Turning up the volume
The Assistant Editor
Authority and lay priesthood
'When lay men and women enter the sanctuary and stand around the altar and at the ambo, they are proclaiming their partnership in the action of evangelisation.' John Morrill is both Professor of British and Irish History at Cambridge University and a permanent deacon of the Diocese of East Anglia. Here, writing as a historian rather than as a theologian, he explores a perennial tension within the Church about the nature and extent of clerical and lay authority.
Lay witness: from the altar to the world
'The commitment (of active lay people in church) is expressed primarily around the altar and within the Church, rather than in the secular world.' So says Annette Barker, the Director of Education for Parish Service, an independent lay course under the auspices of the Archdioceses of Westminster and Southwark. She argues here that 'a deeper understanding of what is involved in lay witness can be achieved if formation takes place. Then lay participation can move beyond the private sphere of the individual or the church community at the altar, to the wider world.'
A free press for a free people
How can the Church best meet the 'democratic deficit' in its organisation? Veteran Catholic journalist Clifford Longley offers insights from the point of view of the laity, the media and the Church's authorities, bringing them together for the benefit of all.
Canon law and the future of the laity
Robert Ombres OP
How do the lives of the Church contribute towards 'maximising the role of the God-given experience and expertise of the laity in the Church and making the lay contribution visible and dignified'? Robert Ombres, who teaches canon law and theology at Blackfriars, Oxford, unpacks the Code of Canon Law and shows how far it provides for the flourishing of lay people's priestly, kingly and prophetic roles.
The laity's voice: more whisper than roar
How can a priest encourage lay parishioners to express themselves when he is met with 'dynamic apathy'? Mark Langham, a priest in an inner-London parish, shares his frustrations - and the lessons he learnt - in attempting to hear the true voice of the laity.
The lot of the lay pastoral assistant
Bridget Durrant Returning to employment after her children were well established in school life involved Bridget Durrant in taking on paid pastoral work part time for her parish. How did this come about, and how do priest, parish and lay pastoral assistant work together for the good of all?
Preaching and teaching the Word
Anne Dixon and Nicky Stevens
Anne Dixon and Nicky Stevens are advisers for adult formation, RCIA and catechesis in the Archdiocese of Southwark. Here they offer reflections on the lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday and the Sundays of March.
Old Testament Chronicle
Bernard Robinson, who until his recent retirement taught Scripture at Ushaw College, Durham, comments on another batch of recent books on the Old Testament.
Help at the committal
After observing nearly two thousand funeral services over a two-and-a-half year period, one of the organists at Beckenham Cemetery and Crematorium in Kent offers a detailed view of the committal and some suggestions to ease some of the stress so often experienced at this part of the proceedings.
POSTSCRIPT: The double-edged sword
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