Prophets Likewise: The Teaching Authority of the Laity as an Expression of the Sensus Fidelium
Cruz, Maria Angela Socorro S. “Prophets Likewise”, Boston College, 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:104933.
A number of theologians claim that the church has not tapped into the fullness of Vatican II’s teaching on the sensus fidelium. As an attempt to address that concern, this dissertation examines the teaching authority of the laity as a key element in the expression of the sensus fidelium in the church. It argues for a fuller realization of Vatican II’s emphasis on the laity’s participation in Christ’s prophetic office. It proposes a three-part lay hermeneutic (hermeneutic of everyday life, hermeneutic of desire, and hermeneutic of trust) as a relevant, authoritative framework for discerning the sensus fidelium, of which Filipino popular Catholicism is a living expression. This dissertation employs a method that is primarily critical, hermeneutical and practical. It is structured in two parts: the first two chapters establish the theological underpinnings of the study, while the last three chapters focus on the laity, their sense of the faith, their reception process, their lived faith expressed through popular Catholicism, and their participation in the prophetic office of Christ. Through an analysis of the laity’s sensus fidei as an integral dimension in the discernment of the sensus fidelium, this dissertation emphasizes that authority in the church derives from all its members and that the interpretation of faith is a process that invites the participation of all the baptized as sharers in Christ’s prophetic function. In such a church, not only the ordained, but the laity, equally belong to the guild of interpreters of God’s revelation. The laity possess a teaching authority that contributes significantly to the life of the church.