“The lay faithful’s principal job is in the world; it is the transformation of the temporal order,” Saint Paul Seminary Rector Father Joseph Taphorn said. “It’s to make the world a better reflection of the kingdom of God. And I think it takes all of these members of the Church – priests, deacons and lay leaders – working together in order to fulfill that vision.”
According to Taphorn, through the hierarchy of the Church, Jesus established a very real, practical channel for the deposit of faith to be given to all of mankind: the priesthood.
But priests don’t operate in a vacuum. Nor can they “do it all” themselves. A successful priest equips the laypeople under his care – whether at his parish, school, monastery or another institution.
“The laity have a view to the world,” Taphorn said. “They are the tip of the spear, you might say, in enlightening the world and the people they encounter in the workplace, how they are involved in politics, in government and medicine, in law. All of these are real, significant institutions, and the structures in our society are largely governed, run, served and animated by the laity.
“Those faithful that are sent out every Sunday after being nourished by the Eucharist are then moving into their communities, into families, into schools, into hospitals; these are the people that can really help bring the kingdom of God about.”
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