Pope to Knights: Laity Have to Be Holy

Urges Them to Participate in Church's Mission

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the lay faithful need to commit themselves to being saints and active members of the Church.



The Pope said this today when he received in audience members of the administrative council of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights are on pilgrimage in Rome in the context of the Pauline Jubilee Year.

The Holy Father recalled his April visit to the United States, where the lay association is based. He noted how he encouraged "the lay faithful to commit themselves above all to growth in holiness and active participation in the mission of the Church."

"This is the vision that inspired the foundation of the Knights of Columbus as an association of lay Christians," he said.

Benedict XVI went on to note some of the activities carried out by the Knights of Columbus, which aim "to give a solid formation in the faith to young people, and to defend the moral truths necessary for a free and human society, including every human being's fundamental right to life."

The Pope also mentioned the works of charity the association does, as well as its "concrete solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his ministry to the universal Church."

"This solidarity is manifested in a particular way in the Vicarius Christi Foundation, which the Knights have placed at the disposal of the Holy See for the needs of the People of God worldwide," he explained.

Benedict XVI concluded by asking the Knights "to discover, according to the spirit of their founder, the Venerable Michael McGivney, new forms of serving as leaven of the Gospel in the world and a force of renewal for the Church in holiness and pastoral zeal."

The Knights of Columbus is an association of lay faithful, founded in 1882 by American Father Michael McGivney, who is currently in the process of beatification. It has 1.7 million members worldwide and is dedicated primarily to works of charity and support of the Holy See. In the United States and Canada, it takes on many pro-life projects.