2013: Don’t clericalise the layperson!

You spoke of something else, which I mentioned in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. You spoke about clericalism. It is one of the evils, one of the evils of the Church.

But it is a “complicit” evil, because priests take pleasure in the temptation to clericalise the laity, but many of the laity are on their knees asking to be clericalised, because it is more comfortable, it is more comfortable! This is a double sin! We must overcome this temptation.

The layperson must be lay, one who is baptised, with the power that comes from his baptism. A servant, but with his lay vocation, and one does not sell this, one does not bargain with it, one should not be complicit with another person…. No. I am this way! Because that is my identity.

I have heard this so many times in my homeland: “In my parish, you know, I have an excellent layperson: he is a good organiser…. Your Eminence, why don’t we make him a deacon?”. The priest’s suggestion is immediately to clericalise. Let’s make this layperson….

Why? Why is the deacon or priest more important than the layperson? No! This is the mistake!

Is he a good layperson? Then let him continue and grow as such. Why treat his Christian identity lightly. In my opinion, clericalism impedes the layperson’s growth.

But keep in mind what I said: the two parties are accomplices in the temptation. For there would be no clericalism if there weren’t laypeople who wanted to be clericalised. Is this clear? Therefore I thank you for what you do.

Harmony: this is another form of harmony, because the priest cannot carry out the role of the layperson, and the Holy Spirit is free: sometimes he inspires the priest to do something, at other times he inspires the layperson.

We talk about this in the pastoral Council. Pastoral Councils are so important: a parish — and here I cite the Code of Canon Law — a parish that does not have a pastoral Council and a Finance Council, is not a good parish: it lacks life.


Pope Francis, Address to the members of the Corallo Association (Vatican.va)