Religion: The Lowly Catholic Layman

Compared with his Protestant neighbor, the U.S. Roman Catholic layman has traditionally been something of an ecclesiastical G.I. An active Protestant can take an active part in running his church by joining a board of trustees, and an intensely concerned one might reasonably aspire to succeed Industrialist J. Irwin Miller as president of the 40-million-member National Council of Churches. But among Catholics, the layman is low man in the ranks, subject to the spiritual orders of priests, monsignori, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the Pope.

Slowly but surely, the long-passive Catholic laity are beginning to...

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