Clergy and Laity

The representative of the bishop in each parish is the presbyter. There can be many presbyters in each parish, but one of them can be appointed by the bishop as the head (proistamenos). Since all administration in the Church derives from the Eucharist, the head of the parish council can only be a presbyter, not a layman. It is a canonical anomaly, to be found particularly in the Diaspora, to have a layman as the president of the parish council. It is a sign of secularization to regard the Church as a democracy in the secular sense, and to subject the Eucharistic leader to the administrative control of the laity. The laity are essential part of the Eucharist, without whom there can be no liturgy. But just as in the Eucharist, also in the administration of the parish which is nothing but a continuation of the Eucharist in the every day life of the Church, the laity are not leaders, they are not shepherds, but flock. This does not undermine their role, since they remain indispensable, but places them in their proper order. Otherwise the administration of the Church will become a secular matter unrelated to the Church. But there is nothing in the Church, not even the authority of the bishop or the presbyters, which is not derived from their place in the Eucharist. It is this that makes Canon Law a matter of Dogma and Ecclesiology, and not just a matter of administration.


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