The Peril of the Layman
The Catholic Church considers marriage and the priesthood separate vocations, not just traditionally but also sacramentally. She says that these callings require such commitment that would be unfair to expect a single person to adequately perform both, especially when doing so could cause conflicts of interest. I support the Church’s assessment, but it does produce a couple challenges. The first, that celibacy and the desire for family could drive a priest mad, has been much articulated the last ten years. The second has not. It’s the temptation for a layman, because he does not administer the sacraments, to think he doesn’t have to be “as Catholic” as the priest is. “Church may be Monsignor’s thing, but I’m a man of the world.”
It’s just not true. Even if all our activities aren’t religiously affiliated, we’re called to pray without ceasing. God owns our lives as much as he owns the priest’s, and we have to keep that attitude.
This dichotomy can also develop between Christians who are very involved with a youth group and Christians who aren’t. Neither is holier than the other, but both have to make sure they’re doing what God asks of them.