A POST-VATICAN II PHENOMENON: LAY MINISTRIES: A CRITICAL THREE-DIMENSIONAL STUDY

ZENOBIA VALERIA FOX, Fordham University

Abstract

This study focuses on a new development in the contemporary Church: numbers of lay persons, active in various roles, who call themselves ministers. The purpose of the study is to understand this development, and to critique it theologically.^ First, an overview of pertinent theological literature, from the time of the Second Vatican Council, until the present, is given. In addition to systematic theological works, pastoral theological studies are also analyzed, in an effort to understand the context of the rise of lay ministers.^ In a further effort to understand the issue, a sociological study of lay ministers employed in parishes is presented. Data examined includes basic sociological information, such as age and race, as well as theologically relevant ideas, such as attitude toward collegiality in the Church. The purpose is to understand more fully who the lay ministers are, and, as much as possible, what is their self-understanding of themselves as ministers.^ To theologically critique this development, the Scriptural record and the documents of Vatican II are examined, and key themes regarding ministry presented. The work of Scripture scholars and other theologians and the documents of Vatican II, including commentaries are used.^ The procedure then is to place these diverse sources of theological information, contemporary experience, Scripture and the teaching of the Church at the Council, in dialogue.^ This dialogue concludes that the present development in the Church, of lay persons who are ministers, is in continuity with the Church's tradition. It affirms a diversity of ministers and ministries in the New Testament, and today; it emphasizes the centrality of diakonia and sees that as a note in the self-report of the lay ministers studied. It finds evidence of collegiality, and of both charism and order, in both the New Testament and the present experience. However, in each of these areas, both cautions and areas for growth are suggested. Finally, it concludes that the phenomenon of lay ministries as studied here has its focus in the building up of the community; the complementary ministry of caring for society must be fostered by ecclesial ministers. ^

Subject Area

Clergy

Recommended Citation

FOX, ZENOBIA VALERIA, "A POST-VATICAN II PHENOMENON: LAY MINISTRIES: A CRITICAL THREE-DIMENSIONAL STUDY" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615691.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615691

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