Called & Co-Responsible Conference

Exploring Co-Responsibility for the Mission of the Church

March 4-6, 2020 at the University of Notre Dame

"Co-responsibility demands a change in mindset especially concerning the role of lay people in the Church. They should not be regarded as “collaborators” of the clergy, but, rather, as people who are really “co-responsible” for the Church’s being and acting."

Pope Benedict XVI

Called & Co-Responsible is an academic and pastoral conference dedicated to exploring what the idea “co-responsibility” for the “Church’s being and acting” might mean, both for the laity and for the ordained. This conference will try at least to glimpse the full potential of the idea of co-responsibility and its fruitfulness for the life of the Church going forward. This involves asking what is the “change in mindset” that Benedict mentions?  

We do not imagine that “co-responsibility” is a matter of a zero-sum game of power sharing. The common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of bishops and priests are “ordered to one another,” and “the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood” (CCC #1547). Exploring co-responsibility would be exploring the potential of this ordering of the two sharings in the priesthood of Christ. 

Our hope is that the Church herself might become a culture of formation to a co-responsibility which appropriately recognizes both the sanctifying, teaching and governing mission intrinsically associated with Holy Orders as well as the responsibility of the laity to “go forth” and reach the various peripheries, less accessible to the clergy, Pope Francis has mentioned.

Questions to be explored by the conference include:

  • How does co-responsibility extend the understanding and exercise of the lay vocation in the Church?

  • What does co-responsibility mean for “lay collaboration” and “lay ecclesial ministry”?

  • How can a lay person be co-responsible for the acting of the Church as well as for her being

  • If evangelization is the “first task of the Church,” how do lay people become co-responsible for evangelization? How should the hierarchy support them?

  • How do we form the laity to become co-responsible for the Church's mission? How do we form priests to nurture co-responsibility in themselves and in the laity?

  • How does the idea of co-responsibility affect management structures in the Church? What is the difference, if any, between “governing,” “leading” and “managing” in the Church?


More information on this conference is coming soon. Please share your email address below if you'd like to be notified when new details are available.