Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Laico Cristiano Nel Magistero Di Paolo VI all'Azione Cattolica Italiana

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Laico Cristiano Nel Magistero Di Paolo VI all'Azione Cattolica Italiana

Article excerpt

Il Laico cristiano nel magistero di Paolo YI all Azione Cattolica Italians. By Dario Busolini. (Rome: Edizioni Stadium. 1998. Pp. 268. Lire 30,000 paperback.)

The publicist Dario Busolini, contributor to Vatican Radio and author of Catholic magazine articles, probes how Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) enunciated the concept of laity emanating from Vatican Council II when dealing with Italian Catholic Action. His book is based on theological works, papal statements, and press reports.

Busolini first cites critics who believe that the Council was ambiguous in dealing with the laity Both clergy and laity were the People of God, but the laity were expected to carry the ideas of the clergy to civil society. The Council ignored the proper role of the laity as seen in the early Church where laity participated in councils, administered church properties, and helped elect bishops. Nor has the role of the laity in the medieval and modern Church ever been fully studied, for after all, St. Benedict and St. Francis were not priests.

According to the author, Pope Paul would have disagreed with these critics. The pope believed that the laity were the bridge between the hierarchy and the secular, and that the laity made Christ real in the world. He sought to contribute to this crucial theological matter through discourse with Catholic Action, because he saw the close interdependence between the theoretical discussion and the practical application which impacted secular society.

As early as 1921 the future pope was concerned about the lay apostolate and the need for social justice. Priest-intellectuals and pious laity shared the same mission through baptism, and their co-operation was the key to effectiveness. …

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