In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.[1][2]

A layperson (also layman or laywoman) is a person who is not qualified in a given profession and/or does not have specific knowledge of a certain subject.

In Christian cultures, the term lay priest was sometimes used in the past to refer to a secular priest, a diocesan priest who is not a member of a religious institute. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the term "Lay Priesthood" to emphasise that local congregational leaders are unpaid. Terms such as lay priest, lay clergy and lay nun were also once used in Buddhist cultures to indicate ordained persons who continued to live in the wider community instead of retiring to a monastery.


The word lay (part of layperson, etc.) derives from the Anglo-French lai, from Late Latin laicus, from the Greek λαϊκός, laikos, of the people, from λαός, laos, the people at large.[2]

The word laity means "common people" and comes from the Greek λαϊκός (laikos), meaning "of the people".

Synonyms for layperson include: parishioner, believer, dilettante, follower, member, neophyte, novice, outsider, proselyte, recruit, secular, laic, layman, nonprofessional.[3]

Everyday context

The phrase "layman's terms"[4] is often used to refer to terms that apply to the everyday person, as can the term "layman" or "layperson" itself.[5] In English law, the phrase "the man on the Clapham omnibus" is sometimes used to describe a hypothetical person who is reasonably educated and intelligent but has no special expertise in a specific business or profession.

Christian laity

In the Catholic and the Anglican churches, anyone who is not ordained as a deacon, priest, or bishop is referred to as a layman or a laywoman.

In many Catholic dioceses, due in part to the lack of ordained clergy, lay ecclesial ministers serve parishes and in the diocese as pastoral leaders, sometimes as de facto pastor in the absence of an ordained priest.

Catholic Church

The Second Vatican Council [1962–1965] devoted its decree on the apostolate of the laity Apostolicam actuositatem[6] and chapter IV of its dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium to the laity in a sense narrower than that which is normal in the Catholic Church. The normal definition of laity is that given in the Code of Canon Law:

By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in the Church sacred ministers who in law are also called clerics; the other members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.

There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who, through the profession of the evangelical counsels by means of vows or other sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church; although their state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness.[7]

The narrower sense in which the Second Vatican Council gave instruction concerning the laity is as follows:

The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.[8]

In this narrower sense, the Council taught that the laity's specific character is secularity: they are Christians who live the life of Christ in the world. Their role is to sanctify the created world by directing it to become more Christian in its structures and systems: "the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God".[8] The laity are full members of the Church, fully share in Church's purpose of sanctification, of "inner union of men with God",[9] acting with freedom and personal responsibility and not as mere agents of the hierarchy. Due to their baptism, they are members of God's family, the Church, and they grow in intimate union with God, "in" and "by means" of the world. It is not a matter of departing from the world as the monks and the nuns do that they sanctify themselves; it is precisely through the material world sanctified by the coming of the God made flesh, i.e. made material, that they reach God. Doctors, mothers of a family, farmers, bank tellers, drivers, by doing their jobs in the world with a Christian spirit are already extending the Kingdom of God. According to the repeated statements of Popes and lay Catholic leaders, the laity should say "we are the Church," in the same way that the saints said that "Christ lives in me."[10]

Lay involvement takes diverse forms, including participation in the life of the parish, confraternities, lay apostolates, secular institutes, and lay ecclesial movements. There are also lay ecclesiastical ministries, and where there is a priest shortage, lay people have to take on some functions previously performed by priests.

Vatican II afterwards

In December 1977, “A Chicago Declaration of Christian Concern” was published. The declaration looked back a decade to the Vatican Council II with appreciation for its “compelling vision of lay Christians in society.” As the Declaration interpreted it, the Council viewed the laity's “special vocation” as being the “leaven” for the “sanctification of the world” in their “secular professions and occupations.” However, lamented the Declaration, the Council's vision has “all but vanished” from the church.

The Declaration was signed by forty-seven clergy, religious, and laity that included men and women in many occupations, and it served as the charter for the National Center for the Laity (NCL).[11] The NCL helps lay Catholics respond to their call to change the world through their daily activities and regular responsibilities,[12] and it publishes a monthly online newsletter Initiatives: In Support of Christians in the World.[13]

Initiatives: In Support of Christians in the World (January 2015) rejoiced that “50 Years since Vatican II” the increased lay ministry in parishes has “brought fresh vitality.” However, the newsletter lamented “the neglect of formation for the lay apostolate in the world.” Pope Francis is quoted as confirming this lament. Priests “tends to clericalize the laity” and view their ministry as only “within the Church,” discounting their “workaday” ministry.[14]


The Orthodox Church in America’s web site has eleven articles regarding its Theology of Lay Ministries.[15] The term “lay ministries” refers to all the “people of God” (from the Greek laos tou Theou) including the ordained.[16] Thus, every Christian has a vocation to ministry. A minority are called to ecclesiastical ministries. The majority are called to serve God and their fellow human beings in some way in the “everyday secular world.”[17]

The Orthodox Church's assertion that all Christians are “appointed” as ministers is based on Scripture (1 Peter 2:9[18]) and the Church Fathers. The ministry of the laity complements the ministry of the priest in their daily lives in their families, their communities, their work: “in whatever circumstances they find themselves.” The most important “lay ministry” can be done anonymously. What one's ministry is depends on the abilities of the person: “landscaping, carpentry, writing, counseling, child care, sports, music, teaching, or just being a good listener.”[19]

The relation within the laity as the “people of God” between those who are ordained priests and those not ordained is one of cooperation in three areas: (1) in the Liturgy, (2) Church administration, and (3) service (ministry) to others.[20][21]

In spite of the church's teaching about the ministry of the laity in the world, the church gives more recognition to ministry within the institutional church. The “daily ministry” of the laity in their work, in their homes, and in their recreation remains hidden. Priests may intend to support their parishioners’ daily ministry, but their priority tends to be recruiting volunteers for the church's programs.[22]



Anyone who is not a bishop, priest, or deacon in the Church.[23] In the Anglican tradition, all baptized persons are expected to minister in Christ's name. The orders of ministry are thus laypersons, deacons, priests, and bishops.[24]

The ministry of the laity is "to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church".[25] Much of the ministry of the laity thus takes place outside official church structures in homes, workplaces, schools, and elsewhere. It is “through their continuous participation in political, economic, educational, and kinship institutions” that the laity “powerfully influence the character of these instututions.”[26]

Laymen also play important roles in the structures of the church. There are elected lay representatives on the various governing bodies of churches in the Anglican communion. In the Church of England, these governing bodies range from a local Parochial Church Council, through Deanery Synods and Diocesan Synods. At the topmost level, the General Synod includes a house of Laity. Likewise, in the Episcopal Church in the USA, the General Convention includes four lay persons from each diocese in the House of Deputies, and each diocesan convention includes lay delegates from the parishes.[27] On the local parish level, lay persons are elected to a church council called a vestry which manages church finances and elects the parish rector.

Parish musicians, bookkeepers, administrative assistants, sextons, sacristans, etc., are all roles normally filled by lay persons. At higher levels, diocesan and national offices rely on lay persons in many important areas of responsibility. Often specialized ministries as campus ministers, youth ministers, or hospital chaplains are performed by lay persons.

Lay persons serve in worship services in a number of important positions, including vergers, acolytes, lectors, intercessors, ushers. Acolytes include torch bearers, crucifers, thurifers, and boat bearers. Lectors read the lessons from the Bible appointed for the day (except for the Gospel reading, which is read by a Deacon), and may also lead the Prayers of the People.

Some specialized lay ministries require special licensing by the bishop: the ministries which require a license vary from province to province. In the Episcopal Church, there are six specialized lay ministries requiring a license: Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, and Catechist.[28]


A very early tradition of preaching in the Wesleyan / Methodist churches was for a lay preacher to be appointed to lead services of worship and preach in a group (called a 'circuit') of meeting places or churches. The lay preacher walked or rode on horseback in a prescribed circuit of the preaching places according to an agreed pattern and timing, and people came to the meetings. After the appointment of ministers and pastors, this lay preaching tradition continued with local preachers being appointed by individual churches, and in turn approved and invited by nearby churches, as an adjunct to the minister or during their planned absences.[29]

The United Methodist Church recognizes two types of lay ministries. One is a “Lay Servant Ministry” of (a) assisting or leading local church meetings and worship or of (b) serving as lay missioners to begin new work within the church that requires special training.[30] The other type is the "Ministry of the Laity" in their daily lives.[31]

In addition to being appointed by members of their local churches, Local and Certified Lay Speakers of the United Methodist Church (more commonly in the United States) attend a series of training sessions. These training sessions prepare the individual to become a leader within the church.[32] All individuals who are full members of the church are laity, but some go on to become Lay Speakers. Some preachers get their start as Lay Speakers.[33]

In the Uniting Church in Australia, that was constituted in part from the Methodist Church, persons can be appointed:

  • by the congregation as a Lay Preacher; and/or
  • by the regional Presbytery to conduct Communion.

A well-known lay preacher was the late King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga.

The comparable term in the Anglican and Episcopal churches is Lay Reader.

The Methodist Book of Discipline describes the "Ministry of the Laity" in their daily lives as being “Christ-like examples of everyday living” and “sharing their own faith experiences.”[34]

In the Methodist Church of Great Britain, a Worship Leader is a trained lay person appointed by a Church Council to "take a leading and significant role in the conduct of worship within the life of a Local Church".[35]


Presbyterians do not use the term "lay". Thus the Church of Scotland has "Readers", men and women set apart by presbyteries to conduct public worship. This arises out of the belief in the priesthood of all believers. Ministers are officially 'teaching elders' alongside the 'ruling elders' of the Kirk Session and have equivalent status, regardless of any other office. In the Church of Scotland, as the Established church in Scotland, this gives ruling elders in congregations the same status as Queen's chaplains, professors of theology and other highly qualified ministers. All are humble servants of the people in the congregation and parish. Ministers are simply men and women whose gift is for their role in teaching and possibly pastoral work. They are thus selected for advanced theological education. All elders (teaching and ruling) in meetings of Session, Presbytery, or Assembly are subject to the Moderator, who may or may not be a minister but is always an elder.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Many leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are lay ministers. Essentially all male members above the age of 12 who are judged by church leaders to be in good standing are ordained to an office of the priesthood and hold various positions in the church. Most church positions at the local level are unpaid, but the LDS church helps with the living expenses of top church leaders and some others (e.g. mission presidents). Many top church leaders serve in these positions after long secular careers. With the exception of members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the First Quorum of the Seventy who are at the top of the church hierarchy, and patriarchs, all leadership positions are temporary.

Buddhist lay persons

In Buddhism, a layperson is known as an upasaka (masc.) or upasika (fem.). Buddhist laypeople take refuge in the Triple Gem (the Buddha, his teaching, and his community of noble disciples) and accept the Five Precepts (or the Eight Precepts) as rules for conduct.[36][37] Laymen and laywomen are two of the "four assemblies" that comprise the Buddha's "Community of Disciples."

In Chinese Buddhism, there are usually laypersons, who are depicted wearing a black robe and sometimes a brown sash, denoting that they received the five precepts.

Faith at work

The movement to help laity apply their faith to daily life has been divided into three eras by David W. Miller in God at Work.[38]

  • The Social Gospel Era (c. 1890s—1945)
  • The Ministry of the Laity Era (c.1946—1985)
  • The Faith at Work Era (c. 1985—Present)

Social Gospel

The Social Gospel sought to reform society by the application of biblical principles. Its major proponents were all clergy: Washington Gladden, Charles Monroe Sheldon, and Walter Rauschenbusch. They were better in diagnosing society's ills than finding remedies.[39] The Social Gospel reached its peak just prior to World War I, a war that contradicted its optimism about Christianizing society.[40]

The Social Gospel was promulgated by the preaching, writing, and other efforts of clergy on behalf of the laity rather than by the laity themselves.[41] In the early 1930s, the Social Gospel was described as “a preacher's gospel. It has not been the church's gospel. The laity have little share in it." Many were not aware what their clergy believed.[42]

Most scholars hold that the Social Gospel movement peaked between 1900 and World War I. There is less agreement about when and why the decline happened.[43]

Ministry of the Laity

The Ministry of the Laity in daily life premise was stated by Howard Grimes [44] in his The Rebirth of the Laity. “Although it is not alone through our daily work that we exercise our call, there is a special sense in which we do so in that area, since so much of our lives are spent in our occupations as lawyer, doctor, manual laborer, skilled craftsmen, housewife, domestic servant, student, serviceman.”[45]

In 1988, Dean Reber of the Auburn Theological Seminary wrote a retrospective of the Ministry of the Laity era based on research and survey. His research participants were women and men in equal numbers, aged 20 to 60, from six denominations. Reber found that “all were really interested to link faith with their daily life and work.” However, in his survey, Reber found that little had been done in the six denominations to enable laity to make this link. He observed a “preoccupation with activities inside the church,” as well as a lack of literature and programs on the subject. For these reasons, attempts to link faith and daily life “fizzled out.”[46]

For Miller, “hindsight suggests that the institutional church and its leaders never fully embraced or understood lay ministry”. Therefore, they stopped promoting the “ministry of the laity” concept to their members.[47]

Faith at Work

Miller deems “Faith at Work” to be “a bona fide social movement and here to stay.”[48] Unlike earlier movements, business people (from evangelical and mainline Protestant denominations, Roman Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, and unaffiliated) initiated the faith at work movement and support it because they want to connect their work and their faith. Management training often includes a faith dimension.[49]

Examples of various kinds of faith at work initiatives follow:

  • The Theology of Work Project is an independent international organization that produces materials for "workplace Christians" to teach them what the Bible and the Christian faith can contribute to ordinary work.[50]
  • The National Center for the Laity (NCL) grew out of the 1977 “A Chicago Declaration of Christian Concern.”[11] It propagates the Second Vatican Council’s teaching about laity’s vocation as “daily work.”[51] The NCL's primary voice is Initiatives: In Support of Christians in the World. In its January 2015 issue, Initiatives listed worldwide initiatives taken by laity in connecting faith and work.[14]
  • C12 Group, offers training laced with Christian principles for CEO/Owners by monthly all-day meetings led by former CEOs. In its name, “C” stands for Christ, “12" stands for its ideal training group size. Group membership costs up to $1,450 per month. Some 1,500 Christian CEO/Owners belong to C12.[52]
  • The Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative develops resources regarding ethics and vocation at work. It disseminates its learnings by programs for students, academics, and leaders in the marketplace.[53]
  • The Industrial Christian Fellowship helps its “members and others to live out their faith at their work” by research and publications.[54]
  • The Christian Association of Business Executives (CABE) “exists to Inform, Inspire and Influence Christian business people from all church backgrounds and all types of business, as they seek to live out their faith day to day.”[55]

Workplace as a mission field

Some faith at work initiatives focus not on work itself but on the workplace as a “mission field.” In this “business as missions” concept, faith at work means “reaching people for Christ in the marketplace,” people that career missionaries could not reach.[56][57] For example, “Member Mission “teaches the baptized to see themselves as missionaries out in the world in each of their daily places”[58]

See also


  1. ^ Laity at the Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. ^ a b "lay person — definition of lay person by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  3. ^ "Layperson synonyms, Layperson antonyms". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. ^ Autism & Asperger's Syndrome in Layman's Terms. Your Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Pdd-Nos and Other Autism Spectrum Disorders. Cranendonck Coaching. ISBN 9789789079391.
  5. ^ Baum, Caroline (8 September 2011). "A Layman's Guide to the President's Jobs Speech: Caroline Baum". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  6. ^ ''Apostolicam actuositatem''. Retrieved on 2013-12-15.
  7. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 207. Retrieved on 2013-12-15.
  8. ^ a b ''Lumen gentium'', 31. Retrieved on 2013-12-15.
  9. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 775.
  10. ^ "You are being redirected..."
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ "Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore".
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ "Accessed January 4, 2015".
  16. ^ "Parish Ministry Resources - Ministry of People".
  17. ^ "Parish Ministry Resources - Finding One's Vocation in Life".
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Parish Ministry Resources - An Orthodox Vision of Lay Ministries".
  20. ^ "Parish Ministry Resources - Lay Ministry - A Shared Responsibility".
  21. ^ "the definition of ministry".
  22. ^ "Parish Ministry Resources - Ministry of Laity in Daily Life".
  23. ^ "Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors, "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians" (Church Publishing Incorporated, 2000), s.v. "Lay Order." Online at".
  24. ^ "The Book of Common Prayer according to the use of The Episcopal Church, 1979 edition, 855. Online at" (PDF).
  25. ^ The Book of Common Prayer according to the use of The Episcopal Church, 1979 edition 855. Online at
  26. ^ Gerhard Lenski, The Religious Factor: A Sociological Study of Religion’s Impact on Politics, Economics, and Family Life (Anchor Books, 1963, rev. ed.), Section on “Religions Impact on Secular Institutions,” 342-344.
  27. ^ "Governance Documents of the Church - The Archives of the Episcopal Church" (PDF).
  28. ^ Canon 4, Title III, Constitution & Canons Together with the Rules of Order for the Government of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Adopted and Revised in General Convention, 2006
  29. ^ Communications, United Methodist. "Roots (1736–1816) – The United Methodist Church". The United Methodist Church.
  30. ^ “Lay Servant Ministry,” Part VI, Ch 1, Sec XI, ¶¶ 266-271 of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2012 (The United Methodist Publishing House, 2012). Online at
  31. ^ “The Ministry of All Christians,” Part IV, Sec II, ¶ 127, “The Ministry of the Laity,” 95 of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2012 (The United Methodist Publishing House, 2012). Online at
  32. ^ ""Certified Lay Minister" at Accessed January 1, 2015".
  33. ^ User, Super. "Methodist e-Academy - Training".
  34. ^ “The Ministry of All Christians,” Part IV, Sec II, ¶ 127, “The Ministry of the Laity,” 95 of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2012 (The United Methodist Publishing House, 2012). Online at
  35. ^ Constutitional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church, Book III: Standing Orders, section 68: Worship Leaders
  36. ^ 7. The Five Precepts.
  37. ^ Five Precepts Dictionary | Global Oneness Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-12-15.
  38. ^ Donald W. Miller, God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement (Oxford, 2006), Contents.
  39. ^ Ronald Cedric White, Charles Howard Hopkins, The Social Gospel: Religion and Reform in Changing America (Temple University, 1976). xviii.
  40. ^ "WorldViewEyes -> strauss-docs".
  41. ^ "Religious Revival: The "Social Gospel" []".
  42. ^ Charles C. Morrison The Social Gospel and The Christian Cultus, (Harper & Brothers, 1933), 42.
  43. ^ Boundless. “The Social Gospel.” Boundless U.S. History. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2015 from
  44. ^ "Lewis Howard Grimes". Biola University.
  45. ^ Howard Grimes, The Rebirth of the Laity (Abingdon, 1962), 95.
  46. ^ Robert E. Reber, “Vocation and Vision: a New Look at the Ministry of the Laity” in Religious Education: the official journal of the Religious Education Association, 83:3, 1988. 402-411.
  47. ^ Donald W. Miller, God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement (Oxford University Press, USA, 2006), 47.
  48. ^ results, search (14 December 2006). "God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement". Oxford University Press – via Amazon.
  49. ^ Laura Nash and Scott McLennan, Church on Sunday, Work on Monday (Jossey-Bass, 2001), xxi-xxiv.
  50. ^ Work, Theology of. "About - Theology of Work".
  51. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-01-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  52. ^ "Home - C12 Group".
  53. ^ "Accessed January 17, 2015".
  54. ^ "Accessed December 16, 2015".
  55. ^ "Home - Christian Association of Business Executives". Christian Association of Business Executives.
  56. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2015-01-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  57. ^ "Businessmen view marketplace as mission field - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary".
  58. ^ "About Member Mission". 6 May 2013.

Further reading

Roman Catholic Theology of the Laity

  • Burkhart, Ernst and López Díaz, Javier (2010, 2011, 2013), Vida cotidiana y santidad en la enseñanza de san Josemaría, 3 vols., Madrid: Rialp
  • Congar, Yves Marie-Joseph (1957), Lay people in the Church: a study for a theology of laity, Westminster: Christian Classics, ISBN 978-0870611148
  • Daniélou, Jean Guenolé-Marie (1955), Sainteté et action temporelle (in French), Paris-Tournai: Desclée
  • Philips, G. (1954), Le rôle du laïcat dans l'Église (in French), Paris-Tournai
  • Spiazzi, Raimondo (1951), La Missione dei Laici (in Italian), Rome
  • Thils, G. (1946), Théologie des réalités terrestres, Paris.

External links

All India Catholic Union

The All India Catholic Union (AICU) represents almost 16 million Catholics in India: followers of the Latin Rite, the Syro Malabar Catholics and the Syro Malankara Catholics.

It has 120 diocese and district units.

The AICU was established in 1930.

Benemerenti medal

The Benemerenti Medal is an honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church. Originally established as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army, the medal was later extended to the clergy and the laity for service to the church.

Catholic laity

Catholic laity are the ordinary members of the Catholic Church who are neither clergy nor recipients of Holy Orders or vowed to life in a religious order or congregation.

The laity forms the majority of the estimated over one billion Catholics in the world.Whereas the ministry notably sanctifies the laity, the mission of the laity, according to the Second Vatican Council, is to "sanctify the world".

The Catholic Church is served by the universal jurisdiction of the Holy See, headed by the Pope, and administered by the Roman Curia, while locally served by diocesan bishops. The Pope and the bishops in full communion with him are known collectively as the Catholic hierarchy, and are responsible for the supervision, management, and pastoral care of all members the Catholic Church, including clergy, religious, and laity. But since the Second Vatican Council of Bishops (1962-1965) the laity have emerged as a greater source of leadership in various aspects of the church's life; and its teaching on their equal call to holiness has led to greater recognition of their role in the church.


Churchmanship (or churchpersonship; or tradition in most official contexts) is a way of talking about and labelling different tendencies, parties, or schools of thought within the Church of England and the sister churches of the Anglican Communion.

The term is derived from the older noun churchman, which originally meant an ecclesiastic or clergyman but sometime before 1677 was extended to people who were strong supporters of the Church of England, and was by the 19th century used to distinguish between Anglicans and Dissenters. The word "churchmanship" itself was first used in 1680 to refer to the attitude of these supporters but later acquired its modern meaning. While many Anglicans are content to label their own churchmanship, not all Anglicans would feel happy to be described as anything but "Anglican" (Neill:398). In official contexts the gender-neutral term "tradition" is preferred.

"High" and "Low", the oldest labels, date from the late 17th century and originally described opposing political attitudes to the relation between the Church of England and the civil power. Their meaning shifted as historical settings changed and towards the end of the 19th century they were being used to describe different views on the ceremonies to be used in worship. Shortly after the introduction of the "High/Low" distinction, a section of the "Low" Church was nicknamed Latitudinarian because of its relative indifference to doctrinal definition. In the 19th century, this group gave birth to the Broad Church which in its turn produced the "Modernist" movement of the first half of the 20th century. Today, the "parties" are usually thought of as Anglo-Catholics, evangelical Anglicans, and Liberals; and, with the exception of "High Church", the remaining terms are mainly used to refer to past history. The precise shades of meaning of any term vary from user to user and mixed descriptions such as liberal-catholic are found. Today "Broad Church" may be used with a different sense to the historical one mentioned above and used to identify Anglicans who are neither markedly high, nor low/evangelical nor liberal (Hylson-Smith:340).

It is an Anglican commonplace to say that authority in the church has three sources: Scripture, Reason, and Tradition. In general, the Low churchman and Evangelical tend to put more emphasis on Scripture, the Broad churchman and Liberal on reason, and the High churchman and Anglo-catholic on tradition (Holmes III:11; Carey:14-16). The emphasis on "parties" and differences is necessary but in itself gives an incomplete picture. Cyril Garbett (later Archbishop of York) wrote of his coming to the Diocese of Southwark:

I found the different parties strongly represented with their own organizations and federations... But where there was true reverence and devotion I never felt any difficulty in worshipping and preaching in an Anglo-Catholic church in the morning and in an Evangelical church in the evening"... and when there was a call for united action... the clergy and laity without distinction of party were ready to join in prayer, work and sacrifice.

and William Gibson commented that

the historical attention given to the fleeting moments of controversy in the eighteenth century has masked the widespread and profound commitment to peace and tranquility among both the clergy and the laity.... High Church and Low Church were not exclusive categories of though and churchmanship. They were blurred and broad streams within Anglicanism that often merged, overlapped and coincided.

Sometimes the concept of churchmanship has been extended to other denominations. In Lutheran churches it can be liberal Protestant, pietist, confessional Lutheran, or evangelical Catholic.


A dicastery (from Greek δικαστήριον, law-court, from δικαστής, judge/juror) is a department of the Roman Curia, the administration of the Holy See through which the pope directs the Roman Catholic Church. The most recent comprehensive constitution of the church, Pastor bonus (1988), includes this definition:

By the word "dicasteries" are understood the Secretariat of State, Congregations, Tribunals, Councils and Offices, namely, the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life is a dicastery of the Roman Curia. Pope Francis announced its creation on 15 August 2016, effective 1 September 2016. It takes over the functions and responsibilities of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. It has responsibility "for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God's plan and for the protection and support of human life." The statutes governing this new body had been approved on 4 June 2016. A revised statue was published on 8 May 2018, effective 13 May. It added to its mission promoting "ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation"; specified two undersecretaries instead of two and no longer required organization into three divisions; and both developing "guidelines for training programs for engaged couples preparing for marriage, and for young married couples" and guiding the care of couples in unorthodox marital situations.As its first Prefect, Francis named Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Texas, whom Francis telephoned in May to propose his appointment before Farrell accepted it in June. He also appointed Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the soon to be abolished Pontifical Council for the Family, to head the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which are academic centers associated with the new dicastery. Pope Francis instructed Paglia that the institutes' work should be "ever more clearly inscribed within the horizon of mercy" and that "in theological study, a pastoral perspective and attention to the wounds of humanity should never be missing".Pope Francis had announced that he intended to establish the new dicastery and replace two existing pontifical councils at the Synod of Bishops on the Family on 22 October 2015. The Council of Cardinals that he formed in April 2013 to advise him on the reform of the Roman curia had discussed the idea extensively and recommended it following a study by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop emeritus of Milan.In 31 May 2017, Pope Francis named Alexandre Awi Mello the Dicastery's Secretary. On 7 November he appointed Gabriella Gambino Sub-Secretary of the section on life and Linda Ghisoni Sub-Secretary of the section on laity. Both academics and laywomen, they became the highest ranking in the Vatican.

Directory of International Associations of the Faithful

The Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, lists the international associations of the faithful in the Catholic Church that have been granted official recognition. It gives the official name, acronym, date of establishment, history, identity, organization, membership, works, publications, and website of the communities and movements.Recognition of similar national associations as Catholic is granted by the country's Episcopal Conference, and it is for the local bishop to grant recognition to local associations.The following is a list of the international associations that have received recognition, according to the Vatican website, which provides linked descriptions of each organization:

Adsis Communities (Adsis)

Amigonian Cooperators (A.Cs)

Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt (Schoenstatt Movement)

Bread of Life Community

Catholic Fraternity (CF)

Catholic Integrated Community (KIG)

Catholic International Education Office (OIEC)

Cenacolo Community

Chemin Neuf Community (CCN)

Christian Life Community (CVX)

Christian Life Movement (CLM)

Claire Amitié

"Comunità Domenico Tardini" Association

Conference of International Catholic Organisations (CICO)

Cooperators of Opus Dei

Couples for Christ (CFC)

Emmanuel Community

Encounters of Married Couples (Dialogues)

Encounters of Youth Promotion (EYP)

Fondacio. Christians for the World (Fondacio)

Foyers de Charité

Fraternity of Charles de Foucauld (FCF)

Fraternity of Communion and Liberation (CL)

Fraternity of St Thomas Aquinas groups (FASTA)

Heart’s Home

Heralds of the Gospel (EP)

Holy Family Association

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Mercy Association or Tuus Totus (CIM)

Institute for World Evangelisation (ICPE Mission)

Intercontinental Christian Fraternity of the Chronic Sick and Physically Disabled (FCIPMH)

International Alliance of Catholic Knights (IACK)

International Association of "Caterinati"

International Association of Charities (AIC)

International Association of Faith and Light

International Association of Missionaries of Political Charity

International Catholic Centre for Cooperation with UNESCO (CCIC)

International Catholic Centre of Geneva (ICCG)

International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS)

International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE)

International Catholic Committee for Gypsies (CCIT)

International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medical Social Assistants (CICIAMS)

International Catholic Conference of Guiding (ICCG)

International Catholic Conference of Scouting (ICCS)

International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA-Pax Romana)

International Catholic Rural Association (ICRA)

International Catholic Society for Girls (ACISJF)

International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC)

International Confederation of Professional Associations of Domestic Workers (IAG)

International Confederation of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP)

International Confederation of the Volunteers of Suffering Centers (International Confederation CVS)

International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW)

International Council of Catholic Men (FIHC-Unum Omnes)

International Federation of Catholic Associations of the Blind (FIDACA)

International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC)

International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements (FIMCAP)

International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists (FIPC)

International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU)

International Federation of L’Arche Communities (L'Arche International) (L'Arche International)

International Federation of Pueri Cantores (FIPC)

International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements (FIMARC)

International Forum of Catholic Action (IFCA)

International Independent Christian Youth (JICI)

International Kolping Society (IKS)

International Military Apostolate (AMI)

International Movement of Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus (MIAMSI)

International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC)

International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-Pax Romana)

International Movement of the Apostolate for Children (MIDADE)

International Union of Catholic Esperantists (IKUE)

International Union of Catholic Jurists (UIJC)

International Union of European Guides and Scouts - European scouting Federation (UIGSE-FSE)

International Young Catholic Students (IYCS)

Jesus Youth (JY)

Lay Claretian Movement (MSC)

Legion of Mary

Life Ascending International (VMI)

Light-Life Movement (RŚŻ)

"Living In" Spirituality Movement

Marianist Lay Communities (MLC)

Memores Domini Lay Association (Memores Domini)

Militia Christi (MJC)

Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.)

Missionary Community of Villaregia (CMV)

Missionary Contemplative Movement "P. de Foucauld"

Oasis Movement

"Pope John XXIII Community" Association

Prayer and Life Workshops (TOV)

"Pro Deo et Fratribus - Famiglia di Maria" Association (PDF-FM)

Promoting Group of the Movement for a Better World (PG of the MBW)

Regnum Christi Apostolic Movement

Salesian Cooperators Association (ACS)

Salesian Youth Movement (SYM)

Sanguis Christi Union (USC)

Sant'Egidio Community

Schoenstatt Women’s Apostolic Union

School of the Cross

Secular Missionary Carmel (CMS)

"Seguimi" Lay Group of Human-Christian Promotion


Shalom Catholic Community

Silent Workers of the Cross Association (SODC)

St Benedict Patron of Europe Association (ASBPE)

St Francis de Sales Association

Teams of Our Lady (END)

Teresian Apostolic Movement (TAM)

Teresian Association (T.A.)

Union of Catholic Apostolate (UAC)

Work of Mary (Focolare Movement)

Work of Nazareth (ODN)

Work of Saint John of Avila

Work of Saint Teresa

World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS)

World Confederation of the Past Pupils of Mary Help of Christians

World Federation of Nocturnal Adoration Societies

World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW)

World Organisation of Former Pupils of Catholic Education (OMAEC)

World Organisation of the Cursillo Movement (OMCC)

World Union of Catholic Teachers (WUCT)

World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO)

Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME)Although not yet included in the latest available edition of the Directory, the Neocatechumenal Way received its definitive approval from the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 11 May 2008.

Householder (Buddhism)

In English translations of Buddhist texts, householder denotes a variety of terms. Most broadly, it refers to any layperson, and most narrowly, to a wealthy and prestigious familial patriarch. In contemporary Buddhist communities, householder is often used synonymously with laity, or non-monastics.

The Buddhist notion of householder is often contrasted with that of wandering ascetics (Pali: Pāḷi: samaṇa; Sanskrit: śramaṇa) and monastics (bhikkhu and bhikkhuni), who would not live (for extended periods) in a normal house and who would pursue freedom from attachments to houses and families.

Upāsakas and upāsikās, also called śrāvakas and śrāvikās - are householders and other laypersons who take refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the teachings and the community) and practice the Five Precepts. In southeast Asian communities, lay disciples also give alms to monks on their daily rounds and observe weekly uposatha days. In Buddhist thought, the cultivation of ethical conduct and dāna or "almsgiving" will themselves refine consciousness to such a level that rebirth in one of the lower heavens is likely even if there is no further "Noble" Buddhist practice (connected with the Supramundane goal of Nibbana, "Unbinding"). This level of attainment is viewed as a proper aim for laypersons.In some traditional Buddhist societies, such as in Myanmar and Thailand, people transition between householder and monk and back to householder with regularity and celebration as in the practice of shinbyu among the Bamar people. One of the evolving features of Buddhism in the West is the increasing dissolution of the traditional distinction between monastics and laity.

For all the diversity of Buddhist practices in the West, general trends in the recent transformations of Buddhist practice ... can be identified. These include an erosion of the distinction between professional and lay Buddhists; a decentralization of doctrinal authority; a diminished role for Buddhist monastics; an increasing spirit of egalitarianism; greater leadership roles for women; greater social activism; and, in many cases, an increasing emphasis on the psychological, as opposed to the purely religious, nature of practice.

James Stafford

James Francis Stafford (born July 26, 1932) is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary from 2003 to 2009. He previously served as President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (1996–2003), Archbishop of Denver (1986–1996), Bishop of Memphis (1982–1986), and Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore (1976–1982). He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

Mario Aurelio Poli

Mario Aurelio Poli (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈma.ɾjo au̯.ˈɾe.ljo ˈ]; born 29 November 1947) is an Argentine cardinal of the Catholic Church. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since his installation on 20 April 2013, succeeding Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, who was elected as Pope Francis. He previously served as the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa in Argentina.

Formally charged with discrimination and fraud during April 2018, before the National Chamber of Criminal and Correctional Federal Appeals of the Federal Capital. See

Orani João Tempesta

Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., (Portuguese pronunciation: [oɾɐˈɲi] (SP) or [ɔɾɐ̃ˈɲi] (RJ) [ˈʒwɐ̃w tẽˈpɛʃtɐ] born on 23 June 1949) is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was appointed to that office by Pope Benedict XVI on 27 February 2009, and took possession of the see on 19 April 2009. He became a Cardinal in 2014.

Orthodox Christian Laity

The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) is an independently organized movement of Orthodox Christian laity and clergy who are "involved with Orthodox Renewal in the Americas." Today, the Orthodox Church shows signs of a growing complexity of problems and concerns that include internal stresses and external attacks of a secular society. It serves as an advocate for unity between clergy and laity and to inform the Orthodox faithful by providing awareness through its various educational ministries.

The organization's patron saints are Ss. Photini the Samaritan woman and Symeon the New Theologian.

Personal prelature

Personal prelature is a canonical structure of the Catholic Church which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. The first personal prelature is Opus Dei. Personal prelatures, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, are under the governance of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. These three types of ecclesiastical structures are composed of lay people served by their own secular clergy and prelate. Unlike dioceses which cover territories, personal prelatures—like military ordinariates—take charge of persons as regards some objectives regardless of where they live.

Pontifical Council for the Family

The Pontifical Council for the Family was part of the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church from 1981 to 2016. It was established by Pope John Paul II on 9 May 1981 with his motu proprio Familia a Deo Instituta, replacing the Committee for the Family that Pope Paul VI had established in 1973. The Council fostered "the pastoral care of families, protects their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society, so that they may ever be more able to fulfill their duties."Its functions were shifted to the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life on 1 September 2016.

Pontifical Council for the Laity

The Pontifical Council for the Laity was a unit of the Roman Catholic Curia from 1967 to 2016. It had the responsibility of assisting the Pope in his dealings with the laity in lay ecclesial movements or individually, and their contributions to the Church. Its last Cardinal President from 4 October 2003 to 31 August 2016 was Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko. Its undersecretary from 1967 to 1976 was Professor Rosemary Goldie, the first woman to be the Undersecretary of a Pontifical Council and the highest-ranking woman in the Roman Curia at the time. Another layman, Professor Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, was undersecretary from 1991 to 2011.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity had its foundation in Vatican II's Apostolicam Actuositatem - Decree on the Lay Apostolate. The council was created in January 1967 by Pope Paul VI's motu proprio Catholicam Christi Ecclesiam. In December 1976, the council was included as a permanent fixture of the Roman Curia.In September 2016, its functions were shifted to the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

Pontifical council

The pontifical councils are a group of several mid-sized dicasteries, each led by a cardinal or archbishop as president, which are part of the larger organization called the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia is charged with helping the Pope in his governance and oversight of the Roman Catholic Church.


The Pratimokṣa (Sanskrit prātimokṣa) is a list of rules (contained within the vinaya) governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics (monks or bhikṣus and nuns or bhikṣuṇīs). Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).

It became customary to recite these rules once a fortnight at a meeting of the sangha during which confession would traditionally take place. A number of prātimokṣa codes are extant, including those contained in the Theravāda, Mahāsāṃghika, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda vinayas. Pratimokṣa texts may also circulate in separate pratimokṣa sūtras, which are extracts from their respective vinayas.

Religious name

A religious name is a type of given name bestowed for a religious purpose, and which is generally used in religious contexts. Different types of religious names may be in use among clergy of a religion, as well in some cases among the laity.

Stanisław Ryłko

Stanisław Ryłko (born 4 July 1945) is a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He held positions in the Roman Curia beginning in 1987 and was president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity from 2003 to 2016. He was made a cardinal in 2007. He has been Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore since 28 December 2016.

Besides his native Polish, he speaks Italian, English, and German.


and prelatures
of the faithful
of the faithful
Other associations
Third orders
See also

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