“The laity are called to take up leadership in the Church to defend Christian identity in society, to announce the Good News of the Gospel to the poor and work for development in keeping with the Social Doctrine of the Church,” he stated according to a Fides report.
The archbishop, who is the president of the Conference of Indian Catholic Bishops of Latin Rite, said it is important to help lay Catholics realize that they have great relevance in the pastoral activity of the Church and its mission to carry Christian values to the fields of politics, media, social action and education in India.
In particular, the archbishop underlined, lay people are called to play a major role is the campaign to abolish unjust “anti-conversion” laws in India.
The prelate was speaking at a meeting of the Indian Bishops Conference. His comments were in reaction to a reported fear and a deliberate attempt among clergy to exclude lay people from pastoral work.
The archbishop called for more collaboration between clergy and lay people, noting that lay Catholics are present in many areas where clergy and religious are denied access. He said the laity have a great potential for evangelizing; he also stressed the special contribution offered by Catholic women.
It is “misconception to think that the laity are a passive flock,” he said.
.- Catholic lay people must be encouraged to speak about Christ and to offer living witness of the faith in the family and in the workplace, said Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Mumbai.