granted to each of us by the Holy Spirit, and the respective roles of Clergy and Laity in the life of the Church, I realized that there is something almost disordered about how some of those things are being lived out today.  

In my role as a parish employee, part of my job is to present teaching to adults on the Sacraments so that they will be more empowered to teach their own children, which is their role.  That means that I'm up in front of a classroom, presenting Catholic doctrine, using Church documents to back up my points, using testimony, any possible tools necessary in conveying the required information.  

On the surface, this seems just fine. Certainly the Laity are allowed to preach outside of the Mass, and it's a good thing for us to be able to do so;  it is proper to our state, and I'm convinced God gives us the graces to do what we need to do when we are seeking to serve Him and His Bride the Church. 

However, perhaps we should look again at the proper role of Clergy and Laity in the context of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which correspond to our state in life...ESPECIALLY with regard to the Sacraments.  

When I stand in front of a classroom, the reality is this:  I'm on the same par with everyone out there. I am a laywoman. I am not an expert in anything, and even if I had a Doctorate in Sacramental Theology, it would not change my state in life.  Knowledge is important, fidelity to Church teachings is imperative, but the reality is that those people are looking up at me at the podium and thinking, "Who the hell are YOU to tell me I have to go to Confession?   Who the hell are YOU to tell us that we should not go to Communion if we've committed a sin on this list?  What kind of authority do YOU have to tell me what I should and should not believe?" 

They're right. 

I have no authority.  

I can speak of the teachings of the Church, and in the capacity of my employment, I speak under the authority and direction of the Priest, who represents the Bishop, who represents the Pope.  But I am not ordained. Canonically, Vocationally, and Ecclesiastically speaking, I have no real authority and I cannot officially speak for the Church. 

It is proper to the state of the Ordained Ministers (Bishops, Priests, Deacons) to preach the Word of God, to teach the faith, and to speak for the Church.  They are given the hierarchical gifts by the Holy Spirit when they are admitted to Holy Orders, and through that indelible mark on their souls, they are granted authority directly from God to teach and preach.  

I am not suggesting that the Laity do not have a voice. I am merely pointing out the reality that as a Laywoman, I CANNOT speak with the same authority because I cannot possess it and never will.  Nor should I, for the gifts proper to my state in life are not truly ordered to teaching within the Church itself. 

I am ALSO suggesting that some of the crisis in catechesis that we are seeing and trying to repair comes directly from the fact that the Laity are teaching and preaching on the Sacraments!  Words that are fully in union with the teachings of Christ are falling on deaf ears because we simply cannot command the respect which is naturally given to Pastors, whose charisms are ordered to the act of teaching and preaching these Divine Truths.  

Consider the Gospel passages where Jesus takes the scroll in the Temple, reads from Isaiah 61, and states that this has been fulfilled in their hearing. All the people wonder, for Jesus teaches with authority, "not like the scribes."  In fact, Jesus angered many because He taught with authority and without the typical hesitance or even arrogance of others who were charged with the teaching office. 

Jesus taught with authority for He IS the Word made flesh; He speaks of Himself.  

Consider, then, who can teach with that same authority?  

Priests. Bishops. The Pope.  

Why?  By virtue of their Ordination, the authority passed down from Jesus Christ Himself, the same authority STILL possessed in the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives the gifts needed for those who serve in the hierarchy and act in the name of Jesus, standing in the place of Christ Himself. 

Consider how it is proper for a Priest to give instruction on the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, to read from the Gospel of John (even outside of Mass) and explain those teachings and why we believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  

The same voice that should be teaching us about the Sacrament of Confession is the same voice that speaks in the person of Christ offering absolution so that we will experience the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ Himself, personally.  That same voice that should be instructing us in how simple bread and wine are transsubstantiated into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ is the same that stands in persona Christi and offers us "The Body of Christ" when we receive our Lord from his hand in Holy Communion. 

That is the position of the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, authority that cannot be purchased, authority that cannot be bought, authority that cannot be forced...for it comes from God alone and enacted through the Magisterium of the Church in the Sacrament of Ordination. The priesthood is ordered not only towards offering the Sacraments, but TEACHING about them! 

For what good is it for a lay person such as myself to stand up and preach about something they cannot provide?  A Priest can both preach and offer what is needed to those who need the grace.

Who am I, indeed?  It is a privilege for me to have been allowed to stand before a group of people and share the message of Divine Mercy, to provide the teachings of Christ and His Church, to provide a scriptural synthesis on why we believe in the True Presence.  No doubt there was grace there, but it truly isn't my place as a laywoman to provide those teachings.  I can't offer to them what I am asking them to do or believe.  

Please understand; I am not suggesting that the Laity cannot preach!  Indeed we can, and we should. As Baptized Catholics, we are obligated to preach the Gospel to all nations!  We are obligated to share our faith with others, to live our faith, and to bring others to Christ!  This is a DUTY by virtue of our BAPTISM!   

However, I DO suggest that even though Canon Law allows us to offer teachings on the Sacraments, either as a parish employee or as a volunteer, it is proper to the state of the Clergy to provide those teachings.  Further, if Father goes into that room and gives the same talk I do (or hopefully one MUCH better!), the Confession lines will be consistently longer, there will be more reverence towards Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and there will be fewer and fewer Catholics who dismiss the importance of the Sacramental life of the Church.  

The reality is that Priests simply aren't able to do everything that is proper to their state, and they need us to help them and provide teachings where allowed (everywhere outside of the homily).  

I pray for the day I can step down and take a seat in the classroom, allowing Father to take his rightful place up front, and perhaps I'll be another soul in need of mercy in his line for Confession. 

The charisms of the Laity are ordered towards evangelization outside of the Church building.  It makes sense for me to sit down with someone, whether personally or professionally, and discuss Church teaching one to one. This is how souls truly come to Christ.  But the Clergy are ordered towards providing the teachings within the Church, for they can speak with authority and provide what they discuss.  What a beautiful gift! 

I'd far rather stand back and do what I can to help the Pastor round up the lost sheep, for the reality is that it is his voice they need to know and recognize...not mine.

Their salvation depends on it. 
*  

PLEASE NOTE:  I'm adding this due to some of the comments I'm receiving.  Don't read into this post what isn't there. This post is NOT about the fact that I'm teaching and what I should or should not be saying to a class when I give talks on the sacraments to adults.  I'm trying to direct you to the issue of proper Authority granted by God through ordination, to the authority of the Teaching office that cannot be possessed in the same way as the Laity.   

MAIN POINT:  If a Priest, the one with Authority, is the one to offer the teaching, people would respect the message a lot more, and even follow it.  

Please focus on that, and not on me.  Although in a way, I guess the comments make the point:  because I as a lay person am delivering this message, I'm STILL the one getting the attention. The actual message in this post is being missed entirely. 

***

23 comments:

Brother Juniper said...

I believe that what you are saying, Adoro, can almost be equally applied to the Catholic blogosphere. None of us bloggers has the right to speak with the same authority as a priest, a bishop, or the Holy Father because we have not been called to those particular offices in the Church. Indeed, our place is among the sheep that listen and are docile.

In our blog, we air our opinions and give out pointers to others. I, for one, have never intended to preach on anything. If I get "preachy," it is only because I believe that people need to hear the hard answers to their own questions. Nothing more and nothing less than that.

I think that as Catholic bloggers our vocation is to bring the Truth to people. That is all. I'm not Fr. Z. or Fr. Longenecker. I do not have their authority to preach or write lengthy commentaries on theological matters. I'm just Brother Juniper and the only thing that I can do is post reflections on my own life and the news. I can't preach even if I was put in a pulpit.

I think that we need to learn how to differentiate the different roles. More and more, the laity seems to have taken some of the priest's roles. We need to get back to basics and un-learn what we have learned for the past thirty years.

Thanks again for the post. I hope you write more on this.

justme said...

Aggeed.. with a comment. Grace build on nature. Some priests do not have the gift (on a natural level) of teaching. Even sacramental grace cannot undo this. I'd much rather see catechesis taught by a lay person who's knowlegable and capable (faithful should go without saying), than a poorly prepared, less-than-gifted priest. I know a few who know and understand the faith, but can't bring it down to lay person's (much less youth's) level. And a few who just can't explain things. Grace builds on nature.

Adoro said...

Brother Juniper ~ That's exactly it. In Canon Law we discussed the fact that our laws have not caught up with technology, and the problems that can cause. But we DO still have the right to speak up to share the faith. That said, NONE of us, no matter who we are, we can't speak FOR the Church. I am thinking I need a disclaimer on my blog just to be CERTAIN no one is mislead to think I have any authority at all!

Part of the problem I was getting at is the usurping of the role of the Priest. He has a teaching office, and needs to exercise it. Out of necessity, this is often given over to another, and that other may not have been properly formed. (I don't even want to get into the fact that sadly, many priests have also not been properly formed!)

I am grateful that the Holy Spirit acts through us all, and He knows the situation we are in currently. I know that because I am acting in obedience when I teach, there is grace there, IN SPITE OF ME. And any priest worth his salt is also going to say the same thing, but he still has a qualification that the Laity do not.

Oy, we need the Holy Spirit!

Adoro said...

Justme ~ Agreed. And that's why the Church allows the Laity to preach. Not all Priests are gifted preachers, and that is part of being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

HOWEVER...in that case they who do not have the gift STILL have the charisms that come from Holy Orders, they STILL have the authority of Christ for they can stand in persona Christi. If they discern that preaching isn't their gift, they should be closely involved with ANY (especially) Sacramental teachings, they should be present, and they should speak enough to the group to give legitimacy to what is being stated so that all present know that the Lay speaker is doing so with the approval of the Priest's authority.

And then, the priest is still available to offer what the law speaker cannot...the sacraments.

Adrienne said...

Don't you just love light bulb moments??

I came to the same conclusions not too long ago.

Adoro said...

Adrienne ~ THAT'S AWESOME! lol, this has been on my mind for awhile, but this weekend's classes gave me the ability to articulate it in terms otherwise not considered!

Theocoid said...

Sorry, Adoro, but I have to strongly object to what you're saying here.

Teaching is not the same as preaching, and teaching in a class is not the same context as teaching during liturgy. Please remember that many of the Church Fathers were not ordained. Ordination grants certain faculties, but it does not uniquely provide the gift of insight.

St. Peter tells us to be ready to give a defense of our faith. Layman throughout Catholic history have been responsible for calling ordained ministers to account (for example, St. Catherine of Sienna).

It gives no one an advantage except Satan for you to deny your capacity to explain the teachings of the Church. You mention Isaiah 61 specifically to support this idea, but Christ was not disputing that scribes had authority—only that 1) they did not have the authority of the Word (which goes without saying) and 2) that they had abused their authority. This is not to deny all teaching offices, only to condemn those that are used illicitly.

Who are you indeed to teach about these sacraments? You are the recipent, the benefactive, the one whose life is changed through the graces of the sacrament. Who better to proclaim the benefits for the sacrament than you?

You are being deceived. You have the capacities of a teacher, and you are being persuaded that you don't have the authority. That message is not from God but from Satan. He is trying to tell you that you have no gift and no authority, and that is a lie.

justme said...

Agreed, Adoro. Our Pastors forget too easily they are the shepherds, not the laity who step up to the plate. Unfortunately, in many cases, the lack of priests makes their presence at sacramental preparation classes very difficult (and at times even a burden), esp. if a talented and faithful lay person is willing to do the job. Recently found a priest's blog (clericalreform.blogspot.com) .. he'd be a good one to discuss this.

Adoro said...

Justme ~ I'll answer you first as this answer is short: I've followed his blog for awhile now and have been in contact with him albeit not with regard to this issue. I'll send this post to him.


Theocoid ~ I strongly refute your objection!

I don't deny my ability given by God in His Grace to explain the teachings and proclaim my own experience of the Sacraments and the teachings as I understand them and my faithfulness to them.

Read what I ACTUALLY said, and NOT what you're reading into it!

These are my EXACT WORDS:

Please understand; I am not suggesting that the Laity cannot preach! Indeed we can, and we should. As Baptized Catholics, we are obligated to preach the Gospel to all nations! We are obligated to share our faith with others, to live our faith, and to bring others to Christ! This is a DUTY by virtue of our BAPTISM!

We INDEED have the charism, but I am speaking of hierarchical charisms that belong to and are ordered toward the property that belongs to the ordained priesthood to teach the SACRAMENTS AND OFFER THEM!

I can explain, and teach, but WHO AM I?

Are not YOU in formation to become a DEACON? You are headed towards ordination...that is CLERGY, not laity such as myself!

And THAT is both a calling and a demand of Christ, within those orders to TEACH.

I will NEVER be Clergy, do not lament that fact, and REFUSE to give in to the false model of the Church that suggests that "equality" negates the authority of the Clergy!

I can give a defense of my faith in any venue but the homily at Mass, and I am prepared at any time, even if my words fail..for the Holy Spirit will not.

HOWEVER! READ WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID! I am stating that the OFFICIAL teachings of the Church belong to those who are ordained and that it is THEY who should be conveying the Faith, ESPECIALLY to those who have fallen away or are lost due to bad catechesis.

It is BECAUSE the Laity are teaching, and we do not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit to teach in the SAME WAY as that given to the Clergy.

I fully admit that no matter the education of a lay person, I still respect more the teaching of an Ordained person more than the most highly-educated lay person.

That is not to say I follow blindly, for there are, sadly, Priests and Bishops in grave error and who are leading us all astray, willfully.

Yet that does not take away their authority, and it, ironically, is that very authority even the dissident of the ordained possess, that does the most damage. And, of course, the most good.

I can't offer what I preach. I can't.

I can't offer what I don't possess.

I can only point to it. I am a Docent.

And what is a Docent? A lay person with no authority speaking of mysteries they don't possess but can only describe.

A Priest can speak of these mysteries and the person hearing can receive them out of his own hand as he speaks and acts in the person of Christ.

Don't take this post to a position I am not taking and don't put words in my mouth that I am not speaking.

RAnn said...

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Warren said...

Adoro, one of the things you can do with this realization is bring it up with the class.

If it was me, I would say this:

If I was in your position, and I didn't like something that the Church teaches, I'd say to myself, 'Who is she to tell me that I have to [go to confession, etc]".

So, you could continue, if indeed this is [Adoro's] idea, and her teaching, you could safely ignore all of it. But all I am really doing here is pointing you towards the teaching of the Church, in the hope you will read, and understand for yourself, what I am explaining to you. When I read these documents, I read them, confident in their ability to teach the Catholic faith to me.

For today, you only have me, but tomorrow, you may read these great works for yourself, and you can see for yourself, that this is indeed what the Catholic faith *is*, and what it requires of you is not my idea, but the solemn teaching of the Church.

Warren

Hidden One said...

I agree with Adoro.

Re:Warren's comment

If I were Adoro, I would add in a specific reference to the fact that the people there can go speak to the people with the real authority, particularly Fr. Whoeverisherboss at any time about what is being taught - or some message to that effect.

Adoro said...

Warren and Hidden One:

~ That's basically what I do. I provide references to the catechism, etc. I encourage them to talk to Father, etc.

But that's not the point of this post. The point isn't that I'm up there teaching. The point is that the teaching would be FAR MORE EFFECTIVE if the person who is SUPPOSED to be doing it would/could do so.

Not criticizing Father by any means; he's busy. He hired me to do a job. I'm doing it.

But that doesn't mean I SHOULD be doing it. If we lived in an ideal world, we the laity would not be needed to provide religious education within the walls of the Church.

And in fact, our various states in life are actually not ordered to teaching. The priest holds the office of teacher. I don't. Even if I did professionally, it's not a gift of the Holy Spirit to teach in the same capacity as the priest.

So please don't focus on the fact that I'm teaching, but the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the office that GOD has ordained and the effectiveness of that office to GET PEOPLE TO THE SACRAMENTS.

Rachel Gray said...

"The same voice that should be teaching us about the Sacrament of Confession is the same voice that speaks in the person of Christ offering absolution so that we will experience the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ Himself, personally."

Amen. When I was converting from Protestantism two years ago, attending a wishy-washy RCIA class, I was very nervous about making my first confession, mainly because I had no idea what the priest would be like, which sins he'd treat seriously and which ones he'd think were a waste of time to bring up. There were things on my conscience I knew I needed to mention, but it was hard because they're things the world says aren't sinful, and I was afraid the priest would say the same and be patronizing of me and my over-scrupulous conscience.

Then I found a great parish and transferred there, and my new RCIA class was taught by a priest. He was going through the ten commandments when I joined the class, telling us the many ways we could break each one, explaining mortal and venial sin, and what needs to be confessed. That helped so much with the fear, because I knew I could go *to the same person* who'd taught us how to do it, and I knew what he would be expecting and that he wouldn't take my confession lightly.

It was SUCH a blessing to have RCIA taught by a priest. I actually repeated the class the next year because it was so good. The cradle Catholics of the parish would sit in on it too, just for a refresher.

Adoro said...

Rachel ~ That's exactly it! You had the very experience that edifies what I'm getting at! Those priests who preach the sacraments, whether in a homily or when teaching (such as RCIA) make a REAL difference!

If I had been up there presenting the same information, it still wouldn't answer your deepest questions, those you wouldn't be able to express, nor would I ever be able to answer.

Awesome, and thank you! :-)

Father S said...

As regarding teaching, we have to distinguish between a few things. First, there is the natural ability to teach. Obviously, some people have this and some do not; we have all seen good and bad teachers. Second, there is the general charism of teaching, which is the ability to teach aided by the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift is open to all. Third, there is the office of teaching. This office belongs to the Holy Father and those bishops in union with him. The particular character of this office is to teach inerrantly, or to present a teaching that is true and infallible. Priests, particularly in preaching, assist the bishop in this task.

Ultimately, the chief catechist in any diocese is the local bishop. What is taught is Jesus Christ. IN other words, teaching is only true to the degree that it presents Jesus Christ Himself. Any person who claims to teach and teaches contrary to Christ fails as a teacher and is not to be heeded or believed.

There does exist within the Church the possibility for someone to speak with authority who is not the bishop. Now this is tricky. For example, a theology professor who is a layman who has a mandatum from a local bishop may teach what is right and what is wrong. He does not possess this authority in himself. Rather, so far as he teaches what is taught by Jesus Christ through the Church, his teaching has authority in itself.
The question naturally arises when we begin to consider who needs to be obeyed and who does not. For example, we may go to a rather liberal Catholic university and find a teacher who says that women can be ordained priests. Let’s say this teacher has a mandatum. Let’s further say that this teacher is friends with the local bishop and possesses many advanced degrees. Let’s say this teacher speaks fifteen languages and is invited around the world to speak at conferences. Nonetheless, this teacher possesses no authority to teach something that strays from the teaching authority of the Church. This teacher is in error and no amount of credentials can change that.

At the same time, let us consider the electrician who teaches Sunday school. Let’s say he teaches the second graders about First Holy Communion. When he teaches that the bread and wine become, by the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, he teaches with authority because he teaches in line with Jesus Christ and His Church.

Practically, the Church envisions, via the Code of Canon Law, that the local bishop oversee what is taught in his diocese to his legitimate legal subjects. It is his responsibility to make sure that things contrary to the faith, contrary to Jesus Christ, are not being taught. When this does not happen, confusion ensues. When it does happen, things click along very nicely.

From time to time, people may hear of this or that dissident person saying that the have received a movement of the Spirit for something contrary to what Christ has taught. They claim to have the gift of prophecy by virtue of Holy Baptism. Let us be absolutely clear; when someone claims to be moved by the Spirit against Christ, this is patently false and impossible. Perhaps they are moved by a spirit, namely, the spirit of darkness, but certainly not by the Holy Spirit. In this way, when we speak of the office of the prophet, the task of the prophet is not to predict the future or to invent truth. The prophet simply receives truth and hands it on. Jesus Christ gave the fullness of truth and we can add nothing to it. As such, if what is taught by any person contradicts the Scripture, they cannot be acting as a prophet, but as a false prophet. While there are bad bishops and good bishops, saints and the most terrible of sinners, we are nonetheless entrusted to them as sheep to a shepherd. Jesus promised that He would not leave us orphans, that he would send an advocate, the consoler, the Spirit of Truth. That Truth is one, true and beautiful. Insofar as we adhere to it, we may speak with the authority of Christ. Insofar as we do not, we have no authority at all.

-Father S.

Adrienne said...

As to your note - I understand exactly what you are saying. You are not suggesting we who are gifted teachers (I am, I know it, and I'm grateful to the Holy Spirit).

Your point is so simple to understand and you explained it very well.

If priests are over-burdened (which they are), perhaps they should dump the endless worthless committee meetings in favor of teaching.

Our RCIA class uses the catechism and is grounded in solid theology. Yet I find myself being challenged more than Father is about certain teachings. I remind the class often that what I'm teaching is what the Catholic Church teaches and I promise to always tell them if something I'm saying is my opinion.

I think our RCIA would be better if we had no lay teachers. Father's there anyway to mop up after any team member who "jumps the rail" on authentic teaching.

There is a difference when the teacher is a priest. A BIG difference.

Adrienne said...

ooops shouldn't teach (to finish my first sentence)

Adoro said...

Fr. S. ~ Thanks so much for your explanation and I totally agree with what you've stated. The only thing is that, if possible, priests should be the ones teaching in their parishes. (I realize this isn't always possible and totally respect that fact) the reason being that you hold the authority and even the charisms that we laity do not.

Adrienne ~ I agree, all would be better if there were no lay teachers, and I have no doubt that you are a gifted teacher yourself. :-)

I'm not and have learned that over the last couple years. It ISN'T my gift. I can preach at people...I can't teach. there is a difference.

Hidden One said...

"The point is that the teaching would be FAR MORE EFFECTIVE if the person who is SUPPOSED to be doing it would/could do so."

I recognize that, and as I wrote (before I wrote anything else), I agree with your post. Completely.

And I could have brought a bit of personal experience or whatnot to the conversation, but in it would have been nothing new to add to the conversation.

All I had to add was my agreement with everything that you posted and an addition to what Warren had posted. I fully expected that you have already been doing stuff along those lines. If anything, I was correcting a perceived error of omission in Warren's comment, rather than anything else.

I apologize for causing confusion.

Keith Strohm said...

Adoro,

I have been following this thread with great interest and have appreciated the range of comments. I particularly enjoyed Fr. S' contribution.

I do have a question about one of your followup statements:

You wrote: The only thing is that, if possible, priests should be the ones teaching in their parishes. (I realize this isn't always possible and totally respect that fact) the reason being that you hold the authority and even the charisms that we laity do not. What do you mean when you use the phrase "even charisms that we laity do not?"

Are you referring here to the authority that comes with the pastoral office? The reason I ask is that, as Fr. S. pointed out, there is a charism of teaching (and other charisms) that can manifest in any of the baptized. These charisms are meant to be used for the sake of others. In fact, the Holy Spirit may gift individuals with those charisms so that they can assist their pastors in forming the disciples inside each parish.

Thus, I'm not sure that I can agree with your later statement that it would be better if there were no lay teachers--as I see the presence of charisms in the life of the community as one way in which the Holy Spirit provides for the growth in holiness and preparation for mission in each particular community.

Inasmuch as lay people do teach within their community, they participate in the pastoral office by right of delegation and not by any intrinsic right. Yet, I don't see this as a sort of second-best option because of a dearth of priests, but rather an economy of grace whereby the whole church (lay and ordained) beraks open the gift of their lives in service to each other for the sake of Christ's mission to the world.

All that being said, the fundamental orientation of the lay state is ad extra, focused on life in the world. All of the teaching and formation that is offered to lay men and women should therefore prepare them to full live out the secular character of their baptismal vocations. I think that far too often we are pre-occupied with an inward-focus and tend toward a reverse clericalism (focusing on the clericalization of the laity), but that is a separate topic.

In any event, thanks for such an engaging conversation. Your blog is part of my daily blog tour, and I appreciate your committment to keeping it up.

God bless!

Keith

Adoro said...

Hidden One ~ I apologize. So often I get so passionate about something I don't take all angles or intended angles into consideration. And of course, the written media is so RESTRICTING it's almost impossible to emphasize without seeming to be snarky!

Adoro said...

Keith~ Thanks for your comment, and yours is exactly what I was getting at.

I don't deny the charism of teaching freely given by the Holy Spirit, a charism that is meant to be used.

But as you point out, that charism, as it applies to the laity, should be ad extra, and not the ad intra focus of the clericalism of the laity that we have seen since the 60's or 70's and on.

The hierarchical gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is what our professor discussed for awhile this weekend, pertain to those in Holy Orders; those whose office it is to teach, and the authority given by God alone and passed on through the hierarchy to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ.

What I'm saying is that we the Laity don't possess those gifts and even if we are gifted teachers, we can't have that particular portion of authority; it's not part of our state.

In an ideal world, we'd have priests giving the meat of any doctrinal teaching, especially with regard to the Sacraments.

We don't live in an ideal world, but maybe we do need to work harder so that our Pastors can be free to live out the charisms of their ordination and those gifts that are proper to their state.

So, in short, after a lengthy and long-winded reply, I AM replying to the pastoral charisms that come only through ordination in that passage of mine you quoted.

:-)