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(153 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Leo
[German Version] Licensing, as opposed to ordination, is usually an assignment of specific (mostly liturgical) tasks and functions to laypersons or the vesting of laypersons with permanent pastoral duties, performed in the context of a religious service. When the “minor vows,” which had been in existence from the mid-3rd century, were abolished by the papal missive Ministeria quaedam (Aug 15, 1972), they were replaced by the licensing of lectors (Reader) and acolytes; however, these ministries remained restricted to men. For this reason, the licensing…

Pastoral Assistant

(227 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Leo
[German Version] Since the 1970s, German-speaking Europe in particular has witnessed the development of pastoral vocations for Catholic laity who have completed a course of theological study. They work in parishes, team ministries, and deaneries, but also in regular pastoral care and in church staff positions. The nature of this ministry is not uniform but varies from country to country and from diocese to diocese – not least because of the shortage of priests. Questions need to be answered about …


(5,415 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Karrer, Leo | Schneider, Johann | Plasger, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. North America – VI. Missiology I. Religious Studies Generally speaking, the term laity (from Gk λαος/ laós, “people”) denotes adherents of a religious tradition who do not act as religious specialists or function within a defined socio-religious class (Priesthood, Monasticism). The use of the term is therefore inappropriate in religions without religious specialists, for example Islam. In some religions, the laity, who…