One of the topics frequently discussed today is the democratization of the Church. In an interview with Karl-Heinz Fleckenstein originally published in Fuer die Kirche von Morgen and subsequently  printed in Open the Frontiers (New York: The Seabury Press, 1981), Cardinal Suenens distinguished between the democratic principle and the principle of coresponsibility:

The important issue in the Church isn’t so much the democratic principle as the principle of coresponsibility, which implies the existence of a community in the Holy Spirit. When coresponsibility is misunderstood and, furthermore, sets persons against each other, as often happens in part politics, for example, then it becomes a mere caricature of itself. The Christian who treats coresponsibility merely as a democratic principle risks reducing the vision of the Church to a single dimension, in other words, to a purely sociological approach.

To illustrate the principle of coresponsibility, I often resort to the analogy of a car being overhauled at the garage. Each littler cog has to be checked and each part thoroughly tested. But if you’ve lost the ignition key, you can’t even start the car.

Now, Vatican II gave the Church new structures, but even this isn’t enough: the Church signifies fellowship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, a community in which our common prayer acts as the ignition key.