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238

Part One

and grow according to Christ andmay be to the glory of the Creator

and Redeemer.”

431

899

The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially

when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for

permeating social, political, and economic realities with the de-

mands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal

element of the life of the Church:

Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the

Church is the animating principle of human society. There-

fore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer con-

sciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being

the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on

earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head,

and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the

Church.

432

900

Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by

God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirma-

tion, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in

associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may

be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty

is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can

hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial com-

munities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of

the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.

433

The participation of lay people in Christ’s priestly office

901

“Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and

anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared

so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For

all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and

married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are

accomplished in the Spirit—indeed even the hardships of life if

patiently born—all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to

God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these

may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of

the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions,

the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering

worship by the holiness of their lives.”

434

431

LG

31 § 2.

432 Pius XII, Discourse, February 20, 1946: AAS 38 (1946) 149; quoted by

John Paul II,

CL

9.

433 Cf.

LG

33.

434

LG

34; cf.

LG

10;

1 Pet

2:5.

2442

863

784, 1268

358