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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Deserving of special honor and commendation in the Church are those lay people, single or married, who devote themselves with professional experience, either permanently or temporarily, to the service of associations and their activities. These orders, although distinct, are so connected in the singular plan of God that He Himself intends to raise up the whole world again in Christ and to make it a new creation, initially on earth and completely on the last day.

Maintaining the proper relationship to Church authorities, 5 the laity have the right to found and control such associations 6 and to join those already existing. Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. Therefore, the laity should hold in high esteem and, according to their ability, aid the works of charity and projects for social assistance, whether public or private, including international programs whereby effective help is given to needy individuals and peoples.

In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Likewise, lay groups and associations dedicated to the apostolate or other supernatural goals, should carefully and assiduously promote formation for the apostolate in keeping with their purpose and condition. No less necessary is cooperation among various projects of the apostolate which must be suitably directed by the hierarchy.

It is especially on this level that the apostolate of the laity and the pastoral ministry are mutually complementary.

In Decemberthe council was included as a permanent fixture of the Roman Curia. Among the fruits of the Council reflecting the full participation of laity in the life of the church are: Associations dedree not ends unto themselves; rather they should serve the mission of the Church to the world. This aopstolate of God, “which is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” Rom. The title is Latin for “Apostolic Activity”, which is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with significant Catholic documents.


Apostolicam actuositatem

As they become more conscious of their own personalities, they are impelled by a zest for life and a ready eagerness to assume their own responsibility, and they yearn to play their part in social and cultural life. Christian husbands and wives are cooperators in grace and witnesses of faith for each other, their children, and all others in their household.

The pastors of the Church should gladly and gratefully welcome these lay persons and make sure that the demands of justice, equity, and charity relative to their status be satisfied to the fullest extent, particularly as regards proper support for them and their families. In fulfilling this mission of the Church, the Christian laity exercise their apostolate both in the Church and in the world, in both the apostolatte and the temporal thw.

Councils of this type should be established as far as possible also on the parochial, interparochial, and interdiocesan level as well as in the national or international sphere. Likewise, common human values not infrequently call for cooperation between Christians pursuing apostolic aims and those who do not profess Christ’s name but acknowledge these values. Their members 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.

Children also have their own apostolic work to do. Catholic international organizations will more effectively achieve their purpose if the groups comprising them, as well as their members, are more closely united to these international organizations. Since the laity share in their own way in the devree of the Church, their apostolic formation is specially characterized by the distinctively secular and particular quality of the lay state and by its own form of the spiritual life.


The laiyy order must be renewed 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 no to the shifting circumstances of time, place, and peoples.

Among the former were groups such as the Knights of Columbus, St. So, too, in every era it is recognized by this sign of love, and while it rejoices in the undertakings of others, it claims works of charity as its own inalienable duty and right. Retrieved 18 May Following Jesus in His poverty, they are neither depressed by the lack of temporal goods nor inflated by their abundance; imitating Christ in His humility, they have no obsession for empty honors cf.

They grouped themselves into various kinds of activities and societies which, while maintaining a closer union with the hierarchy, pursued and continue to od goals which are properly apostolic.

Since the Creator of all things has established conjugal society as the beginning yhe basis of human society and, by His grace, has apostolahe it a great mystery in Christ and the Church cf. Establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity

After a lively debate, the draft was returned for revision and the aposto,ate draft which called for a rightfully expanded role for lay men and women was accepted by the Council Fathers by a vote of for and 2 against. Since formation for the apostolate cannot consist in merely theoretical instruction, from the beginning of their formation the laity should 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, thereby entering into active service to the Church.

Apostolicam Actuositatem acknowledges the central importance of the laity in the mission of the Catholic Church.