1971 – Rome Synod


October, 1971.

Reverend Fathers of the Synod,

Relevant to the two themes of the Synod – Priesthood and Justice and Peace is the Apostolic Collaboration of Priests and Laity. Without this collaboration in a frank and open way the whole Church will be unable to fulfill the mission entrusted her by Christ. As Laity we desire to play our part and bring to you the successors of the apostles our views and our information as members and consultors of the Council of Laity.

Respectfully we ask your careful consideration of the paper we put before you as to what helps and what hinders the collaboration between priests and layfolk. It is not a comprehensive document but has valuable points worthy of consideration by this apostolic Synod.

Amongst these points I would specially refer to

Point 6 The indispensable role of the priest as an Educator in the Faith

Point 10 New forms of Community Life

Point 12 Team Work No priest is a loner

Apostolic Teams of priests and lay folk with a necessary objective

Point 13 The need that Post Conciliar structures will be apostolic and missionary not legal and administrative.

Point 16 Need for education of Bishops Priests and Laity in the apostolic sense of the Hierarchy as a creative force as a liberating force rather than any sense of “snuffing out”.

Point 21 Shows the great relationship between priests and lay folk in helping one another for the mutual service to the world. Chaplains working with educative movements should be closely connected with the Bishop in their pastoral planning.

Point 24 25 Shows the crucial point in the exercise of the priesthood, and not be obsessed

and 26 with its present clericalised form.

Points 28/29 Priests must be formed by real contact with the life of the people. They also must have adequate formation to enable them to sustain women in their apostolate.

You may feel that this is written from the layman’s point of view. You will certainly notice that in each aspect of the priest’s mission the layman is closely involved. In each the collaboration of the layman with the priest is essential.

All this begins when the priest, by word and by example, generously calls lay people to their share in the mission of the Church. In their response to this call the layman will need to be sustained. The priest must understand their needs and help.


In conclusion may I refer you back to the first section of our Paper. You will see that this deals with the image of the priest and here we have set cut what we consider the threefold mission of the priest really is

– To announce the Gospel to all men – especially to those who are poor, whether in material goods or in spiritual goods – and at the same time to call, train and sustain other co-workers so that Christ may be announced everywhere to all men;

– To bring together, build up and guide the ecclesial community, while seeking the collaboration of the laity, and helping them to prepare for their task of imbuing the human community with a Christian spirit;

– To preside in Christ’s name at the Eucharistic celebration of the assembled community – calling all the faithful to active participation in this Sacrifice which takes up, for men’s salvation, all the spiritual sacrifices of their daily lives


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