The Australian Plenary Council has published its Framework for Motions to be discussed at its Second Assembly which will meet in Sydney from 4-9 July 2022.
Once again, ACI’s concern was the lack of emphasis on the lay vocation or apostolate of lay people. See also Fr Bruce Duncan’s critique of the Framework, which expresses similar concerns.
Meanwhile, Cardinal-elect Robert McElroy has highlighted the potential of the see-judge-act method for the development of a truly synodal Church.
Our latest submission therefore proposes amendments to §79-80, which fall under “Part 6. Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry.”
In particular, the ACI submission called for the insertion of a paragraph highlighting that formation needs to focus on promoting the “specifically lay apostolate of lay people acting as a leaven within the world.”
This is based on §31 of the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (LG31), which states:
What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.
Our second proposed amendment is to §80 and reads as follows:
To achieve this, the Church in Australia and in each diocese commits to develop and accompany lay apostolate formation movements, including classical movements such as the YCW and YCS as well as new initiatives responding to 21st century social realities and needs. Following the see-judge-act method of formation based on small review of life groups meeting regularly, these movements enable Christians to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives as workers, family members and citizens in the light of the Gospel and to take personal and collective action to transform their lives and communities working for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven (Lumen Gentium §31). Priests, religious and lay ministers will play a vital special role in accompaniment in promoting this formation.
Lumen Gentium 31 Forum
Our 2021 Submission to the Plenary also called for the establishment of an Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate to promote the Vatican II vision of lay apostolate.
To date, we have no indication that this proposal will be adopted by the Plenary.
ACI will therefore hold an open forum to discuss further action to implement this proposal.
We invite all members and friends of ACI to join us for this event.
Please also see the link below for a compilation of resources on Catholic Social Teaching concerning the lay apostolate.
ACI Open Forum Lumen Gentium 31 and the Lay Apostolate
Saturday 2 July, 2.00pm AEST
Fr Bruce Duncan CsSR, Plenary Council fails to embrace Pope Francis’s wider social vision (Eureka Street)
Cardinal-elect Robert McElroy, Pope Francis and Vatican II give us a road map for the synodal process (America Magazine)
A Chicago Declaration of Christian Concern 1977 (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Resources on Lay Apostolate (Australian Cardijn Institute)