Augustinian Studies

Volume 35, Issue 1, 2004

Joseph Carola
Pages 73-93

Augustine’s Vision of Lay Participation in Ecclesial Reconciliation

Augustine of Hippo understands the lay faithful in virtue of their regal-sacerdotal anointing at Baptism to exercise, always in unison with the ordained ministry, an indispensable twofold role in the sinner’s reconciliation. In Peter, not only the clergy but indeed all the saintly members of the community receive the spiritual commission to bind and loose. According to their particular vocation, the lay faithful bind the sinner through fraternal correction and loose him through their intercessory prayer. As members of the Totus Christus, they participate in Christ’s unique remissive mediation. A mixed society where saints live among sinners provides the necessary context for this ecclesial reconciliation.

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