The Priest and the Bishop
Do your promise me and my successors respect and obedience?
From the Rite of Ordination
On the day of my Ordination
On the day of my priestly ordination, I promised my Bishop respect and obedience.
Thanks be to God I have never perceived this obligation as a juridical bond, but as an
hierarchical communion willed By Jesus, Eternal High Priest, in the relationship of the priest with his own Bishop. In such a way, I consider myself a participant ontologically in the priesthood and ministry of Christ.
From my Bishop, in fact, I have received the sacramental power and the hierarchical authorization for such a ministry. In the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis which I have before me it says: Indeed there can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with the one's own Bishop, who deserves that filial respect and obedience (c.f. PDV).
For this bond in virtue of sacramental communion, is an aid and an instrument of episcopal orders. In my ministry I extend the action of the Bishop, in behalf of whom I make present his role as Father and as Pastor.
CHARITY AND OBEDIENCE
Even if f these are considerations in which I profoundly believe, I also realize that it is not always easy to live in daily life this obligation taken on in full liberty. Nevertheless as the Pope has said: " the communion, willed by Jesus among those who participate in the sacrament of orders, should be manifested in a very particular way, in the relationship of Priests with their Bishops. (General Audience...)
It seems that the Council on this subject might suggest a way: relationship between priests and bishops...should rest principally on supernatural charity. (ChD 28), a charity which seeks to show forth a relationship which is above a functional rapport and roots itself in the reality of my presbyteral family of which the Bishop is the Father and Pastor. It is this supernatural charity which favors and reinforces the collaboration with my Bishop, making more fruitful common pastoral action in the service of souls.
IN DAILY MINISTRY
The perception today more than ever, in the exercise of my ministry, the need for intimacy and constant co-operation with my Bishop. Already evidenced in the Conciliar Fathers: Hence no priest is sufficiently equipped to carry our his own mission alone and as it were single-handed. He can only do so by joining forces with other priests, under the leadership of those who are rulers in the Church. (c.f. PO 7) and this familial rapport becomes a condition of my priesthood.
The daily exercise of my ministry will be the occasion in charity and in obedience to renew the deep bonds of charity linked to my Bishop in the one presbyterate in affective and effective sharing of ecclesial solicitude, in dedication to the evangelical care for the People of God (c.f. PDV 31) in the concrete conditions of the present moment.
In order to realize this goal the following give me comfort and sustain me:
- My participation in the one priesthood of Christ
- the source and vital spring which comes to me through the imposition of hands and from the sacrament received from my Bishop as the successor to the Apostles.
- the unity shared in by the same pastoral mission.
-the Eucharist as sign and source of charity.
It will be easier for me to accept and implement faithfully each task entrusted to me by my Bishop, my father and Pastor, with this singular intention of building up the Body of Christ and the Church.