Agnès Desmazières

Vatican II’s changing expertise and the rising laity. How the auditor’s status emerged at the Council (1959-1963)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Expertise, Council, Laity, Auditor, Church.

The apparition of lay auditors at Vatican II signals the birth of a new lay expertise, rested on leadership responsibilities in Catholic international NGOs. This expertise, which combined an international experience with a strong pastoral commitment and an unequivocal allegiance to Rome, prevailed over a more traditional scientific and technical expertise. This evolution coincided with an increasing specialization and professionalization of theological and canonical expertise. The choice of the term «auditor» - preferred to those, initially considered, of «consultor», «expert», or «observer» – suggested that lay expertise should be distinguished from clerical expertise and should limit to a silent representation. The legitimization process of lay participation to the Council proved to be long, complex and not completely fulfilled. The concrete experience of collaboration between lay faithful and clerics often preceded and exceeded regulations; new paths for lay participation were primarily explored and experimented at the Commission on the Lay Apostolate. Conversely, new rules were necessary to officialize and make public the laity’s presence at Vatican II. Discussed at length at the Council, such decision ultimately came from Pope Paul VI.

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat

Article first page

Article first page