We are called to be the Church
John Hunt says Vatican II empowers the laity for role in the New Evangelization . . .
I have been reflecting on my younger years. You know, those formative, impressionable years of elementary school, high school and college that formed so much of who we become in adulthood.
I have vivid recollections of life as a young Catholic in the days preceding the Second Vatican Council. The Church had offered me a constancy of peace and comfort with her teachings. Our parish was a source of friendship and support to my entire family.
Ursuline sisters taught me in elementary school. Many of these good women had dedicated their lives to preparing young, often unruly minds for the responsibilities of life. Most were serving well past retirement age.
The challenges of the day were innocent and simple. I recall cramming for the Latin portion of my test in preparation for joining the ranks of altar boys. Memorizing the Confiteor was a challenge that I mastered with much prayer and repetition.
In the rectory there was a sense of fraternity, thanks to the pastor and three associate pastors. That climate contributed to a sense of comfort and continuity for my family and the entire parish community. Simply put, the parish provided a sense of stability. The Catholic Church was in the able hands of the clergy and religious.
Then, in 1965, the work of the Council Fathers concluded and a new era in the life of the Catholic Church commenced — the era of the laity. Vatican II documents are rich with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom that should guide the faith lives of all thoughtful Catholics.
The Council’s recognition that the life of the Church into the 21st century would necessarily be predicated upon the extent to which every faithful man, woman and child would live their faith publicly was an epiphany, the full extent of which has yet to be achieved.
This brings us to 2013. The “theory” of Vatican II is now being lived out as we lay men and women are called upon to be the Church at a time when secular society and government leaders seek to impose a false reality for Catholic Christians.
Our burden is heavy and spiritual martyrdom is a real possibility. But a faith built upon truth and nurtured by prayer and sacrifice can achieve the goals to which we all aspire — service to Our Lord and his Church on earth and eternity with Him in heaven.
JOHN J. HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are founding members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.