Pope Francis takes notice of the laity in this address of the Holy Father to his brother bishops of Latin America. Many of today’s Catholics attempt to justify or explain away clericalism, clouding definitions or appealing to some vague sense of history.
In Latin America, hope passes through the hearts, the minds and the arms of the laity
I would like to repeat something I recently said to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. It is imperative to overcome the clericalism that treats the Christifideles laici as children and impoverishes the identity of ordained ministers.
Though much effort has been invested and some steps have been taken, the great challenges of the continent are still on the table. They still await the quiet, responsible, competent, visionary, articulated and conscious growth of a Christian laity. Men and women believers, who are prepared to contribute to the spread of an authentic human development, the strengthening of political and social democracy, the overturning of structures of endemic poverty and the creation of an inclusive prosperity based on lasting reforms capable of preserving the common good. So too, the overcoming of inequality and the preservation of stability, the shaping of models of sustainable economic development that respect nature and the genuine future of mankind, which unfettered consumerism cannot ensure, and the rejection of violence and the defence of peace.
Without a vitalized laity, vocations will flounder, and more importantly, the Gospel witness in the world will be only a shadow of the possible.