Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2019.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Rev. George E. Griener, S.J.


Yves Congar’s theology of the laity is grounded in the sacramental ontology of Baptism and the triple office of Christ. Of the three offices, munus regendi is most closely associated with the ordering of all things in accordance with Christ. Over decades Congar came to understand the lay exercise of munus regendi as not limited to secular life but also governing the Church. As evidenced by early Church history, the lay exercise of munus regendi does not oppose the clerical exercise of munus regendi; instead, the two are complementary and work together for the common good of the Church. At Vatican II the Council Fathers recognized the munus regendi exercised by the laity in secular and in certain ecclesiastical areas but avoided using juridical language or formally establishing a lay office within the Church to protect its exercise. The 1983 Code of Canon Law adhered to the language of Lumen Gentium on the baptismal dignity of lay persons, but the Canons left open questions about the role of the laity in Church governance. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI has recognized the principle of lay co-responsibility in governing the Church, and Pope Francis has taken steps to formalize lay participation in Church governance in limited areas. The Code should be amended to realize the full implications of Vatican II and to resolve existing limitations and contradictions in the Code on the lay exercise of munus regendi in the governance of the Church.

SCU Access Only

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