FROM THE CODE OF CANON LAW
ON THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF THE
LAY MEMBERS OF CHRIST'S FAITHFUL
Can. 224 Lay members of Christ's
faithful have the duties and rights enumerated in the canons of this
title, in addition to those duties and rights which are common to all
Christ's faithful and those stated in other canons.
Can. 225 §1 Since lay
people, like all Christ's faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by
baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and
they have the right, whether as individuals or in associations, to
strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and
accepted by all people throughout the world. This obligation is all the
more insistent in circumstances in which only through them are people
able to hear the Gospel and to know Christ.
§2 They have also,
according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate
and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel.
In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising
secular functions, they are to give witness to Christ.
Can. 226 §1 Those who are
married are bound by the special obligation, in accordance with their
own vocation, to strive for the building up of the people of God
through their marriage and family.
§2 Because they gave life
to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the
right to educate them. It is therefore primarily the responsibility of
Christian parents to ensure the Christian education of their children
in accordance with the teaching of the Church.
Can. 227 To lay members of Christ's
faithful belongs the right to have acknowledged as theirs that freedom
in secular affairs which is common to all citizens. In using this
freedom, however, they are to ensure that their actions are permeated
with the spirit of the gospel, and they are to heed the teaching of the
Church proposed by the magisterium, but they must be on guard, in
questions of opinion, against proposing their own view as the teaching
of the Church.
Can. 228 §1 Lay people who
are found to be suitable are capable of being admitted by the sacred
Pastors to those ecclesiastical offices and functions which, in
accordance with the provisions of law, they can discharge.
§2 Lay people who are
outstanding in the requisite knowledge, prudence and integrity, are
capable of being experts or advisors, even in councils in accordance
with the law, in order to provide assistance to the Pastors of the
Can. 229 §1 Lay people have
the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching
which is appropriate to each one's capacity and condition, so that they
may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if
necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the
exercise of the apostolate.
§2 They also have the right
to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences, which is
taught in ecclesiastical universities or faculties or in institutes of
religious sciences, attending lectures there and acquiring academic
§3 Likewise, assuming that
the provisions concerning the requisite suitability have been observed,
they are capable of receiving from the lawful ecclesiastical authority
a mandate to teach the sacred sciences.
Can. 230 §1 Lay men whose
age and talents meet the requirements prescribed by decree of the
Episcopal Conference, can be given the stable ministry of lector and of
acolyte, through the prescribed liturgical rite. This conferral of
ministry does not, however, give them a right to sustenance or
remuneration from the Church.
§2 Lay people can receive a
temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions.
Likewise, all lay people can exercise the roles of commentator, cantor
or other such, in accordance with the law.
§3 Where the needs of the
Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though
they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their
functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over
liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in
accordance with the provisions of the law.
Can. 231 §1 Lay people who
are pledged to the special service of the Church, whether permanently
or for a time, have a duty to acquire the appropriate formation which
their role demands, so that they may conscientiously, earnestly and
diligently fulfil this role.
§2 Without prejudice to the
provisions of Can 230 §1, they have the right to a worthy
remuneration befitting their condition, whereby, with due regard also
to the provisions of the civil law, they can becomingly provide for
their own needs and the needs of their families. Likewise, they have
the right to have their insurance, social security and medical benefits