Christifideles laici

Christ laici is the title of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, which he published on 30 December 1988. It is the summary outcome of the 7th Ordinary Synod of Bishops, held in Rome from 1 to 30 October 1987. In this letter it comes to the " vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and world."


In the introduction it says:

" The laity ( Christ laici ) whose vocation and mission, twenty years after the Second Vatican Council theme of the Synod of Bishops was in church and world in 1987, belong to that people of God, for which the vineyard workers are in Matthew's Gospel: ' For is the kingdom of heaven it like a landowner who left early in the morning his house to recruit workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard (Mt 20, 1-2 EU). ' The parable of the gospel opens our view of the sprawling vineyard of the Lord and for the large numbers of men and women he calls and sends to work in it. The vineyard is the whole world ( Mt 13: 38 EU ) ) ... "

The papal document begins with the biblical parable of the laborers in the vineyard, it is oriented to the catechetical needs and defines the laity work on the entire width of the Gospel. Also, the context of the encyclical Rei Socialis Sollicitudo ( on the social concern of the Church ) and the Apostolic Exhortation Mulieris dignitatem significantly ( on the dignity and vocation of women ); continue to be important aspects of the laity topic are presented.

Core statement and objectives

The key message on this topic can be found in the No. 23, which states:

" The saving mission of the Church in the world is realized not only by the officials due to the Sacrament of Orders, but by all laymen. As baptized and because of their specific vocation, these take part in the amount corresponding to one each, in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. The Pastors, therefore need the services, duties and functions of the laity recognize and promote. "

With this letter of John Paul II and the Synod of Bishops want to give a clear and firm response to numerous requests from bishops, priests and lay people. This letter is to inform about the same time new forms of pastoral activities of the laity in the Church. Furthermore, calls John Paul II on the clergy to recognize the laity in their offices and functions and to promote it. In the text the importance of the laity is underlined and their " peculiar and utterly necessary role in the Church's mission " emphasized to be strengthened within the church. The document has triggered a sustained debate on the place of the laity, their co-responsibility and participation in the Church.

For charisma of the laity

The Apostolic Letter speaks of the charisms as gifts that can be "extraordinary or simple and plain ." Because of this " highest freedom and gratuitousness charisms are also allocated to the layman " ... (No. 24). In community life and in the pastoral practice of the Church is the " recognition of charisma, but also offered their distinction " (No. 24). the Apostolic Letter has also underlined that " no charisma dispensed from the back to the Pastors of the Church and of the subordination to it " (No. 24).

Call for lay people working

John Paul II said that it was the express wish of the Second Vatican Council to invite the laity to participate. (No. 2) Here, the " social dimension, its first and original expression in the family" is underlined ( No. 40), in this context, the Pope this form of human community as the nucleus of society and " Cradle of Life ". From this position in society out, the family provides a fundamental service to society and therefore has a high priority in the lay work.

About the responsibilities of the laity in the Church

The laity can do a lot by the liturgy, catechism, pastoral and charitable initiatives and do in the pastoral councils (No. 27). For apostolate they also indirectly through their assistance in the administration of the parish. It is necessary, calls the Pope, that the priest feels left alone, but can count on the contribution of the expertise of the laity, to the support of their solidarity, to their understanding and willingness to help in the various areas of ministry.

It is also significant the contribution afforded by participation in the diocesan pastoral councils, whose establishment was recommended as " most important form of cooperation and dialogue as well as the common judgment on the diocesan level " (No. 25). Lay people are called to be members to feel the Catholic Church, and they are to be used for their growth. (No. 28). " Because of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ the laity to be involved in all this mission of the Church " (No. 34). A fundamental aspect of the life and mission of lay faithful is " the vocation to grow and mature constantly to always bring forth more fruit " (No. 37).

Political activity of the laity

In this letter, John Paul II warns that the laity can not do without it, to intervene in politics. This refers to the various initiatives aimed at promoting the common good. The laity who engage in it in this way, the appreciation of the church can be sure underlines the Pope, at the same time he warns against corruption and shady deals and calls for the commitment of " putting aside one's own advantage and material gain ."