Jordan Aumann, OP, a long time professor of theology at the University of Sto. Tomas Manila has an article online entitled “Augustine’s Theology of Ministry.1 He discusses Augustine’s idea of his own presbyteral ministry and reflects on the possibility of a ministry of the laity based on the following quotation from Sermon 46

There are many who, as Christians and not leaders, attain to God, traveling maybe an easier road, and the more speedily, perhaps, the lighter the load they carry. But I, besides being a Christian, and for this having to render an account of my life, am a leader also, and for this shall render to God an account of my ministry.

Fr. Aumann writes

Holy bishop that he was, Augustine had a loving concern for the laity as well as for priests and religious. In view of the Synod on the laity, held in Rome in October, 1987, it is interesting to note how closely Augustine’s ideas run parallel to those of Vatican Council II. One passage from his commentary on John’s Gospel will serve our purpose.

When you hear the Lord saying: “Where I am, my servant also will be” (Jn 12:26), you are not to think merely of good bishops and clerics. Be yourselves also, in your own way, ministers of Christ by the goodness of your lives, by giving alms, by preaching his name and doctrine to the extent that this is possible for you.

Let every father of a family likewise acknowledge in Christ’s name the affection he owes his family as a parent. For the sake of Christ and for the sake of eternal life, let him admonish, teach, encourage, correct and show kindness to all his household. In his own home he will be filling an ecclesiastical role and, if you will, the duty of a bishop, ministering to Christ so as to be with him forever.

More here.


  1. This article was originally posted on March 8, 2006.