Although there were many lay preachers in the early church, their style of preaching quickly fell into disuse as the pulpit became dominated by the ordained clergy. The new code of the Canon Law of the Roman church now allows lay people to preach once again under special circumstances. This article summarizes the value of lay preaching in the Roman Catholic Church.
Before Vatican II, the rubrics (ceremonial directions) for Roman Catholic rituals were very specific. Documents clearly indicated what was permissible in liturgy and clearly separated the sacred from the secular. During the period when Vatican II council documents were emerging (1963–1975), the nature of liturgical music and visual elements reflected assumptions of a new celebrative spirit. Rubrics were put aside, some of them forever (e.g., the ruling that women could play no role in the ritual in the sanctuary). The influence of life, rather than law, laid the groundwork for renewal.