Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 7: The Laity


X. General.

A. Mission of the Laity.  

a. Areas Proper to the Apostolate of the Laity. “The laity carry out their manifold apostolate both in the Church and in the world” (AA5,9). Thus, the role of the laity in the Church is twofold: “The laity are . . . called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church [evangelism] and its continuous sanctification” (LG33).

b. Purpose of the Apostolate of the Laity in the World.
i. Sanctifying the World through the Spreading of the Gospel. Their first mission in the world is “bringing the message and grace of Christ to men” (AA5) – the “evangelization and sanctification of men”,
ii. Temporal Perfection through the Penetration of the Gospel. . . . and second, “the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel” (AA2).

c. Purpose of the Apostolate of the Laity in the Church. In general, “the faithful . . . should be apostles . . . in their parishes and dioceses”
i. Evangelism. The purpose of their mission in the Church is to “bring to the Church people who perhaps are far removed from it,
ii. Catechesis . . . . earnestly cooperate in presenting the word of God especially by means of catechetical instruction,
iii. Assisting the Hierarchy in Various Works. . . . and offer their special skills to make the care of souls and the administration of the temporalities of the Church more efficient and effective” (AA10).
iv. Assistance in the Priestly Mission. Because of the importance of the ministerial priesthood, and due to the shortage that exists in some areas, “the laity [must also] do what they can to take the place of priests, risking their freedom and sometimes their life to teach Christian doctrine to those around them, training them in a religious way of life and a Catholic way of thinking, leading them to receive the sacraments frequently and developing in them piety, especially Eucharistic devotion” (AA17). 

29. The Laity: Evangelism
- The laity are to evangelize, through both the witness of their lives and the spoken word, as well as solidarity with others, and finally by participating also in the missions – whether directly in the mission field or domestically in an indirect fashion.

A. Evangelism. First and foremost, the laity are “called to be witnesses to Christ in all things in the midst of human society” (GS43) – thus, the lay life is one entire evangelistic effort in and through all things.

a. Through Witness of Life. “The laity fulfill this mission of the Church in the world especially by conforming their lives to their faith . . . so that they attract all to the love of the true and the good and finally to the Church and to Christ” (AA13).

b. Evangelisation through Solidarity. “They fulfill their mission also by fraternal charity which presses them to share in the living conditions, labors, sorrows, and aspirations of their brethren with the result that the hearts of all about them are quietly prepared for the workings of saving grace” (AA13). “Let them [therefore] be one with their fellow countrymen in sincere charity” (AG21). Thus, by their charitable dispositions and works, and through solidarity with their colleagues, the laity can attract those around them and in their circles to the source of that charity – Jesus Christ and His Body – the Church.

c. Peer Evangelisation. “The laity can [also] exercise the apostolate of like toward like. . . . where they work or practice their profession or study or reside or spend their leisure time or have their companionship” (AA13). The laity are especially to reach out to those in their own circle.

d. In Justice and Holiness. But it is primarily their “witness ([of] justice and true holiness) which they are bound to bear to Christ by their life and works in the home, in their social milieu, and in their own professional circle” (GS43) that will effectively evangelize and lead others to Christ.

B. Prophetic Mission: Preaching and Spreading the Word of God.

a. General. “The laity build up the Church, sanctify the world, and give it life in Christ . . . by the apostolate of the spoken and written word [in which they] explain and spread His teaching in accordance with one's status and ability” (AA16). Thus, each person will spread the Word a little differently – for all people are different, but each person is called nonetheless to spread the Word.

b. Through Witness. This is to be “carried out in the ordinary surroundings of the world” (LG35) – in other words, in all times and places, not only through the spoken word, but especially through “the very testimony of their Christian life and good works” (AA6), “mak[ing] Christ known to others especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity (LG31).
i. Non-Catholic Areas and Lands. But in a special way, “the individual apostolate has a special field in areas where Catholics are few in number and widely dispersed. [There they must] usefully gather into smaller groups for serious conversation [so that] an indication of the community of the Church is always apparent to others as a true witness of love” (AA17).

c. Through the Spoken Word. However, it is not enough just to try to attract others to the faith through the witness of Christian charity. Rather, the laity must also “look 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” (AA6). Thus, besides evangelism, the spoken word should also be used for “catechetical instruction” (AA10), that they may “acquire a more profound grasp of revealed truth” (LG35).

C. Missions.

a. General. All of the laity without exception must take part in the missions: “Even when preoccupied with temporal cares, the laity can and must perform a work of great value for the evangelization of the world” (AG41).

b. Christian Lands. For those in Christian lands, the laity participates “by nurturing in themselves and in others a knowledge and love of the missions; by stimulating vocations in their own family, in Catholic associations, and in the schools; by offering subsidies of every kind” (AG41), and “by giving material or even personal assistance” (AA10). Thus, the participation can be direct or indirect – by encouraging others to missionary work. 

c. Mission Lands. For those in mission lands, the laity have an extensive role to fill, for they must “teach in schools, administer temporal goods, cooperate in parish and diocesan activities, and organize and promote various forms of the lay apostolate [and] offer socio - economic cooperation to peoples on the way of development” (AG41).

d. Secular Institutes. “Secular institutes”, for their part, “could be fruitful in the missions in many ways as a sign of complete dedication to the evangelization of the world” (AG40).

e. Missionary Nature of Travel. Finally, “travelers . . . should remember that they are itinerant heralds of Christ wherever they go and should act accordingly” (AA14). Thus, every traveler is a “missionary” and must act accordingly.

D. World Unity.

a. Solidarity and Brotherhood. “The laity must “promote this awareness [of the solidarity of all peoples] and to transform it into a sincere and genuine love of brotherhood” (AA14), as well as “be aware of the international field and of the questions and solutions . . . which arise in this field” (AA14).

30. The Laity: Sanctifying the World
- The laity should “strive to perform their domestic, social, and professional duties with such Christian generosity that their manner of acting should gradually penetrate the whole world of life and labor” (AA13), thus doing everything so as to penetrate everything with the spirit of the Gospel, which includes offering prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the whole world and everyone in it.

A. Through Temporal Renewal.

a. Secular Nature of the Laity. “What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature” (LG31), for it is they, and no one else, who can “make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances [accessible] only [to] them” (LG33). Thus, “it is their special task to order and to throw light upon [secular] affairs” (LG31), for “secular duties and activities belong properly (although not exclusively) to laymen” (GS43).

b. Temporal Renewal. Leaven of the World. This special task consists in sanctifying the world through temporal renewal, “seek[ing] 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] 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” (LG31) (AA2), “Christians [being] to the world what the soul is to the body” (LG38). Thus Christians must concern themselves with “whatever pertains to the upbuilding and conducting of the temporal order” (AA16).

c. Ways and Means. The laity should seek to do this by being “led by the light of the Gospel and the mind of the Church and motivated by Christian charity” (AA7).
i. Bridging the Gap. However, “the temporal order must be renewed [by the laity] in such a way that, without detriment to its own proper laws, it may be brought into conformity with the higher principles of the Christian life and adapted to the shifting circumstances of time, place, and peoples” (AA7). Thus, Christians must respect the laws and order proper to all things secular, “meet society where it’s at”, so to speak, and infuse the Christian spirit into it.
ii. Applying the Gospel. Their role is to “explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era” (AA6).
iii. According to Gifts. The laity should do this “each according to his own gifts” and do only “what they can” (AA6) – meaning, according to their particular ability.
iv. Excellence in Temporal Affairs. It is essential that the laity, while “acting as citizens in the world . . . keep the laws proper to each discipline, and labor to equip themselves with a genuine expertise in their various fields” (GS43). Thus they will not only attract respect for them and their work from their colleagues, but will succeed as well.
v. Ways and Means. To provide for this excellence in secular affairs, “Centers of documentation and study not only in theology but also in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and methodology should be established for all fields of the apostolate for the better development of the natural capacities of the laity” (AA32).
vi. Collaboration with Men of Good Will. “The laity [can also] give [the world] life in Christ [by] collaborating as citizens of this world, in whatever pertains to the upbuilding and conducting of the temporal order” (AA16), “gladly work[ing] with [all] men seeking the same goals” (GS43).

d. Role of the Priests. Though the laity are to “see [to it] that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city”, it is “from priests they may look for spiritual light and nourishment” (GS43). Thus, the priests are to spiritually guide and form as well as sacramentally nourish the laity, that they may send them forth into the world to be that “leaven”, to be the world’s “soul”. 

B. Through the Social Milieu.

a. General. It is especially “social action”, including “culture”, through which the Council wishes to see the temporal renewal (AA7). Christian renewal of the social milieu means “infus[ing] a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which one lives” (AA13), “imbu[ing] culture and human activity with genuine moral values [and] better prepar[ing] the field of the world for the seed of the Word of God” (LG36).

b. Culture. To achieve success, the faith must be expressed “in the social and cultural framework of their own homeland, according to their own national traditions” (AG21) – in other words, in harmony with and through the culture of that specific group. Thus, the laity “must be acquainted with this culture [in order to] heal it and preserve it . . . and finally perfect it in Christ” (AG21).
i. Modern Conditions. However, they must “develop it in accordance with modern conditions” (AG21), respecting both time and place.

c. The Media. “The laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into [the] media” (IM3).

C. Offering Prayers and Sacrifice on Behalf of the World.

a. Prayer and Penance. “The laity . . . sanctify the world, and give it life in Christ . . . by public worship and prayer as well as by penance and voluntary acceptance of the labors and hardships of life.” (AA16) – in other words, through the positive means of prayer as well as the negative means of accepting and offering our sufferings to God. 

b. Lives a Living Sacrifice. The laity are called to offer their whole lives and every aspect of it – their prayers, sufferings, and all their joys and all their works, as “spiritual sacrifices” in order to consecrate the world to God and make it holy: “All [the laity's] works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne - All these become “spiritual sacrifices”. [By them] the laity consecrate the world itself to God” (LG34).

c. Common Prayer. “The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office . . . among themselves or even individually” (SC 100).

31. Charity (Soul of Apostolate) and Unity of Life 
- The soul of the lay apostolate is the virtue and practice of charity, to which the unity of life and the spiritual aids which builds it is essential, leading to both temporal renewal and evangelism.

A. Unity of Life: Integration of Religious and Secular Life. Though “the Christian laity exercise their apostolate both in the Church and in the world”, it is essential that “in both orders the layman, being simultaneously a believer and a citizen, should be continuously led by the same Christian conscience” (AA5). Thus, the layman must find that “unity of life”, where his religious life harmonizes and colours his entire secular life, for “the success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity’s living union with Christ” (AA5).

a. Spiritual Aids. “This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is nourished by spiritual aids . . . especially active participation in the sacred liturgy [which] are to be used by the laity in such a way that while correctly fulfilling their secular duties in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate union with Christ from their life but rather performing their work according to God's will they grow in that union.
. . . Neither family concerns nor other secular affairs should be irrelevant to their spiritual life” (AA4). Thus, their prayer life should “extend” everywhere and be applied to everything, thus producing spiritual fruit.

B. Charity as the Soul of the Lay Apostolate.
a. Goal: Temporal Renewal. In order to achieve the goal of  “temporal renewal”, the laity must be “led by the light of the Gospel and the mind of the Church [or the imitation of Christ] and motivated by Christian charity” (AA7), which “should vivify their life” and be “express[ed] . . .  in their works” (AA16).

b. Goal: Evangelism. For “impelled by divine charity, [the laity] do good to all men, especially to those of the household of the faith [fellow Christians] . . . and thereby they draw men to Christ. This charity of God . . . enables the laity really to express the spirit of the beatitudes in their lives” (AA4), and this through four necessary ways.

c. Expressions of Charity through Virtue. First, in . . .
i. Poverty. “. . . following Jesus in His poverty, [the laity ought to be] neither depressed by the lack of temporal goods nor inflated by their abundance” (AA4).
ii. Simplicity of Life. Secondly,  “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” (AA31).
 iii. Humility. Thirdly, “Imitating Christ in His humility, [the laity ought to] have no obsession for empty honors but seek to please God rather than men” (AA4).
iv. Mutual Assistance. Finally, “promoting Christian friendship among themselves, [the laity ought to] help one another in every need whatsoever” (AA4).

d. The Eucharist. However, the chief means to charity is the Holy Eucharist, for “the sacraments . . . especially the most holy Eucharist, communicate and nourish that charity which is the soul of the entire apostolate” (AA3).

C. Works of Charity. “[The Church] claims works of charity as its own inalienable duty and right” (AA8), which is why the laity must “have compassion for their brethren and . . . be generous in helping those in need” (AA31). 

a. Universal Outreach: Temporal and Spiritual Needs. Thus “[the laity] should reach out to all wherever they may be encountered; it should not exclude any spiritual or temporal benefit which they have the ability to confer” (AA13).

b. Various Works. “[This includes] pity for the needy and the sick and works of charity and mutual aid intended to relieve human needs of every kind [which] can and should reach out to all persons and all needs” (AA8). Thus, “wherever there are people in need of food and drink, clothing, housing, medicine, employment, education; wherever men lack the facilities necessary for living a truly human life or are afflicted with serious distress or illness or suffer exile or imprisonment,

c. The Approach. . . . there Christian charity should seek them out and find them, console them with great solicitude, and help them with appropriate relief (AA 8).

d. Prosperous Nations. This obligation is [especially] imposed above all upon every prosperous nation and person” (AA8), who should especially “be concerned about the needs of the people of God dispersed throughout the world” (AA10).

e. Goal of Charity: Self-Sufficiency. However, it is not enough to “give them fish”, however; the main goal is to “teach them how to fish”: “Not only the effects but also the causes of these ills must be removed and the help be given in such a way that the recipients may gradually be freed from dependence on outsiders and become self-sufficient” (AA8).

32. Work in the Church
- The laity must also work to build up the church, collaborating with the hierarchy, working in relationship with their pastors, and involving themselves in manifold ways in their parishes and dioceses.

A. Collaboration with the Hierarchy.

a. General. The laity do their part for the growth and sanctification of the Church (LG33) through “collaboration . . . in the apostolate of the hierarchy” (AA20).
b. Ways and Means. The ways the laity participates are fourfold: 
i. Evangelization, Sanctification, Formation. . . . “the evangelization and sanctification of men and the formation of a Christian conscience among them so that they can infuse the spirit of the Gospel into various communities and departments of life;
ii. Lay Leadership and Apostolic Participation. . . . contribut[ing] the benefit of their experience to, and assume responsibility for the direction of these organizations [lay leadership and apostolic participation];
iii. Cooperation and Unity. . . . act[ing] together in the manner of an organic body; [and]
iv. Obedience and Collaboration. . . . function[ing] under the higher direction of the hierarchy itself” (AA20).
v. Excellence in Characteristics and Fraternal Collaboration. In this relationship, both “the clergy and laity working in them [must] develop the above-mentioned characteristics to an ever greater degree and to cooperate at all times with all other forms of the apostolate in a fraternal manner in the Church” (AA20).

B. Involvement in Parishes and in the Diocese.

a. The Diocese. The laity “should develop an ever-increasing appreciation of their own diocese . . . ever ready at their pastor's invitation to participate in diocesan projects” (AA10).

b. The Parish. “The laity ought to provide helpful collaboration for every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by their local parish” (AA10), as well as “accustom themselves to working in the parish in union with their priests” (AA10).
i. Ways and Means: Deliberation on the World’s Problems
and Salvation
. They can do this in large part by “bringing to the Church community their own and the world's problems as well as questions concerning human salvation, all of which they should examine and resolve by deliberating in common” (AA10). Thus, community and fellowship is essential, and the priests should be sought out for their participation and assistance in this regard.

c. Small Christian Communities. The laity should “gather into smaller groups”, and by “giving spiritual help to one another through friendship and the communicating of the benefit of their experience, they are trained to overcome the disadvantages of excessively isolated life and activity” (AA17), even within their parish community or diocese. 

C. Relationship to Pastors.

a. Obedience. “The laity should . . . promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds”, remembering their “obligations” towards their priests (PO9). And “with filial love they should follow [priests] as their pastors and fathers” (PO9).

b. Assistance. The laity “should enthusiastically lend their joint assistance to their pastors and teachers” (LG32). Thus, “sharing their cares, they should help their priests by [both] prayer and work insofar as possible” to relieve “difficulties” and “fulfill duties” (PO9).

c. Expressing Opinions. Though the laity have responsibilities to their pastors, they also have rights. Thus, “the laity . . . should openly reveal to [their pastors] their needs and desires with . . . freedom and confidence. . . . They are, by . . . knowledge, competence or outstanding ability . . . permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church” (LG37).
i. Ways and Means: Proper Channels and Virtue. “Let this be done through the organs erected by the Church for this purpose. Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ” (LG37).

d. Common Prayer. Finally, “the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, with the priests” (SC 100).

D. Study of Sacred Theology. “It is to be hoped that many of the laity will receive a sufficient formation in the sacred sciences and that some will dedicate themselves professionally to these studies, developing and deepening them by their own labors” (GS62).

33. Lay Apostolate
- The laity should participate in various lay apostolates, which should provide proper collaboration, aim to satisfy contemporary needs, and all collaborate and cooperate with each other.

A. General.

a. Purpose. “The faithful should participate in the apostolate by way of united effort” (AA18), for such associations in common “sustain their members, form them for the apostolate, and rightly organize and regulate their apostolic work” (AA18).

b. Service. It must be remembered, however, that “associations are not ends unto themselves; rather they should serve the mission of the Church to the world” (AA19).

c. Contemporary Needs. Today, “the united and organized form of the apostolate [should] be strengthened [for] only the pooling of resources is capable of fully achieving all the aims of the modern apostolate and firmly protecting its interests” (AA18).

B. Formation.

a. General. “The apostolate can attain its maximum effectiveness only through a diversified and thorough formation” (AA28).
i. Doctrinal, Spiritual, Practical. Thus, “groups and associations . . . should . . . promote formation for the apostolate. . . . provid[ing] doctrinal, spiritual, and practical formation,  
ii. Adapted. . . . which should be “well-rounded” and “adapted to the natural abilities and conditions of each” (AA30).
b. Types of Formation.
i. Doctrinal: This should consist in “a solid doctrinal instruction in theology, ethics, and philosophy” (AA29).
ii. Spiritual: There should also be “spiritual formation”, where the laity “gradually and prudently learn how to view, judge and do all things in the light of faith as well as to develop and improve themselves along with others through doing” (AA29), or in other words, see all things through a Catholic lens and applying their faith to all things.
iii. Practical. Furthermore, each layman should receive “general culture along with practical and technical formation”, so that being “well-informed about the modern world”, he may effectively “be a member of his own community and adjusted to its culture” (AA29).
iv. Human. Finally, “truly human values must be fostered, especially the art of living fraternally and cooperating with others and of striking up friendly conversation with them” (AA29).

c. Ways and Means. To evaluate the success of apostolic formation in their lives and their apostolates, “members [should] meet in small groups with their associates or friends, examine the methods and results of their apostolic activity, and compare their daily way of life with the Gospel [i.e. form small Christian communities]” (AA30).
i. Other Aids to Formation. “There are many aids for lay persons devoted to the apostolate, namely, study sessions, congresses, periods of recollection, spiritual exercises, frequent meetings, conferences, books, and periodicals directed toward the acquisition of a deeper knowledge of sacred Scripture and Catholic doctrine, the nourishment of spiritual life, the discernment of world conditions, and the discovery and development of suitable methods” (AA32).

B. Cooperation, Collaboration, and Unity of Lay Apostolates.

a. Unity. “The spirit of unity should be promoted [for the sake of] fraternal charity [and that] common goals . . .   be attained, and destructive rivalries avoided” (AA23).
i. Organic Body. Members should thus “act together in the manner of an organic body” (AA20).

b. Submission to Authority. Apostolates should “function [only] under the higher direction of the hierarchy itself” (AA20).

c. Mutual Esteem. Also, “there is need for mutual esteem among all the forms of the apostolate in the Church and, with due respect for the particular character of each organization, proper coordination” (AA23). Each apostolate has its place – something all should respect.

d. Cooperation. Thus, all must “cooperate at all times with all other forms of the apostolate in a fraternal manner in the Church” (AA20).

e. Councils. “In dioceses . . . 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. . . . to promote the mutual coordination of various lay associations and enterprises” (AA26).

f. International Outreach. Finally, “apostolic enterprises of Catholics should more and more develop organized forms in the international sphere” (AA19). 

C. Adaptation (to the Modern World). 

a. Apostolates. “The forms of the apostolate should be properly adapted to the needs of the present day with regard not only for man's spiritual and moral circumstances but also for his social, demographic, and economic conditions” (CD17).

b. Research. Thus, among other things, “religious and social research is highly recommended” (CD17).  

c. Knowledge. As well, the knowledge of those involved in “the apostolate [must] encompass even the common attitudes and social conditions of those for whom it is designed [for] otherwise those engaged in the apostolate are often unable to bear up under the pressure of public opinion or of social institutions” (AA18).

D. Promoting and Supporting Preferred Apostolates.

a. Effectiveness. Regarding the types of apostolates, “their apostolic dynamism depends on their conformity with the goals of the Church as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of every member and of the whole association” (AA19). Preference and support allotted should depend on how well they meet these needs or possess these characteristics.

b. Meeting Urgent Needs. “Those [associations] 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 [all] and promoted according to each one's ability” (AA21).

c. Supernatural Objective. “Those associations should also be promoted and supported which pursue a supernatural objective - the attaining of a more perfect life, the spreading of the Gospel of Christ to all men, and the promoting of Christian doctrine or the increase of public worship, or the pursuing of social aims or the performing of works of piety and charity” (CD17). 

d. Unity of Life. Also, “among [apostolates] those which promote and encourage closer unity between the concrete life of the members and their faith must be given primary consideration” (AA19).

e. Apostolates to be Abandoned. However, “new associations and projects [should not be] promoted without a sufficient reason, or . . . antiquated associations or methods [be] retained beyond their period of usefulness” (AA19).

E. Outreach to Families. “Various organizations, especially family associations, should try by their programs of instruction and action to strengthen young people and spouses themselves, particularly those recently wed, and to train them for family, social and apostolic life. . .” (GS52).

34. Renewal of the State
- The faithful must be exemplary citizens, by promoting and providing for the common good, and by their involvement in politics – either directly through political service, or through voicing their opinions and influencing this sphere.

A. Citizens.

a. Civic Obligations. Catholic citizens must “faithfully fulfill [all] their civic obligations” (AA14).

b. Promote the Common Good. Their first priority in this regard is to “promote the true common good” (AA14), for they have the “right and duty to contribute to the true progress of their own community according to their ability”, and must therefore never “hold back their unproductive resources or . . . deprive their community of the material or spiritual aid that it needs” (GS65).

c. Family and Social Services. Furthermore, it is especially up to citizens to promote “family and social services, especially those that provide for culture and education” and prevent citizen “inactivity vis-à-vis society or [refusing] the burden of taking up office or . . . serv[ing]” (GS69). Citizens must also “help citizens to find sufficient employment” (GS67).

d. Moderating Public Power. Furthermore, it is essential that “citizens (individually or collectively) [not] attribute excessive power to public authority [nor] make exaggerated and untimely demands upon it in their own interests, lessening in this way the responsible role of persons, families and social groups” (GS75).

e. Participation in Public Affairs. They must also “make the weight of their opinion felt in order that the civil authority may act with justice and that legislation may conform to moral precepts and the common good” (AA14).

B. Politics.

a. Upholding Morality and Promoting the Public Good.
i. General. “Political authority . . . must always be exercised within the limits of the moral order and directed toward the common good” (GS74).
ii. Human Formation. Politics must “contribute to the formation of a type of man who will be cultivated, peace-loving and well-disposed towards all his fellow men” (GS74).
iii. True Nature. Politics must also “strengthen . . . basic convictions as to the true nature of the political community and the aim, right exercise, and sphere of action of public authority” (GS73).

b. Christian Politicians: Participation and Prerequisites.
i. Vocation of Politics. Christians who are “skilled in public affairs” (AA14), for their part, “should prepare themselves for [the] art of politics” (GS75) and serve in public office.
ii. Qualities. Necessary qualities include “integrity”, “wisdom”, “sincerity”, “fairness”, “fortitude”, and especially “charity” (GS75), and they must serve “in a worthy manner” (AA14).
iii. Knowledge of Faith and Morals. They must also be “adequately enlightened in faith and Christian doctrine” (AA14).

c. Christian Politicians: Duties and Manner of Service.
i. Service. For Christians who wish to get involved with politics must remember that they are to be of “service to all”, “without regard for their own interests or for material advantages” (GS75).
ii. Example. “It is for them to give an example by their sense of responsibility” (GS 75).
iii. Humanitarian. They must “establish political life on a truly human basis” (GS73).
iv. Justice. And they must “take action against” both “injustice and tyranny” (GS 75), and therefore, “foster an inward sense of justice and kindliness, and [be] of service to the common good” (GS73).
v. Morality. Besides acting with “justice”, they must ensure that “legislation conform[s] to moral precepts and the common good” (AA14).
vi. Evangelistic. Christian Politicians, by serving “in a worthy manner they can both further the common good and at the same time prepare the way for the Gospel” (AA14).
vii. Fostering a Favourable View of Authority. Thus, in doing all of this, they will “demonstrate concretely how authority can be compatible with freedom, personal initiative with the solidarity of the whole social organism, and the advantages of unity with fruitful diversity” (GS75).

d. Politicians: Areas of Concern. 
i. Marriage/Family. As for their areas of concern, politicians have the “duty to recognize, protect and promote [the] authentic nature [of marriage and the family], to shield public morality and to favor the prosperity of home life” (GS52).
ii. Culture. They are to “establish the conditions and . . . use the means which are capable of fostering the life of culture” (GS59).  
iii. Media. They must keep “a fitting and careful watch” to prevent “damage [to] public morals and the welfare of society through the base use of [the] media” (IM12).
iv. Social Services. They are to “promote family and social services, especially those that provide for culture and education” (GS69) and make sure the citizens take an active role (GS69).
v. Education. They must “protect the duties and rights of parents and others who share in education and to give them aid; according to the principle of subsidiarity . . . to carry out the work of education in accordance with the wishes of the parents; and . . . to build schools and institutions” (GE3). They must also “protect the right of children to an adequate school education, check on the ability of teachers and the excellence of their training, look after the health of the pupils and in general, promote the whole school project” (GE6).
vi. Religious Education. They must ensure children are “never deprived of this sacred right [to religious education]” (GE1).
vii. Citizenship: Finally, they must “recognize, respect, and further” (GS75) the “rights” and the “duties” of “all persons, families and groups, and their practical application” (GS75) as well as their “contribut[ion] to the true progress of their own community according to their ability” (GS65).

35. Lay Groups: Marriage and the Family
- The role of the Christian family is both a “domestic church” and the “primary cell of society”, which is fulfilled by prayer, a life of love, and works of justice, with the aim of perfecting the temporal sphere and evangelizing the world.

A. The Family.

a. Role of the Family.
i. Domestic Church. “The family is, so to speak, the domestic church” (LG11).
ii. Primary Cell of Society. The family also has as its “mission to be the first and vital cell of society” (AA11).
iii. Duties. The family “fulfills” both of these calls through “mutual affection of its members [life of love], [common] prayer [especially] the liturgical worship of the Church [the first of which is Mass], [and] provid[ing and] promot[ing] justice and other good works for [all] in need” (AA11).

b. Evangelisation.
i. General. Families are called ultimately to evangelization, and thus must “manifest to all men Christ's living presence in the world, and the genuine nature of the Church” (GS48) – in other words, witness and evangelise. They should do this by being “apostles both in their family communities and in their parishes and dioceses” (AA18) – in other words, everywhere.
ii. Ways and Means: Christian Life and Witness. This they do “by remaining faithful to the Gospel and by providing a model of Christian marriage through their whole way of life” (AA11), which is accomplished “by the mutual love of the spouses, by their generous fruitfulness, their solidarity and faithfulness, and by the loving way in which all members of the family assist each other” (GS48). A good Christian marriage can be a great instrument of evangelization.

c. Works of the Family.
i. Spiritual Works. However, the family must also reach out to other families and associate with them. Thus, “families too will share their spiritual riches generously with other families” (GS48), for “to facilitate the attainment of the goals of their apostolate, it [is] useful for families to be brought together into groups” (AA11). Thus, families must engage in the spiritual works of mercy and assist other families grow spiritually.
ii. Temporal Works. Specific works of this “family apostolate”, includes adoption, assistance to youth, engaged couples, and the elderly, catechesis, and helping families in crisis” (AA11).

B. Married Couples.

a. Duties of Married Couples.
i. Witness and Holiness. “Husbands and wives find their proper vocation in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children” (LG35) and through “unity and fruitful love . . . help each other to attain to holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children” (LG11; (also LG41; GS48).  
ii. Building Love. Regarding this “unity” and “fruitful love”, couples must “pray” for that “steadfastness of love, large heartedness and the spirit of sacrifice” (GS49) and “work” at being “joined . . . in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification” (GS52).

b. Duties of Married Couples in the World.
i. Witness to Marital and Parental Love and the Primacy of the Family. With this spiritual foundation, the Christian married couple, “by its example and its witness [married love] accuses the world of sin and enlightens those who seek the truth” (LG35). Thus, “it [is] the duty of Christian married partners . . . to manifest and prove by their own way of life the indissolubility and sacredness of the marriage bond, [to] affirm the right and duty of parents and guardians to educate children in a Christian manner, and to defend the dignity and lawful autonomy of the family” (AA11).
ii. Renewal of Marriage and the Family. Thus, married love will be more of a witness, and even more so “if Christian couples . . . do their part in bringing about the needed cultural, psychological and social renewal on behalf of marriage and the family” (GS49).
iii. Civil Rights and Legislation. To this end, couples must “ensure the preservation of [the] rights [of families] in civil legislation and . . . make sure that governments give due attention to the needs of the family” (AA11).

c. Cooperation with Men of Good Will. In all of this, couples should “promote the values of marriage and the family [also] by cooperation with other men of good will” (GS 52).
i. Assistance. Also, “when difficulties arise, Christians will provide, on behalf of family life, those necessities and helps” (GS52) to all men.

C. Parents.

a. Role of Parents.
i. Couples: Main Mission. “Parents should regard as their proper mission the task of [having children] and educating [them]” (GS50).

b. Education of Children.
i. Primary Obligation. “Parents [have as their primary] obligation to educate their offspring . . . as [they are] the primary and principal educators” (GE3).
ii. Christian Education. Education is to be directed primarily “for the Christian and apostolic life” (AA11). Parents must thus “imbue [them] with Christian doctrine and the evangelical virtues” (LG 41) and lead them to “human maturity, salvation and holiness” (GS48). Thus, they will be educated “to have a knowledge of God according to the [Catholic] faith . . . to worship Him, and to love their neighbor” (GE3).
iii. Works of Mercy. Also, children must be led and taught to “recognise God’s love for all men”, so that they may care “for the material and spiritual needs of their neighbour”, in “both ecclesiastical and temporal communities” (AA30).
iv. Teaching Methods. Most importantly, parents must teach “by word and example” (AA11) as well as “family prayer” (GS52).

c. Role in Promoting Religious Vocations and Married Vocations.
i. Preparing for Vocation. One of the most important things a parent does in raising and educating their child is the fulfillment of their vocation. Thus, “children should be so educated that as adults they can follow their vocation, including a religious one, with a mature sense of responsibility and can choose their state of life” (GS52).
ii. Preparation for Marriage. Normally, that call is marriage, and to prepare them, “children should be so educated that . . . if they marry, they can . . . establish their family in favorable moral, social and economic conditions” (GS52). It is “especially in the heart of their own families [that] young people should be aptly and seasonably instructed in the dignity, duty and work of married love. Trained thus in the cultivation of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to enter a marriage of their own after an honorable courtship” (GS49). Furthermore, parents “should by prudent advice provide guidance to their young with respect to founding a family” (GS52).
iii. Preparation for Religious Life. Though parents must “prudently help [their children] in the choice of their vocation”, they must “carefully promote any sacred vocation which they may discern in them” (AA11). Therefore, they “should so prepare [boys and young men] that they will recognize the solicitude of our Lord for his flock, will consider the needs of the Church, and will be prepared to respond generously to our Lord” (PO11). 

d. Christian Atmosphere.
i. Love and Respect. However, to properly teach and form them, parents must “create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man” which will “foster” in them a “well-rounded personal and social education” (GE3).
ii. School of Deeper Humanity. For “the family is a kind of school of deeper humanity” (GS52) where children are to “find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church” (GE3). Therefore “the whole family in its common life . . . should be a sort of apprenticeship for the apostolate” (AA30).

e. Parish Involvement. From there, the family must gradually lead them forth “to a companionship with their fellowmen and with the people of God” (GE3), which begins by being “so involved in the local community of the parish that they will acquire a consciousness of being living and active members of the people of God” (AA30).

f. Cooperation and Fulfillment of Parental Duties according to
Parental Roles
. Because the family requires “communion of minds”, the “joint deliberation of spouses”, and “cooperation” in children’s education (GS52), “the active presence of the father is highly beneficial” to the “formation” of children”, while the “domestic role of [the mother] must be safely preserved” for the children “need [her] care . . . at home” (GS52).

g. Support of Catholic Schools. Catholic parents also have “the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children” (GE8), including forming “associations of parents” (GE6) for the primary purpose of bettering and furthering “the moral education it must impart” (GE6).

h. Parents: Prudence in Mediums of Social Communication. As a final point, “parents should remember that they have a most serious duty to guard carefully lest shows, publications and other things of this sort, which may be morally harmful, enter their homes or affect their children under other circumstances” (IM10).

36. Lay Groups: Particular Groups
- All people – including youth, adults, women, single people, widows, children, the suffering and the sick, and workers – or perhaps   especially these groups of people, have a key role to play in the Church and the world, and this role of theirs should be fostered by the Church.

A. Youth.

a. Mission. Youth must take their “zest for life and a ready eagerness to assume their own responsibility” and “imbue [it] with the spirit of Christ and . . . obedience and love for the Church” for in doing so they can be “very fruitful” (AA12).

b. Relationship with Adults. To this end, the adults will be very helpful to them, and thus they should seek them out for “friendly discussion” so the latter might “share the special benefits [their] generation can offer” (AA12). They should “cultivate toward [these] adults respect and trust, and . . . appreciate praiseworthy traditions”, despite the fact they have a natural attraction to what is “novel” (AA12).

c. Use of the Media. The media is an especially persuasive and powerful tool with the young. Thus, discussion will assist them “deepen their understanding” of the media and “pass sound judgment” on them, that they might be equipped to “accustom themselves to moderation and self-control” in their use (IM10).

d. Special Mission: Peer Evangelization. But it is to their own peers that the youth have as a special apostolate. Thus, “they should . . . carry on the apostolate directly to other young persons, concentrating their apostolic efforts within their own circle, according to the needs”

B. Adults.

a. Relationship with the Young. Adults, on the other hand, must “stimulate young persons first by good example to take part in the apostolate and [offer] them effective advice and willing assistance” (AA12). They must build that rapport first, doing so by “engag[ing] in such friendly discussion with young people that both age groups, overcoming the age barrier, may become better acquainted and share the special benefits [the young] can offer” (AA12).

C. Women.

a. Role in Society. Women should work to ensure their “proper and necessary participation . . . in the cultural life” (GS60), as well as their right and duty to a “more active shale in the whole life of society” (AA9), including her “work in . . . all spheres” (GS60).

b. Role in the Church. It is also “important that they participate more widely also in the various fields of the Church's apostolate” (AA9).

c. Role in the Family. However, women must “safely preserve” their “domestic role” for the sake of their children, who “need [their] care . . . at home” (GS60).

D. Single People and Widows. “Widows and single people are able to make great contributions toward holiness and apostolic endeavor” because of their time and energy, and should thus strive for this

E. Children. “As living members of the family, children contribute in their own way to making their parents holy. For they will respond to the kindness of their parents with sentiments of gratitude, with love and trust. They will stand by them as children should when hardships overtake their parents and old age brings its loneliness” (GS48).

F. Suffering and Sick. Those suffering “poverty”, “infirmity”, “sickness”, “hardships”, and “persecution”, should strive to “unite with the suffering Christ in a special way for the salvation of the world” (LG41), offering their penances and their prayers.

G. Workers.

a. Witness and Holiness in and through Work. Labourers should see to it that their “daily work . . . climb to the heights of holiness and apostolic activity” through “their lively charity, in their joyous hope and by their voluntary sharing of each others' burdens” (LG41) as well as “applying their time and strength . . . with a due sense of responsibility” (GS67), “raising all of society, and even creation itself, to a better mode of existence” (LG41) in doing so.

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