LAITY. A major distinctive feature of the Protestant Reformation was the emphasis on the laity. Against the Catholic distinction of an indelible priesthood as a sacramentally ordained order, the Protestant reformers argued for what they called the priesthood of all believers. The traditional distinction between clergy and laity was repudiated by the reformers in favor of a communal definition of the church, where all were “priests” and where certain members were called to serve the function of proclaiming the gospel and administering the sacraments (q.v.).