AA 24: Father (Usually) Knows Best

AA 24 tries to keep things in balance. First, bishops and priests have a duty:

The hierarchy should promote the apostolate of the laity, provide it with spiritual principles and support, direct the conduct of this apostolate to the common good of the Church, and attend to the preservation of doctrine and order.

Careful about how our associations call themselves, though I know of relatively few, even traditional ones such as the Knights of Columbus that use the word “Catholic” by name.

No project, however, may claim the name “Catholic” unless it has obtained the consent of the lawful Church authority.

Don’t squelch the Spirit, either, at least not in theory:

Yet the proper nature and distinctiveness of each apostolate must be preserved, and the laity must not be deprived of the possibility of acting on their own accord.

When lay people share in “functions” that are connected with the duties of the clergy, “higher ecclesiastical control” is called for.

Even in the temporal sphere, bishops and priests “have the right to judge, after careful consideration of all related matters and consultation with experts, whether or not such works and institutions conform to moral principles and the right to decide what is required for the protection and promotion of values of the supernatural order.”

There you have it. A section that keeps things a good deal under clerical watch, if not control, but bishops are given duties to foster the lay apostolate and consult with “experts” as they work with lay people in the Church and in the world.


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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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