Kolkotta: Fr. Francis at SXC meet – Hierarchy V/s Laity?

June 25, 2013 by  
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Vatican Council IIThe talks on Vatican Council II at St Xavier’s College Auditorium on 15th & 16th June 2013, by Fr Francis Gonsalves SJ (noted violinist and guitarist) from Vidyajyoti Theology College, Delhi were quite peppy.  On 15th while speaking on Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes), Fr Francis said that God’s kingdom was larger than the Church and that we should be like Salt of the earth and Light of the world to dissolve ourselves in the service of the needy.  He said God was a missionary, the Church was a missionary and that all of us were missionaries.  He explained the terminologies – Mass and Communion.  Mass he said means “Go out or you are sent” to be salt/leaven and the light.  Communion meant “Co-sharing of functions, duties and offices as co-partners / showing equal respect to all members of one’s community”.  He also said that the Family was the Domestic Church and the Church and its hierarchy would be zero without the Laity which was a sleeping giant.

On the 16th he spoke on the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity.  He dwelt mainly on the Vocation to Apostolate of the lay faithful.   The Laity is restless he said. It is dying to do good things but not being given opportunity by parish priests and bishops who think they know all.  To them members of the Laity are “Bacchas”.  The reason for this attitude is that many parish priests suffer from inferiority complex and feel ill at ease with the Laity in open forums. He said that many priests forget they have been ordained to empty themselves and serve the flock.  They want to be served and are surrounded by “chamchas”.  He also said many parish priests unnecessarily fiddle with all parish activities like the Liturgy and the church choir.  These and many other parish activities should be left with the parishioners themselves.  He said that many priests think that all power vests in them because they were ordained by God and not by the Laity.  Therefore they are not accountable to the Laity.

According to him the Laity has endless potential.  In Gujarat and Delhi he has come across brilliant brains in all spheres of life – lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc.  He said the Archbishop of Delhi holds regular interactive sessions with the best brains of the Laity (not necessarily Catholics).  The input given by them is used to solve various issues not only of the Church but also of the neighbourhood too.

The talks came to a close with summing up by His Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza.

– isaac gomes


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