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Letter from Rome: Who are the laity in a church of priestly people?

The pope institutes a ministry for non-ordained Catholic faithful but bases it on a crumbling clerical paradigm

Letter from Rome: Who are the laity in a church of priestly people?

Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur in Bangladesh hands over bicycles to 45 catechists on March 6. The pope is creating a ministry for lay catechists. (Photo supplied)

Lots of people have been shouting Hosannas and singing Alleluias over the new "motu proprio", Antiquum ministerium.

"The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will soon publish the Rite of Institution of the lay ministry of Catechist," the pope says in the new document.

At first blush it would seem this innovation, as many are calling it, is something to truly celebrate. After all, the reformist pope's creation of a new "lay ministry" would appear to be another nail in the coffin he's been building for the death of clericalism.

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Unfortunately, this new ministry is no such nail. In fact, even with his stated attempt to keep the laity from being clericalized, Francis is actually protecting (and maybe even solidifying) the clericalism that has long persisted among the men who are deacons, presbyters and bishops.

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