CDCN Positive Proposal #3: Strong Lay Leadership

The concerned musicians offer a third positive proposal:

3. If children are to appreciate the beauty of music and art, if they are to understand the importance of the liturgy as fons et culmen of the life of the Church, we must have a strong laity who will follow the Magisterium. We need to give space to well-trained laity in areas that have to do with art and with music.  To be able to serve as a competent liturgical musician or educator requires years of study. This “professional” status must be recognized, respected, and promoted in practical ways. In connection with this point, we sincerely hope that the Church will continue to work against obvious and subtle forms of clericalism, so that laity can make their full contribution in areas where ordination is not a requirement.

Clericalism is a problem, yes. But at root, we have a deeper human issue. In social groups, there are leaders and there are experts. Sometimes leaders make decisions that override the best proposals of experts. Sometimes leaders need to step in and make decisions for the common good that swim against an expert’s current. So, what’s the solution? Discernment. How does that work? Not without a lot of trust.

Before Vatican II, the thought is that Catholics were satisfied to “trust Father.” Post-conciliar developments in the Church and the world have eroded that somewhat. Add two things to the mix: a first post-conciliar generation that saw laity get educated in theology, and a second generation that got very active online. Many Catholic communities have a lot more people who think they are in-the-know. How does one cultivate trust and discernment in parishes where the numbers of know-somethings are high and the collaborative effort amongst various lay people and their clergy is not?

I don’t have the answers for it. But I think the musicians are on the right track with this proposal.

The full document may be found here.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Cantate Domino Canticum Novum, Liturgical Music. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to CDCN Positive Proposal #3: Strong Lay Leadership

  1. Liam says:

    This is a particular problem because popular American culture has a whipsaw credulity/distrust dynamic with respect subject matter expertise.One the one hand, we crave expert advice; on the other, we don’t really know how to evaluate what is presented as expert advice, and thus tend to lapse immediately into distrust if it’s dissonant with our own assumptions or beliefs, and credulity if it’s consonant with them.

    More fundamental still is that Catholic parishes are probably 2-3 generations away *at best* from developing good communal discernment habits.

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