By DONAL MUSGRAVE APOWERFUL Lay Secretariat is to be set up in Rome as part of the reformed Curia. Details of this new organisation for dealing with matters affecting the laity are expected to be announced shortly by Pope Paul, The Secretariat, suggested by the Vatican Council's Commission on the Lay Apostolate, would co-ordinate the activities of the laity and of the secular institutes which now come under the Sacred Congregation of the Religious.
Suggestions about its role and working methods are now pouring into the Vatican from all over the world. Each Catholic Bishop has been asked by the Lay Apostolate Commission to give his own views and those of the lay movements and leaders in his diocese on the organisation of the new body.
Strict secrecy has been imposed on details of the move which comes under the Vatican Council's oath of secrecy. The letters to the Bishops have been marked "highly confidential" and their discussions on the proposals have not been made public.
But it is known that the Bishops of England and Wales have already sent their views and those of the laity to Rome. Mgr. Derek Worlock, secretary to the Hierarchy, this week confirmed reports received by the CATHOLIC HERALD and said: "I can confirm that the Bishops of England and Wales have been asked for their views on this matter and that those views, together with the views of the lay leaders in Britain, in the form of the National Council of the Lay Apostolate, have been sent to the Holy See."
International lay organisations have also been officially asked for their opinions by Rome. But, this week, representatives of those in Britain refused to comment on the grounds that-they were "not in a position to talk". The whole matter has recently been discussed at the conference of International Organisations in Fribourg.
Although no strict policy lines have yet been formulated, it is known that the new Secretariat will have three main objectives.
The two chief aims will be to guarantee that the lay-clergy dialogue and the wider dialogue between the Church and the world will be continued and developed. The third will be to extend this co-operation so that the laity will eventually participate fully' in the Church's life, along the fines laid down in the Constitution op the Church.
The Secretariat will also carry out a serious study of the contemporary problems in the "deChristianised" areas of the world, suggest ways of involving the laity in every aspect of the unity movement, and master-mind a vast communications netavork stretching right across the globe.
Each country will have its own representative group working closely with and advising its own Hierachy. These groups will all be linked on an international level so that information and ideas can be shared.
The Secretariat wilt, probably he experimental—a seven-year trial period has been suggested—and it will act in a consultative and not an executive capacity.
It will be run by highly qualified
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