If therefore in the Church everyone does not proceed by the same path, nevertheless all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God. And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. For the distinction which the Lord made between sacred ministers and the rest of the People of God bears within it a certain union, since pastors and the other faithful are bound to each other by a mutual need. Pastors of the Church, following the example of the Lord, should minister to one another and to the other faithful. These in their turn should enthusiastically lend their joint assistance to their pastors and teachers. Thus in their diversity all bear witness to the wonderful unity in the Body of Christ. This very diversity of graces, ministries and works gathers the children of God into one, because "all these things are the work of one and the same Spirit".
Therefore, from divine choice the laity have Christ for their brothers who though He is the Lord of all, came not to be served but to serve. They also have for their brothers those in the sacred ministry who by teaching, by sanctifying and by ruling with the authority of Christ feed the family of God so that the new commandment of charity may be fulfilled by all. St. Augustine puts this very beautifully when he says: "What I am for you terrifies me; what I am with you consoles me. For you I am a bishop; but with you I am a Christian. The former is a duty; the latter a grace. The former is a danger; the latter, salvation".
The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one head. Whoever they are they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification, since this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer.
The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself.....
I'm putting this up and also forwarding it to Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the Diocese, post haste.
Reason: he seems not to be aware of the importance of the laity.
At least, that is the impression he left on Sept 9 when he said: "To keep the priesthood structure viable, we have to make these cuts now", in a story from the Register (Palmer area), as a way to justify the merging or closing of 14 parishes.
We need to keep the "priesthood structure" viable, above all else?
Couple things wrong with this picture.
(1) Christ went out of his way to say that he was not out to establish a priesthood. Quite the contrary. He was against the existing priesthood. Look it up. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate priests. It's just that the People of God are all the people of God, working in a true equality...not just the priests and bishops and pope. "True equality" means speaking to each other, especially about important matters such as the life and death of parishes.
(2) The "structure of the priesthood", granted that it is important, is only a part of the whole. This structure grew, went through many changes, and has been changed before. It will be changed again. It is not inviolate and all-important. It is ridiculous to say that if there are fewer priests, it must necessarily follow that there must be fewer parishes.
(3) If you reflect on this passage from Lumen Gentium, you can't miss the implication that the laity have a basic dignity and equality with the clergy. By the way, this is church doctrine we're talking about.
This lay dignity is compromised by the underhanded, secretive, dirt-eating way that the decisions were made on parish closings. Furthermore, this dignity is again insulted when the Diocese puts out misinformation and disinformation in order to justify its position.
The officials of the Diocese, including Mark Dupont, are better people than they have been showing us. I expect more.
I will do two things. 1. pray for them. 2. send them a complete fresh copy of Lumen Gentium, with notes, since it appears they lost their original copy behind the DVD player.