A cura pastoral confiada aos leigos

  • Tiago José Faria Batista Nogueira (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present work aims to present a vision of lay co-responsibility through which the layman recovers a certain role in the Church, being called to evangelization and, as baptized and participant in the task of sanctifying, teaching and governing, working for the good of the community, being entrusted with pastoral care. This work is developed over three chapters. In the first chapter, a questionnaire was prepared and addressed to the dioceses of Portugal, in order to understand their pastoral development. From the answers to this questionnaire, an analysis was carried out on the data obtained, and we concluded that the number of priests and new priestly ordinations is decreasing, with no opposite effect in the pastoral work entrusted to the laity, through instituted ministries. In the second chapter, two historical developments are presented: the evolution of the figure of the priest and the development of the lay figure throughout the history of the Church. We conclude that the figure of the priest becomes central in the development of the Church, leaving the centralism and centrality of ecclesial action in his hands instead of a possible lay cooperation or co-responsibility, leading the layman to increasingly fall into pastoral inactivity. This chapter ends with an observation on the language and expressions still used in the pastoral environment: “shepherd” and “cattle”. They seem to be words that have already lost their analogous force in a city, technological and business world, so new expressions that are easier to understand have been presented which open the possibility of a pastoral horizon marked by the delegation of functions - "guide" and "collaborator/cooperator" . In the third and final chapter, the theme of lay people is developed, as far as ministries are concerned. After defining some concepts, the ministries currently established in the Church (Acolyte, Reader and Catechist) and other non-established ministries, services and movements that can be found in the communities are presented. For greater lay involvement, as far as co-responsibility and collaboration in pastoral care are concerned, new instituted ministries are proposed in which, through the institution, can encompass a greater amplitude of the pastoral dynamics of the communities. The permanent diaconate is also addressed with the aim of defending that its primary function is charity and, therefore, it should be responsible for Social Centers and Parishes and PSSI and other means of social assistance. We also look at the community, namely the figure of the parish community which, knowing that not everyone can exercise ministries, can actively contribute; the community thus acts as an “evaluator” of the pastoral action of the responsible agents, whether laymen or priests, and it is the voice for the promotion and affirmation of the suitability of lay candidates for ministries; it also assumes co-responsibility for broader services such as cleaning, community prayer, mutual charity, among others. Last but not least, we address the role that women can play in the Church, more specifically in parish communities: they can and must assume co-responsibility and cooperation in pastoral care through the instituted ministries, including those proposed here.
Date of Award30 Nov 2022
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorTiago Freitas (Supervisor)


  • Layman
  • Presbyter
  • Pastoral healing
  • Co-responsibility
  • Ministry


  • Mestrado Integrado em Teologia

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