from the
on the
Lumen Gentium 10-11, 26
(Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 21 Nov. 1964)


 Last Supper, Ravenna





10. CHRIST the Lord, high priest taken from among human beings (cf. Heb. 5:1-5), made the new people a kingdom of priests to God, his Father (Rev. 1:6; cf. 5:9-10).

10. Christus Dominus, Pontifex ex hominibus assumptus (cf. Hebr. 5,1-5) novum populum "fecit regnum et sacerdotes Deo et Patri suo" (Apoc. 1,6; cf. 5,9-10).

The baptized, by regeneration and the annointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all the works of Christian people they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the perfection of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvellous light (cf. 1 Pet.2:4-10).

Baptizati enim, per regenerationem et Spiritus Sancti unctionem consecrantur in domum spiritalem et sacerdotium sanctum, ut per omnia opera hominis christiani spirituales offerant hostias, et virtutes annuntient Eius qui de tenebris eos vocavit in admirabile lumen suum (cf. 1 Petr. 2,4-10).

THEREFORE all the disciples of Chist, persevering in prayer and praising God (cf. Acts 2:42-47), should present themselves as a sacrifice, living, holy, and pleasing to God (cf. Rom. 12.1).

Ideo universi discipuli Christi, in oratione perseverantes et collaudantes Deum (cf. Act. 2,42 ad 47), seipsos hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem exhibeant (cf. Rom. 12,1),

They should everywhere on earth bear witness to Christ and give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope of an eternal life which is theirs. (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15).

ubique terrarum de Christo testimonium perhibeant, atque poscentibus rationem reddant de ea, quae in eis est, spe vitae aeternae (cf. 1 Petr. 3,15)

       Though they differ essentially and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are none the less ordered one to another; each in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of Christ. [See Pius XII, Alloc. Magnificate Dominum,2 Nov. 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 669. Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 20 Nov. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p.555]

Sacerdotium autem commune fidelium et sacerdotium ministerale seu hierarchicum, licet essentia et non gradu tantum defferant, ad invicem tamen ordinantur; unum enim et alterutrum suo peculiari modo de uno Christi sacerdotio participant.2

The ministerial priest, by the sacred power that he has, forms and rules the priestly people; in the person of Christ he effects the eucharistic sacrifice and offers it to God in the name of all the people.

Sacerdos quidem ministerialis, potestate sacra qua gaudet, populum sacerdotalem efformat ac regit, sacrificium eucharisticum in persona Christi conficit illudque nomine totius populi Deo offert;

THE faithful indeed, by virtue of their royal priesthood, participate in the offering of the Eucharist.3

fideles vero, vi regalis suo sacerdotii, in oblationem Eucharistiae concurrunt,3

They exercise that priesthood, too, by[:]

(1) the reception of the sacraments,

(2) prayer and thanksgiving,

(3) the witness of a holy life,

(4) abnegation

(5) and active charity.


in sacramentis suscipiendis,

in oratione et gratiarum actione,

testimonio vitae sanctae,


et actuosa caritate exercent.

they offer the divine victim to God and themselves along with it




11. The sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community is brought into operation through the sacraments and the exercise of virtues. 

11. Indoles sacra et organice extructa communitatis sacerdotalis et per sacramenta et per virtutes ad actum deducitur.

Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful are appointed by their baptismal character to religious worship; reborn as sons of God, they must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church.4

Fideles per baptismum in Ecclesia incorporati, ad cultum religionis christianae charactere deputantur et, in filios Dei regenerati, fidem quam a Deo per Ecclesiam acceperunt coram hominibus profiteri tenentur.4

By the sacrament of Confirmation they are more perfectly bound to the Church and are endowed with the special strength of the Holy Spirit.  Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread the faith by word and deed.5  

Sacramento confirmationis perfectius Ecclesiae vinculantur, speciali Spiritus Sancti robore ditantur, sicque ad fidem tamquam veri testes Christi verbo et opere simul diffundendam et defendendam arctius obligantur.5

TAKING part in the eucharistic sacrifice, the source and summit of the Christian life, they offer the divine victim to God and themselves along with it.6 [Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 80]

Sacrificium eucharisticum, totius vitae christianae fontem et culmen, participantes, divinam Victimam Deo offerunt atque seipsos cum ea;6

And so it is that, both in the offering and in Holy Communion, each in his own way, though not of course indiscriminately, has his own part to play in the liturgical action.

ita tum oblatione tum sacra communione, non promiscue sed alii aliter, omnes in liturgica actione partem propriam agunt.

Then, strengthened by the body of Christ in the eucharistic communion, they manifest in a concrete way that unity of the People of God which this holy sacrament aptly signifies and admirably realizes.

Porro corpore Christi in sacra synaxi refecti, unitatem Populi Dei, quae hoc augustissimo sacramento apte significatur et mirabiliter efficitur, modo concreto exhibent.










26. A bishop marked with the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, is “the steward of the grace of the supreme priesthood,” (48*) especially in the Eucharist, which he offers or causes to be offered,(49*) and by which the Church continually lives and grows. This Church of Christ is truly present in all legitimate local congregations of the faithful which, united with their pastors, are themselves called churches in the New Testament.(50*) For in their locality these are the new People called by God, in the Holy Spirit and in much fullness.(167) In them the faithful are gathered together by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, that by the food and blood of the Lord’s body the whole brotherhood may be joined together.(51*) In any community of the altar, under the sacred ministry of the bishop,(52*) there is exhibited a symbol of that charity and “unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.”(53*) In these communities, though frequently small and poor, or living in the Diaspora, Christ is present, and in virtue of His presence there is brought together one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.(54*)

26. Episcopus, plenitudine sacramenti Ordinis insignitus, est "oeconomus gratiae supremi sacerdotii"(84), praesertim in Eucharistia, quam ipse offert vel offerri curat(85), et qua continuo vivit et crescit Ecclesia. Haec Christi Ecclesia vere adest in omnibus, legitimis fidelium congregationibus localibus, quae, pastoribus suis adhaerentes, et ipsae in Novo Testamento ecclesiae vocantur(86). Hae sunt enim loco suo Populus novus a Deo vocatus, in Spiritu Sancto et in plenitudine multa (cf. 1Thess 1,5). In eis praedicatione Evangelii Christi congregantur fideles et celebratur mysterium Coenae Domini, "ut per escam et sanguinem Domini corporis fraternitas cuncta copuletur"(87) In quavis altaris communitate, sub Episcopi sacro ministerio(88), exhibetur symbolum illius caritatis et "unitatis Corporis mystici, sine qua non potest esse salus"(89). In his communitatibus, licet saepe exiguis et pauperibus, vel in dispersione degentibus, praesens est Christus, cuius virtute consociatur una, sancta, catholica et apostolica Ecclesia(90).

theosis in holy communion

For “the partaking of the body and blood of Christ does nothing other than make us be transformed into that which we consume”. (Leo the Great, Sermon 63, 7 PL54 357C) [...]

Etenim "non aliud agit participatio corporis et sanguinis Christi, quam ut in id quod sumimus transeamus"(91).  [...]



Caput IV







30. Having set forth the functions of the hierarchy, the Sacred Council gladly turns its attention. to the state of those faithful called the laity. Everything that has been said above concerning the People of God is intended for the laity, religious and clergy alike. But there are certain things which pertain in a special way to the laity, both men and women, by reason of their condition and mission. Due to the special circumstances of our time the foundations of this doctrine must be more thoroughly examined. For their pastors know how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. They also know that they were not ordained by Christ to take upon themselves alone the entire salvific mission of the Church toward the world. On the contrary they understand that it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their miniseries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind. For we must all “practice the truth in love, and so grow up in all things in Him who is head, Christ. For from Him the whole body, being closely joined and knit together through every joint of the system, according to the functioning in due measure of each single part, derives its increase to the building up of itself in love”.( Eph. 4, 15-16)

30. Sancta Synodus, muneribus Hierarchiae declaratis, libenter animum advertit statui illorum christifidelium qui laici nuncupantur. Quodsi omnia quae de Populo Dei dicta sunt, ad laicos, religiosos et clericos aequaliter diriguntur, laicis tamen, viris et mulieribus, ratione condicionis et missionis, quaedam particulariter pertinent, quorum fundamenta ob specialia rerum adiuncta nostri temporis magis expendenda sunt. Pastores enim sacri probe norunt quantum laici ad bonum totius Ecclesiae conferant. Sciunt enim Pastores se a Christo non esse institutos, ut totam missionem salvificam Ecclesiae versus mundum in se solos suscipiant, sed praeclarum munus suum esse ita pascere fideles eorumque ministrationes et charismata ita recognoscere, ut cuncti suo modo ad commune opus unanimiter cooperentur. Oportet enim, ut omnes “veritatem... facientes in caritate crescamus in illo per omnia, qui est caput Christus, ex quo totum corpus compactum et connexum per omnem iuncturam subministrationis, secundum operationem in mensuram uniuscuiusque membri, augmentum corporis facit in aedificationem sui in caritate” (Eph 4,15-16).





31. The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.

31. Nomine laicorum hic intelleguntur omnes christifideles praeter membra ordinis sacri et status religiosi in Ecclesia sanciti, christifideles scilicet qui, utpote baptismate Christo concorporati, in Populum Dei constituti, et de munere Christi sacerdotali, prophetico et regali suo modo participes facti, pro parte sua missionem totius populi christiani in Ecclesia et in mundo exercent.

What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.

Laicis indoles saecularis propria et peculiaris est. Membra enim ordinis sacri, quamquam aliquando in saecularibus versari possunt, etiam saecularem professionem exercendo, ratione suae particularis vocationis praecipue et ex professo ad sacrum ministerium ordinantur, dum religiosi suo statu praeclarum et eximium testimonium reddunt, mundum transfigurari Deoque offerri non posse sine spiritu beatitudinum. Laicorum est, ex vocatione propria, res temporales gerendo et secundum Deum ordinando, regnum Dei quaerere. In saeculo vivunt, scilicet in omnibus et singulis mundi officiis et operibus et in ordinariis vitae familiaris et socialis condicionibus, quibus eorum existentia quasi contexitur. Ibi a Deo vocantur, ut suum proprium munus exercendo, spiritu evangelico ducti, fermenti instar ad mundi sanctificationem velut ab intra conferant, sicque praeprimis testimonio vitae suae, fide, spe et caritate fulgentes, Christum aliis manifestent. Ad illos ergo peculiari modo spectat res temporales omnes, quibus arcte coniunguntur, ita illuminare et ordinare, ut secundum Christum iugiter fiant et crescant et sint in laudem Creatoris et Redemptoris.





32. By divine institution Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity. “For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another”.( 1 Rom. 12, 4-5)

32. Ecclesia sancta, ex divina institutione, mira varietate ordinatur et regitur. “Sicut enim in uno corpore multa membra habemus, omnia autem membra non eundem actum habent, ita multi unum corpus sumus in Christo, singuli autem alter alterius membra” (Rom 12,4-5).

Therefore, the chosen People of God is one: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”( cf Eph. 4, 5); sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because “there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all ‘one’ in Christ Jesus”.(Gal. 3, 28; cf. Col. 3, 11)

Unus est ergo Populus Dei electus: “unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma” (Eph 4,5); communis dignitas membrorum ex eorum in Christo regeneratione, communis filiorum gratia, communis ad perfectionem vocatio, una salus, una spes indivisaque caritas. Nulla igitur in Christo et in Ecclesia inaequalitas, spectata stirpe vel natione, condicione sociali vel sexu, quia “non est Iudaeus neque Graecus, non est servus neque liber, non est masculus neque femina. Omnes enim vos unus estis in Christo Iesu” (Gal 3,28 gr.; cf. Col 3,11).

If therefore in the Church everyone does not proceed by the same path, nevertheless all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God.( Cf. 2 pt. 1,1) And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. For the distinction which the Lord made between sacred ministers and the rest of the People of God bears within it a certain union, since pastors and the other faithful are bound to each other by a mutual need. Pastors of the Church, following the example of the Lord, should minister to one another and to the other faithful. These in their turn should enthusiastically lend their joint assistance to their pastors and teachers. Thus in their diversity all bear witness to the wonderful unity in the Body of Christ. This very diversity of graces, ministries and works gathers the children of God into one, because “all these things are the work of one and the same Spirit”.(1 Cor. 12, 11)

Si igitur in Ecclesia non omnes eadem via incedunt, omnes tamen ad sanctitatem vocantur et coaequalem sortiti sunt fidem in iustitia Dei (cf. 2Pt 1,1). Etsi quidam ex voluntate Christi ut doctores, mysteriorum dispensatores et pastores pro aliis constituuntur, vera tamen inter omnes viget aequalitas quoad dignitatem et actionem cunctis fidelibus communem circa aedificationem Corporis Christi. Distinctio enim quam Dominus posuit inter sacros ministros et reliquum Populum Dei, secumfert coniunctionem, cum Pastores et alii fideles inter se communi necessitudine devinciantur; Ecclesiae Pastores, exemplum Domini secuti, sibi invicem aliisque fidelibus ministrent, hi autem alacriter Pastoribus et doctoribus sociam operam praestent. Sic in varietate omnes testimonium perhibent de mirabili unitate in Corpore Christi: ipsa enim diversitas gratiarum, ministrationum et operationum filios Dei in unum colligit, quia “haec... omnia operatur unus atque idem Spiritus” (1Cor 12,11).

Therefore, from divine choice the laity have Christ for their brothers who though He is the Lord of all, came not to be served but to serve.(Cf. Mt. 20, 28) They also have for their brothers those in the sacred ministry who by teaching, by sanctifying and by ruling with the authority of Christ feed the family of God so that the new commandment of charity may be fulfilled by all. St. Augustine puts this very beautifully when he says: “What I am for you terrifies me; what I am with you consoles me. For you I am a bishop; but with you I am a Christian. The former is a duty; the latter a grace. The former is a danger; the latter, salvation” (S. Augustinus, Serm. 340, 1: PL 38, 1483).

Laici igitur sicut ex divina dignatione fratrem habent Christum, qui cum sit Dominus omnium, venit tamen non ministrari sed ministrare (cf. Mt 20,28), ita etiam fratres habent eos, qui in sacro ministerio positi, auctoritate Christi docendo et sanctificando et regendo familiam Dei ita pascunt, ut mandatum novum caritatis ab omnibus impleatur. Quocirca pulcherrime dicit S. Augustinus: “Ubi me terret quod vobis sum, ibi me consolatur quod vobiscum sum. Vobis enim sum episcopus, vobiscum sum christianus. Illud est nomen officii, hoc gratiae; illud periculi est, hoc salutis” (112).





33. The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one head. Whoever they are they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification, since this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer.

33. Laici in Populo Dei congregati et in uno Corpore Christi sub uno capite constituti, quicumque sunt, vocantur, ut tamquam viva membra ad Ecclesiae incrementum eiusque iugem sanctificationem vires suas omnes, beneficio Creatoris et gratia Redemptoris acceptas, conferant.

The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. Moreover, by the sacraments, especially holy Eucharist, that charity toward God and man which is the soul of the apostolate is communicated and nourished. Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth

Apostolatus autem laicorum est participatio ipsius salvificae missionis Ecclesiae, ad quem apostolatum omnes ab ipso Domino per baptismum et confirmationem depuntantur. Sacramentis autem, praesertim sacra Eucharistia, communicatur et alitur illa caritas erga Deum et homines, quae anima est totius apostolatus. Laici autem speciatim ad hoc vocantur, ut praesentem et actuosam reddant Ecclesiam in eis locis et rerum adiunctis, ubi ipsa nonnisi per eos sal terrae evadere potest (113). .

(Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Quadragesimo anno 15 maii 1931: AAS 23 (1931) p. 121 s. Pius XII, Alloc. De quelle consolation, 14 oct. 1951: AAS 43 (1951) p. 790 s.).

Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself “according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal”.(Eph. 4, 7.) Sic omnis laicus, ex ipsis donis sibi collatis, testis simul et vivum instrumentum missionis ipsius Ecclesiae exsistit “secundum mensuram donationis Christi” (Eph 4,7)
Besides this apostolate which certainly pertains to all Christians, the laity can also be called in various ways to a more direct form of cooperation in the apostolate of the Hierarchy Praeter hunc apostolatum, qui ad omnes omnino christifideles spectat, laici insuper diversis modis ad cooperationem magis immediatam cum apostolatu Hierarchiae vocari possunt (114),

(Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Six ans se sont ecoules, 5 oct. l9S7: AAS 49 (19S7) p. 927. De mandato et missione canonica, cfr. Decretum De Apostolatu laicorum, cap. IV, n. 16, cum notis 12 et 15).


 This was the way certain men and women assisted Paul the Apostle in the Gospel, laboring much in the Lord.( Cf. Phil. 4, 3; Rom. 16, 3ff.) Further, they have the capacity to assume from the Hierarchy certain ecclesiastical functions, which are to be performed for a spiritual purpose.

ad modum illorum virorum ac mulierum, qui Paulum apostolum in Evangelio adiuvabant, multum in Domino laborantes (cf. Phil 4,3; Rom 16,3ss.). Praeterea aptitudine gaudent, ut ad quaedam munera ecclesiastica, ad finem spiritualem exercenda, ab Hierarchia adsumantur.

Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. Consequently, may every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.

Omnibus igitur laicis onus praeclarum incumbit adlaborandi, ut divinum salutis propositum ad universos homines omnium temporum et ubique terrarum magis magisque pertingat. Via proinde eisdem undequaque pateat, ut pro suis viribus temporumque necessitatibus opus salutare Ecclesiae naviter et ipsi participent.

34 Consecrate the world itself to God




34. THE supreme and eternal Priest, Christ Jesus, since he wills to continue his witness and service also through the laity, vivifies them in this Spirit and increasingly urges them on to every good and perfect work.

34. Supremus et aeternus Sacerdos Christus Iesus, cum etiam per laicos suum testimonium suumque servitium continuare velit, eos suo Spiritu vivificat indesinenterque impellit ad omne opus bonum et perfectum.

For besides intimately linking them to His life and His mission, He also gives them a sharing in His priestly function of offering spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. Illis enim, quos vitae et missioni suae intime coniungit, etiam sui muneris sacerdotalis partem tribuit ad cultum spiritualem exercendum, ut glorificetur Deus et salventur homines. Qua de causa laici, utpote Christo dicati et Spiritu Sancto uncti, mirabiliter vocantur et instruuntur, ut uberiores semper fructus Spiritus in ipsis producantur.
FOR all their works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne-all these become “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.(1Pet. 2,5) Omnia enim eorum opera, preces et incepta apostolica, conversatio coniugalis et familiaris, labor quotidianus, animi corporisque relaxatio, si in Spiritu peragantur, imo molestiae vitae si patienter sustineantur, fiunt spirituales hostiae, acceptabiles Deo per Iesum Christum (cf. 1Pt 2,5),

TOGETHER with the offering of the Lord’s body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God.

quae in Eucharistiae celebratione, cum dominici Corporis oblatione, Patri piissime offeruntur. Sic et laici, qua adoratores ubique sancte agentes, ipsum mundum Deo consecrant.





35. Christ, the great Prophet, who proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father both by the testimony of His life and the power of His words, continually fulfills His prophetic office until the complete manifestation of glory. He does this not only through the hierarchy who teach in His name and with His authority, but also through the laity whom He made His witnesses and to whom He gave understanding of the faith (sensu fidei) and an attractiveness in speech(Cf. Act. 2, 17-18; Apoc. 19, 10.) so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily social and family life. They conduct themselves as children of the promise, and thus strong in faith and in hope they make the most of the present,(Cf. Eph. 5, 16; Col. 4, 5.) and with patience await the glory that is to come.(Cf. Rom. 8, 25.) Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in the program of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestling “against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness.(Eph. 6, 12.fi3)

35. Christus, Propheta magnus, qui et testimonio vitae et verbi virtute Regnum proclamavit Patris, usque ad plenam manifestationem gloriae suum munus propheticum adimplet, non solum per Hierarchiam, quae nomine et potestate Eius docet, sed etiam per laicos, quos ideo et testes constituit et sensu fidei et gratia verbi instruit (cf. Act 2,17-18; Apoc 19,10), ut virtus Evangelii in vita quotidiana, familiari et sociali eluceat. Ipsi se praebent ut filios repromissionis, si fortes in fide et spe praesens momentum redimunt (cf. Eph 5,16; Col 4,5) et futuram gloriam per patientiam exspectant (cf. Rom 8,25). Hanc autem spem non in animi interioritate abscondant sed conversione continua et colluctatione “adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae” (Eph 6,12) etiam per vitae saecularis structuras exprimant.

Just as the sacraments of the New Law, by which the life and the apostolate of the faithful are nourished, prefigure a new heaven and a new earth,(Cf. Apoc. 21, 1.) so too the laity go forth as powerful proclaimers of a faith in things to be hoped for,(Cf. Heb. 11-1) when they courageously join to their profession of faith a life springing from faith. This evangelization, that is, this announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word, takes on a specific quality and a special force in that it is carried out in the ordinary surroundings of the world.

Sicut sacramenta Novae Legis, quibus vita et apostolatus fidelium alitur, coelum novum et terram novam (cf. Apoc 21,1) praefigurant, ita laici evadunt validi praecones fidei sperandarum rerum (cf. Hebr 11,1), si cum vita ex fide professionem fidei inhaesitanter coniungunt. Haec evangelizatio, nuntium Christi scilicet et testimonio vitae et verbo prolatum, notam quamdam specificam et peculiarem efficacitatem acquirit ex hoc, quod in communibus condicionibus saeculi completur.

In connection with the prophetic function, that state of life which is sanctified by a special sacrament obviously of great importance, namely, married and family life. For where Christianity pervades the entire mode of family life, ala gradually transforms it, one will find there both the practice and an excellent school of the lay apostolate. In such a home husbands and wives find their proper vocation in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children. The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come. Thus by its example and its witness it accuses the world of sin and enlightens those who seek the truth.

Quo in munere magni pretii apparet ille status vitae, qui speciali sacramento sanctificatur, scilicet vita matrimonialis et familiaris. Ibi exercitium et schola praeclara apostolatus laicorum habetur, ubi religio christiana totam vitae institutionem pervadit et in dies magis transformat. Ibi coniuges propriam habent vocationem, ut sibi invicem et filiis sint testes fidei et amoris Christi. Familia christiana tum praesentes virtutes Regni Dei tum spem vitae beatae alta voce proclamat. Ita exemplo et testimonio suo arguit mundum de peccato et eos qui veritatem quaerunt illuminat.

Consequently, even when preoccupied with temporal cares, the laity can and must perform a work of great value for the evangelization of the world. For even if some of them have to fulfill their religious duties on their own, when there are no sacred ministers or in times of persecution; and even if many of them devote all their energies to apostolic work; still it remains for each one of them to cooperate in the external spread and the dynamic growth of the Kingdom of Christ in the world. Therefore, let the laity devotedly strive to acquire a more profound grasp of revealed truth, and let them insistently beg of God the gift of wisdom.

Proinde laici, etiam quando curis temporalibus occupantur, pretiosam actionem ad evangelizandum mundum exercere possunt et debent. Quodsi quidam eorum, deficientibus sacris ministris, vel iisdem in regimine persecutionis impeditis, quaedam officia sacra pro facultate supplent; et si plures quidem ex eis totas vires suas in opere apostolico impendunt: universos tamen oportet ad dilatationem et incrementum Regni Christi in mundo cooperari. Quapropter laici sollerter in profundiorem cognitionem veritatis revelatae incumbant, et instanter a Deo sapientiae donum impetrent.















3 See Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Miserentissimus Redemptor, 8 May 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 171; Pius XII, Alloc. Vous nous avez,22 Sept. 1956: AAS 48 (1956) p. 714.

4 See St. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 63, a. 2.

5 See St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. 17, de Spiritu Sancto, II, 35-37: PG 33 1009-1012. Nic. Cabasilas, De Vita in Christo, bk. III, de utilitate chrismatis: PG  150, 569-580.  St. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 65 a. 3 and q. 72, a. 1 and 5.

6 See Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, loc. cit., especially p. 552 s.


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