1999: Transforming mentalities and structures

6. The laity’s involvement in the life of the Church and of society is an essential dimension of their baptismal calling. The mystery of communion that unites Christians with one another and with their Lord commits them to building united communities where everyone has a place, without distinction of background or social status, open and generous communities which willingly share with everyone the graces they have received. In fact, “the dignity as a Christian, the source of equality for all members of the Church, guarantees and fosters the spirit of communion and fellowship, and, at the same time, becomes the hidden dynamic force in the lay faithful’s apostolate and mission” (Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, n. 17). Thus the Church will grow as God’s Family.

Furthermore, the vocation of the laity is to express their Christian life in society and community service. By their influence and commitments they help transform mentalities and structures to be more faithful to God’s plan for the human family. To do this, they must receive a formation that will help them lead a harmonious Christian life and live the social implications of the Gospel. A serious initiation into the Church’s social teaching will enable them to make an effective contribution to the joint development of the nation, in which everyone can participate and be actively involved. The pursuit of the common good also entails the duty to fight courageously all forms of corruption, waste or misappropriation of what belongs to the community to the advantage of a few.

1 June 1999


Pope John Paul II, Address to the bishops of Cameroon on their ad limina visit (Vatican.va)