b. The Role of the Priest in the Organized Associations
47. The priest-guide is to keep watch over the journey of faith within the organized associations and over the cooperation between them. He is not to assume the role of the leader who is in charge of the group, in place of the lay officials. Rather, he is to be present and effective in crystallizing decisions in participation with the officials, without being a member. His presence will help members to fulfill the mission of Christ through their attachment to the Church, which is his living Body. The priest is the guarantor of ecclesiastical authenticity and the partnership. He transforms the parish into a place for the blossoming of ecclesiastical and spiritual gifts, and for the participation between all the various spiritual schools which constitute these institutions. This is his first concern and this is what the community expects of him.
This is an interesting and very important passage and we will refer to it in our discussions of the special role and importance of the laity in parish leadership and ministry, and clearly defines the priest’s role and involvement in the lay organizations.
Our next post will be on Parish Councils. The Parish Council as envisioned by Vatican II is distinct from the Pastoral Council. Shared leadership is the practical consequence of the theological insight of Vatican II and the synodal councils.
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