Laypeople must share responsibility for church, pope tells delegates

ROME (CNS) — Laypeople are called not simply to help their priests run their parishes, but to share fully in the responsibility of building up the church, Pope Benedict XVI told delegates to the annual convention of the Diocese of Rome.

“This will require a change of mentality, especially regarding laypeople — to move from considering them to be the clergy’s collaborators to recognizing them as truly sharing responsibility for the existence and action of the church,” the pope said May 26 during an evening talk at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The pope’s speech about the identity of the church and the role of its members launched a three-day meeting by diocesan delegates to assess pastoral services and come up with ideas for strengthening the participation of Catholics in the life of their parishes and the diocese. The first step, the pope said, should be to improve education efforts so that people would understand what the Second Vatican Council meant when it described the church as “the people of God” and the “body of Christ.”

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