Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People. By Deacon Ed Sheffer. Apostolicam Actousitatem ultimately states that the laity needs to play a more active role in the. Explains the role of the laity in the Church such that, “Charity, which is, as it were, the The Council will explain in this Decree the nature of the lay apostolate. The Decree on Ecumenism was rooted in the Ecumenical The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity reflected the development of the lay.

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Otherwise those engaged in the apostolate are often unable to bear up under the pressure of public opinion or of social institutions.

Not only the effects but also the causes of these ills must be removed lqity the help be given in such a way that the recipients may gradually be freed from dependence on outsiders and become self-sufficient. When the prepared draft of the document on the laity was introduced, it was criticized by a number of bishops. Those, however, which the hierarchy have praised or recommended as responsive to the needs of time and place, or have ordered to be established as particularly urgent, must be held in highest esteem by priests, Religious, and laity and promoted according to each one’s ability.

Through continuous dialogue with the laity, these priests should carefully investigate which forms make apostolic activity more fruitful. However, the lay person should learn especially how to perform the mission of Christ and the Church by basing his life on belief in the divine mystery of creation and redemption tthe by being sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God and who urges all to love God the Father as well as the world and men in Him.

In qpostolate way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. The title is Ghe for “Apostolic Activity”, which is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with significant Catholic documents. Decrde persons exert very important influence in modern society.

Establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Among the fruits of the Council reflecting the full participation laith laity in the life of the church are: While preserving the proper character and autonomy of each organization, these councils will be able to promote the mutual coordination of various lay associations and enterprises. In this area the laity can exercise the apostolate of like toward like.

Laymen should above all learn the principles and conclusions of the social doctrine so as to become capable of working for the development of this doctrine to the best of their ability and of rightly applying these same principles and conclusions to individual cases. Major documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council originated as grass roots movements that were brought to fruition by the Council. In so doing, they should cooperate with all men of good will.


Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. They should become the first to carry on the apostolate directly to other young persons, concentrating their apostolic efforts within their own circle, according to the needs of the social environment in which they live.

These charitable enterprises can and should reach out to all persons and all needs. Since in our times, different forms of materialism are spread far and wide even among Catholic, the laity should not only learn doctrine more diligently, especially those main points which are the subjects of controversy, but should also exhibit the witness of an evangelical life in contrast to all forms of materialism.

The hierarchy should promote the apostolate of the laity, provide it with spiritual principles and support, direct the conduct of this apostolate to the common good of the Church, and attend to the preservation of doctrine and order. The formation for the apostolate presupposes a certain human and well-rounded formation adapted to the natural abilities and conditions of each lay person. This mission-to be the first and vital cell of society-the family has received from God.

The apostolate can attain its maximum effectiveness only through a diversified and thorough formation. They should remember, nevertheless, that man is naturally social and that it has pleased God to unite those aoostolate believe tbe Christ into the people of God cf.

Vatican II

They grouped themselves into various kinds of activities and societies which, while maintaining a closer union with the hierarchy, pursued and apostklate to pursue goals which are properly apostolic. The Church in itself, its sole salvific role as the one, true and complete Christian faithalso in relation to ecumenism among other religions, in relation to the modern world, renewal of consecrated life, liturgical disciplines, etc. Indeed, the spirit of unity should be promoted in order that fraternal charity may be resplendent in the whole apostolate of the Church, common goals may be attained, and destructive rivalries avoided.

So, too, in every era it is recognized by this sign of love, and while it rejoices dedree the undertakings of others, it claims works of charity as its own inalienable duty and right. In loyalty to their country and in faithful fulfillment of their civic obligations, Catholics should feel themselves obliged to promote the true common good. laityy

Assuming human nature, He bound the whole human race to Himself as a family through a certain supernatural solidarity and established charity as the mark of His disciples, saying, “By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John In dioceses, insofar as possible, there should be councils which assist the apostolic work of the Church either in the field of evangelization and sanctification or in the charitable, social, or other spheres, and here it is fitting that the clergy and Religious should cooperate with the laity.

By virtue of this mission, the laity are fully subject to higher ecclesiastical control in the performance of this work. Some purpose to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order; others bear witness to Christ in a special way through works of mercy and charity. There is a great variety of associations in the apostolate. In addition to spiritual formation, a solid doctrinal instruction in theology, ethics, and philosophy adjusted to differences of age, status, and natural talents, is required.


Their heightened influence in society demands of them a proportionate apostolic activity, but their natural qualities also fit them for this activity. Organizations in which, in the opinion of the hierarchy, the ensemble of these characteristics is realized, must be considered to be Catholic Action even though they take on various forms and titles because of the needs of different regions and peoples.

Of these associations, or even among similar and older institutions, those are specially noteworthy which followed different methods of operation and yet produced excellent results for Christ’s kingdom.

Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity – The Texas Catholic

On all Christians therefore is laid the preeminent responsibility of working to make the divine message of salvation known and accepted by all men throughout the world. Views Read Edit View history. Tthe the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission.

They and the rest of the faithful, therefore, should cooperate with men of good will to ensure the preservation of these rights in civil legislation and to make sure that governments give due attention to the needs of the family regarding housing, the education of children, working conditions, social security, and taxes; and that in policy decisions affecting migrants their right to live together as a family should be safeguarded.

Over the centuries, the role of laypeople had been steadily downgraded, both spiritually and intellectually, the Council recognized and corrected the situation according them their decreee role in the community of the People of God.

Apostolicam actuositatem

However, an apostolate of this kind does not consist only o the witness of one’s way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life.

In the manner of the men and women who helped Paul in spreading the Gospel cf.

It can serve as a well-equipped center for communicating information about the various apostolic programs of the laity, promoting research into modern problems arising in this field, and assisting the hierarchy and laity in their apostolic works with its advice.

They prudently help them in the choice of their vocation and carefully promote any sacred vocation which they may discern in them. Children must be educated, too, in such fashion that transcending the family circle, they may open their minds to both ecclesiastical and temporal communities.

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