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LAITY IN THE CHURCH - page 18 / 21





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In the Church of Antioch we see the strength of the unity between clergy and laity.  This is our tradition and our iden­tity.  This is why we should understand it, assimilate it, and make it alive -- then and only then can we transmit it to others.

As long as we keep belaboring issues such as how we should celebrate the Liturgy, in Arabic, Syriac, or English, and as long as we keep saying, "If the next bishop is not American, or Leba­nese, or Australian, it will be detrimental to our Maronite Church," we will not get anywhere.  The Maronite laity can help contribute toward unity by returning to the basics and asking, "WHY should these things be done," rather than HOW.  In other words, we should be busy in developing "what our Baptism made us," not "how can we look good."

In sum, what is the witness of faith that the lay person can offer?  In the conciliar texts, we read perhaps with a certain uneasiness words such as "you should witness...," "Evangeli­zation," "Christianization."  We may feel that the texts contain a certain lack of unity.  For instance, in Gaudium et Spes (the Pastoral Constitution On the Church in the Modern World), we read that "lay­men are not only bound to penetrate the world with a Christian Spirit, they are also called...."(#43).  Meanwhile, the Decree on the Aposto­late of the Laity seems to add something of

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