In this short commentary, Bishop Barron challenges some of the popular assumptions about the role of the laity. Referencing extensively the Vatican II documents, he brings clarity and insight into the complementary roles of priesthood and laity.

He addresses two questions put to him during the visit of Pope Francis to the USA in 2015 by commentators.

  1. Bishop isn’t it just a matter of simple justice – I mean why can’t women be priests? Let’s face it, men are management and the women do all the grunt work in the church and all the bishops are Republicans and all the nuns are Democrats.
  2.  Isn’t it kind of funny with the Synod on the Family coming up that people without families are the ones who are making all the rules for our families? What do the priests and bishops who were celibate know about family life?

Here are a few excerpts from his answers.

“We get hung up on the issue of power and priesthood as though the priesthood is the focus of power. … Go back to the great teaching of Vatican II on the universal call to holiness and the role of the laity in the church…. The role the laity is to sanctify the world having been sanctified by the priests who through the sacraments, through preaching and so on, sanctify them. Now their job as great Catholic teachers and lawyers and physicians and writers and commentators and politicians and so on; their job now is to sanctify the social order, to sanctify the world. That’s where the power of the laity lies.”
“I deny the major premise of your observation that priests are not family men. …This ring which I got when I was ordained a bishop, is a wedding ring that binds me to my people. In fact we’re explicitly told in in the manual for of bishops that we should never take this ring off, in the same way a devoted husband wouldn’t take off his wedding ring. It’s a sign that I am a family man, that I am married and I have children. I have spiritual children.”