Evangelism is the Antidote to Clericalism by Jonathan

Evangelism is the Antidote to Clericalism

Great Commission

In simple terms, there are two images of the Church: the evangelizing Church that comes out of herself; …and the worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself.” Pope Francis

One of the most revolutionary documents of the second Vatican Counsel was undoubtedly Apostolicam Actuositatem or in English the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. Pope Francis has certainly pondered this document deeply as he calls the Catholic laity to be “ever more conscious of their own responsibility1” for the mission of the Church. I began rereading the decree and found it profoundly relevant today in the wake of Pope Francis’ recent remarks on clericalism.

One could define clericalism as overemphasizing the liturgical nature of church worship and under emphasizing the evangelical nature of her mission. One’s faith becomes a matter centered on Sunday worship and liturgical correctness or reverence. Lay people and clerics often jockey for position within the liturgy and holiness is seen in terms of how one worships within the Mass. Oftentimes Catholics seem to care more about extraordinary ministers than lay missionary disciples. It is a clericalism that cares more for what happens within the liturgy than what happens in the world. And for many of the lay faithful this is all they know. For them saintliness is simply keeping the commandments, attending Mass, being kind to others. They were not trained or formed to become missionaries as lay people. In fact almost invariably Priests and Religious alone are portrayed as missionaries.

Since the Second Vatican Counsel we are seeing a rich theology of the lay person emerging from the counsel, enshrined in papal teaching, and lived out by daring and courageous laity around the world who have heard the call of Jesus to go out into all the world.

Only when the Church begins to send out the laity into the world will we see an end to clericalism. God is not calling the laity to serve more within the liturgy. He is calling them to carry the Gospel into the workplace, to the sick, the dying, the lost; to lead Bible studies, praise and worship, rosaries. We need to value evangelization as much as the liturgy. Clericalism focuses us so much on the liturgy that we believe our faith is bound up in the sacraments and the liturgy, that the only vocations that matter are priestly and religious ones. Where are the cries for the evangelical vocations, the missionaries? As the priest is to the liturgy so the lay person is to world evangelization. As St. Thomas says, “Everyone is bound to show forth his faith publicly, whether for the instruction and encouragement of other faithful or to repel the onslaughts of adversaries.2

We lay people are being called by Jesus to work in “the apostolic activity of the People of God3” What did the apostles do? They were sent out to share the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is where our holiness as lay people is to be found. Singing in church choirs, extraordinary ministers, lectors, and other work within the Church is secondary to your Christian vocation received at Confirmation to share your faith. Only when we begin to take as seriously our evangelical call as our liturgical worship will we begin to experience the great joy that comes from the Gospel.

We need zealous laity4 who are conscious of their own responsibility, their duty to proclaim Jesus. Our holiness is fed in the Mass but found in the streets, in the work place, in our daily lives. As the priest says after every Mass, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” We must go!

1Apostolicam Actuositatem 1

2Summa theologiae, IIa-IIae, qu. iii, art. 2, ad 2m.

3Apostolicam Actuositatem 1


MOuntains Pic

1Apostolicam Actuositatem 1




FMC Rosary of the New Evangelization

Ros BibThis is a rosary meditation on the Kerygma, or basic Gospel Message, that we have begun promoting to help people consider more fully the core message of our faith.  Please feel free to copy, distribute, etc. at will.  If we as Catholics begin to understand and more deeply appreciate the core essential of our faith it will lead to a greater love of Christ and the Church.  Please consider trying this meditation and sharing it with those who have fallen away or don’t know Jesus.  The Rosary is prayed like a scriptural rosary where after each mystery the Our Father is prayed and then a scripture is read before each Hail Mary.

The Rosary of the New Evangelization

  1. God loves you. He created you to be in love with Him. He has a great plan for your life. (Our Father)

God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27)

(Hail Mary…)

God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”(Gen 1:28)

(Hail Mary…)

God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.” (Gen 1:31)

(Hail Mary…)

Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you.” (Is 43:4)

(Hail Mary…)

I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jer 31:3)

(Hail Mary…)

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”(Jer 29:11)

(Hail Mary…)

See what love the Father has given us.”(I Jn 4:8)

(Hail Mary…)

He who does not love does not know God for God is love.” (I Jn 4:8)

(Hail Mary…)

“We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.” (I Jn 4:16a)

(Hail Mary…)

“God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (I Jn 4:16b)

(Hail Mary…)

(Glory be…)

  1. All of us have sinned. These sins separate us from God, our greatest love.

    1. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Gen 3:6)

    2. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked.” (Gen 3:7)

    3. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)

    4. It is your evil that has separated you from your God.” (Is. 59:2)

    5. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.” (Rom 7:18)

    6. I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts.”(Rom 7:23a)

    7. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner.”(Rom 7:23b)

    8. Sin came into the world because of what one man did. And with sin came death.” (Rom 5:12a)

    9. For the wages of sin is death.”(Rom 6:23)

    10. And this is why all men must die-because all men have sinned.” (Rom 5:12b)

  2. God has sent His Only Son Jesus to take away our sin and bring us back together.

    1. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:4)

    2. Just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.” (Rom 5:18)

    3. For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19)

    4. So that, as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:21)

    5. He Himself bore our sins in His body upon the cross.” (I Pet 2:24a)

    6. So that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.” (I pet 2:24b)

    7. By His wounds you have been healed.” (I Pet 2:24c)

    8. Christ came to take away sins.” (I Jn 3:5a)

    9. There is no sin in Christ.” (I Jn 3:5b)

    10. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (I Jn 3:8)

  3. We need to acknowledge our sins, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and receive the new life He offers through baptism.

    1. So that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16)

    2. Who ever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.” (I Jn 4:15)

    3. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)

    4. No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.” (Rom 10:11)

    5. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” (I Jn 1:9)

    6. Not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of His mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

    7. Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (Jn 3:5)

    8. We were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death, so that we too might live in newness of life.” (Rom 6:4)

    9. We know that our old self was crucified with Him.” (Rom 6:6)

    10. So that our sinful body might be done away with that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.” (Rom 6:6b)

  4. Jesus is our model for our new life. We can follow His example because of the Holy Spirit.

    1. For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Eph 2:8a)

    2. This is not from you; it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8b)

    3. It is not from works, so no one may boast.” (Eph 2:9)

    4. No one who is begotten of God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.” (I Jn 3:9)

    5. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” (I Jn 4:11)

    6. To this you have been called because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps.” (I Pet 2:21)

    7. Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him.” (Jn 7:38-39)

    8. He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in Him were to receive.” (Jn 7:39)

    9. But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth.” (Jn 16:13)

    10. Do whatever He tells you.” (Jn 2:5)