Holiness of the Laity

Lay Christians: A People for Everyone

The philosopher Alici: "Even the lay Christians, and not just the pastors, must have the ordour of the sheep"

The philosopher Luigi Alici, former national Italian Catholic Action president, presented, at the end of April, a reflection on the presidencies of the A.C.I. under the title "A People for All" (see No. 6 of the Exhortation "Gaudete et Exultate"). "First of all, the communitarian character of salvation is reaffirmed, in view of welcoming the human person in the fullness of his/her identity, which is a relational, not individualistic or undifferentiated, identity; one does not reache salvation alone." Moreover, the people "are not an amorphous entity in which personal identity is drowned: this is a populist deformation. On the contrary, the people is an articulated human community, made up of a complex weaving of interpersonal relationships that must be recognized and promoted according to a plurality of participatory forms." Pope Francis' exhortation shows the "dynamic character of the popular dimension. Nations are born, grow, grow old, can get sick, die or heal just as people do. In short, the popular dimension belongs to the DNA of man, provided that it is understood in an open, dynamic, and universally inclusive way. We must make our own Pope Francis’ invitation not to speak of the people, but to live a generous immersion in its fragile and vital fabric, where even lay Christians, and not just pastors, must have the odour of the sheep."

Professor Alici then retraced the theme of the "people" on a historical and cultural level, through the currents of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, individualism, and Marxist collectivism, up to today's European Community, which sees us at the crossroads, as believers and citizens, between an anonymous society, at the limit of the impersonal, which preaches tolerance and lives with indifference, or a closed community, on the verge of populism, that preaches identity while practicing intolerance." The philosopher's judgment is severe: "Two models that we sometimes opportunistically mix, to the point of being jealously individualistic in the private sphere and fiercely moralistic in the public sphere."



16 May 2018