Christifideles laici EN 20

An Organic Communion: Diversity and Complementarity

20 Ecclesial communion is more precisely likened to an "organic" communion, analogous to that of a living and functioning body. In fact, at one and the same time it is characterized by a diversityand a complementarity of vocations and states in life, of ministries, of charisms and responsibilities. Because of this diversity and complementarity every member of the lay faithful is seen in relation to the whole body and offers a totally unique contribution on behalf of the whole body.

Saint Paul insists in a particular way on the organic communion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We can hear his rich teaching echoed in the following synthesis from the Council: "Jesus Christ"-we read in the Constitution Lumen Gentium-"by communicating his Spirit to his brothers and sisters, called together from all peoples, made them mystically into his own body. In that body, the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe... As all the members of the human body, though they are many, form one body, so also are the Faithful in Christ (cf.
1Co 12,12). Also, in the building up of Christ's body there is a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the necessities of service, distributes his different gifts for the welfare of the Church (cf. 1Co 12,1-11). Among these gifts comes in the first place the grace given to the apostles to whose authority the Spirit himself subjects even those who are endowed with charisms (cf. 1Co 14). Furthermore it is this same Spirit, who through his power and through the intimate bond between the members, produces and urges love among the faithful. Consequently, if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer it too, and if one member is honoured, all members together rejoice (cf. 1Co 12,26)"(60).

One and the same Spirit is always the dynamic principle of diversity and unity in the Church. Once again we read in the Constitution Lumen Gentium, "In order that we might be unceasingly renewed in him (cf. Eph Ep 4,23), he has shared with us his Spirit who, existing as one and the same being in the head and in the members, gives life to, unifies and moves the whole body. This he does in such a way that his work could be compared by the Fathers to the function which the soul as the principle of life fulfills in the human body"(60). And in another particularly significant text which is helpful in understanding not only the organic nature proper to ecclesial communion but also its aspect of growth toward perfect communion, the Council writes: "The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the Faithful, as in a temple (cf. 1Co 3,16 1Co 6,19). In them he prays and bears witness that they are adopted sons (cf. Gal Ga 4,6 Rm 8,15-16,26). Guiding the Church in the way of all truth (cf. Jn Jn 16,13) and unifying her in communion and in the works of service, he bestows upon her varied hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorns her with the fruits of his grace (cf. Eph Ep 4,11-12 1Co 12,4 Ga 5,22). By the power of the Gospel he makes the Church grow, perpetually renews her, and leads her to perfect union with her Spouse. The Spirit and the Bride both say to the Lord Jesus, 'Come!' (cf. Rev Ap 22,17)"(62).

Church communion then is a gift, a great gift of the Holy Spirit, to be gratefully accepted by the lay faithful, and at the same time to be lived with a deep sense of responsibility. This is concretely realized through their participation in the life and mission of the Church, to whose service the lay faithful put their varied and complementary ministries and charisms.

A member of the lay faithful "can never remain in isolation from the community, but must live in a continual interaction with others, with a lively sense of fellowship, rejoicing in an equal dignity and common commitment to bring to fruition the immense treasure that each has inherited. The Spirit of the Lord gives a vast variety of charisms, inviting people to assume different ministries and forms of service and reminding them, as he reminds all people in their relationship in the Church, that what distinguishes persons is not an increase in dignity, but a special and complementary capacity for service... Thus, the charisms, the ministries, the different forms of service exercised by the lay faithful exist in communion and on behalf of communion. They are treasures that complement one another for the good of all and are under the wise guidance of their Pastors"(63).

[60] Ibid., LG 7.
[61] Ibid. LG 7
[62] Ibid., LG 4.
[63] Juan Pablo II, Homilía en la solemne Concelebración Eucarística de clausura de la VII Asamblea Ordinaria del Sínodo de los Obispos (30 Octubre 1987): AAS 80 (1988) 600.

Ministries and Charisms, the Spirit's Gifts to the Church

21 The Second Vatican Council speaks of the ministries and charisms as the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are given for the building up of the Body of Christ and for its mission of salvation in the world(64). Indeed, the Church is directed and guided by the Holy Spirit, who lavishes diverse hierarchical and charismatic gifts on all the baptized, calling them to be, each in an individual way, active and coresponsible.

We now turn our thoughts to ministries and charisms as they directly relate to the lay faithful and to their participation in the life of Church-Communion.

Ministries, Offices and Roles

The ministries which exist and are at work at this time in the Church are all, even in their variety of forms, a participation in Jesus Christ's own ministry as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (cf. Jn
Jn 10,11), the humble servant who gives himself without reserve for the salvation of all (cf. Mk Mc 10,45). The Apostle Paul is quite clear in speaking about the ministerial constitution of the Church in apostolic times. In his First Letter to the Corinthians he writes: "And God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers..." (1Co 12,28). In his Letter to the Ephesians we read: "But the grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift... And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ep 4,7 cf. Rom Rm 12,4-8). These and other New Testament texts indicate the diversity of ministries as well as of gifts and ecclesial tasks.

[64] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, LG 4.

The Ministries Derived from Holy Orders

22 In a primary position in the Church are the ordained ministries, that is, the ministries that come from the Sacrament of Orders. In fact, with the mandate to make disciples of all nations (cf. Mt 28,19), the Lord Jesus chose and constituted the apostles-seed of the People of the New Covenant and origin of the Hierarchy (65)-to form and to rule the priestly people. The mission of the Apostles, which the Lord Jesus continues to entrust to the Pastors of his people, is a true service, significantly referred to in Sacred Scripture as "diakonia", namely, service or ministry. The ministries receive the charism of the Holy Spirit from the Risen Christ, in uninterrupted succession from the apostles, through the Sacrament of Orders: from him they receive the authority and sacred power to serve the Church, acting in persona Christi Capitis (in the person of Christ, the Head)(66) and to gather her in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Sacraments.

The ordained ministries, apart from the persons who receive them, are a grace for the entire Church. These ministries express and realize a participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ that is different, not simply in degree but in essence, from the participation given to all the lay faithful through Baptism and Confirmation. On the other hand, the ministerial priesthood, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, essentially has the royal priesthood of all the faithful as its aim and is ordered to it(67).

For this reason, so as to assure and to increase communion in the Church, particularly in those places where there is a diversity and complementarity of ministries, Pastors must always acknowledge that their ministry is fundamentally ordered to the service of the entire People of God (cf. Heb He 5,1). The lay faithful, in turn, must acknowledge that the ministerial priesthood is totally necessary for their participation in the mission in the Church(68).

[65] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre la actividad misionera de la Iglesia Ad gentes, AGD 5.
[66] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el ministerio y vida de los presbíteros Presbyterorum ordinis, PO 2. Cf Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, LG 10.
[67] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, LG 10.
[68] Cf. Juan Pablo II, Carta a todos los sacerdotes de la Iglesia con ocasión del Jueves Santo(9 Abril 1979), 3-4: Insegnamenti, II, 1 (1979) 844-847.

The Ministries, Offices and Roles of the Lay Faithful

23 The Church's mission of salvation in the world is realized not only by the ministers in virtue of the Sacrament of Orders but also by all the lay faithful; indeed, because of their Baptismal state and their specific vocation, in the measure proper to each person, the lay faithful participate in the priestly, prophetic and kingly mission of Christ.

The Pastors, therefore, ought to acknowledge and foster the ministries, the offices and roles of the lay faithful that find their foundation in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, indeed, for a good many of them, in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

When necessity and expediency in the Church require it, the Pastors, according to established norms from universal law, can entrust to the lay faithful certain offices and roles that are connected to their pastoral ministry but do not require the character of Orders. The Code of Canon Law states: " When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of the law"(69). However, the exercise of such tasks does not make Pastors of the lay faithful: in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head, and in his Eternal Priesthood(70). The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by the Pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority(71).

The recent Synodal Assembly has provided an extensive and meaningful overview of the situation in the Church on the ministries, offices and roles of the baptized. The Fathers have manifested a deep appreciation for the contribution of the lay faithful, both women and men, in the work of the apostolate, in evangelization, sanctification and the Christian animation of temporal affairs, as well as their generous willingness to supply in situations of emergency and chronic necessity(72).

Following the liturgical renewal promoted by the Council, the lay faithful themselves have acquired a more lively awareness of the tasks that they fulfill in the liturgical assembly and its preparation, and have become more widely disposed to fulfill them: the liturgical celebration, in fact, is a sacred action not simply of the clergy, but of the entire assembly. It is, therefore, natural that the tasks not proper to the ordained ministers be fulfilled by the lay faithful(73). In this way there is a natural transition from an effective involvement of the lay faithful in the liturgical action to that of announcing the word of God and pastoral care(74).

In the same Synod Assembly, however, a critical judgment was voiced along with these positive elements, about a too-indiscriminate use of the word "ministry", the confusion and the equating of the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood, the lack of observance of ecclesiastical laws and norms, the arbitrary interpretation of the concept of "supply", the tendency towards a "clericalization" of the lay faithful and the risk of creating, in reality, an ecclesial structure of parallel service to that founded on the Sacrament of Orders.

Precisely to overcome these dangers the Synod Fathers have insisted on the necessity to express with greater clarity, and with a more precise terminology(75), both the unity of the Church's mission in which all the baptized participate, and the substantial diversity of the ministry of Pastors which is rooted in the Sacrament of Orders, all the while respecting the other ministries, offices and roles in the Church, which are rooted in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

In the first place, then, it is necessary that in acknowledging and in conferring various ministries, offices and roles on the lay faithful, the Pastors exercise the maximum care to institute them on the basis of Baptism in which these tasks are rooted. It is also necessary that Pastors guard against a facile yet abusive recourse to a presumed "situation of emergency" or to "supply by necessity", where objectively this does not exist or where alternative possibilities could exist through better pastoral planning.

The various ministries, offices and roles that the lay faithful can legitimately fulfill in the liturgy, in the transmission of the faith, and in the pastoral structure of the Church, ought to be exercised in conformity to their specific lay vocation, which is different from that of the sacred ministry. In this regard the Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, that had such a great part in stimulating the varied collaboration of the lay faithful in the Church's life and mission of spreading the gospel, recalls that "their own field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, society and economics, as well as the world of culture, of the sciences and the arts, of international life, of the mass media. It also includes other realities which are open to evangelization, such as human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work, and suffering. The more Gospel-inspired lay people there are engaged in these realities, clearly involved in them, competent to promote them and conscious that they must exercise to the full their Christian powers which are often repressed and buried, the more these realities will be at the service of the Kingdom of God and therefore at the service of salvation in Jesus Christ, without in any way losing or sacrificing their human content but rather pointing to a transcendent dimension which is often disregarded"(76).

In the course of Synod work the Fathers devoted much attention to the Lectorate and theAcolytate. While in the past these ministries existed in the Latin Church only as spiritual steps on route to the ordained ministry, with the motu proprio of Paul VI, Ministeria Quaedam (15 August 1972), they assumed an autonomy and stability, as well as a possibility of their being given to the lay faithful, albeit, only to men. This same fact is expressed in the new Code of Canon Law(77). At this time the Synod Fathers expressed the desire that "the motu proprio Ministeria Quaedambe reconsidered, bearing in mind the present practice of local churches and above all indicating criteria which ought to be used in choosing those destined for each ministry"(78).

In this regard a Commission was established to respond to this desire voiced by the Synod Fathers, specifically to provide an in-depth study of the various theological, liturgical, juridical and pastoral consideration which are associated with the great increase today of the ministries entrusted to the lay faithful.

While the conclusions of the Commission's study are awaited, a more ordered and fruitful ecclesial practice of the ministries entrusted to the lay faithful can be achieved if all the particular Churches faithfully respect the above mentioned theological principles, especially the essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood, and the difference between the ministries derived from the Sacrament of Orders and those derived from the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

[69] C.I.C., can.
CIC 230 SS 3.
[70] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el ministerio y vida de los presbíteros Presbyterorum ordinis, PO 2 PO 5.
[71] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el apostolado de los laicos Apostolicam actuositatem, AA 24.
[72] El Código de Derecho Canónico enumera una serie de funciones o tareas propias de los sagrados ministros, que, sin embargo -por especiales y graves circunstancias, y concretamente por falta de presbíteros o diáconos-, son momentáneamente ejercitadas por fieles laicos, previa facultad jurídica y mandato de la autoridad eclesiástica competente: cf cann. CIC 230 SS 3; CIC 517 SS 2; CIC 776 CIC 861 SS 2; CIC 910 SS 2; CIC 943 CIC 1112; etc.
[73] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. sobre la sagrada liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium, SC 28;C.I.C., can. CIC 230 SS 2, que dice así: "Por encargo temporal, los laicos pueden desempeñar la función de lector en las ceremonias litúrgicas; asimismo, todos los fieles laicos pueden desempeñar las funciones de comentador, cantor y otras, a tenor de la norma del derecho".
[74] El Código de Derecho Canónico presenta distintas funciones y tareas que los fieles laicos pueden desempeñar en las estructuras organizativas de la Iglesia: cf. cann. CIC 228 CIC 229 SS 3; CIC 317 SS 3; CIC 463 SS 1 n. 5, SS 2; CIC 483 CIC 494 CIC 537 CIC 759 CIC 776 CIC 784 CIC 785 CIC 1282 CIC 1421 SS 2; CIC 1424 CIC 1428 SS 2; CIC 1435; etc.
[75] Cf. Propositio 18.
[76] Pablo VI, Exh. Ap. Evangelii nuntiandi, EN 70: AAS 68 (1976) 60.
[77] Cf. C.I.C., can. CIC 230 SS 1.
[78] Propositio 18.


24 The Holy Spirit, while bestowing diverse ministries in Church communion, enriches it still further with particular gifts or promptings of grace, called charisms. These can take a great variety of forms, both as a manifestation of the absolute freedom of the Spirit who abundantly supplies them, and as a response to the varied needs of the Church in history. The description and the classification given to these gifts in the New Testament are an indication of their rich variety. "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues" (1Co 12,7-10 cf. 1Co 12,4-6,28).

Whether they be exceptional and great or simple and ordinary, the charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit that have, directly or indirectly, a usefulness for the ecclesial community, ordered as they are to the building up of the Church, to the well-being of humanity and to the needs of the world.

Even in our own times there is no lack of a fruitful manifestation of various charisms among the faithful, women and men. These charisms are given to individual persons, and can even be shared by others in such ways as to continue in time a precious and effective heritage, serving as a source of a particular spiritual affinity among persons. In referring to the apostolate of the lay faithful the Second Vatican Council writes: "For the exercise of the apostolate the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the People of God through the ministry and the sacraments gives the faithful special gifts as well (cf. 1Co 12,7), 'allotting them to each one as he wills' (cf. 1Co 12,11), so that each might place 'at the service of others the grace received' and become 'good stewards of God's varied grace' (1P 4,10), and build up thereby the whole body in charity (cf. Eph Ep 4,16)"(79).

By a logic which looks to the divine source of this giving, as the Council recalls(80), the gifts of the Spirit demand that those who have received them exercise them for the growth of the whole Church.

The charisms are received in gratitude both on the part of the one who receives them, and also on the part of the entire Church. They are in fact a singularly rich source of grace for the vitality of the apostolate and for the holiness of the whole Body of Christ, provided that they be gifts that come truly from the Spirit and are exercised in full conformity with the authentic promptings of the Spirit. In this sense the discernment of charisms is always necessary. Indeed, the Synod Fathers have stated: "The action of the Holy Spirit, who breathes where he will, is not always easily recognized and received. We know that God acts in all Christians, and we are aware of the benefits which flow from charisms both for individuals and for the whole Christian community. Nevertheless, at the same time we are also aware of the power of sin and how it can disturb and confuse the life of the faithful and of the community"(81).

For this reason no charism dispenses a person from reference and submission to the Pastors of the Church. The Council clearly states: "Judgment as to their (charisms) genuineness and proper use belongs to those who preside over the Church, and to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good (cf. 1Th 5,12 and 19-21)"(82), so that all the charisms might work together, in their diversity and complementarity, for the common good(83).

[79] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el apostolado de los laicos Apostolicam actuositatem, AA 3.
[80] «Por haber recibido estos carismas, incluso los más sencillos, se origina en cada creyente el derecho y deber de ejercitarlos para el bien de los hombres y para la edificación de la Iglesia, tanto en la misma Iglesia como en el mundo, con la libertad del Espíritu Santo que "sopla donde quiere" (Jn 3,8), y al mismo tiempo, en la comunión con todos los hermanos en Cristo, especialmente con los propios Pastores» (Ibid.).
[81] Propositio 9.
[82] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, LG 12.
[83] Cf. Ibid. LG 30.

The Lay Faithful's Participation in the Life of the Church

25 The lay faithful participate in the life of the Church not only in exercising their tasks and charisms, but also in many other ways.

Such participation finds its first and necessary expression in the life and mission of the particular Church, in the diocese in which "the Church of Christ, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is truly present and at work"(84).

The Particular Churches and the Universal Church

For an adequate participation in ecclesial life the lay faithful absolutely need to have a clear and precise vision of the particular Church with its primordial bond to the universal Church. The particular Church does not come about from a kind of fragmentation of the universal Church, nor does the universal Church come about by a simple amalgamation of particular Churches. But there is a real, essential and constant bond uniting each of them and this is why the universal Church exists and is manifested in the particular Churches. For this reason the Council says that the particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in and from these particular Churches that there come into being the one and unique Catholic Church"(85).

The same Council strongly encourages the lay faithful actively to live out their belonging to the particular Church, while at the same time assuming an ever-increasing "catholic" spirit: "Let the lay faithful constantly foster"-we read in the Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People- "a feeling for their own diocese, of which the parish is a kind of cell, and be always ready at their bishops' invitation to participate in diocesan projects. Indeed, if the needs of cities and rural areas are to be met, lay people should not limit their cooperation to the parochial or diocesan boundaries but strive to extend it to interparochial, interdiocesan, national and international fields, the more so because the daily increase in population mobility, the growth of mutual bonds, and the ease of communication no longer allow any sector of society to remain closed in upon itself. Thus they should be concerned about the needs of the People of God scattered throughout the world"(86).

In this sense, the recent Synod has favored the creation of Diocesan Pastoral Councils, as a recourse at opportune times. In fact, on a diocesan level this structure could be the principle form of collaboration, dialogue, and discernment as well. The participation of the lay faithful in these Councils can broaden resources in consultation and the principle of collaboration-and in certain instances also in decision-making - if applied in a broad and determined manner(87).

The participation of the lay faithful in Diocesan Synods and in local Councils, whether provincial or plenary, is envisioned by the Code of Canon Law(88). These structures could contribute to Church communion and the mission of the particular Church, both in its own surroundings and in relation to the other particular Churches of the ecclesiastical province or Episcopal Conference.

Episcopal Conferences are called to evaluate the most oportune way of developing the consultation and the collaboration of the lay faithful, women and men, at a national or regional level, so that they may consider well the problems they share and manifest better the communion of the whole Church(89).

[84] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el oficio pastoral de los Obispos en la Iglesia Christus Dominus,
CD 11.
[85] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, CD 23.
[86] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Dec. sobre el apostolado de los laicos Apostolicam actuositatem, AA 10.
[87] Cf. Propositio 10.
[88] Cf. C.I.C., cann. CIC 443 SS 4; CIC 463 SS 1 y 2.
[89] Cf. Propositio 10.

The Parish

26 The ecclesial community, while always having a universal dimension, finds its most immediate and visible expression in the parish. It is there that the Church is seen locally. In a certain sense it is the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters(90).

It is necessary that in light of the faith all rediscover the true meaning of the parish, that is, the place where the very "mystery" of the Church is present and at work, even if at times it is lacking persons and means, even if at other times it might be scattered over vast territories or almost not to be found in crowded and chaotic modern sections of cities. The parish is not principally a structure, a territory, or a building, but rather, "the family of God, a fellowship afire with a unifying spirit"(91), "a familial and welcoming home"(92), the "community of the faithful"(93). Plainly and simply, the parish is founded on a theological reality, because it is a Eucharistic community(94). This means that the parish is a community properly suited for celebrating the Eucharist, the living source for its upbuilding and the sacramental bond of its being in full communion with the whole Church. Such suitableness is rooted in the fact that the parish is a community of faith and anorganic community, that is, constituted by the ordained ministers and other Christians, in which the pastor-who represents the diocesan bishop(95)-is the hierarchical bond with the entire particular Church.

Since the Church's task in our day is so great its accomplishment cannot be left to the parish alone. For this reason the Code of Canon Law provides for forms of collaboration among parishes in a given territory(96) and recommends to the bishop's care the various groups of the Christian Faithful, even the unbaptized who are not under his ordinary pastoral care(97). There are many other places and forms of association through which the Church can be present and at work. All are necessary to carry out the word and grace of the Gospel and to correspond to the various circumstances of life in which people find themselves today. In a similar way there exist in the areas of culture, society, education, professions, etc. many other ways for spreading the faith and other settings for the apostolate which cannot have the parish as their center and origin. Nevertheless, in our day the parish still enjoys a new and promising season. At the beginning of his pontificate, Paul VI addressed the Roman clergy in these words: "We believe simply that this old and venerable structure of the parish has an indispensable mission of great contemporary importance: to create the basic community of the Christian people; to initiate and gather the people in the accustomed expression of liturgical life; to conserve and renew the faith in the people of today; to serve as the school for teaching the salvific message of Christ; to put solidarity in practice and work the humble charity of good and brotherly works"(98).

The Synod Fathers for their part have given much attention to the present state of many parishes and have called for a greater effort in their renewal: "Many parishes, whether established in regions affécted by urban progress or in missionary territory, cannot do their work effectively because they lack material resources or ordained men or are too big geographically or because of the particular circumstances of some Christians (e.g. exiles and migrants). So that all parishes of this kind may be truly communities of Christians, local ecclesial authorities ought to foster the following: a) adaptation of parish structures according to the full flexibility granted by canon law, especially in promoting participation by the lay faithfulinpastoral responsibilities; b) small, basic or so-called "living" communities, where the faithful can communicate the Word of God and express it in service and love to one another; these communities are true expressions of ecclesial communion and centers of evangelization, in communion with their pastors"(99). For the renewal of parishes and for a better assurance of their effectiveness in work, various forms of cooperation even on the institutional level ought to be fostered among diverse parishes in the same area.

[90] Leemos en el Concilio: «Ya que en su Iglesia el Obispo no puede presidir siempre y en todas partes personalmente a toda su grey, debe constituir necesariamente asambleas de fieles, entre las cuales tienen un lugar preeminente las parroquias constituidas localmente bajo la guía de un pastor que hace las veces del Obispo: ellas, en efecto, representan en cierto modo la Iglesia visible establecida en toda la tierra» (Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. sobre la sagrada liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium
SC 42).
[91] Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. sobre la Iglesia Lumen gentium, LG 28.
[92] Juan Pablo II, Exh. Ap. Catechesi tradendae, CTR 67: AAS 71 (1979) 1333.
[93] C.I.C., can. CIC 515 SS 1.
[94] Cf. Propositio 10.
[95] Cf. Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Const. sobre la sagrada liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium, SC 42.
[96] Cf. C.I.C., can. CIC 555 SS 1, 1.
[97] Cf. C.I.C., can. CIC 383 SS 1.
[98] Pablo VI, Discurso al Clero romano (24 Junio 1963): AAS 55 (1963) 674.
[99] Propositio 11.

Christifideles laici EN 20