Karol Wojtyla never did. For him, the key passage in Lumen Gentium is the statement that the priesthood of the faithful and the hierarchic priesthood are interrelated, yet "they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree."
In his commentary on the council, Sources of Renewal, Wojtyla says that this doctrine (of essential difference) "contains in a certain manner all that the council wished to say about the church, mankind and the world" (see Ronald Modras in The Church in Anguish, p. 48).
This is a remarkable statement. It means that the first thing to be said about the church is that it is hierarchical. Its hierarchic structure guarantees its apostolicity. It also ensures the subordination of the laity to the clergy, the clergy to the bishops and the bishops to the pope.
What, then, of the "true equality" of which Vatican II speaks? It exists, but only "in the invisible order of grace," where it is strictly unverifiable. A lay leader may be more effective in the order of grace than a member of the hierarchy, but we will never know.
There is no evidence that Karol Wojtyla has changed his mind since 1969, when he wrote this commentary. It remains, therefore, the necessary background to explain the reason, during his U.S. trip, he was so reluctant to endorse the concept of lay ministries. Does the pope deep down believe that the only "real" form of ministry is the priestly ministry?
It is difficult to see how the discussion at the synod can usefully proceed unless this matter is cleared up. For the two models of the church at work give different results; yet they cannot be contrasted as orthodoxy and unorthodoxy. Anyone who takes a different line cannot be labeled "dissident."
( April 29, 1988) Michael Dummett, Wykeham Professor of logic at Oxford University, when asked what he thought about The ActingPerson