Great Grace Conference - Receiving Vatican II Today

Last edited 12th June 2013

Great Grace Conference - Receiving Vatican II Today

Workshop - The Call to Co-Responsibility: Lay Leadership in the Church - Daniel Ang


Since the Second Vatican Council the concept of ‘collaboration’ has been the dominant framework through which the magisterium has read the relationship of laity to the ministry of the clergy. However, that began to change on 26 May, 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the Diocese of Rome, raised the term ‘co-responsibility’ as an appropriate hermeneutic through which to understand the role of laypeople in the Church.

This paper will present the theological basis and implications of such a development, underlining the significance of ‘co-responsibility’ as an ongoing realisation of the ecclesiology of communion that is the fundamental idea of the Council documents. It will address the accompanying shift from a contrastive theology of the laity to a more positive assessment of the contribution of the laity to the Church’s being and acting.

Specifically, it will contend that the endorsement of ‘co-responsibility’ by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI signals not only clear recognition of the fact of change in ecclesial ministry but acts as a stimulus to the development of lay leadership into the future. This greater realisation of common responsibility in the life of the Church depends largely on a deeper integration of the Christological and Pneumatological dimensions of Vatican II’s ecclesiology. In this integration lies the promise of the pastoral renewal and growth of the Church as a communion and the flourishing of its mission as agent of ‘the new evangelisation’.

Daniel Ang is currently the Pastoral Planning Officer for the Diocese of Parramatta.



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