The committee assists the bishops, both collectively and individually, in advancing the vocation and mission of the lay faithful, of married couples and families, lay ecclesial ministers, and of young people. Through emphasis on the articulation and application of anthropological and theological principles, founded on magisterial teaching, the committee assists the bishops as they promote in a culturally diverse Church, the evangelization, faith formation and public witness of these persons, leading them toward a deeper commitment to Christ and his Church so as to transform culture and society.
This mandate includes the following areas of responsibility:
- Laity in the world and the Church, including the concerns of women and men;
- the promotion and protection of marriage and family life;
- natural family planning;
- lay ecclesial ministry; and
- youth/young adults.
KEY MISSION RESPONSIBILITIES
- Communicating and applying the teaching of the Church on the unique character of the vocation and mission of the lay faithful to engage and transform society according to the plan of God.
- Sustaining emphasis on the essential importance of the anthropological and theological principles that underlie the authentic teaching of the Church on marriage as the permanent, faithful and fruitful bond of one man and one woman, in particular through the magisterial teaching of the Second Vatican Council and papal magisterium, assisted by the truths of right reason available in the natural sciences.
- Providing national leadership, consultation, and resources for dioceses, including the response to pastoral and public policy issues that concern marriage and family life on a state and national level, based on the articulation and application of anthropological and theological principles and assisted by the truths of right reason.
- Assisting dioceses through education, training, and other resources to provide services and to maintain standards in the teaching of natural family planning.
- Studying issues related to lay ecclesial ministry and providing leadership resources for bishops and dioceses, colleges and universities, and the national associations responsible for the formation and utilization of lay ecclesial ministers.
- Fostering the participation of young people in the life of the Church through leadership that sustains a comprehensive vision of youth and young adult ministries, with special emphasis on a proper understanding of marriage and family life, sexuality and the vocation to chastity and a life of discipleship founded on prayer, sacramental participation, and service to others.
- Providing leadership and national direction, including consultation and resources, for dioceses and for national leadership networks in ministries with youth and young adults.
- Collaborating with those committees and offices of the Conference that bring the perspectives and concerns of other cultures and people with special pastoral needs.
- Communicating and convening national groups, ecclesial movements, and diocesan leadership to form and assist the laity in their specific vocations and mission.
- Cooperating with universities, institutes, and organizations that address questions of theological anthropology, marriage and family, faith and culture, lay ministry and leadership, and discipleship to evangelize society.
KEY MISSION RELATIONSHIPS
- With related Conference committees, State Catholic Conferences, and USCCB-related organizations.
- With bishops and diocesan offices, and all diocesan Catholic institutions and agencies.
- With the Holy See and other Episcopal Conferences, particularly for World Youth Day.
- With international and national church associations, ecclesial movements, and ministerial networks for marriage and family life, youth/young adults, and lay ecclesial ministry.