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"Remember, YOU are Church"

On Monday, 24 June 2024, it will be the anniversary of Louis J Putz CSC crossing over to eternal life.

The years Louis Putz devoted to his theological education in France were not merely a period of study but a profound and transformative journey.  During this time, he immersed himself in a theology that was both innovative and deeply rooted in the patristic tradition. This theology, which would later be shared with the entire Church during Vatican II, placed a strong emphasis on the priesthood of all the faithful, a concept that would shape his future contributions.  

Joseph Cardijn was instrumental in inspiring young theologians to understand the See-Judge-Act method and how it would and could change the human condition. Remember the situation in time, the culture. 

As a key figure among the Young Christian Students, Louis Putz catalyzed change at Notre Dame. His leadership led to a series of transformative initiatives, including the admission of people of color, the establishment of book recycling for student use, the creation of avenues for communication and publicity, and the revision of the residence hall system. These changes were all driven by his overarching goal of nurturing young men and women as lay apostles, individuals whose lives were a testament to the gospel. 

Louis Putz often said in his deep German accent, “YOU, the people, are the Church, not the hierarchy.” Louis believed the role of the clergy was to assist the people in leading the Church. 

Louis’s life “…was a vision of faith opened up in his family, articulated in the ‘new theology/ecclesiology’ he so vividly absorbed, the church: male and female, lay and clerical.”  

He envisioned a church where lay women and men—of all ages and with many different gifts and abilities—pool their talents as they work to bring the Kingdom of Heaven here and now! He brought this ecclesiology to his many initiatives as a priest.

Christ tells his apostles to be in the world to bring about transformation. This means serving the world for higher motives than self-interest, applause, and recognition. The life of total dedication to the spiritual and material welfare of one’s neighbor, whether within the family circle, in the neighborhood, in economic or political struggles, or on the professional plane, can be sheer martyrdom. Christ served his nation not by giving in to their materialistic messianic aspirations but by showing them the true way to salvation, the hard way.” ~ Louis J Putz CSC The Modern Apostle 1957 page 133

Now is the time for us to wholeheartedly embrace the Call to follow and strive to bring about the reign of God here and now. But first, we must share the See-Judge-Act methodology with those who are unfamiliar with it. Let us allow the Spirit to work through us all, creating change and witnessing the evolution of our actions in organizations and movements. 

“The apostolate must not be thought of as “religion”; but a life of charity in all phases of daily behavior is the objective to be achieved.” ~ Louis J Putz CSC (1909-1998)


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