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In his view the Church was not the name of the buildings or of the hierarchical structure of clergymen but was the name of the collective of Catholic people, most of who were poor and oppressed (Brockman).
The ‘Gaudium et Spes’ (Joy and Hope) apostolic constitution adopted at the Second Vatican Council in 1965 proclaims a similar view of the Church. In this document, the laity are urged to learn what their faith demands from them in the course of their secular duties. They are told that the role of the clergy in this respect is that of a teacher. The clergy will advise them on what God may want them to do, however they should cultivate their own conscience and religious sensibility and not expect explicit guidance from the clergy on every issue (Second Vatican Council).
This passage has many parallels with the work of Archbishop Romero. The ‘Gaudium et Spes’ calls for a sort of spiritual and intellectual emancipation of the laity who are to educate themselves in their religion with the help of the clergy and in many matters where the explicit guidance of the Church is not available, they are to use the wisdom of the clergy to determine for themselves what God wants from them. In this view of the Catholic clergy, the clergymen are not the autocratic leaders of the laity but their guides and spiritual advisors.
Archbishop Romero too held that the Catholic clergy should not be the leaders or rulers of the people but their advisors and guides. He called for a physical emancipation of the laity from the forces of exploitation and oppression in addition to their spiritual and intellectual liberation.
Another aspect of congruence between the teachings and actions of Archbishop Romero and that of the ‘Gaudium et Spes’ is in proclaiming the role of the Catholic Christianity in the secular sphere of existence for a Catholic lay person.
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