Vatican City (Fides Service) - In the post-synodal exhortation “Ecclesia in America”, Pope John Paul II encourages lay Catholics to be fully aware of their dignity as baptised Christians and he calls on bishops and priests to give the utmost importance to the witness of the laity and their role in evangelisation. The renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the laity. Therefore, they are largely responsible for the future of the Church.
One way in which the laity fulfil their vocation is to be involved in organising temporal reality in conformity with the will of God with their different charisma and ministries.
Lay Catholics can participate in the field of social communications and the organisation of society according to Christian principles, this is their political vocation, and this means we must appreciate and encourage these fields of apostolate.
We know that solidarity is an important Christian virtue. Fundamentally it involves communicating spiritual rather than material resources.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that differences <belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures: “I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others.... I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one.... and so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another.... I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me”. [St Catherine of Sienna Dialogues]>(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1937)
This teaching calls on Christians to be more involved in making decisions with regard to the future of their respective countries and to do this with every possible means, including the morally correct use of the means of communication. “The Church recognises that these media, if properly utilised, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men's entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God”, to evangelise and offer salvation to all mankind. (cfr Inter Mirifica 2)
The Holy Father calls on the Catholics of the continent to be more involved: “America needs lay Christians able to assume roles of leadership in society. It is urgent to train men and women who, in keeping with their vocation, can influence public life, and direct it to the common good. In political life, understood in its truest and noblest sense as the administration of the common good, they can find the path of their own sanctification. For this, they must be formed in the truths and values of the Church's social teaching, and in the basic notions of a theology of the laity. A deeper knowledge of Christian ethical principles and moral values will enable them to be exponents of these in their own particular setting...” (Ecclesia in America, 44)
Let us pray that the Holy Father’s intention for this month of October will be blessed by the Lord so that effective and moral use of the means of communication and active participation of the laity in political life will ensure the Church’s presence to vivify our world and our continent of America. (Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera) (Agenzia Fides 27/9/2004; Righe 42, Parole 596)