Thousands of lay people are emerging in churches across the country at the same time the number of Catholic priests is falling because faith is growing in popularity, authors Michael Novak and William Simon told Newsmax.
It’s a new and promising new development in the history of Catholicism, Novak said.
“They’re filling a vacuum,” he said. “They’re taking over more and more of the administrative duties in the parishes, freeing up the priests for their sacramental duties.”
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Simon attributed the rise in lay people to fervor among the faithful.
“People may say, ‘Let’s keep religion out of the public square, let’s have an official policy,’ ” he told Newsmax. “But they can’t keep the people down. They’re emerging because they feel filled with an energy. The fact is that they want to observe their faith.”
Both men wrote the book “Living the Call: An Introduction to the Lay Vocation.”
When asked what role lay people play in the economy, Simon said those who have taken up employment in religious institutions are no different than workers in small businesses, which he described as the economic engines of America.
“In our book, ‘Living the Call,’ what we talk about are people that are living their everyday lives,” he said. “They’re balancing all the things they do.”
As the celebration of faith grows among the public, it’s become more important in politics, the authors told Newsmax.
“I think that faith has been an important part of American history, literally since its founding,” Simon said. “Whether it be in presidential campaigns, whether it be in other campaigns, whether it be virtually in every area of life, someone’s faith is normally a very integral part of what they do.
“The First Amendment in very clear,” he continued. “There’s a freedom of exercise.”
Added Novak: “Look at our inaugurals of presidents. If that isn’t a religious service, I don’t know what is. You can’t have a political festival without talking about the people, and the people are the most religious in the world.”
When asked what role government should play in spiritual and moral decisions facing Americans, Novak said, “There are some activities that clearly are banned, punishable, murder, robbery, rape.”
“That’s what the argument over abortion is about,” he told Newsmax. “It’s an argument about whether abortion is an act of violence against the child in the womb that’s destined to become a human being unless stopped, and people have radically different views about that.”
There are more than 2 billion Christians in the world – two out of every six people – and every one out of six is Catholic, Simon said.
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