Tag Archives: laity

Fortifying families and Church during confusing times

Parents:

  1. See persecution as a grace from God for being purified and strengthened.
  2. Root yourself in the Catholic faith through study of the catechism.
  3. Protect your family’s integrity above all else.
  4. Catechize your children as your first duty.
  5. Pray with your children daily.
  6. Turn your home into a domestic church.
  7. Withdraw your family from a parish spreading error and attend a faithful parish, even if you have to travel far.
  8. Withdraw your children from a school if they are encountering moral danger in “sex education”.
  9. Fight for parental rights using available democratic tools.
  10. Build up a wide-reaching crusade of prayers among Catholic families and lay faithful, priests, and bishops under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and holy angels. This will defeat the attacks of the unbelieving world.

Laity:

  1. Implore the end of the crisis in the Church and a divine intervention, through intense, persevering, and confident personal prayers, and united in a world-reaching prayer crusade.
  2. Engage in diligent, zealous study of Catholic truths according to proven catechisms, especially the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Baltimore Catechism, which are surer and clearer in their content.
  3. Give personal witness in professing and spreading those truths which, in our days, are mostly denied and distorted.
  4. Support theological, pastoral, and liturgical conferences and symposiums in which the clear and perennial truths of the Catholic Church are stated, explained, and defended.
  5. Give public manifestations, such as marches, processions, and pilgrimages, in order to proclaim the integrity and the beauty of the Catholic faith.
  6. Offer acts of reparation and expiation for sins against the Catholic faith and for sins against the divine commandments, especially the following sins:

Against the First Commandment (“Thou shalt not have strange gods before me”), because of relativism and indifferentism regarding the uniqueness of the faith in Jesus Christ. Against the Fifth Commandment (“Thou shalt not kill”), because of the horrendous machinery of mass murder of unborn and newly born children, and the killing of sick or elderly people through so-called euthanasia. Against the Sixth Commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”), because of the epidemic of divorce, the social and governmental propaganda [promoting] degrading sexual immorality such as homosexual acts and pornography, and moral corruption of innocent children through a cruel sexual education and indoctrination with anti-natural gender theory.

  1. Offer acts of reparation for the most grievous […] evil of our time … the horrendous sacrileges, desecrations, and trivializations of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Excerpt by Bishop Athanasius Schneider with Diane Montagna, from Christos Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2019), from Chapter 17 “Advice for Families and Laity,” p. 283-84. angelicopress.org

BISHOP ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER is auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, and author of two additional books on the Holy Eucharist. DIANE MONTAGNA is an American journalist based in Rome.

Ways we can support our priests

Recently, Legatus Magazine polled members on what topics they would like to see addressed. One of the topics that surfaced was:

Stephen Henley

How can we, as laity, support our priests to be healthy, happy and holy?

As an imperfect layperson, I will humbly offer recommendations.

Pray: often, specifically. God willing, our prayers will sustain them in their hardest moments, those moments they find themselves in the desert.

Live your vocation as leader: in your business, at home, but spiritually as well. We are all examples to each other and the example we set helps to hold up those around us. Feeling needed in our vocation is something we all desire. Priests seeing that you are going to daily Mass, praying the rosary daily, availing ourselves to go to Confession, will help to edify our priests.

Be a friend: As a married man, I take for granted that I have a wife who is my ‘second opinion.’ When it comes to making decisions in my life, whether that be dealing with a work issue, writing this article, or with my kids, I can count on my wife to bounce ideas off of or to call me on something when needed. For many priests, however, they may not have such a person. They need personal interaction; they need people who are going to cheer them up when they feel down, or provide a dose of reality if needed.

Invite them to dinner: growing up, I can recall having our parish priest to a family dinner at least once a year. As a kid, I always thought it was something special. How many young men and women have been led to a religious vocation as a result of that dinner time with a priest!

In your chapters: you can support your priests in the life of your chapter by hosting a panel of priests. You could even host one of your monthly events at the local seminary. Many chapters create prayer buddies in the chapter that pray solely for local priests and seminarians.

Reach out: write to your priests (bishops and cardinals included), to commend them and thank them when they are doing the right things. Letter-writing is often thought of when things are going wrong, but it is just as effective when things are going well.

While it is easy to paint the clergy with a broad brush after the actions of some, it is the good and holy priests who will and do suffer. It is those priests we have to support, even more so in these times. As Ambassadors for Christ, it is within our vocation to lead the way in building up our clergy.

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.

Catholic laity – face-to-face with bishops

What I am about to tell you is something you’ve never seen in the Catholic Church. If you have seen anything like this, contact me. I’d like to learn more.

In September, I twice saw members of the lay faithful accompany two victims of priestly sexual misconduct into a bishop’s office and help these victims present their story of abuse. I saw the bishop remove two guilty priests from active service. When they learned of it, some Catholics responded with gratitude and relief. Others were upset that their favorite priest had been outed. For many Catholics, a priest’s popularity and the convenience of a Mass schedule trumps concern for a holy priesthood.

What I didn’t see were lawsuits or exposés in the secular press. I didn’t see sheriffs raiding the chancery or ugly protests at Mass. I caught a glimpse of Christ’s Church acting like the Body of Christ with brothers confronting brothers in love and hope. I saw mature laity identifying corrupt clergy and exhorting a mature bishop.

Co-responsibility of the lay faithful

I must stress, however that bishops did not initiate this investigation, discovery, or confrontation. The lay faithful took co-responsibility for Christ’s Church according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The Church is too important to leave to priests and bishops alone. In over20 different passages, St. Paul commands us to love, pray, honor, forgive, encourage, exhort, and admonish one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Laity don’t need canonical authority to hold bishops accountable. Their authority is rooted in something more foundational than canon law. They call upon the moral law, basic human decency. We cannot cooperate with evil. We must expose the hidden things of darkness. By virtue of their baptism, they are obligated to admonish, exhort, and encourage one another and that includes bishops and priests.

The clergy scandal has a silver lining: forcing the lay faithful to exercise co-responsibility for the Church. Laity, of course, won’t vote on revealed dogma. They won’t confect the sacraments. They will insist that our Church be governed by the best HR practices from our flourishing businesses. Sexual harassment is intolerable at any level. Healthy churches, like healthy families, don’t hide, minimize, or deny abuse. Because St. Paul’s vision of the Church drives this new laity, they have stopped murmuring and commiserating with Catholic buddies about the darkness. They have turned on the moral spotlight to properly confront, challenge, and exhort our clergy. Learn more at nomorevictimsmi.org.

Why is it novel for the Church to act like the Church?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, while reviewing crises among the clergy, allegedly wrote in 1972: “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Right now the world sees bishops whose moral authority is on par with Bill Cosby. I know some outstanding converts who would not have come into full communion under these present circumstances. The world deserves to witness a morally and spiritually fierce laity unwilling to compromise the Gospel. We don’t need a club for religious cronies and pious pretenders. We need and are seeing a new movement of Spirit-led communicants striving to give the world a glimpse of Christ’s Kingdom. In September, I briefly witnessed Jesus governing his Church through all its members. The Church was acting like the Church. It shouldn’t be such a novel idea.

AL KRESTA is president and chief executive officer, Ave Maria Communications, and host of Ave Maria Radio’s longtime popular show, “Kresta in the Afternoon,” heard on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.

The laity fulfills a critical role

Tom Monaghan writes that the laity is called to fulfill a special role in the Church . . .

Thomas Monaghan

Thomas Monaghan

We all know Legatus’ mission — to study, live and spread our faith. Oftentimes when I am summarizing our mission, I simply say it is to help members become better Catholics.

Everything else flows from that because as we become better Catholics — by availing ourselves of the sacraments, reading solid books, attending educational/inspirational talks, etc. — we cannot help but grow, live and spread the faith.

The post-Vatican II era has often been called the age of the laity, and the popes since then have exhorted us, the laity, to take a more active role in the Church as cooperators with the clergy in advancing the mission of the Church. But what does this mean, practically? I certainly think it means sharing our faith with those we come in contact with, but it also means using our God-given talents to serve the Church.

So how can we serve the Church in our lay vocation? I would suggest approaching your pastor. Ask him what you can do to help him and the parish. Chances are he will have more than a couple of projects that he would love to have someone with your expertise help him with. Most pastors are spread thin and are asked to do more than ever before; not only are they called to care for the pastoral needs of the parish, but they need to be administrators and businessmen. There is a role for us here to help them where we can. This is part of what the age of the laity is about. Yes, we need to evangelize, but we also need to put our time and gifts at the service of the Church.

I know many of you are already doing this. You are serving on committees, chairing projects for your parishes, helping to turn around schools in trouble, and more. Legates are able to do this because we take seriously our responsibly to help the Church in whatever areas she needs.

This can also be true of your relationship with your bishop. Many bishops across the country are extremely grateful for the presence of Legatus in their dioceses. So if you have a relationship with your bishop, ask him if there is anything you can do to help him.

Scripture is clear that each of us has been given different gifts for the good of the Church, so let us use our gifts — given to us by Christ — to serve His Church. In doing this, we are fulfilling the mission of Legatus and the call of the laity.

THOMAS MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.