.- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, said last week that the laity should develop a type of “apostolate of consciences” by openly bearing witness “to their own faith and translating their Christian-formed consciences into effective and visible ways of behaving.”
The cardinal made his comments during the Fourth Italian Ecclesial Congress, which took place in the city of Verona.
Cardinal Ruini said the missionary witness of the laity can be understood in two ways.
The first mission of the laity is to imbue society with a Christian spirit and engage in social life responsibly and in fidelity to the teachings of the Church, “especially with regards to ethical and anthropological issues,” he explained.
The second way refers to the challenge of witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “not only in ecclesial settings but also in the many areas of daily life,” Cardinal Ruini continued. By helping others to form their consciences, the laity can help each person “to rediscover the look of faith and keep their consciences alert.”
Cardinal Ruini said witnessing to the faith in this way is “decisive for the future of Christianity and in particular for keeping alive the ‘popular’ characteristic of Italian Catholicism.”