Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Lay apostolate in the tradition of the CTS

Shane has started an interesting new blog called Lux Occulta in which he has posted scans of the covers of various old Catholic Truth Society (CTS) pamphlets. Many have an advert for the old CTS bible (Douai Rheims) on the back, priced 6/- for the blue cloth bound version and 8/6d for the maroon leatherette version. I have a copy of the blue cloth version but do remember as a child wondering if I might be able to afford the luxury leatherette version one day!

These pamphlets are an important part of our Catholic history, showing the hermeneutic of continuity in practice. The CTS always engaged effectively in promoting the lay apostolate - the decree of Vatican II on the Lay Apostolate Apostolicam Actuositatem affirmed this work that was a strength of the life of the Catholic Church in Britain long before the Council. Pope Benedict spoke of its importance in his Ad Limina address to the Bishops of Scotland earlier this year (as I mentioned in February):
Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest’s role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking concept of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council’s vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church’s mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society.
The picture above shows a CTS pamplet on the vocation of the laity in the world. It is priced 3d but someone has raised the price to 5p in felt pen, showing that it was on sale before the change to decimal currency in 1971 and then given a stiff price hike by someone running a parish repository somewhere. It was published by the Dublin CTS in 1956. If you go to the post at the Lux Occulta blog and cick on the picture, you can get the whole text.

As with many institutions, the CTS went through a bad patch after the Council but was revived very successfully, and continues today in the spirit of its fine tradition. One suggestion I would have is to recover some of the pamphlets from the 20th century such as those written by CC Martindale, Frederick Copleston, Ronald Knox and others. I am sure that they would be popular if reissued as facsimile editions.
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