AA 19: Lay Associations Are “Not Ends Unto Themselves”

AA19 sets forth some sobering considerations to balance a free ranging approach. First, associations must put the spiritual well-being of members foremost, even above the particular apostolate(s) itself:

Among these associations, those which promote and encourage closer unity between the concrete life of the members and their faith must be given primary consideration. Associations are not ends unto themselves; rather they should serve the mission of the Church to the world.

And an interesting thing:

Their apostolic dynamism depends on their conformity with the goals of the Church as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of every member and of the whole association.

Not solum magisterium, I’d say.

Think international, AA says, for three reasons:

  • the progress of social institutions
  • the fast-moving pace of modern society
  • the global nature of the Church’s mission

And a conclusion:

Maintaining the proper relationship to Church authorities, the laity have the right to found and control such associations and to join those already existing. Yet the dispersion of efforts must be avoided. This happens when new associations and projects are promoted without a sufficient reason, or if antiquated associations or methods are retained beyond their period of usefulness. Nor is it always fitting to transfer indiscriminately forms of the apostolates that have been used in one nation to other nations.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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