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riga

  SYNOD OF BISHOPS
X ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE BISHOP:
SERVANT OF THE GOSPEL
OF JESUS CHRIST
FOR THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

INTRUMENTUM LABORIS

 

VATICAN CITY
2001
   

© The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

 

This text can be reproduced by Bishops' Conferences, or at their authorization, provided that the contents are not altered in any way and two copies of the same be sent to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, 00120 Vatican City State. 


INTRODUCTION

 

From the Perspective of a New Millennium  

1. Jesus Christ, our Hope (1 Tim 1:1), the same, yesterday, today and for ever (Heb 13:8) and chief Shepherd (1 Pt 5:4), guides his Church to the fullness of truth and life, until the day of his glorious return, when all promises will be realized and the hopes of humanity fulfilled.

          At the beginning of the third Christian millennium, the Church and humanity are walking together towards a future marked by the legacy of the past century with its array of lights and shadows.

          We find ourselves in a new moment of human history in which many question the destiny of humanity and wonder what is in store for the future. On the one hand, the world is engaged in the dynamism of progress and a growing interdependence in economic matters, culture and communications; on the other, it is still the site of local conflicts and wide areas of increasing hunger, sickness and poverty.

          The beginning of a new millennium puts the building of the future at the center of the world-conscience and, consequently, the subject of hope which is essential to homo viator and the Christian, who eagerly look to the fulfilment of God’s promises. This hope enlightens faith and stimulates charity as one goes forth into an uncertain future.

 


2. The Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, initially scheduled during the Jubilee Year and now to take place in October 2001, is part of this new beginning.

     With prophetic intuition, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II assigned to this assembly the treatment of the theme: Episcopus minister Evangelii Iesu Christi propter spem mundi.

       Various, thought-provoking reasons make this theme particularly opportune in the life of the Church and humanity. Though these reasons are primarily theological and ecclesial in nature, some are associated with society and the human person.

In the Footsteps of Previous Synodal Assemblies

3. We begin by treating the theological reasons. The whole Church has joyfully celebrated the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, commemorating the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only did the Holy Year recall with gratitude his coming into our midst some 2000 years ago, it also celebrated his living presence in the Church throughout these twenty centuries of history and exalted his unique role as Saviour of the world and center of the cosmos and all history.

      Because of the inseparable bond between Christ and his Gospel, the synod topic underscores that Jesus Christ, Son of God, sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 10:36) is the hope of the world and humanity. He is the hope of every person and the entire person.[1]

      Indeed, Christ is the final word and total gift of the Father, the true Gospel of God in which all promises are to be fulfilled, the “Amen” of God (cf. 2 Cor 1:20) and the fulfilment of the world’s hopes. His Gospel proclaims a message which is always good and always new. It is the power of life, continuing over 20 centuries to shed light on the world’s path into  the future. Inseparable is the Person of Christ, his doctrine, his work, his teaching and his message from that of the Church where he continues to be present. At the beginning of the third millennium, the Church joyfully proposes again the message of life and hope for all humanity.[2]

4. The reasons of an ecclesial nature for treating the synod theme fall into two categories: those having an enduring validity and others resulting from the contemporary situation.

     In his final days on earth, the Lord Jesus sent his Apostles forth as his witnesses and messengers to the ends of the earth, until the end of time. His words underlie the dutiful task of proposing his person and doctrine to the world as the supreme hope: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). Today, the Bishops in communion with the Pope are called to fulfill this task together with all members of the Church. Though each is to be a witness of the Gospel of Christ in the world. , the Bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, have “the noble task of being the first to proclaim the ‘reasons for hope’ (cf. 1 Pt 3:15); that hope which is based on the promises of God, on fidelity to his Word and which has as its unshakeable certitude the resurrection of Christ, his definitive victory over evil and sin.”[3]

      The importance of the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the ministry of the Bishop as the servant of the Gospel for the hope of the world clearly emerges when placed in sequence to preceding ordinary general assemblies: The Vocation and Mission of the Laity in the Church and in the World (1987), The Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present-Day (1990) and The Consecrated Life and its Role in the Church and in the World (1994). All these synods have been followed by the Holy Father’s publication of post-synodal apostolic exhortations: Christifideles laici, Pastores Dabo Vobis and Vita Consecrata, respectively.

     Therefore, at this time it seems opportune to treat the theme of the ministry of the Bishop, from the perspective of the proclamation of the Gospel and hope, as almost the culmination and summing-up of former ordinary assemblies. The preceding synods have sparked renewal in the various vocations within the People of God, contributing to a greater complementarity of each’s role in an ecclesiology of communion and mission, while respecting the Church’s hierarchical and charismatic nature.  The treatment of the theme of the Bishop at this synod assembly highlights the need to direct towards the future the mission of the entire People of God, in communion with its Pastors.

5.In the last decade of the twentieth century, at the close of the second millennium of the Christian era, the Roman Pontiff called the Bishops of various continents to take part in special synodal assemblies to treat the Church in Europe (1991 and 1999), Africa (1994), America (1997), Asia (1998) and Oceania (1998). Each of these synodal assemblies resulted in post-synodal documents, some published and others in the process of publication.

     Therefore, the next ordinary general assembly, in treating its proper theme, will have at its disposal the experiences of these particularly intense periods of unprecedented synodal communion.

      In a certain sense, each synodal gathering over the decades has pertained to the episcopal ministry, not only because the Synod of Bishops by its nature gathers Bishops from around the world but also because each synod has contributed in some way to shaping the ministerial role of the Bishop in relation to Evangelization (1974), Catechesis (1977), Family (1981), Reconciliation and Penance (1983), The Lay Faithful (1987), Priests (1990), The Consecrated Life (1994) and the realization of the objectives of the Second Vatican Council in the Extraordinary Synod of 1985.

 

6. The doctrinal and pastoral aspects of the theme of the synod concern the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ for the hope of the world. From this perspective, the theme of the next ordinary general assembly has a social and anthropological relevance. The Church, who wishes to share in “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of this age”[4] needs to question herself on the paths humanity is to take in these times in which she is present as the salt of the earth and light to the world (cf. Mt 5:13-14). She needs to ask herself how the true hope of the world, Jesus Christ and his Gospel, are to be proclaimed today.

      We are at the onset of a new millennium of the Christian era, characterized by special situations in societies and cultures, almost an aetas nova, a new epoch, referred to oftentimes as post-modernism or post-modernity. A renewed effort is required to make the proclamation of salvation resound in the world so as to generate the theological dynamism inherent in the Gospel. In this way, all humanity “in hearing might believe, in believing might hope and in hoping might love.”[5]

      Christian hope is intimately connected to the courageous  proclamation of the Gospel in its entirety, a work which stands out among the principal features of the episcopal ministry. To accomplish this, the Bishop, in the course of his many duties and tasks, “beyond all the concerns and difficulties which are inevitably bound to the daily, faithful exercise of his work in the Lord’s vineyard, must have hope, before all else.”[6]

Continuity and Newness

7. The preparation and celebration of the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops can be said to be one of the many graces in recent years.

     The publication of the Lineamenta in 1998 and the thorough examination of various topics associated with the ministry of the Bishop has raised much interest and has generated information from which common themes emerge. The present Instrumentum Laboris results from the responses of the Episcopal Conferences and other bodies as well as from the responses of many Bishops and other members of the People of God. This document is meant to set forth and illustrate the theme chosen by the Pope through the inclusion of questions and recommendations, much like in the Lineamenta, in such a way as to provide an orderly, clear procedure for synod discussion.

      The preparation for the synodal assembly has passed from the consultation in the Lineamenta to a report on the responses to this document in the Instrumentum labori. In this way, the normal course of the synodal process continues in an uninterrupted meditation on the theme chosen by the Holy Father. Such a flow of material from the initial document to this working document is particularly noteworthy. Indeed, the high consensus obtained by the Lineamenta has resulted in a highly homogenous development of ideas and a marked similarity between the two texts.

     The rich experience of the world’s Bishops during the last ordinary general assemblies and the special synodal assemblies, as well as the valuable teachings which have resulted, provide a basis for a very fruitful preparation of the upcoming assembly. Therefore, the Instrumentum Laboris will not give a detailed description of the world situation, much less  will it draw attention to particular or regional questions already examined in preceding continental assemblies.

8. The ministry of the Bishop as the servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world is specifically treated in the context of the Church’s magisterium and finds expression in the documents of Vatican II, particularly the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium and the Decree Christus Dominus, due to their doctrinal content on the subject.

      The Pastoral Directory of the Congregation for Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973) maintains an essential validity even today, because of its completeness and practicality in illustrating the concept of  the Bishop and his ministry in the particular Church.[7] The updated theological-juridical viewpoint on the subject is found in the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) of 1983 and the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (CCEO) of 1990.

     Many documents of the post-conciliar magisterium make specific reference to the pastoral ministry of Bishops. Among these, special attention must be given to the addresses of the Roman Pontiff to the various Episcopal Conferences on the occasion of their ad limina visits or discourses to Bishops during papal trips in recent decades.

      More recent documents on specific questions of the pastoral ministry of Bishops in the universal Church and the particular Churches, include, for their ecclesiological value, the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled “On Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio” (28 May 1992) [8] and, finally, Pope John Paul II’s motu proprio Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos (21 May 1998) on the theological and juridical nature of Episcopal Conferences.[9]

 

9. The initial reference to “the Bishop” in the theme assigned by the Holy Father to the upcoming synodal assembly needs clarification. The idea concerns the episcopal ministry in its wide range of aspects and pastoral tasks as illustrated in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium and the Decree Christus Dominus. All Bishops share the same grace of episcopal ordination; they are Successors of the Apostles; and, in communion with the Roman Pontiff, they are part of the Episcopal College.

     The Second Vatican Council has returned to the idea of the Episcopal College as succeeding the College of Apostles and as the privileged expression of the Bishops’ pastoral service in communion among themselves and with the Successor of Peter. As members of this College, all Bishops “are consecrated not just for one diocese, but for the salvation of the whole world.”[10] By institution and the will of Christ, they are “to have for the whole Church a solicitude, which, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes immensely to the welfare of the universal Church.”[11]

      Each Bishop, legitimately ordained in the Catholic Church, participates in the fullness of the Sacrament of Orders. As minister of the  Lord and Successor of the Apostles, he ought to work with the grace of the Paraclete so that all the Church might grow as the family of the Father, Body of the Son and Temple of the Spirit, in the threefold office which he is called to realize, namely, to teach, to sanctify and to govern.

     The synod is concentrated in a special manner on the Diocesan Bishop and every aspect of his ministry in the particular Church. He is the living  presence of Christ, “Shepherd and Bishop” of our souls (1 Pt 2:25); he is his vicar in the particular Church entrusted to him, vicar not only of his Word but of his Person.[12]

     The importance of the synod theme is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the image of the Bishop has undergone a change in recent decades. Experience teaches that the faithful increasingly see him amidst his people and closer to them in a role as father, brother and friend. Furthermore, they see him as more accessible and living a simpler life. At the same time, his pastoral responsibilities have multiplied and his ministerial tasks have expanded in a Church increasingly more attentive to the needs of the world. This has happened to such an extent that the Bishop appears today weighed down with a variety of ministerial tasks and becomes oftentimes a sign of contradiction in the defense of truth. As a result, he must personally be constantly renewed in his pastoral office through a more in-depth living of communion and collaboration with priests, consecrated persons and the laity.

     Undoubtedly, the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will provide the opportunity to affirm that the stronger the unity of the Bishops with the Pope, of the Bishops among themselves and of the Bishops with the People of God, the richer will be the communion and mission of the Church, the more effective will be their ministry and the more will that ministry be a source of solace.

A Renewed Proclamation of the Gospel of Hope

10. The Church looks forward with much hope to the celebration of the upcoming synod. The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, with its many events and the years of preparation centered on the Trinity, has provided the entire People of God with the grace of a Holy Year of conversion, reconciliation and spiritual renewal.

     The faithful in Rome and the Holy Land, in the presence of the Successor of Peter, as well as the faithful in the particular Churches gathered around their Bishops, have lived the joyful experience of a year of mercy and holiness. Many have asked themselves how the graces and positive experiences of the Great Jubilee are to be implemented as a new century and millennium begin.

    Once again, the Church stands before the world as a sign of hope, particularly through the witness of various members of the People of God, such as the young and families, through significant gestures in ecumenism, in the healing of memories and in requests for pardon as well as through the courageous remembrance of the witnesses to the faith in the twentieth century.

     The appeals for mercy for the imprisoned as well as those for the reduction or total cancellation of the international debt, afflicting the destiny of many nations, have been especially forceful and significant.

      The Bishops have also had the possibility of living moments of intense communion and spiritual renewal in their special Jubilee celebrations together with the Holy Father and in union with the Virgin Mary, like the Apostles gathered in prayer in the Cenacle at Pentecost.

     The Gospel of Christ shows itself today to be the power of life and the Word which makes people truly human, unites them in a single family and fosters the well-being of all, regardless of language, race or religion.

11. On the basis of a Christian hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rm 5:5), the Church advances towards the future with a renewed enthusiasm for a new evangelization.

      Having crossed the threshold of the new millennium, the world now awaits a word of hope and a light to guide it into the future. The Gospel was, is and will be a source of freedom, progress, fraternity, unity and peace throughout history, even in the temporal sphere.[13]

      The upcoming Synod of Bishops hopes to offer the Church and the world the courageous, faithful proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, which opens hearts to a hope both human and divine. It intends to accomplish this through the witness of unity, joy and concern for contemporary humanity by the Successors of the Apostles, gathered in communion with the Holy Father, to whom the Lord himself has promised his assistance until the close of the age (cf. Mt 28:20).

 


CHAPTER I

A MINISTRY OF HOPE

 

Looking at the World with the Heart of the Good Shepherd

12. What attitude must the Bishop adopt to be a servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world?

   First of all, he must have a contemplative outlook in facing the world’s realities, viewing them from the vantage-point of the practical aspects of his ministry and the concept of communion with the Universal Church and the particular Church entrusted to his care; then, he must have a compassionate heart which is capable of entering into communion with the men and women of our times, for whom he is to be the witness and servant of hope.

     The attitude expected of the Bishop is exemplified in a Gospel image. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus presents himself as the herald of the Good News of the Father. He confirms this in his approach to the needs of the people: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36).

    The Bishop, through the grace of the Holy Spirit who expands and sharpens the eyes of his faith, relives the sentiments of Christ, the Good Shepherd, as he faces the anxieties and expectations of today’s world, by announcing a word of truth and life and by fostering activity which goes to the heart of humanity. Only in being united to Christ, in being faithful to his Gospel, in being realistically open to this world and in being loved by God, can the Bishop become the harbinger of hope.

    This is his role for the men and women of our times who, after the fall of false ideologies and utopias, oftentimes unmindful of the past and overly anxious for the present, make rather passing, limited plans and find themselves on many occasions manipulated by economic and political forces. As a result, they need to rediscover the virtue of hope and possess sound reasons for believing and hoping, and, in turn, for loving and working beyond the immediate needs of everyday life. The Bishop is to have a serene regard for the past and a confident outlook for the future.

    The Church–and in her the Bishop as the shepherd of the flock–presents herself, in conformity with the mind of Jesus, as the witness of the hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rm 5:5), always mindful of the compelling force which guides her towards the fulfillment of God’s promises: indeed “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rm 5:5).

      The Gospel of Hope has been entrusted to the Church and her Pastors. Hope rests on the surety of God’s promises; the Father has regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ (cf. 1 Pt 1:3), which is the victory over sin and death. Consequently, hope rests in the certainty of the abiding presence of Christ, Lord of history, Father of the age to come (cf. Is 9:6).

     Therefore, with trust in God we need to begin and live the third millennium of Christianity in proclaiming the Gospel of God’s promises.

    We find hidden in the Sacred Scriptures and the Church’s Tradition  the seeds of God’s design which must now sprout in the future of individuals and entire peoples under the action of the Holy Spirit–the experienced weaver of the fabric of human history–who seeks our collaboration.

Under the Sign of Theological Hope

13. At the beginning of a new century and a new millennium, a theological hope which trusts totally in God’s promises has an important role to play. The ten-years of preparation and the spirit of expectation geared towards celebrating such a significant moment in human history as the year 2000, the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus, now take on a symbolic meaning in looking towards the future. No longer are we striving to reach a goal, but rather we are poised looking out on a wide horizon. We now have the responsibility patiently to build the future.

     Hope is the driving force in all things new; it is the capacity to dream the future and to indicate lasting paths by creating new initiatives; it is the ability to make history through the power of the Gospel, or, at least, to give it a sense of meaning before the powers of the world set purposes and aims for the future.

     This is the work of hope as Christians faithfully fulfill their task, namely, to be the soul of the world. In the words of Diognetus, “May Christians be in the world, what the soul is in the body.”[14] The Church of Jesus is called to be the inspirer and promoter of history in listening to the deep-seated expectations and hopes of the men and women of this world.

     The hope required of the Bishop in his witness as servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the theological virtue of hope or the theology of hope, united to an active faith and fruitful love.

     On this subject, the Pastoral Directory Ecclesiae Imago has summarily set forth some characteristics of the ministry of the Bishop which deserve mention in treating the subject of hope in a God who is always faithful to his promises: “The Gospel–by which a Bishop lives through faith and which he announces to men on the Word of Christ–‘guarantees the blessings that we hope for, and proves the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen’ (Heb 11:1). Relying on this hope, therefore, the Bishop most firmly expects whatever is best from God and places the greatest trust in God’s providence, saying with Paul, ‘There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength’ (Phil 4:13). He is mindful of the blessed Apostles and of the ancient Bishops who, although experiencing great difficulties and facing every kind of obstacle, still proclaimed the Gospel of God with all boldness (cf. Acts 4:29 and 31; 19:8; 28:31).”

     “Hope which ‘is not deceptive’ (Rom 5:5), sharpens the Bishop’s missionary spirit, and consequently his creativity and initiative. For he knows that he has been sent by God, the Lord of history (cf. 1 Tim 1:17), to build up the Church in the place, time, and moment ‘that the Father has decided by his own authority’ (Acts 1:7); hence, the healthy optimism that animates him and that, as it were, flows from him into others, especially his co-workers.”[15]

14. Sustained by this theological hope, the Bishop prepares himself to plan, perceive and, as it were, dream the future, while re-reading the Word of God under the grace of the Holy Spirit and in ecclesial communion.

     The Word of God, made fruitful by the Spirit in the heart of the Bishop united to his priests and faithful, will always be the perennial fount of inspiration and recourse in facing the challenges of the future. In the words of Pope Paul VI, “the Church needs her perennial Pentecost; she needs fire in the heart, words on the lips, prophecy in the glance.”[16]

    The Pope, the Episcopal College, the Bishops of the national and regional Episcopal Conferences, indeed all the holy People of God have a  common vocation to the same hope (cf. Eph 4:4).

     This communion in hope ensures the living presence of Christ and the inspiration of the Spirit who is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to completion in human history.[17]

    Communion in hope is to be deepened and shared as the source of inspiration which is made fruitful through the prayer of the Bishop and through the dialogue of charity with all the People of God, especially his closest collaborators. In this way, they can participate in discussing various initiatives and the actual planning of programs.

    The hope of Christians is a driving force for the future. This virtue  not only leaves its mark on the life of humanity, it also plows furrows for  planting the seed of divine promise and for guiding, with God’s hand, future initiatives. The Church will be an effective sign of hope, if she knows how to be attentive to the plan of God who guarantees a full future, if she faithfully follows his will and if she knows how to discern the genuineness of the yearnings of humanity, yearnings for which she ought to be the interpreter and guide.

Between the Past and the Future

15. The Church crosses the threshold of hope at the beginning of the third millennium with a particular attention on the humanity of today, sharing with it “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of this age, but knowing she possesses the word of salvation.”[18] Therefore, into what kind of world are the Bishops sent forth to proclaim the Gospel?

     Theological hope, which grows and develops as trust in the promises of God, is oftentimes purified through waiting, thus becoming more authentic the more it is tried. Hope is also grounded in the positive signs which spring up from moment to moment in the Kingdom of God, namely, in this present world directed towards its final fulfilment in glory.

    Hope is remembering; it serves as an anchor, that is, it is fixed in God’s revelation which manifests not only salvation history but also God’s design and plan for the future. For this reason, the last book of Sacred Scripture bears the title, Apocalypse or Revelation. Hope gives to the heart a dynamic energy which is capable of being re-kindled every day.

     It is a matter of “persevering” as exemplified in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42), when it speaks of the attitude proper to the disciples of Jesus, intent on living the life of faith each day. It is a solid trust in God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, through the resurrection of his Son, places the present “today” on the path of the sure fulfilment of his promises.

16. On many occasions, particularly in the last ten years, the magisterium has described the realities of the present world.

    The Synod of Bishops did a similar analysis both in the special continental and regional assemblies for Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania, and in the respective post-synodal apostolic exhortations published thus far.[19]

    Such an extensive analysis, then, at this time is not needed. It is sufficient to note that such analyses, in sharing common traits as a result of the increasing globalization of various aspects, require that attention be given to problems and solutions at the local level.

    The Lineamenta has equally given a general treatment which in part has been confirmed and enriched by the responses of the Episcopal Conferences.

Lights and Shadows in the World’s Realities

17. The world offers a variety of realities. With a watchful eye and the compassionate heart of the Good Shepherd (cf. Mt 9:36), the Church cannot avoid realistically noting–apart from a political, sociological and economic analysis–signs of a lack of confidence or indeed a desperation in the today’s world. In response, she offers the consolation and comfort of trust and  liberation in Christ. It is not a passing, weak message of consolation which gives temporary relief, but one based on the certainty of faith, rediscovered by hearts capable of love and service and founded on the unified, true vision of the essentials of personal and social life, without pessimistic or optimistic bias. In every situation the Church offers the Gospel of Hope.

    Enduring problems today require the Church, in exercising her mission, to be the source of a hope which leads to the continuous renewal of the world and society. In concrete ways, this is the case also in the ministry of the Bishop in his particular Church.

18. In many parts of our world, situations of suffering and a lack of hope are being created by poverty, a lack of freedom, the restricted exercise of human rights, ethnic conflicts and an underdevelopment which increases the poverty of entire groups of people.

    The mass media continually communicate the many faces of desperation: the faces of under-nourished and unjustly abused children; the faces of unemployed youth, condemned to desperation and indifference, an easy prey to ideological manipulation and moral and spiritual degradation; the faces of women, deprived of their dignity; the faces of the elderly in need of assistance; the masses of the poor who, through emigration, are in search of hope for the future; the faces of refugees in search of a country; and the faces of the indigent, deprived of their lands.

    The unresolved conflicts of the preceding century and millennium have provoked death and destruction, emigration, poverty, ethnic battles and tribal hate. They have caused much death and have left deep wounds in body and spirit.

     The open wounds of some recent, local conflicts have deeply divided culture and nationality which are called to be partners in a dialogue of peace. Occasionally, religious fundamentalism, the enemy of dialogue and peace, arises.

     Furthermore, in the more developed nations, great areas of economic and moral depression often exist and corruption and illegality, even in the political field, are notably on the rise.

19. The effects of globalization are now being felt through an unrelenting logic of economic planning inspired by an unstoppable liberalism which is making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. Since the poor are so excluded  from programs of development, some speak today of a “New World Dis-Order.” The future is justly a concern, if entire populations, who belong to the same family of God and share the same rights, are unable to participate in the just distribution of common goods. In some cases, indigenous communities are robbed of the riches of their raw materials and the natural resources of their countries through an unfair exploitation of territories and populations.

     Despite an increasing sensitivity to ecology, even the earth is suffering–perhaps as never before in human history–from climatic changes in the ecosystem, thus raising questions about the future of our planet. The degradation of the environment is a worrying concern. The Church takes it upon herself to give voice to the true aspirations of humanity in favor of an ecological balance which does not put at risk our earth and the whole creation made by the Creator’s hands and given to humanity as the abode of beauty and balance, a gift and basic resource of all human existence.

Between the Return to the Sacred and Indifference  

20. Despite evidence of a religious awakening, a new interest for spiritual realities and a certain return to the sacred, Pastors look with concern at what is being defined as a silent, easy abandonment of Church practice by a great number of people. A culture which lives only for the day is not open to the transcendent. Even Christians are increasingly looking with an indifferent eye at the world-to-come and the supernatural aspect of life which makes worldly existence truly worth living.

    Such an attitude finds expression in an individualism separated from Church communion and sacramental practice. Consequently, people are sometimes reduced to seek spiritual compensation in alternative religious movements and sects and in adopting forms of religiosity which are partly an imitation of the noblest ascetical practices of non-Christian religions. Today, many are content to practice a non-descript religion lacking any personal association to the true God of Jesus Christ and to the Church community.

    For many Pastors, the lack of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life is a source of concern and a troubling vision for the future. This is so even if the situation is simply viewed in light of an ordinary pastoral program of evangelization, a suitable sacramental and Eucharistic life, and the care required for a living faith and Christian practice.

 

New Ethical Problems on the Horizon

21. The rise of moral relativism is also distressing, since such a culture fails to place a priority on life and gives it no respect, thereby depriving human existence of its sacred character, whose beginning and end is bound to the mystery of the God of life.

     However, signs of hope in God the Creator can be seen in the acceptance of the gift of life, the rearing of children and the duty to promote the values of human existence in their entirety.

   At the same time, in this present moment the deceptive position, namely, that what is scientifically possible is ethically just, has brought us to a true, proper biological manipulation, resulting in grave consequences for the person who is made in the image and likeness of God in Christ, our Life (cf. Jn 1:4; 14:16). In recent years, related problems have come about, casting long shadows into the future.

     The ardent defense by the Church’s magisterium of the dignity of each human life, from its beginning to its natural end, is also influencing public opinion and bearing fruit in the sector of world ethics. At stake are the future of humanity and the dignity of the human person with intangible, inalienable rights.

22. Today, the crisis in the family and its instability as well as the recent threats to the family institution are grave dangers for life and the rearing of children.

    In our time, the Church has been consistent in her teaching in favour of life, matrimony and family life. This ongoing activity can be found in the extensive documentation from the pontifical magisterium and the other departments of the Holy See[20] as well as in the regular scheduling of the International Day of the Family which is providing assistance to spouses for  better marriages and a spirituality for the family.

Emerging Situations in the Church

23. A new situation is emerging in the Church in territories long under totalitarian regimes. The particular Churches in these areas are experiencing a new-found freedom of worship and the opportunity to resume  apostolic activity. Vocations are flowering and an initial missionary endeavour is  providing vocations beyond the confines of the particular Churches. The prospects and joy of a new beginning, the frequent witness of a joyous Catholic spirit and a fervent faith, unknown in other countries, are giving them hope for a fruitful future.

     At the same time, structural and organizational problems remain, such as the difficulty of a fraternal dialogue and a real communion and ecumenical collaboration with other Churches, especially the Orthodox.

     The Church continues, however, her task of courageously proclaiming  the Gospel in these countries which are adversely affected by the emptiness left by the culture of totalitarian regimes. Indeed, teaching programs on  freedom and the new-found communion among all Christians need to be promoted. A proper education in the faith can help overcome certain devotional practices which are without sound foundations as well as provide assistance in the efforts of a new evangelization. Promotional programs are needed towards building a strong faith and a life of moral conviction, especially considering the aggressive measures of the sects and the danger of falling–as some lament–into an excessive consumerism.

24. In the future, the Church of the third millennium will slowly see a  shifting of the center of the Catholic population towards Africa and Asia, where, as witnessed also in Latin America, young Churches are being established, full of fervor and vitality and rich in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, a situation which oftentimes helps the scarcity of vocations in the West.

      Not to be forgotten are the vast, populous territories of the Asian continent where many faithful are still unable publically to express their Catholic faith in communion with the universal Church and its chief Pastor. The Church also looks to these countries with great hope, recommending herself to the silent action of the Holy Spirit so that the faithful may be able  to express full, visible ecclesial communion and mutual assistance in making all come to know Christ, the Saviour.

 

Signs of Vitality and Hope

25. Among the positive signs in the world as well as in recent synodal assemblies, perceived at the end of the century and the millennium, we find a true yearning for peace, the desire for nations to participate in the solution of possible local conflicts, the growing awareness of human rights, the equal dignity of nations and the pursuit of a greater unity on the planet through an effective solidarity at the world level among poorer and richer nations. A ray of hope can be witnessed in the growing dedication of many to the service of the poor as well as in volunteer programs in very needy nations. There is also a growing appreciation of the specific talents of women and an increase in women’s participation in various responsibilities in society and in the Church.

     Where some fears are being raised as a result of the excesses of globalization, some list positive reactions, such as the various forms of solidarity, the greater sensitivity in safeguarding the cultural values of peoples and nations, and the recognition of the need to instil ethical and religious values in those involved in economics and politics. There also exists in our world a forceful pursuit of true freedom and a growing sense of communion in opposition to some individualistic tendencies.

     The announcement of the publication of The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a hope-filled sign, in light of the duties to work for the well-being of all peoples in the social and economic fields.

    Among these shadows and lights, some dangerous attitudes are circulating on the  world level. To counter the tendencies towards genetic manipulation and the disregard for life in the womb, greater attention is being given to human life and its transcendent value linking it to the God of life. A strong convergence of ethical values is being sought at the international level, while the danger of an ecological imbalance is resulting in a keener sense of the value of all creation.

 

Towards a New Humanism

26. Globalization rightly stirs a keen desire for personalism and interiority. Today, the balance between unity and pluralism is considered a major value: a unity belonging to the design of God who has created one human nature, the foundation of unity for the family of peoples in its  origin and destiny, and pluralism resulting from the make-up of nations, languages and cultures, all mirroring the richness of the multi-form wisdom of God (cf. Eph 3:10). In this context, a reawakening of cultures is also present as a reaction to a globalization which has a tendency to reduce everything to a common denominator and undervalue differences. On the contrary, the cultural identity, even in the exchange of goods, also fosters mutual enrichment.

     Hope inspires many acts of communion, collaboration, joint-ventures and  generous volunteer efforts in the lives of people in desperate situations,  such as loneliness, egotism and routine human projects which are often based on the self-centeredness of persons and entire groups. The resulting values are integrated in those of God’s great plan through personal, ecclesial and familial life, where individuals respond according to their vocational call.

    In the present-day, people are also searching for life’s meaning and a better quality of life at all levels, including the spiritual level. A greater sensitivity to personalism and a communal sense of interpersonal relations are being displayed through a true communion among persons.

     The world today and the Church feel the urgent need for unity, even though the full authentic “culture” of unity and communion is oftentimes in danger.

The Fruits of the Jubilee

27. The renewal of the Christian life and a sound participation of all in the new evangelization is continuing at the ecclesial level, especially after the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

     Preparations for the Jubilee of the Incarnation, according to the pastoral and spiritual program set forth in Tertio Millennio Adveniente of John Paul II, have been lived at the universal level through initiatives in the area of catechesis and sacramental life. The three-year program dedicated to the contemplation of the mystery of the Son, Holy Spirit and the Father, along with its specific emphasis concerning the sacraments (a re-discovery of Baptism, Confirmation and Penance), theological life (faith, hope and charity) and social ethics, is bearing fruit.

    The Jubilee of the Year 2000, lived in the spirit of the 50th Year as set forth in the Bible (cf. Lev 25) and its full realization in Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Lk 4:16ff), has truly been a year of spiritual progress. The graces of conversion are being multiplied, nourishing the hope that this will take place again at the beginning of the third millennium.

28. Some moments of the Jubilee have had particular significance for the Church and the world. The World Youth Day provided a strong witness of faith, piety and ecclesial vitality with the joyous presence and participation of many young people, coming to Rome from every part of the world, to gather around the Holy Father. Their presence in the Church is a challenge, requiring initiatives in the approaching decades towards developing pastoral programs for the young. Christian youth feel the need for a transparent life of conviction based on the Gospel.

Under the Guidance of the Spirit

29. The various continental synodal assemblies and the celebration of Pentecost 1998 gave evidence that the Church strongly feels that the Holy Spirit, as in past epochs, has stirred up new energies in the spiritual and apostolic life and has bestowed significant charisms, truly adapted to the needs of today’s world, in the evangelical life and the missionary venture, especially in ecclesial movements and new communities. This action bodes well for an abundant harvest of vocations to the priestly life, the consecrated life and the lay life in many young people desirous of dedicating their lives to the service of the Gospel.

     Responding to both their ecclesial character as set forth in the magisterium[21] and their proper charism, these new realities are, together with those already existent, the present and the future of the Church in the world.[22]

Towards Converging Paths of Unity

30.Undoubtedly, the new century and millennium find the faithful and the Pastors of various Churches and Christian communities more united through undeniable progress in ecumenical dialogue, a precious fruit of the Spirit from the past century. This dialogue has had its share of difficulties  in the last ten years. However, the resumption of ecumenical contacts in recent years is encouraging the unyielding commitment of the Church to dialogue with other Churches and Christian communities.

     Some Jubilee events, e.g., the opening of the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Paul, the ecumenical commemoration of twentieth century witnesses to the faith, the trip of the Pope to the Holy Land, together with other recent initiatives, are signs of a renewed determination on the part of Christians to walk together in the ways of the  Lord.

     Interreligious dialogue is entering a new stage in the pursuit of peace and the acknowledgment of religious and transcendent values. In the first place, mention must be made of relations with representatives of the People of God of the First Covenant. Such meetings are a sign of hope at the beginning of the millennium which many see as an era of great dialogue among the world religions, the guardians of spiritual values.

   Dialogue, understood as the encounter of persons and groups, respecting the differences in identities and rejecting all irenism and syncretism, is not only the new name for charity, as stated by Pope Paul VI[23] but, in today’s new world scene, is also the new name for hope.

A Demand for Spirituality

31.Another sign of hope is people’s great desired for spirituality, which has a particular force at the present moment and a variety of aspects.

  First of all, this desire is manifested as a forceful call to the fundamental Christian experience of encountering the living Jesus Christ. Such a knowledge requires the passage from “the faith proclaimed” to “the faith lived.” It also calls for a dynamic liturgy where a person can experience the goodness of a merciful God who offers redemption and salvation as the one who is “doctor of body and spirit.”[24]

  Morally speaking, it entails “bringing to life” the Christian experience with its ethical demands through the stirring of the Spirit. Indeed, Christian morality “unleashes all its missionary force, when it is carried out through the gift not only of the Word proclaimed but also of the Word lived. In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations.”[25]

   Consequently, there is an urgent need for a more spiritual pastoral program which responds to the demands of the new evangelization. Such a program must be so equipped as to provide a person with a spiritual encounter with Christ, similar to that of the Apostles before and after the resurrection and to that of the first Christians.

The Bishop: Witness of Hope

32.At the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era, the afore-mentioned concept of the Church’s mission to the world with its lights and shadows, determines the testimony required of each Bishop in both the universal Church and in his particular Church for the sake of the Gospel of Christ for the hope of the world.

  On this basis, the Bishop concretely expresses his spiritual and pastoral responsibility in his particular Church and in society, where he lives in a global village of communications as a participant in the life of the entire planet.

  It is impossible to overlook the duty which such a situation creates for an ordered vision of the Church in the world, requiring that Bishops work for the common good through word and deed.

 

Faithful like the Virgin Mary to the Expectations and Promises of God

33.The Church’s hope comes from the Risen Christ, who already possesses victory. Based on God’s promises, the Church’s hope confidently looks to the future glory to be received at the end of time.

   In the everyday trials of a world which eagerly looks to God for something new, the Bishop is for his particular Church like Abraham who “in hope believed against hope” and was fully convinced of the faithfulness of God to fulfill what he had promised (cf. Rm 4:18-22). The Bishop, then, has a sure trust in the Word and in God’s designs, as did Mary, the woman of hope, who awaited the fulfilment of the promises of a faithful God, at Nazareth, at Bethlehem, on Calvary and in the Cenacle.

   The Church’s history is a history of faith and charity; it is also a history of hope and courage. The Bishop who knows how to be a vigilant harbinger of hope and God’s sentinel in the darkness of night (cf. Is 21:11) can engender trust in his flock by forging new paths in the world.

    Each Bishop, in placing his faith and hope in God alone (1 Pt 1:21), can make his own the words of St. Augustine: “Whatever we may be, do not let your hope rest in our person as such, but in the Person of Christ. I would readily make little of myself as to speak like a true Bishop; I want to rejoice over you and not be exalted by you. Without a doubt, if I find any people placing their hope in my person, I would not commend them for this; they are to be corrected, not confirmed in their attitude; to be changed, not to be left to continue to do this... Don’t let your hopes rest in us as persons, don’t let your hopes rest on men. If we are good, we are ministers; if we are bad, we are also ministers. But, if indeed we be good, we are being ministers faithful to Christ, really and truly ministers.”[26]

34.The Church’s ministry in the next millennium is found in this vast venture which includes the mission of the Bishop as witness and promoter of Christian hope.

  Each of the Church’s Pastors is called to bring God’s presence to everyday life in a courageous and conscientious manner. The entire episcopal service is a ministry to lead the People of God and each individual to a “rebirth to a living hope” (1 Pt 1:3). Consequently, the Bishop needs to direct the entire work of evangelization in service of hope, above all in young people, who are threatened by disillusion and pessimism resulting from broken dreams, as well as in the those who, afflicted by many forms of poverty, look to the Church as their only defense, because of her supernatural hope.

   Each Bishop, faithful to hope, is to watch over this virtue in himself, because hope is the Easter gift of the Risen Christ. Hope arises from the fact that the Gospel, which the Bishop is principally commissioned to serve, is a total good and the focal point of the episcopal ministry. Without this hope, all the Bishop’s pastoral activity would be fruitless. The secret of his mission rests on the firm foundation of his theological and eschatological hope. “Of this,” St. Paul affirms, “you have heard before in the word of the truth, the Gospel which has come to you” (Col 1:6).

    Christian hope begins with Christ and is nourished by Christ. It is participation in his Paschal mystery and the first-fruits of a similar end, since, with Christ, the Father “has raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places” (Eph 2:6).

  The Bishop is the sign and minister of this hope. Each Bishop can make his own the words of Pope John Paul II: “Without hope we would not only be unhappy men and deserving of pity, but all our pastoral works would be fruitless; we would not dare to undertake anything. In an unwavering hope rests the secret of our mission. It is stronger than disappointment and doubt, because its force comes from a source which is not depleted by our lack of attention or our negligence. The wellspring of our hope is God himself, who through Christ has conquered the world once and for all and who today, through us,  continues his salvific mission among men.”[27]

 


CHAPTER II

THE MYSTERY, MINISTRY AND 
SPIRITUALITY OF THE BISHOP

 

The Image of Christ, the Good Shepherd

35.The spiritual image of the Bishop is revealed in many texts in Sacred Scripture when considered from the standpoint of Christ, the High Priest and Shepherd of  Souls. Passages from both the Old and New Testaments center on the image of the high priest or shepherd.

     All these texts point to Christ as the archetype. He is presented in the Gospel parable as the shepherd in search of the lost sheep (cf. Lk 15:4-7). He refers to himself as the “Good” Shepherd of the Flock (cf. Jn 10:11,14,16; Mt 26:31; Mk 14:27). He is acknowledged by the apostolic community with the following titles: “Shepherd and Guardian of ... Souls” (1 Pt 2:25), “Chief Shepherd” (1 Pt 5:4), and “Great Shepherd of the Sheep” (Heb 13:20), raised from the dead by the Father. In the vision of Revelation, the Risen Lord is the Lamb-Shepherd (cf. Rev 7:17) who joins in himself the reality of the sacrificial Paschal offering and salvation, and the figure of priest and shepherd from the Old and New Testaments.

    Early Christian iconography liked to represent Christ as the Good Shepherd, radiant in the splendor of his resurrection, exalted in the liturgy as the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep and rose from the dead.[28]

     Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Shepherd who joins in his person the truth, goodness and beauty of the gift of himself for the flock. The beauty of the Good Shepherd consists in the love with which he gives himself for each of his sheep and the love which creates a knowing and loving relationship with each one.

    The Church is the place of encounter with the Good Shepherd, where he makes himself present, feeds his flock with his Word and sacraments, and guides her towards the pastures of eternal life through those whom he himself has constituted, in the Spirit, as shepherds of the flock. The beauty of the Shepherd shines in the beauty of a Church who loves and serves; a Church who is the reason of hope for a humanity which is driven by the divine inner stirrings of the heart towards what is beautiful and saves, as seen in the face of the Lamb-Shepherd.

36.Christ alone is the Good Shepherd. From him, as from a fount, flows the pastoral ministry in the Church, entrusted to Peter by Christ (cf. Jn 21:15-17), a grace perceived as the continuity of the apostolic ministry in  guiding and keeping watch: “Tend the flock of God that is in your charge, not by constraint but willingly...” (1 Pt 5:2).

      The image of the Bishop as shepherd is part of the Christian tradition as witnessed in certain expressions, gestures and episcopal insignia, all of which are to be understood in reference to the one and only Shepherd and, through the grace received from him, done in imitation of his mind and heart.

    “To the person (the Bishop) to whom the Lord, the Good Shepherd, has committed his own powers by the sacrament of the episcopate, also goes the duty of love of feeding the Lord’s flock. He will in turn respond in great charity with an earnest good will to spend his life and ministry in the same disposition which was in Christ Jesus, the Prince of Pastors (cf. 1 Pt 5:4) and the Bishop of our Souls (cf. 1 Pt 2:25).”[29]

      The episcopal ministry becomes in the Church an amoris officium, according to the words of St. Augustine,[30] a service of unity, communion and mission. This “ministry of love” always returns to the archetype, Christ, under the title “Shepherd” and all the expressions which come from it.

11.I. MYSTERY AND GRACE OF THE EPISCOPATE

The Grace of Episcopal Ordination

37.Episcopal ordination confers “the fullness of the sacrament of orders, that fullness which in the Church’s liturgical practice and in the language of the Holy Fathers of the Church is undoubtedly called the high priesthood, the apex of the sacred ministry.”[31] The intimate nature of the mystery and ministry of the Bishop is expressed in the words and gestures used in the liturgy of episcopal ordination which ancient tradition has rightly called “natalis episcopi

      From Christian antiquity, the image of the Bishop in the Church is described in the various liturgies of episcopal ordination in the East and West as the moment in which, through the imposition of hands and the words of ordination, the grace of the Holy Spirit descends on the Bishop-elect and with the sacred character imprints, in its fullness, the living image of Christ, Teacher, Shepherd, High Priest, so that he might act in his name and  person.[32]

     The Bishop is also anointed with Holy Chrism, making him a  participant in the high priesthood of Christ. In this way, he is able to  exercise fully the ministry of the Word, sanctification and governing. As high priest, the Bishop is taken from among men and appointed to act on behalf of all in relation to God (cf. Heb 5:1). The episcopate, then, is not primarily a term of honor but one of service; it is intended not for showing pre-eminence but for doing good. Indeed, the words of Lord are intended also for the Bishop:  “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Lk 22:26).[33]

 

In Communion with the Trinity

38.The Trinitarian dimension of Jesus’ life, which binds him to the Father and the Spirit as consecrated and sent into the world and is manifested in his entire being and conduct, has its effect on the personality of the Bishop as the Good Shepherd, Successor of the Apostles.

  This participation in the Trinitarian life and mission is first applied to the Apostles as the first participants in communion and mission: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love” (Jn 15:9; 17, 23); “...As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). Furthermore, Jesus prays for the disciples so that they might participate in the same Trinitarian love: as the Father and Son are one, so might the  disciples be one (cf. Jn 17:21).

    This reference to the Trinity highlights the source of the ministry of the Bishop. Apostolic succession is not only physical and linked to time; it is also ontological and spiritual, because of the grace of episcopal ordination. Indeed, Bishops are sent by the Apostles as their Successors;  the Apostles have been sent by Christ, and Christ has been sent by the Father.[34]

39.The Trinitarian seal of the grace of the episcopate is expressed in a fitting way in the Roman liturgy of episcopal ordination: “Attend to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit appoints you an overseer of the Church of God–in the name of the Father, whose image you personify in the Church–and in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, whose role of Teacher, Priest and Shepherd you undertake–and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church of Christ and supports our weakness with his strength.”[35]

     This is further manifested through the ordination ritual of the imposition of hands, a gesture which, according to Irenaeus of Lyons, brings to mind the two hands of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.[36] Through this action the Bishop-elect is configured and constituted in the fullness of the priesthood, just as the gift of the “Spirit of the High Priest” was poured out on Christ and transmitted to the Apostles, who founded the Church in every part of the world.[37]

From the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit

40.The Bishop as the image of the Father is based on a very ancient tradition. Particular reference to this fact comes from the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch where the Father is said to be the Bishop unseen and the Bishop of all.[38] For his part, the Bishop ought to be reverenced by all, because he is the image of the Father.[39] Similarly, an ancient text exhorts: “Love the Bishop, because, after God, he is your father and mother.[40]

    Reference to this paternal dimension is made even today in the ceremony of episcopal ordination. The Bishop exercises his care of the Holy People of God with paternal affection, as a real father of a family, so as to guide it, with the assistance of priests and deacons, in the way of salvation.[41] The rediscovery of the Church as the Family of God, as seen in the Second Vatican Council, makes the image of the Bishop as Father particularly meaningful.[42]

    Because of his continual union with the person of Christ, the true image of the Father and manifestation of his presence and mercy, the Bishop, as head and spouse of the Church entrusted to him, also becomes the living sign of Jesus Christ through the grace of the sacrament. In his particular Church, he exercises as priest the ministry of sanctification, worship and prayer; as teacher, the service of evangelization, catechesis and teaching; and as shepherd, the task of governing and guiding the people. Each of these ministries ought to be imbued with those traits characteristic of the Good Shepherd, that is, charity, knowledge of the flock, care for all, mercy towards the poor, pilgrims and the needy as well as the pursuit of the lost sheep so as to bring them back to the one fold of the Church.[43]

     All is possible, because the Bishop receives at his ordination the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit who descended on the disciples at Pentecost, the Spirit of the High Priest who interiorly equips him, configuring him to Christ, so that he can be the living continuation of his mystery for the sake of his Mystical Body.

    The Trinitarian understanding of the life and ministry of the Bishop also deeply characterizes his continual relation to the mystery which shines in the Church as image of the Trinity and a people gathered in peace and harmony by the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.[44]

The Ecclesial Image of the Bishop

41.The episcopal insignia which the Bishop receives during his episcopal ordination as an expression of grace and ministry are particularly rich in Church-related symbolism.

    The book of the Gospels, placed over the head of the Bishop, is a sign of a life totally submitted to the Word of God and spent in preaching the Gospel with the utmost patience and teaching.

     The ring is the symbol of faithfulness, through integrity of faith and purity of life, towards the Church whom he must watch over as the Spouse of Christ. The miter recalls episcopal holiness and the crown of glory which the Chief Shepherd will confer on his faithful servants. The crosier is the symbol of the office of the Good Shepherd, who watches over and leads with care the flock entrusted to him by the Holy Spirit.[45]

      The pallium, always worn by Bishops in the East and now received by some Bishops in the West, has various meanings. For Metropolitan Bishops in the West, it is: a sign of their communion with the Roman Pontiff; a symbol of unity; a commitment to communion with the Apostolic See; and the bond of charity and incentive for strength in confessing and defending the faith. As the omophorion of Bishops in the Eastern Churches, the pallium, from antiquity to the present day, holds other meanings of great spiritual and ecclesial value. Woven from wool and decorated with crosses, it is a sign of the Bishop, identified with Christ the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep and who bears the lost sheep on his shoulders. Moreover, it stands for his care of all, especially those who have wandered from the flock. This significance receives support in both Eastern[46] and Western[47] tradition.

    The cross which the Bishop wears around his neck is a powerful sign of his belonging to Christ, his confession of faith in him and the constant power which he draws from the Lord’s cross through the gift of life. Far from being a piece of jewelry or decoration, it represents the glorious Cross of Christ, a sign of hope, of which St. Paul writes: “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).

     These brief indications highlight the symbolism which is part of the solemn character of episcopal ordination.

     The symbolism of the above elements merge in the oneness or unity which exists among those who have received episcopal ordination. In communion with the Roman Pontiff, all Bishops are members of the Episcopal College and with the Holy Father share concern for the entire Church.[48]

The Spirit of Holiness  

42.Associated with the episcopal images expressed in the words and rites of ordination, is the Bishop’s call to holiness, a call which requires its own spirituality, its own program geared towards holiness and its own evangelical perfection. Both Eastern and Western rituals confirm this tradition, attributing to the Bishop the fullness of holiness so as to live before God and in communion with the faithful.

     The ancient Eucologion of Serapion expresses this idea in the prayer of the ordination of the Bishop: “God of truth, make your servant an effective Bishop, a holy Bishop in the succession of the Holy Apostles; and give him the grace of the divine Spirit who has been given to all faithful servants, prophets and patriarchs.”[49]

     This call to holiness is living in pastoral charity, in uninterrupted service of the Lord, in offering holy gifts, in the ministry of the forgiveness of sins, in pleasing the Lord in meekness and purity and the Bishop’s offering himself as a sweet-smelling sacrifice.[50]

    Given the above, the Bishop is called to a special kind of holiness in virtue of the gift received and the ministry of sanctification entrusted to him.

II. SANCTIFICATION IN HIS MINISTRY

The Spiritual Life of the Bishop

43.In common with life in Christ according to the Spirit, the spiritual life of the Bishop has its basis in the grace of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Since he is a “christifidelis,” born again in Christ, the Bishop is enabled to believe in God, hope in him and love him through the theological virtues, and to live and act under the movement of the Holy Spirit by means of his holy gifts. In this way, he is no different from any other disciple of the Lord, who has been made part of his body, has become a temple of the Spirit and lives his Christian vocation conscious of his relationship with Christ as disciple and apostle. St. Augustine described the situation in his well-known phrase addressed to the faithful: “For you I am a Bishop, with you I am a Christian.”[51]

    Even the Bishop, then, as baptized and confirmed, is nourished by the Holy Eucharist and stands in need of the Father’s forgiveness, because of human weakness. Moreover, together with all priests, he is also to follow a specific spiritual program, since he is called to holiness through Sacred Orders.[52]

44.Given the unique ministry of the Bishop, however, he requires a  spirituality particularly his own, one geared to his living the faith in hope and charity as evangelizer, liturgist and guide in the community. It is a Church-centred spirituality, because each Bishop is conformed to Christ, Shepherd and Spouse, through his loving and serving the Church.

     It is impossible to love Christ and live in intimacy with him without loving the Church whom Christ loves. Indeed, the more he possesses the Spirit of God the more he loves the Church, “one in all and all in each one; simple in her plurality for the unity of faith, multiple in each for the bond of charity and the variety of charisms.”[53] A spirituality totally directed towards loving as the Lord Jesus loved, that is, even to the cross, is born only from a love for the Church, that is, loved by Christ to the point where he gave his life for her (cf. Eph 5:25).

     This spirituality, then, is one of ecclesial communion, striving towards upbuilding the Church with vigilance, so that each word and deed, each act and decision in his pastoral service, might be a sign of the dynamic life of the Trinity in communion and mission.

 

A Genuine Pastoral Charity

45.A key element in the spirituality proper to the Bishop is the exercise of his ministry, interiorly nourished by faith, hope and especially pastoral charity which is the soul of his apostolic activity. He does this in a dynamic of pastoral “pro-existentia”, that is, in living for God and others, as Christ did, striving to do the Father’s will and being totally at the service of others in self-giving each day, through a free gift of love, in communion with the Trinity. Lumen Gentium states: “The shepherds of the flock ought to carry out their ministry with holiness, eagerness, humility and courage in imitation of the eternal High Priest, the Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls. They will thereby make this ministry the principal means of their own sanctification. Those chosen for the fullness of the priesthood are gifted with sacramental grace, enabling them to exercise a perfect role of pastoral charity through prayer, sacrifice and preaching, as through every form of a Bishop’s care and service. They are enabled to lay down their life for their sheep fearlessly, and, made a model for their flock (cf. 1 Pt 5:3), can lead the Church to ever-increasing holiness through their own example.”[54]

     The Pastoral Directory Ecclesiae Imago devoted an entire chapter to specifying the virtues essential for a Bishop.[55] In addition to the supernatural virtues of obedience, perfect continence for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty, pastoral prudence and strength, an appeal is made for the  theological virtue of hope. Drawing strength from this hope, the Bishop confidently awaits every good from God and places his utmost trust in divine Providence, “mindful of the blessed Apostles and of the ancient Bishops who, although experiencing great difficulties and facing every kind of obstacle, still proclaimed the Gospel of God with all boldness.”[56]

     Since the first centuries of Christianity to the present, many Bishops have been models of theological hope and pastoral charity. In their way of life they have found the means to unite the preaching ministry and catechesis, the celebration of the sacred mysteries and prayer, and apostolic zeal and an intense love for the Lord. These Bishops have founded Churches, reformed customs and defended the truth. They have been courageous witnesses through martyrdom and have left their mark on society through initiatives of charity and justice, and acts of courage, for the sake of their people, in the face of the powerful of this world.[57]

The Ministry of Preaching

46.The Bishop’s spirituality of ministry, grounded in pastoral charity and expressed in the three-fold office of teaching, sanctifying and governing, is not lived in isolation from his ministry but in union with it.

     Above all, the Bishop is a minister of the truth which saves, not only in teaching and instructing but also in leading people to hope and, therefore,  advancing in the path of hope. Indeed, if the Bishop, then, wishes to show himself to his people as a sign, witness and minister of hope, he has to  nourish himself at the Word of Truth, in total adhesion and full disposition to it, after the example of Mary, the Mother of God, who “believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (Lk 1:45).

      Since, then, this divine Word is contained and expressed in Sacred Scripture, the Bishop is constantly to have recourse to it in diligent reading and accurate study, so that it might be of assistance in his ministry.[58] He is to do this, not only because he would be a useless preacher of the Word of God exteriorly, if he did not listen to it from within himself,[59] but also because by not doing so, he would empty his ministry of hope. Indeed, The Bishop uses the Scriptures to nourish his spirituality so as truly to exercise his ministry as evangelizer. Only in this way will he be able, like St. Paul, to recommend himself to the faithful in saying: “by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rm 15:4).

    The choice of the Apostles in the early days of the Church is repeated in the episcopal ministry: “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4). Origen wrote: “These are the two activities of the Priest: both learning from God, by reading the Sacred Scriptures and often meditating on them, and teaching the people. But, let him teach the very things that he himself has learned from God!”[60]

One Who Prays and Teaches Prayer

47.The Bishop is also one who prays, one who intercedes for his people, through the faithful celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours over which he is to preside, at times, with his faithful.

     Conscious that he will be able to teach prayer to his faithful only through a personal prayer life, the Bishop has recourse to God by repeating with the psalmist: “I hope in your Word” (Ps 119:114). Indeed, prayer is the moment in which hope is expressed or, as St. Thomas insists, prayer  “mirrors hope.”[61]

     The ministry of prayer in pastoral and apostolic activity is  particularly related to the role of Bishop. The Bishop exercises this ministry of prayer before God on behalf of people, in imitation of Jesus who prayed for his Apostles (cf. Jn 17) and after the example of Paul who prayed for his community (cf. Eph 3:14-21; Phil 1: 3-10). The Bishop is to bear the whole Church within himself in prayer, interceding in a special manner for the people entrusted to his care. Imitating Jesus in the choice of his Apostles (cf. Lk 6: 12-13), he is also to submit to the Father his pastoral initiatives and present his hopes and expectations to him through Christ in the Spirit. The God of hope will then fill him with every joy and peace, because he abounds in hope through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rm 15:13).

      The Bishop is also to pursue occasions in which he can hear the Word of God and pray together with his priests, the permanent deacons,  seminarians and consecrated men and women of his particular Church. Wherever and whenever possible, he is to do the same also with the laity, particularly with those in groups associated in a common apostolic activity.

    In this way, the Bishop fosters the spirit of communion and sustains the spiritual life of his diocese, showing himself to be the “teacher of perfection” in his particular Church, whose duty is to “foster holiness among his clerics, religious and laity according to the special vocation of each.”[62] At the same time, he brings the bonds, existing between the various states in the Church over which he presides and is the visible center of unity, to their divine source, thereby strengthening them in the communion of prayer.

     The Bishop is also to seek similar moments of spiritual encounter  with his brother Bishops, above all, with those of the same province or ecclesiastical region. Such occasions not only express the joy of living together as brothers (cf. Ps 133:1) but also manifest and foster the fellowship of the Episcopal College.

Nourished by the Grace of the Sacraments

48.The effectiveness of the pastoral guidance of the Bishop and his witness to Christ, Hope of the World, depends in a great part on the genuine character of his following of the Lord and living in friendship with him.

      Holiness alone is the prophetic proclamation of renewal which the Bishop anticipates in his own life by drawing close to the very end to which he is leading his faithful. In his spiritual journey, however, he experiences, like every Christian, the necessity of conversion by reason of his consciousness of his own weaknesses, his own discouragement and his own sins. But, since, as St. Augustine preached, the hope of pardon is granted to the one who has admitted his sin,[63] the Bishop is to have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance. Whoever hopes to be a child of God and to see him makes himself pure as the heavenly Father is pure (cf. 1 Jn 3:3).

      Even the Apostles, to whom the Risen Christ communicated the gift of the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins (cf. Jn 20:22-23), needed to receive from the Lord the word of peace which brings reconciliation and the entreaty of a penitent love which makes whole (cf. Jn 20:19-21; 21:5ff).

     It is undoubtedly a sign of encouragement for the People of God to see that the Bishop is the first to avail himself of the Sacrament of Penance, especially at particular moments, e.g., when he presides at a communal  service with the individual celebration of the Sacrament of Penance.

     The Bishop, together with all the People of God, nourishes his hope also from the liturgy. Indeed, the Church, when she celebrates the earthly liturgy, experiences in hope a foretaste of the liturgy of the heavenly Jerusalem towards which she advances as a pilgrim and where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, “a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord” (Heb 8:2).[64]

49.All the Church’s Sacraments are the memorial of the words, deeds and mystery of the Lord, sacred signs of salvation, accomplished by Christ once and for all, and an anticipation of its full possession, to be given at the end of time.[65] This is particularly true in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Until the Second Coming, however, the Church celebrates them as efficacious signs in expectation, supplication and hope.

      In both the East and West, the spirituality of the episcopal ministry is linked to the celebration of the sacred mysteries, over which the Bishop presides and celebrates, together with his priests, deacons and the People of God.

      The variety of rites in the Church and their specific character, in both  the East and West, are an essential part the People of God; they confer on the Church her identity and are the wellspring of a rich ecclesial spirituality. Therefore, the Bishop as high priest of his people is not only intently to celebrate the sacred mysteries, but to make of the celebration of them a genuine school of spirituality for the people. He is to be assisted in this task by a knowledge of theology and the liturgical practices proper to a Bishop, as they appear in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum.[66]

      Bishops of the Eastern Churches, in fidelity to the rich liturgical patrimony of their particular celebrations, will be able to exercise their ministry in the Church in full harmony with the spiritual values of their respective rites.[67]

As High Priest in the Midst of His People

50.Some liturgical actions in the presence of the Bishop have particular significance. First and foremost is the Chrism Mass, during which the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick are blessed and Holy Chrism is consecrated. This liturgy is the highest manifestation of the local Church who celebrates the Lord Jesus, Eternal High Priest and Sacrificial Victim. For the Bishop, it is a moment of great hope, since he gathers the diocesan presbyterate around him so that together they can look to Jesus, the High Priest and Easter joy. In this way, they relive the sacramental grace of Orders by renewing the promises of their ordination day which give special meaning to their priestly ministry in the Church. On this unique occasion in the liturgical year, the People of God, beset by various concerns, are stirred to hope through their witnessing the strengthening of the bonds of ecclesial communion.

     Added to this celebration is the solemn liturgy of ordination to the priesthood and to the diaconate. The Bishop sees in the reception from God of new collaborators in Orders and in his episcopal ministry a favorable response from the Spirit, Donum Dei and Dator Munerum, to his prayer for an abundance of vocations and to his hope for a Church still more resplendent in her ministry.

     Similar things can be said for the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, in which the Bishop is the primary minister and, in the Latin Church, the ordinary minister.

    This sacrament of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which often requires a significant commitment of time by Pastors and serves as an occasion for making a pastoral visit to his parishes, provides the Bishop with a moment of intense ministerial spirituality and communion with his faithful, especially the young. The fact that this sacrament is administered by the diocesan Bishop shows that one of the effects of the sacrament is to strengthen the bonds uniting people to the mystery of Pentecost, to the Church of God in her apostolic origin and to the local community as well as to empower those who receive the Spirit to participate in the mission of bearing witness to Christ.[68]

A Spirituality of Communion

51.A sign of a strong spirituality of communion and an element of great value in the holiness and sanctification of the Bishop is his communion with  priests, deacons, consecrated persons and the laity, through personal encounters or various meetings. His words of exhortation and his spiritual message can foster and guarantee the active, sanctifying presence of Christ in the midst of his Church and the flow of the graces of the Spirit, which create a particular witness to unity and charity.

    To accomplish this, it is important that the Bishop animate and promote, through his personal presence and instruction, the “moments of the Spirit” which foster the growth of the spiritual life, such as retreats, spiritual exercises and spiritual workshops, using also the means of social communication which have the potential for reaching people who do not frequent the Church.

    The Bishop also needs to know how to take advantage of the ordinary means of the spiritual life, such as spiritual counsel, friendship and fraternal communion, so as to avoid the risk of separation and the danger of discouragement in the face of problems.

     The Bishop will thus be able to exercise and animate a spirituality of communion with the various persons who work in pastoral programs through listening, collaboration and the responsible delegation of tasks and ministries.

     A particular way in which the Bishop keeps this spirituality alive is through his communion, in an affective and effective way, with the Pope and other Bishops by prayer and a spirit of fraternity.

     The Bishop is not alone in his ministry; he is to give and receive that fraternal charity which flows from his relationships with his brothers in the episcopate in a true exercise of the mutual love commanded of the Apostles  by Christ (cf. Jn 13:34; 15, 12-13), which is manifested in a sharing of prayer, spiritual and pastoral experiences and discernment.

      Important occasions in which Bishops can exercise communion and pastoral charity are: dialogue and sharing, spiritual retreats and moments of relaxation.

Animator of Pastoral Spirituality

52.The Bishop himself is called to be in the midst of the people as a promoter and animator of a pastoral program geared to holiness and as  spiritual master of his flock, through his style of life and credible witness in word and deed.

     The Bishop’s call to holiness demands that he also foster the universal call to holiness in his particular Church. For this reason, he is to promote the spirituality and holiness of the People of God through specific initiatives which take up traditional and recent charisms as a sign of the richness of the Spirit of holiness.

In Communion with the Holy Mother of God

53.The special maternal presence of Mary offers particular encouragement to the Bishop in his spiritual life, where Mary is honored in a personal way through a relationship of genuine filial love.

    Each Bishop is called to relive the Lord’s entrustment of Mary to the disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (cf. Jn 19: 26-27). He is also to mirror the wholehearted, persevering prayer of the disciples with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, from the Ascension to Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). All Bishops in fraternal communion are entrusted to the maternal care of Mary in communion, in hope and in the ministry.

     Such practices will result in a sound Marian devotion of intense communion with the Holy Mother of God in the Bishop’s liturgical ministry of sanctification and worship, in his teaching of doctrine, in his personal life and in his governing. This style of acting after the example of Mary in the exercise of the episcopal ministry has its basis in the association of the Church with Mary.

III. THE SPIRITUAL ITINERARY OF THE BISHOP

A Necessary Spiritual Itinerary

54.In a life of faithfulness to one’s vocation, Christian spirituality has its stages, trials and unexpected occurrences. The seasons of life and the constant striving towards perfection and personal holiness, by God’s design, assist the Bishop to follow a true and proper spiritual itinerary in his ministry. In the midst of the joys and trials–not lacking in the life of the Bishop–he will live not only his personal history but that of his people. He goes ahead of his flock, leading it in faithfulness to Christ through a life of witness to the end.

     Animated by theological hope, he can and ought to live every moment with a serene trust, even when circumstances call for submitting his letter of resignation from office. Even in retirement, he is to continue, to the very end, to live in a fitting way the spirit of his episcopal ministry through prayer and other tasks.

With the Spiritual Realism of Everyday Life

55.Spiritual realism also teaches the Bishop how he ought to live his vocation to holiness in light of his human weaknesses, his many duties, the unforeseen happenings of everyday life and the many personal and institutional problems. At times, weighed down by many responsibilities, he risks being overwhelmed by difficulties and unable to find appropriate responses and solutions.

     Each day, the Bishop experiences the import of life and history. Responsibilities and the sharing of people’s problems and joys also have their impact. At times, he will be subject to the pressures of the social communications’ media, because of phenomena involving the Church and the defense of true doctrine and morality; at other times, he will face unjust accusations or problems of a social character.

     In all these cases, he needs to cultivate a serene tenor of life which fosters mental, psychic and emotional balance and allows him to be able to maintain a social rapport, to accept persons and their problems, to be the intermediary in the happy or adverse situations of his people, who look to him for the maturity and goodness of a father and spiritual master.

     The Bishop needs to have courage in the trying aspects of his ministry, in bearing the cross with dignity and experiencing the glory of serving in communion with the Crucified yet Glorious Christ.

 

The Divine and Human in Harmony

56.The Bishop is called to cultivate a spirituality patterned after the  humanitas of Jesus in which he can express the divine and human aspects of his ordination and mission. In this way, he can maintain a balance in his duties: liturgical celebrations and personal prayer, pastoral planning, concentration and repose, just relaxation and a congruous time for vacation,  and study and ongoing theological and pastoral formation.

     The Bishop’s care of his physical, mental and spiritual health and an equilibrium in life are also acts of love for the sake of the faithful and a guarantee of a greater openness to the inspiration of the Spirit and a greater willingness to follow his guidance.

      Sustained by his spirituality, the Bishop acquires peace of soul and deep communion with the Trinity who have chosen and consecrated him. In the grace assured him by God, he will know each day how to exercise his ministry as a witness of hope, while being attentive to the needs of the Church and the world.

     Indeed, each day the Bishop renews his trust in God and boasts as the Apostle “in our hope of sharing the glory of God....knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...” (Rm 5:2-4). Hope also brings joy; indeed, a Christian joy, which is a joy of hope (cf. Rm 12:12) and also the object of hope. The Bishop bears witness to a Christian joy which is born of the cross. He ought not only to speak of joy but also “to hope in joy” and bear witness to it before his people.[69]

Faithfulness to the End

57.The Bishop will be patient and persevering in hope in the course of his ministry, when he submits to trials on account of sickness, or when he is led by the Lord to give his life as an offering for his flock, or when he is called to render testimony to Christ in difficult situations of persecution and martyrdom, not a rare happening in the past or present.

    Even these will be invaluable opportunities for the people entrusted to the Bishop’s care to know that their Pastor is following the Crucified Christ in his total gift of self.

      The people will also benefit from the example of the Bishop who, seriously ill, receives the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Viaticum in a solemn ceremony in the presence of the clergy and people.[70]

     In the last act of witness in his earthly life, the Bishop will have an opportunity to teach the faithful that nothing can overcome hope and that the pain of the present moment is eased by the hope of future glory.

     In the final moment of his exodus on earth to the Father, he will be able to take up and re-state the purpose of his ministry in the Church, namely, that of indicating the eschatological goal to the Church’s Children, just as Moses on Mount Nebo showed the promised land to the Sons of Israel (cf. Deut 34:1ff).

     Consequently, even the end of the Bishop’s spiritual itinerary, in his death and funeral in the cathedral, is to be a moment of great spiritual value for the life of the faithful and a hymn of the Resurrection of the Lord who welcomes his faithful servants. On such an occasion, the Bishop can leave an inspirational gift to the Church by writing a spiritual testament and can show himself to the people as a brother and friend, alongside his many predecessors.

The Example of Bishop Saints

58.In his spiritual itinerary, the Bishop is encouraged by the great number of Pastors who, starting with the Apostles, have left their example in the life of the Church in every time and place. It would be difficult to list all these illustrious models who stand out in the Church, whose holiness has been or will be acknowledged by the Church. Their names and faces can easily be seen in the life of the Universal Church and the local Churches and also in the celebrations of the liturgical year or in the readings of the liturgy of the hours.

     We recall the Bishop-Saints who from the beginning of the Church have attained holiness in life through preaching and wisdom and through a lived understanding of the pastoral and social sense of the Gospel. Some have borne witness in martyrdom or have founded Churches which  rejoice in them as patron saints.

     Some Pastors stand out because of their doctrine or their specific contribution at ecumenical councils or their achievement of reform and renewal through their wisdom. Many are missionary Bishop-Saints who  carried the Gospel to new lands and organized the life of the local emerging Churches. Many–even in our day–witnessed to the faith and paid for their faithfulness to the Catholic Church and communion with the see of Peter through imprisonment, exile and other kinds of suffering. Others, in difficult circumstances, have given their lives for their flock as defenders of human and religious rights.

    Spiritual communion with these Pastors is a reason for hope and a source of apostolic vigor. In their lives, each Bishop sees the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit and the degree of faithfulness to which he is  called in his pastoral ministry.


 


CHAPTER III

THE EPISCOPATE:
THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNION AND
MISSION IN THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH

 

Friends of Christ, Chosen and Sent by Him

59.The words of Jesus at the Last Supper, especially those recorded by St. John in Chapter 15 of his Gospel, concern the call of the Apostles to  communion and mission. Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches, using a biblical figure which clearly expresses not only the necessity of communion but also fruitfulness in mission. Although the words of Jesus have an ecclesial, Eucharistic meaning applicable to all the faithful, they are intended primarily for the circle of Apostles and, consequently, for their Successors.

      Jesus’ discourse on the vine and the branches points to the dynamic work of the Trinity in communion and mission. The Father is the vine dresser; Christ is the true vine; the interior sap of communion and fruitfulness is the Holy Spirit who gives life to the branches united to the vine which is destined to give abundant and lasting fruit. At the center of this parable is found the fundamental teaching that the disciples of Jesus are called to remain in vital communion with him and with his word and commandments and to grow, through God’s pruning, and bear fruit in abundance (cf. Jn 15:1-10).

      This leads to the need of communion with Christ and, in him, with the Father and the Spirit in the mystical vine, symbolic of the Church.

     “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). In keeping with the meaning of the parable of the vine, Jesus tells his disciples that communion with him is remaining faithful to the divine friendship: “You are my friend, if you do what I command you” (Jn 15:14). Through friendship with Christ, they come to a knowledge of the secrets of the Father and receive the gift of a life “even unto death” and a mutual communion in love. Continuing his mandate from the Father, Jesus, for his part, chooses his disciples and sends them out in mission: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16). For their part, the disciples are called to be faithful to the Word and mission.

60.As Christ’s friend, disciple and apostle, the Bishop is a  living branch grafted on the vine which is Christ and bears in himself the personal and ministerial call to communion and mission.

       The Bishop’s identity in the Church is grounded in the dynamic action of apostolic succession understood as not only the giving of  authority but the extension of Trinitarian communion and mission. Since the Bishop is chosen by the Lord, called to a constant communion with him and sent forth into the world, he is identified with the Person of Jesus in the transmission of divine life, in the communion of love and in the sacrifice of his life.

I. THE EPISCOPAL MINISTRY IN AN ECCLESIOLOGY OF COMMUNION

In the Church, Image of the Trinity

61.In its theological teachings, the Second Vatican Council described  the Church as the place where the mysteries of faith are found, giving particular emphasis to the central theme of communion. Indeed, the Church  is defined at the outset of the Constitution Lumen Gentium as “a sacrament or sign of intimate union with God and of the unity of all humanity.”[71]

   Therefore, the document of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of 1985 has rightly affirmed: “the ecclesiology of communion is the central and fundamental concept in the documents of the Council.”[72] The concept of communion is “at the heart of the Church’s understanding of herself”[73] and always involves a double dimension: the vertical and the horizontal, communion with God and communion among men, the gift of the Trinity and the duty of faith and love, and the visible and the invisible.[74]

     Having its foundation in the Word of God and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, ecclesial communion is expressed in faith, founded on hope, animated by charity and grounded in the unity of the ministry of teaching and ruling by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops. In this way, it possesses a force towards unity and a dynamic energy in mission. Like  the mystery of the Trinity, which is communion and mission for the salvation of the world, the Church, the living image of the Trinity and possessor of the power of the Spirit, is the convocation of a people (ekklesìa) and the  manifestation of a mission (epiphania) for the salvation of the world.

     The Church is to be always and everywhere, in a growing measure, the participation and sacrament of Trinitarian love for the salvation of the world. Consequently, she has the power of the Spirit who is, in the Trinity,  the principle of communion and mission in love.

62.The Church, therefore, is the mystery-sacrament in which everything  converges, namely, evangelization and catechesis, the celebration of the mysteries of the faith, ecclesial spirituality, the life of charity of Christians and missionary activity and witness. Only from an authentic ecclesial perspective can the moral duties, pastoral programs and a lived spirituality be understood.

     Communion and mission enrich each other. The force of communion makes the Church grow in extension and depth. At the same time, mission  makes communion grow, extending it outwards in concentric circles, until it reaches everyone. Indeed, the Church spreads into various cultures and introduces them to the Kingdom,[75] so that what comes from God can return to him. For this reason, it has been said: “Communion leads to mission, and mission itself to communion.”[76]

      Communion is the Church’s very being and recalls the goal of all charisms to agape and to communion in unity, in the same plan of salvation and the same ecclesial activity.

     The unity of the Church as communion and mission is not only the essence of her mystery and her task in the world, it is also the guarantee and seal of her divine action. In other words, everything comes from the plan of God as Trinity, who in his unity is the origin and final goal of all things, according to the vision of salvation history which concerns humanity and all creation.

In an Ecclesiology of Communion and Mission

63.In our times, unity is a sign of hope concerning peoples and human endeavours towards reconciliation for a better world. Unity is also a sign and credible witness of the authenticity of the Gospel. As a result, the unity of the Church, especially that of all disciples of Christ, is also an urgent need in our world, so that the world may believe (cf. Jn 17:21).

      The Trinitarian mystery, the mystery of communion in mutual self-giving, is the pattern of life for the Church, her mission, her ministers and, therefore, for the episcopal ministry.

     Such an understanding is a hope-filled sign for a world broken by divisions, opposing forces and conflicts. The Church’s strength is her communion; her weakness is division and internal opposition.

Unity and Catholicity in the Episcopal Ministry

64.The episcopal ministry is set in this ecclesiology of communion and mission which gives rise to an activity, a spirituality and a style of life, all of which are determined by communion.

     Indeed, this ministry expresses the unity of apostolic succession in the College of Bishops under the Petrine ministry. Furthermore, in the person of the Bishop, the particular Church, the community of the People of God with priests, deacons, consecrated persons and the laity, come together.

     This communion in unity is sustained through pastoral charity and a supernatural hope of the fulfilment of the divine plan through the power of the Holy Spirit.

65.Since the Bishop is sent in the name of Christ as Pastor of a particular Church, he cares for a portion of the People of God entrusted to him, making it grow as a communion in the Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist. In his person, the Bishop is the visible principle and foundation of the unity of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance, as a result of the power he has received.[77]

    Each Bishop, in virtue of his being a Pastor of a particular Church, is a member of the College of Bishops. In this same College, each Bishop becomes a member through episcopal ordination and hierarchical communion with the head of the college.[78] On this basis, certain facts emerge affecting the Bishop’s ministry, facts which are worth considering, even if only in a summary manner.

     First of all, the Bishop never stands alone. This is true not only in relation to his position in his particular Church but also in the Universal Church, correlated as the Church is–because of the nature of the episcopate itself, one and undivided[79]–to the whole Episcopal College which is in succession to the College of Apostles. For this reason, each Bishop stands, at one and the same time, in relation to his particular Church and to the universal Church.

     As the visible principle and foundation of unity in his particular Church, the Bishop is also the visible link of ecclesial communion between his particular Church and the universal Church. Therefore, even though living in various parts of the world, each Bishop stands in watch, with the head of the Episcopal College and its members, over hierarchical communion in its totality. In this way, the Bishops give substance and form to the catholicity of the Church. At the same time, they confer on the particular Church, over which they preside, the same mark of catholicity.

     “The Bishop is a visible source and foundation of the unity of the particular Church entrusted to his pastoral ministry. But for each particular Church to be fully Church, that is, the particular presence of the universal Church with all its essential elements, and hence constituted after the model of the universal Church, there must be present in it, as a proper element, the supreme authority of the Church: the Episcopal College ‘together with their head, the Supreme Pontiff, and never apart from him’.”[80]

     In the communion of Churches, the Bishop represents his particular Church, and, as a result, represents the communion of Churches. Indeed, through the episcopal ministry, each particular Church, which is also a portio Ecclesiae universalis,[81] lives the totality of the One-Holy Church and the Catholic-Apostolic Church is present in each of them in its totality.[82]

66. Secondly, the unity of the college or the fraternal communion of charity or the collegial sense is the basis for the solicitude which each Bishop, in virtue of Christ’s institution and command, is required to have for the whole Church and the other particular Churches. By the same token, the Bishop also shares concern for “those parts of the world where the Word of God has not yet been proclaimed or where, chiefly because of the small number of priests, the faithful are in danger of departing from the precepts of the Christian life, and even of losing the faith itself.”[83]

     On the other hand, the divine gifts, through which every Bishop builds his particular Church, namely, the Gospel and the Eucharist, are already the same as those which not only constitute all the other particular Churches as a gathering in the Spirit but also lead each particular Church to communion with all other Churches. By the Lord’s will, the proclamation of the Gospel is universal; it is addressed to all people and is always the same in every age.

     The celebration of the Eucharist, by its nature and like all other liturgical actions, is an act of the whole Church. The Sacrament belongs to the whole Body of Christ which it manifests and implies.[84] This same source gives rise to the duty of the Bishop, as a legitimate Successor of the Apostles and member of the Episcopal College, of being, in a certain way, guarantor of the whole Church (sponsor Ecclesiae).[85]

In Communion with the Successor of Peter

67.The ecclesiology of communion, characteristic of the Catholic Church, expresses the multi-relational unity of the particular Churches not only in their sharing the same faith, hope and charity and the same doctrine and sacraments, but also in their participating in the same communion with the Roman Pontiff, the visible principle of the Church’s unity. This reality is manifested in sanctification, worship, doctrine and governance, according to the divine plan of Christ, who wills that Peter and his Successors be the principle of visible unity so that they might confirm their brothers in the faith.[86]

     The Church’s unity, in communion with the Successor of Peter and under his guidance, is also the source of hope for the future. The plan of God is the unity of the entire human family, a precious gift which the Catholic Church preserves in its structure.

    For Christians, this unity is the source of trust and hope in the future for their mission in the world. It is the guarantee of the continuity of the truth and life of the Gospel, namely, the fullness of a Church which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, as willed by Christ, and which “subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.”[87]

68.Many bonds unite each Bishop with the Petrine ministry. First of all, the communion of divine life, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist, is the foundation of the unity of the Church in Christ.[88] Each celebration of the Eucharist, sign of the “sanctorum communio”, that is, the communion of saints and all things holy–as stated in Christian antiquity[89]–is  fulfilled in union not only with one’s Bishop but above all with the Pope and with the episcopal order, and thus with the clergy and the entire People of God, as set forth in various versions of the Eucharistic prayer.[90]

  Another bond of unity is the communion in preaching the same Gospel and true doctrine, in faithfulness to the Church’s magisterium, which the Roman Pontiff exercises, especially in questions of faith and morals. The wholehearted acceptance and diffusion of the pontifical magisterium is a sign of authentic communion and a guarantee of the unity of the Church, also in guiding the People of God on the path of truth, especially in the field of doctrine, which also demands an accurate, special study of new problems.[91]

Collaboration in the Petrine Ministry

69.The College of Bishops cannot be conceived without communion with its visible head, the Roman Pontiff, a communion which is exercised in various forms of participation and collegiality.

     Precisely because of the active and dynamic principle of communion, the Episcopal College is the meeting place of each Bishop with the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter and Head of the College, and with other Bishops scattered throughout the world. Such communion is also the realization of the solicitude for all the Churches around the world and the aspects of mission, cooperation and collaboration in mission, which is proper to the episcopal ministry.

     A specific form of collaboration with the Roman Pontiff is the Synod of Bishops, where a fruitful exchange of information and suggestions takes place, and, in light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church, common trends of thought are formulated, which, once taken and proposed to all the Church by the Successor of Peter, return to benefit the local Churches. In this way, the whole Church is effectively sustained by maintaining communion in the plurality of cultures and situations.

     A fruit and expression of this collegial union is the collaboration of Bishops from every part of the globe in the offices of the Holy See, particularly in the Departments of the Roman Curia and in various commissions, where they can effectively make their contribution as Pastors of particular Churches.

Ad Limina Visits and Relations with the Holy See

70.An important manifestation of communion with the Pope and the offices of the Holy See are ad limina visits, which include the celebration of the Eucharist, common prayer and personal meetings of the Bishops with the Pope and his collaborators. They serve as occasions for discernment in which the situations, anxieties, hopes, joys and problems of the particular Churches are brought to the visible center of communion for an enrichment of catholicity and a particular experience of unity.

     In recent times, the Bishops have had opportunity, on the occasion of  these visits, to share moments of prayer among themselves in the company of their diocesan collaborators and some groups of the faithful, thereby giving a renewed emphasis to the true and authentic meaning of such visits of the Bishops of the particular Churches “ad limina apostolorum[92]

      Many Bishops mentioned in the Lineamenta responses that, as a concrete manifestation of an ecclesiology of communion, relations between the Successor of Peter and the diocesan Bishops, through the various Departments of the Holy See and pontifical nuncios and representatives in various countries, always display mutual collaboration and fraternal esteem, in respect for each’s competence.

 

Episcopal Conferences

71.Bishops live their communion with other Bishops in the exercise of episcopal collegiality. Since Christian antiquity, this reality of communion has been particularly expressed in the celebration of ecumenical councils and particular councils, both plenary and provincial. Even today, such councils maintain their usefulness as seen in the current institution of Episcopal Conferences.

    Though Episcopal Conferences have been forming since the last century, they have been particularly well-received in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree Christus Dominus and have been given precise governing norms in The Code of Canon Law.[93] Recently, following the recommendation of the 1985 Extraordinary Synod which called for a study on the theological and juridical nature of Episcopal Conferences, John Paul II promulgated the motu propri Apostolos suos with a precise treatment on the subject.[94]

      The Directory Ecclesia Imago states their nature in the following manner: “The Episcopal Conference is established to provide many-sided and fruitful assistance in our times so that this collegial sense may produce its result. Through these Conferences a spirit of communion is admirably fostered with the universal Church and among the different local Churches.”[95]

72.Given the authority of the each Bishop in his particular Church, the Bishops, “jointly exercise in the Episcopal Conferences the episcopal ministry for the good of the faithful of the territory of the Conference; but, for that exercise to be legitimate and binding on the individual Bishops, there is needed the intervention of the supreme authority of the Church, which, through universal law or articular mandates, entrusts determined questions to the deliberation of the Episcopal Conference.”[96]

     “The joint exercise of the episcopal ministry also involves the teaching office.”[97] The Bishops meeting in their Episcopal Conferences are to have, above all, a particular concern that the universal magisterium is communicated to the people entrusted to them.[98] Because the doctrinal declarations of the Episcopal Conferences oblige an adherence of the faithful with a sense of religious respect, they must be approved unanimously, or if by a majority, must obtain the recognition of the Apostolic See.[99]

     The Eastern Churches with a patriarch or major archbishop have their own institutions of synodal character, namely, the Patriarchal Synod[100] and patriarchal assemblies, each governed by their respective laws. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches provides also for hierarchical assemblies for the various Churches sui iuris.[101]

     Episcopal bodies, such as International Meetings of Episcopal Conferences, also exist on the continental or on the regional levels because of proximity. Though not having the competence of properly called ‘Episcopal Conferences’ according to the norms of canon law, they are nevertheless useful instruments through which collaboration is fostered among Bishops for the common good.[102]

The Sense and Effectiveness of Communion

73.Relations established among Bishops, both in patriarchal synods of the Eastern Churches and Episcopal Conferences, not to mention other forms of collaboration and communion, each according to its proper theological and juridical nature, must not be seen only as a way of facilitating the treatment of internal and external questions. Indeed, in the spirit of communion among the Bishops of the Church and in affectus collegialis, namely, in virtue of the Bishop’s sacramental participation in the solicitude of the entire People of God, these relations must be a true spiritual experience, an exercise of the sense and effectiveness of communion.

    Therefore, episcopal assemblies take place in a spirit of mutual listening because of the shared responsibility and solicitude for the whole Church. They constitute moments of pastoral responsibility, evangelical fellowship, shared treatment of problems and true ecclesial and spiritual discernment. They are moments in which Bishops submit the problems of the times to the wisdom of the Gospel, in a mutual assistance which  recommends all to the grace of the Lord, present in the midst of those who are gathered in his name (cf. Mt 18:20) and to the assistance of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church.

74.This mutual assistance among Bishops, especially on the part of Metropolitans, can and ought to be manifested in moments of difficulty by  acts of encouragement, support in discernment, reciprocal advice and, at times, fraternal correction according to the Gospel.

    In light of fraternal communion resulting from the grace of the episcopate and the unity of the Church, some Bishops feel that mutual assistance programs be instituted between large dioceses and smaller ones to provide timely help such as the exchange of pastoral personnel, economic means and subsidies as well as the establishment of structures and offices in common, when the dioceses are near to one another. They also recommend the “twinning” of dioceses among the particular Churches scattered throughout the world, especially with younger Churches and those most in need, as a sign of solicitude for the universal Church.

     Some Lineamenta responses request clarification in situations where  Bishops have overlapping jurisdiction, that is, in territories where the faithful are comprised of members from Latin and Eastern Churches or a military ordinariate or a personal prelature. Precise criteria are needed to foster the witness of unity.

II. CERTAIN PROBLEMS

Various Types of Episcopal Ministry

75.Some Lineamenta responses treat questions which merit special attention so as to clarify, in light of recent experience, tasks, rights and duties of individual Bishops regarding particular gifts.

     The first in the various types of episcopal ministry comes from Church history and traditions.

      Within the Church, the Bishop’s ministry consists in being elected and ordained for the service of a particular Church. In this regard, the Lord has given a special role to the Bishop of Rome. The Church in Rome presides over charity, possesses a particular precedence, and, because of the special link to the Apostle Peter, the Bishop of Rome is Head and Shepherd of the universal Church.[103] Animated by the Spirit of the Good Shepherd, he pastures the universal flock of Christ and confirms his brothers in the truth, thus bearing witness to communion and unity before all other Churches and Christian confessions as well as before all other religions and society-as-a-whole.

     According to Church tradition, certain Bishops can also bear the title of Patriarch and preside over Eastern Catholic Churches. Patriarchs are given the special honor of being Father and Head of his Patriarchal Church.[104] The Eastern Catholic Churches also have Major Archbishops who are Metropolitans of a See determined by the supreme authority of the Church and who preside over an entire Eastern Church sui iuris but without the title of Patriarch.[105]

     Archbishops and Bishops, diocesan or eparchal, are Pastors of their particular Churches.

     Besides residential Archbishops and Bishops of particular Churches, other Archbishops and Bishops, invested with the episcopal dignity and grace, are at the service of the whole Church, with a particular association with the Petrine ministry in governing the Church. Among this group are  some Bishops, created Cardinals, who have no particular See. Other Archbishops and Bishops collaborate with the Roman Pontiff in the care of the universal Church in their being in service to the Holy See with responsibilities in the Roman Curia, Nunciatures or Apostolic Delegations.

      Metropolitan Bishops of the Eastern Churches, having a particular right, are placed as heads of a province within the confines of the territory of a Patriarchate. The Latin Church also has Metropolitans who preside over an ecclesiastical province with proper rights and duties according to the norms of law.

     Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops, both in a diocese or eparchate, are at the service of their respective dioceses or eparchies, assisting the diocesan Bishop or Eparch, when circumstances dictate, according to the norms of each.

     From a theological point of view and a consideration of the institutional character of the Church, the above listing well illustrates the rich variety in the episcopal ministry in the Universal Church and in the particular Church.

Emeritus Bishops

76.Today, a considerable number of Bishops, for reasons foreseen in canon law, are relieved of pastoral office, thereby prompting the recurring subject as to their participation in ecclesial life.

     Emeritus Bishops continue to be members of the Episcopal College and maintain their right/duty to participate in the acts of the College in the manner foreseen by law.[106]

      Moreover, given their pastoral experience, they are consulted on  questions of a general nature. To remain informed of matters of major importance, they are provided beforehand with the documents of the Holy See and receive from the diocesan Bishop the diocesan bulletin as well as other documentation. Because of their competence in specific subjects, Emeritus Bishops can be appointed adjunct members or consultors of Departments of the Roman Curia. Depending on the statutes of each  Episcopal Conference, they can be elected by the Conference to the Synod of Bishops. In those cases where the statutes of the Bishops’ Conference do not provide for their presence and deliberative vote, they can participate in certain meetings or study commissions.[107]

     The responses to the Lineamenta asked that the provisions of the law regarding emeritus Bishops be applied faithfully.

     They also requested that Emeritus Bishops be given appropriate economic support and a living situation which does not isolate them, but rather fosters their participation in ecclesial life.

     Due consideration also needs to be given to elderly Bishops and those who are ill. For the Church and the faithful, they are examples of the love of Christ and self-giving in their ministry, prayer and suffering.

     Finally, the counsel of brother-Bishops can be of great assistance and relief when the time comes to leave office. The wisdom, understanding and encouragement of other Bishops can assist a Bishop in this difficult human and spiritual passage to make decisions concerning his future with serenity and trust in divine providence.

The Appointment and Formation of Bishops

77.In the election of Bishops, some responses to the Lineamenta touched upon the subject of consultation as an assistance in choosing the most suitable candidate for the proposed episcopal mission.

    In light of the Bishop’s special responsibilities, increasing  consideration is being given to the timeliness of special initiatives on behalf of newly appointed Bishops. In recent years, special initiatives have been introduced to better prepare them to respond to the demands of their ministry in theological, pastoral, canonical, spiritual and administrative matters.

   The necessary doctrinal, pastoral and spiritual growth of Bishops ordained for longer periods of time is being promoted through ongoing formation. These programs are also leading to an increase in fraternal communion among Bishops and pastoral effectiveness in their respective dioceses.

   It seems necessary to ask Bishops, before making ordinary or serious decisions, to give sufficient time to meditation and contemplation in the course of their daily ministry, when the pressure of urgent matters weigh on them and pastoral solicitude calls for a devotional pause and a listening to the Spirit in the stillness of their hearts.

 


CHAPTER IV

THE BISHOP IN SERVICE TO HIS CHURCH

 

The Biblical Image of the Washing of the Feet: Jn 13:1-16

78.In the fullness of his earthly life, when Jesus understood that the hour had come for him to pass from this life to the Father by freely offering himself for our salvation, he manifested himself to his disciples as the servant of all.

    In the act of washing the feet of his Apostles, Jesus left an example of loving service to the point of giving his life, thereby becoming the true  model of Gospel discipleship. Christ’s example demands imitation: “For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15). This gesture of humble service, repeated ritually by the Bishop each year on Holy Thursday in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, is associated with the Bishop’s ministry of charity and is linked to the new commandment to love one another (cf. Jn 13:34-35). This act is a sign which has its fulfilment in the Eucharist and in Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross. Service, charity, Eucharist and the cross and resurrection are inextricably bound up in the life of Jesus, in his teaching, in his example for his Church and in his memorial which she celebrates.

    In the context of this Joannine image, the ministry of the Bishop in his particular Church is seen as a service of love, with his being perceived by the people as Christ, the servant of all. At the same time, Jesus performs this gesture as a sign of hope, knowing that the Father had put all things in his hands and that he came from the Father and was returning to the Father, with the sure hope of seeing his disciples again after Easter (cf. Jn 13:3). In the humility of his service, the Bishop is also to proclaim this hope in word, to celebrate it in the sacraments and to make it present in the midst of his people and together with his people. The Bishop is one who stoops in humility to serve the needs of the faithful, especially the most needy.                              

I. THE BISHOP IN HIS PARTICULAR CHURCH

The Particular Church  

79.The specific task of the episcopal ministry acquires its special value and concreteness in the particular Church for which the diocesan Bishop is elected and ordained. The ministry of Bishops is specified as a service to the particular Churches throughout the world, in which and from which (in quibus et ex quibus) the one and only Catholic Church exists.[108]

     The mutual bond between identity and representation which puts the Bishop at the center of the particular Church, is traditionally expressed in the words of Cyprian: “You ought to know that the Bishop is in the Church and the Church in the Bishop, and if one is not with the Bishop, he is not with the Church.”[109] Thus, the ministry of the Bishop is entirely  related to his particular Church of which he is a part. At the same time, his particular Church represents various elements of the communion and unity of the Universal Church. On the other hand, it is impossible to think of a particular Church without reference to its Shepherd. The particular Church can be understood on the basis of the three-fold office of the Bishop, to teach, to govern and to sanctify, directly corresponding to the prophetic, kingly and priestly dimensions of the People of God.[110]

    Consequently, the Directory Ecclesiae Imago recalls that the Bishop “should combine in himself at one and the same time the qualities both of a brother and a father, of a disciple of Christ and a teacher of the faith, of a son of the Church and, in a certain way, father of the Church, for he ministers the spiritual birth of Christians.”[111]

A Mystery Uniting the Bishop and his People

80.Various characteristics of ecclesial communion converge in the person of the Bishop united to his people. Trinitarian communion is manifested in him in that he is the sign of the “Father”, the presence of Christ “head, spouse and minister,” and the “dispenser” of  grace and man of the Spirit. The Bishop embodies apostolic communion, making him a witness of the living tradition of the Gospel as it is linked to apostolic succession. Also at work in his person is hierarchical communion, which unites him to the Petrine charism as the Apostles were united to Peter in Jerusalem.

     The unity of the particular Church is made concrete in the grace of his ministry as Teacher, Priest and Shepherd. He is the point of union among priests, diverse parishes and local assemblies which receive “legitimacy” because they are in communion with him. Finally, he animates the communion of charisms and ministries of the remaining parts of  Christ’s Faithful, namely consecrated persons and laypeople, who find in him their principle of unity and their strength for mission.

      The reciprocity of the universal Church and the particular Churches is also expressed in the person of the Bishop. These particular Churches, one linked to the other, are portions of the People of God and portiones Ecclesiae[112] in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church which pre-exists in them and in them takes flesh as communities in a given moment in history, in a given culture and in a given territory.

The Word, Eucharist and Community

81.In the Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, the image of the particular Church is portrayed in theological terms, using the following words in reference to dioceses: “A diocese is that portion of God’s people which is entrusted to a Bishop to be shepherded by him with the cooperation of the presbytery. Adhering thus to its Pastor and gathered together by him in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist, this portion constitutes a particular Church in which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.”[113]

      The constitutive elements of the particular Church gathered around the Bishop can be summarized in the following basic points taken from New Testament ecclesiology.[114]

     a) The preaching of the Gospel is the presence of the Church and his Word. This Word brings the Church into being. First of all, the Church is born from the Word; she is the “creatura Verbi” as a result of the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, through the Word, the Church begins to be “ecclesia”, namely, a community of those called through the Word of the Gospel. The Church is formed and fashioned by the Word proclaimed, received in faith and continually preached, as taught in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Acts 2: 42ff). For this reason, through the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation of the Word, evangelization and catechesis are inherent to the Church’s nature.

    b) The mystery of the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist causes the Church to be. Indeed, the Church is Christ, the Head and Spouse. The Eucharist is the sacramental memorial of the death and resurrection of the glorious Christ, which makes the Church one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

     c) This idea, receiving concrete form also in “small, poor and scattered communities,” presupposes and generates the theological life: love, hope and charity, that is, the Christian existence which is expressed in the communion of Christ’s faithful and their mission. The Eucharist remains the source and summit of the Church’s life.[115]

     The three fundamental characteristics of being a Christian are perceived in these three signs. Indeed, in her visible link with her invisible Master, through the Holy Spirit, the Church receives the Word of the Gospel, celebrates the mystery of the Lord’s Supper and lives in charity through the same faith and hope.

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic

82.The particular Church has within herself the complex reality of the entire Church as the People of God, in which the baptized participate through their multi-form duties as a priestly, prophetic and kingly People, in the variety of ordained ministries and charisms.

    People bound together by the grace of the sacraments make up the Church in Christ and the Spirit for the glory of the Father. At the same time, the Church is also a pilgrim people on earth in the here and now, in history and in a culture.

     The particular Church must continually measure herself against the richness of the universal Church which she realizes and makes present and operative. Though a local, particular Church, she is patterned according to the eschatological plan, namely, one in theology, ministry, sacraments, life, mission and communion with Peter, holy in the lived richness of the Gospel and the mature, rich experience of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, catholic in communion with all, leading to the Church’s universality and her multiple richness which becomes integrated in mutual sharing, and apostolic, through the tradition of faith and sacramental life coming from the Apostles with the mandate to go forth in mission to the ends of the earth, until the end of time.

One Church with a Human Face

83.The Church, the point of union of the divine and human, has her divine foundation in the Trinity. However, as the field and God’s vineyard, she is also planted on this earth. Since she is a Pilgrim People, she exists in a given place and has a history, past, present and future. A particular Church possesses certain traditions, at times even a liturgy, and conserves the moments of salvation history, past and present, where she lives and makes plans for the future.

      This earthly aspect of the particular Church, lived in the here and now, needs to be considered so as to become aware of her life and actions, her strengths and weaknesses and her needs in light of evangelization and witness. As a particular Church, then, she is aware of being a communion of the goods of salvation (the holy things), a communion of saints in heaven and on earth, namely, the true, great “communio sanctorum”.

     Moreover, the Church is the communion of persons who have particular features; each is unique; no individual characteristic is ever cancelled. It can be said that people’s faces symbolize the real nature of people’s lives, men and women of every age and condition.

     It is possible to detect in this “Church of Faces” a real message, an urgent desire to be present, to evangelize and to witness, an offer to dialogue and a demand for genuineness. Each thought of  the particular Church brings to mind real faces, because they reflect the living image of Christ. Paul VI has recalled that the “universal Church is in practice incarnate in the individual Churches made up of one or another actual part of humanity, speaking such and such a language, heirs of a cultural patrimony, of a vision of the world, of an historical past, of a particular human substratum.”[116]

     Indeed, each particular Church has specific features, human and geographic, which  determine a particular pastoral make-up. Some dioceses are concentrated in big, modern cities; others extend over wide areas, making travel difficult for Pastors.

Universal Church, Particular Church

84.So as to clarify some ideas and establish limits in the ecclesiology of communion and Eucharistic ecclesiology, the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Communionis Notio sets forth, from a genuinely Catholic perspective, certain aspects concerning the full character and limits of the particular Church.

     For example, it cautioned presenting the communion of individual particular Churches in such a way as to weaken the concept of the Church’s unity at the visible and institutional level. The document states, “every particular Church is a subject complete in itself and that the universal Church is the result of a reciprocal recognition on the part of the particular Churches. This ecclesiological unilateralism, which impoverishes not only the concept of the universal Church but also that of the particular Church, betrays an insufficient understanding of the concept of communion.”[117]

      So as not to threaten communion in its dimension of universality, the same document states: “...in the Church no one is a stranger. Each member of the faithful, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, is in his Church, in the Church of Christ.”[118] Regardless of whether or not a person belongs to a diocese, a parish or other particular community, each ought to feel “at home” in the Church where the Eucharist is celebrated. Indeed, while belonging to a particular Church where the one baptized lives or participates in the life of Christ, that same person belongs in some fashion to all the particular Churches.[119]

    This mystical union of the particular Church and the universal Church is part of the ministry of the Bishop.

85.In this portion of the People of God, a community, belonging to the one and only Family of God, fully lives as a member of the Kingdom of Christ in which all the riches of catholicity are integrated,[120] as witnessed in the Church at Pentecost.[121]

     The link with the Church of Jerusalem ensures that each Church has the necessary bond with Peter, head of this Church of origin. The bond created by the apostolic succession of Bishops gives the apostolic character to every local Church. Communion in both the one and only Church and the individual Churches supposes also the unity of the charism of Peter and, thus, the communion with all other Churches throughout the world.

      This plan of universal unity and particular individuality unfolds as a kind of plan of the Trinity which seals the life of each particular Church in the Catholic Church and serves as a model in their relations. Therefore, the social, cultural, geographic and historic reality of each particular Church is not without meaning. In the local Churches throughout the world, the universal Church realizes the mystery of unity and reconciliation of everyone in Christ. The Bishop is the sign and guarantor of this communion of all members of the particular Church.

II. COMMUNION AND MISSION IN THE PARTICULAR CHURCH

Communion with the Presbyterate

86.The union of the presbyterate around its Bishop, as a result of the Sacrament of Orders, is a necessary act of communion. According to ancient texts from the Church’s Tradition, e.g., those of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, this communion is an essential part of the particular Church. Between the Bishop and his priests, there exists a “communio sacramentalis” of the priestly and hierarchical priesthood and participation in the one priesthood of Christ, the one ordained ecclesial ministry and the one apostolic mission, even if in differing degrees.

    As a result, priests, as collaborators in the episcopal ministry, “gather the family of God into one fellowship, animated by the spirit of unity.”[122]

     Following the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II has emphasized priests’ membership in a particular Church as the foundation of a rich theology and spirituality: “The priest needs to be aware that his ‘being in a particular Church’ constitutes by its very nature a significant element in his living a Christian spirituality. In this sense, the priest finds precisely in his belonging to and dedication to the particular Church a wealth of meaning, criteria for discernment and action which shape both his pastoral mission and his spiritual life.”[123]

     All priests belonging to institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are also part of the presbyterate of the diocese. They live their proper charisms in the unity, communion and mission of the particular Church. In the local Church, they contribute the richness of their gifts of spirituality and their proper apostolic activity. Therefore, the particular Churches can be enriched at the charismatic level “in the image” of the universal Church to which certain institutions beyond the diocese correspond.[124]

    The aspect of universality is inherent to the communion of all the Churches and to the very nature of the priestly ministry which has a universal mission.[125]

87.The Second Vatican Council has used various images and terms to describe the relationship of the Bishop to his priests. It has noted that  priests are to see the Bishop as  their “father.”[126] Associated with this appeal to spiritual fatherhood, however, is that of fellowship, friendship, necessary collaboration and counsel. The grace of the Sacrament of Orders is extended to priests through the ministry of the Bishop and is given to them so that they might collaborate with the Bishop in the apostolic mission. This same grace associates priests to various aspects of the episcopal ministry, particularly that of servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world. In virtue of this sacramental and hierarchical bond, priests, the Bishop’s necessary collaborators and counselors, take upon themselves, according to their assignment, his duties and concerns and make them present in individual communities.[127]

     This sacramental/hierarchical relationship is concretely witnessed in the Bishop’s constant, eager pursuit of real communion with the members of his presbyterate. Based on this relationship, the interior and exterior attitudes of the Bishop towards his priests have an importance and  meaning. Such communion is realized in the Presbyteral Council, the Bishop’s senate. Drawn from members of the presbyterate, this Council offers assistance to the Bishop in governing his diocese so that the well-being of all the faithful may be promoted in a more effective way. The Bishop is to consult the Presbyteral Council and listen willingly to its opinion.[128]

A Special Care for Priests

88.The Bishop is an example for the entire flock (cf. 1 Pt 5:3), but first and foremost for his clergy for whom he is to be a model of prayer, of what it means “to be Church,” of apostolic zeal, of dedication to pastoral activity and of collaboration with all the faithful.

    The Bishop, then, has the prime responsibility of sanctifying his priests and providing for their ongoing formation. In light of this spiritual aspect, the Bishop is to enlist the ministry of priests in the most congruous way possible. He must make every effort to let his priests know and feel that they are not alone or abandoned, but are members and part of “one, unique presbyterate.”

    The Lineamenta responses mention that the Bishop needs to encourage priests to have a deep spirituality. As a Father and Shepherd, the Bishop gives expression to and fosters his relationships with priests, both personal and in a group, by involving his priests in the Presbyteral Council or in other meetings of pastoral and spiritual formation. Every kind of  division between the Bishop and his priests is a scandal to the faithful and, therefore, runs counter to the proclamation of the Gospel. In fellowship, the exercise of authority becomes a real service. Furthermore, the Bishop, in establishing deep relationships with his priests, comes to know their talents and is thus able to entrust to each the task for which he is most apt.

Deacons: Their Ministry and Collaboration

89.Transitional deacons, that is, those to be ordained to the priesthood, and permanent deacons participate in the communion of the particular Church. Deacons are at the service of the Bishop and the particular Church in their ministry to the Word, the Eucharist and charity.[129]

     Deacons, who are ordained not for the priesthood by for the ministry, are closely joined to the Bishop and the presbyterate as a result of their rank in Sacred Orders.[130] The Bishop is primarily responsible for discerning the vocation of candidates to the diaconate[131] and their spiritual, theological and pastoral formation. The Bishop is always the one who, bearing in mind pastoral needs and the deacon’s family and profession, entrusts them with ministerial tasks. In this regard, the Bishop is to ensure that deacons participate organically in the life of the particular Church and that their ongoing formation and particular spirituality are not neglected.[132]

The Seminary and Vocations Program

90.The special importance of priests and deacons in the particular Church gives rise to the Bishop’s primary concern for a vocation program in general and a program for vocations to the priesthood and diaconate, with major concentration on the seminary, often called in the Church, the Bishop’s “pet project.” The seminary, where future priests develop, mature and are formed, is a sign of hope in the particular Church for the future.

      The scarcity of vocations in a particular Church, which cannot do without the priestly ministry in celebrating the Word and sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance, requires a certain courage in recruiting priests. In this regard, one of the more important tasks of the Bishop, indeed another instance of bearing witness to hope, is his care of vocations and the proper interest in the integral formation of future priests, according to the guidelines of the magisterium. This work requires that the Bishop have a personal knowledge of those who are to be ordained to the priesthood or the diaconate.

     Today, the vocation to priesthood needs again to be promoted with confidence with the assistance of families, parishes, consecrated persons and ecclesial movements and communities. A particular Church without ordained priests risks losing her identity. Considering the priestly ministry and its vital role in teaching, leading and sanctifying in the sacraments, especially Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist, it is impossible to conceive of a Christian community without priests.

Other Ministers

91.Besides the presbyterate and the diaconate, the Church also exercises her mission through additional instituted ministries and other tasks and offices. Because of their great number, the Bishop needs to promote the various ministries with which the Church is prepared to accomplish every good work. Such ministries can be entrusted to both consecrated persons and the lay faithful, as a result of the common vocation and mission inherent in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation and the particular talents which each joyously puts at the service of the Gospel.

     Consequently, the three-fold office of service in the Church is linked to the three-fold dignity of the baptized in the People of God: from the prophetic office flows evangelization and a catechesis nourished in listening to the Word; from the priestly office comes the ministries connected with the liturgy as well as the spiritual worship of daily life and prayer so as to make life a gift and an act of adoration in spirit and in truth; from the kingly office proceeds all ministries at the service of the Kingdom of God in the world, the structures of society, the family and the workplace, which are expressed in all forms of charity, social action and the sound and committed “charity in civil life.”

     If communion is truly at work in everyone, the power of charity in the Trinity will be manifested and fruitful, and the mutual act of communion will cause hope to be renewed.

Solicitude for the Consecrated Life  

92.The Church manifests herself as the Spouse of the Word in a privileged manner through the consecrated life. The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata refers to the consecrated life as the integrating element placed “in the heart itself of the Church as the decisive element of her mission.”[133] In the variety of its forms, the consecrated life with its characteristic, permanent visibility, makes present in some visible manner the features of Christ as chaste, poor and obedient, and shows their absolute, eschatological value. The whole Church gives thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the gift of the consecrated life which demonstrates how the life of the Church is not limited to the hierarchical structure nor to sacred ministers and the lay faithful only. Instead, the Church is also made up of a wider, richer and more articulated charismatic-institutional structure, willed by Christ and brought together in the consecrated life.[134]

      The consecrated life comes from the Spirit and is part of his gift of life and holiness to the Church. It necessarily has a link to the hierarchy through the sacred ministry, particularly through that of the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. In the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II recalled that the various institutes of consecrated life and the societies of apostolic life have a particular bond of communion with the Successor of Peter, a bond which ensures their universal character and meaning beyond the diocese.[135]

     The Directive Mutuae Relationes states that Christ, the Head, entrusts to the Bishops in union with the Roman Pontiff, the task “of caring for religious charisms, all the more so because the very indivisibility of their pastoral ministry makes them responsible for perfecting the entire flock. In this way, by fostering religious life and protecting it in conformity with its own definite characteristics, Bishops fulfill a real pastoral duty. ”[136]

    The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata makes frequent mention of improving the relations between a given Episcopal Conference and the major superiors and their conferences so as to foster the richness of charisms and a collaboration for the well-being of the universal and particular Church.

      Consecrated persons everywhere live their vocation for the universal Church in a particular Church, where they express their Church membership and fulfill their important tasks. In a special manner, by reason of the prophetic character inherent to the consecrated life, they are the living proclamation of the Gospel of hope and eloquent witnesses of the primacy of God in the Christian life and of the power of his love in the fragility of the human condition.[137] This gives rise to the importance of harmonious relations in diocesan pastoral activity and collaboration between Bishops and consecrated persons.[138]

     The Church is grateful to the great number of Bishops who throughout the ages have esteemed the consecrated life as a special gift of the Spirit to the People of God, many of whom have founded religious families which are still active today in service to the universal Church and the particular Churches. The Bishop who dedicates himself to assisting institutes remain faithful to their charism is a reason for hope for these institutes, especially for those in difficulty.[139]

 

A Committed and Responsible Laity

93.The Second Vatican Council and the Seventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1987), from which came Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, have amply illustrated the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the Church and in the world.[140] The baptismal dignity which makes them sharers in the priesthood of Christ and the special gift of the Spirit confer on them a unique place in the Body of the Church and call them to participate, in their own way, in the redeeming mission which the Church, in response to Christ’s mandate, accomplishes until the close of the age.

    The laity exercise their proper Christian responsibility in various areas associated with life, the family, society, politics, the professional world, economy, culture, science, the arts, international relations and the mass-media.

     In their multi-form activities, the laity unite their personal talents and their acquired competence in making a clear testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ. Engaged in the temporal things of this world, the laity are called to take theological hope into account (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and be concerned to work on this earth precisely because they are impelled by the expectation of a “new earth.”[141] They are in a position to exercise a great influence on culture by widening its outlook and its horizons of hope. In this way, they also render a necessary service to both the Gospel and culture, which the times have so persistently attempted to keep apart. The lay faithful have a particular responsibility in the field of communications, which exerts much influence on people’s mentality, especially with regard to the proper diffusion of ethical values.

    The Lineamenta responses recommend that Bishops, so as to avoid improperly treating emerging problems, create “fora” where the laity can speak according to their proper charism of lay secularity and competency, and thus bridge the gap between the Gospel and contemporary society.

94.Although the laity, by vocation, have predominantly secular concerns, they nonetheless belong to the one ecclesial community of which they form a major part. After the Second Vatican Council, new forms of responsible participation by lay women and men happily developed in the life of individual, diocesan communities and parishes. The laity are now members of various pastoral councils; they exercise a growing role in various services, such as the animation of the liturgy or catechesis; and they are engaged in the teaching of Catholic religion in schools, etc.

     A certain number of lay people also dedicate themselves to such tasks in an extended and oftentimes permanent commitment. This collaboration of the lay faithful is certainly valuable in the demands of the “new evangelization,” particularly in places with an insufficient number of ordained ministers.

     The need for an adequate formation program should also be included in treating the subject of the lay faithful. Obviously, the Bishop is to be attentive in offering assistance, particularly on the spiritual level, to those who collaborate closely in the Church’s mission.

     Formation programs for the laity ought to give particular emphasis to the social doctrine of the Church so that the laity might be informed and encouraged in their work as they respond to the urgent demands of justice and the common good. In this regard, they ought to make a decisive contribution through works and services which make an appeal to society. In the formation of the laity, the promotion of diocesan centres for social and civil formation is necessary as an indispensable pastoral instrument.

   The responses to the Lineamenta consistently reveal that an adult laity, which is well-formed not only in doctrine but also in a sense of the Church, is essential for evangelization. Without such a laity, there is the danger that the evangelizing mission of the Church will end in certain areas, especially where there is a severe lack of priests and the laity exercise the role of assistant ministers. In many territories, catechists have great relevance. Therefore, a sound doctrinal, pastoral and spiritual formation is needed not only for catechists but also for other pastoral workers who are capable of collaborating in dioceses and parishes in authentic ecclesial activities as well as in various fields in which the Gospel ought to become the leaven in society as the sign of transformation and hope. This requires Bishops and priests to have a major trust in the laity, who oftentimes do not feel appreciated as mature Christians and want to feel more like participants in Church life and diocesan projects, especially in evangelization.

In Service to the Family

95.Equally important is the formation of the young to the married life and family by responding to their hopes and expectations and educating them towards a deep, authentic love in light of God’s plan for marriage and the family. The effective means to combat the crisis of instability and infidelity in the marriage covenant are pastoral and spirituality programs for the family, care of couples in difficulty, the sharing of experiences by mature couples and formation for the Sacrament of Marriage through marriage preparation programs.

     The closeness of the Bishop to married couples and their children, especially in diocesan days for the family, provides for mutual encouragement.

Youth: A Pastoral Priority for the Future  

96.The Bishop has a special care for young people, who are the future of the Church and humanity. A minister of hope cannot do any better than construct the future with those to whom the future has been entrusted. As “sentinels of the night,” the young wait for the dawn of a new world, ready to commit themselves to the Church’s life and activity, if authentic responsibilities are proposed to them as well as a truly Christian formation. Since young people are evangelizers to persons their own age, they prompt the Bishop to look for ways to spur the interior renewal of parishes, especially in those cases where the young do not frequent Church.

    The example of Pope John Paul II, who has demonstrated at World Youth Days his belief in the future and forged a path of hope, is able to sustain the Church’s Bishops as they set forth an authentic, pastoral, Christ-centred program for youth. The Bishop’s great love for the spiritual well-being of the young people of the third millennium will motivate him to educate them to transmit the Gospel to future generations.

Parishes

97.The life of the particular Church revolves around parishes, the fabric of Christianity. The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, clearly drawing from the theology and language of Lumen Gentium, describes the parish community as the presence of the particular Church in a given place. Consequently, it can be said that the “mystery” of the Church is present and at work in the parish, even if they lack people and means or are almost completely absorbed by the buildings of chaotic, crowded, modern sections of cities or are scattered among the mountains and valleys or in vast expanses of various regions.[142]

  The parish, then, is seen as the family of God, a fellowship afire with the Spirit,[143] and a familial, welcoming home.[144] It is the community of the faithful,[145] which can truly be called a Eucharistic community: a community of faith where Christ’s faithful dwell as those gifted with charisms and engaged in ministerial services and where the pastor, priests and deacons fulfill their ministry. Consequently, the parish, in communion with the Bishop, expresses the organic and hierarchical unity with the entire particular Church.

    The laity are the human agents in evangelization, namely in their being evangelized and their being evangelizers. They are the meeting point of the Church and the world, between the assembly meeting in unity and the people going forth in mission.

   Inside parish communities, women and men religious, members of secular institutes and societies of the apostolic life, diverse associations of the faithful as well as ecclesial movements need to be present and gathered for special occasions, all the while respecting the proper vocation and charism of each. All represent, by their life in common, the Church who is united in prayer, work and the sharing of the basic aspects of daily life.

    As a result, families become the domestic Church, where Christ is made  present. Thus, the Church can become, in her traditional and truly parish way–as Blessed Pope John XXIII used to say–the “village fountain,” an overflowing spring to quench one’s thirst for God and to provide the living water of the Gospel of Christ.[146]

98.The Bishop’s task is to coordinate pastoral activity and cause unity to grow in the particular Churches by fostering the coordination of parishes through vicars forane, deaneries, prefectures or other designations, according to the diverse forms of pastoral work within a diocese. Oftentimes, this is a matter of revising structures so that they might better respond to the goals of individual particular Churches.

  Structures of communion and mission promote fellowship among priests, discernment and planning through periodic meetings under competent guidance. Such action can offer assistance where substitutes and help in the ministry are needed. It can also provide support to brother-priests who are ill or in difficulty. In a similar way, initiatives for evangelization, catechesis, formation and witness on an inter-parish level can also be done among the faithful in the same territory.[147]

Ecclesial Movements and New Communities

99.The Bishop is to give attention to ecclesial movements and other new realities which arise in the particular Church as a result of bringing the Gospel to life. Their institutional and charismatic aspects–both essential in God’s plan for the Church–converge and reenforce each other in the particular Church. In an experience of true communion, these gifts, given by God for the common good, are never lacking; they are not decreased in the celebration of agape and the Eucharist; nor are they bestowed for the benefit of the group only. Quite the contrary, these movements show their humble, reasoned and necessary measure by their being integrated among the other gifts of the Spirit.

   The diverse charisms–religious, lay and missionary–make the local Church open to the dimension of universality. They are expressed in service and a commitment to the apostolate as willed by their founders.

    The responses to the Lineamenta stress that many ecclesial movements are truly constructive at the universal, diocesan and parochial level; that some, remaining on the periphery of parish and diocesan life, are not beneficial to the growth of the local Church; and that others, because of certain pretenses, risk undermining the communion of the entire particular Church.

    Consequently, various responses request that attention be given at the synod to discussing the theological and juridic statutes of such movements within the particular Church and to setting down precise norms governing their relations with the Bishop.

   Pastors also need to make needed discernment concerning the new communities which have not yet received ecclesial approval. In their regard, the Bishop ought to evaluate the persons and spirituality of these new communities and, if needs be, require a trial period.

  A more in-depth concern is required of the Bishop when examining priestly vocations within these groups. Candidates need a sound formation under the guidance of the Bishop  who is responsible for discerning whether to ordain the candidate to the priestly ministry and whether to assign him to an apostolic task within the diocese.[148]

    In faithfulness to the Spirit, the various charisms are to be integrated in the Church’s communion and mission so as to avoid the danger of isolation and to favour, for the sake of the good of the Church, generosity in self-giving, fellowship and effectiveness in mission.

 

III. THE EPISCOPAL MINISTRY IN SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL

100.The three-fold office of teaching, sanctifying and governing constitutes a service to the Gospel of Christ for the hope of the world. The Bishop proclaims the Gospel of Hope in word; he celebrates it in the liturgy; he lives and spreads it through his pastoral service.

    It is not a matter of three different kinds of hope but a single one, proclaimed and received through faith, celebrated in the depths of the paschal mystery which is the Eucharist, and lived so that it inspires and influences every aspect of the personal and social life of believers.

    However, in considering the oneness of hope, the intention of the Second Vatican Council needs to be adopted when, in treating the tria munera of the Bishop and priests, it prefers that of teaching to the other two. In this regard, the Council took up the succession of ideas in the Risen Saviour’s words addressed to his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:18-20). In the priority given to the episcopal task of proclaiming the Gospel, characteristic of the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, each Bishop can re-discover the meaning of the spiritual paternity exalted by the Apostle Paul with the words: “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (1 Cor 4:15).

1. The Ministry of the Word

Proclaiming the Gospel of Hope

101.The role which characterizes the Bishop more than all others and which, in a certain sense, summarizes his entire ministry is, as the Council taught, that of Vicar and Ambassador of Christ in the particular Church entrusted to him.[149] The Bishop fulfills his sacramental role as the living sign of Jesus Christ through preaching the Gospel. As minister of the Word of God who works through the Spirit and through the charism of episcopal service, the Bishop  manifests Christ to the world, makes him present in the community and communicates him effectively to those who make room for him in their lives.

    Proclaiming the Gospel of Hope is the basic task of the episcopal ministry.

   Preaching the Gospel, then, surpasses all the Bishop’s duties, since Bishops are “the preachers of faith...authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice.”[150] Therefore, all the activities of the Bishop ought to be geared to the proclamation of the Gospel, “the power of God for everyone who has faith” (Rm 1:16) and to be directed to helping the People of God render the obedience of faith (cf. Rm 1:5) to the Word of God and integrally to embrace the teaching of Christ.

The Center of Proclamation

102.The object of the magisterium of the Bishop is expressed by the Second Vatican Council as the faith to be believed and practiced  in life.[151] Since the living center of the proclamation is Christ, namely, the crucified and risen Christ, the Bishop is to proclaim: Christ, the one and only Saviour of humanity, the same yesterday today and for ever (cf. Heb 13:8), the center of history and every moment of life for the faithful.

  All other truths of the faith revolve around this central truth of the mystery of Christ. The hope of every individual rests on this one truth. Christ is the light for every person. Whoever is born again in Christ receives the first fruits of the Spirit who enables the believer to fulfill the new law of love.[152]

 

103.The task of preaching and safeguarding the deposit of faith implies the duty to defend the Word of God from everything which might compromise its purity and integrity, while acknowledging the just freedom to further investigate the faith.[153] Indeed, through apostolic succession, the Bishop has received, according to the Father’s will, the sure charism of the truth which must be transmitted.[154]

   No Bishop can shrink from this duty, even if it should result in sacrifice or being misunderstood. Like the Apostle Paul, the Bishop is conscious of being sent to proclaim the Gospel “not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Cor 1:17); like Paul, the Bishop also proclaims the “word of the Cross” (1 Cor 1:18), not for  human consensus but as divine revelation.

The Teaching of the Faith and Catechesis

104.As Master-Teacher of the faith, the Bishop also instructs others in the faith, according to the Word of God and the magisterium of the Church. The work of catechesis merits the full attention of the Bishop in virtue of his role as Shepherd and Teacher as well as “Catechist par excellence

   The Bishop exercises his service to the Word of God in a variety of ways and forms. The Directory Ecclesiae Imago makes mention of a certain form of preaching, directed towards an already evangelized community, namely, the Homily, which is pre-eminent among all others, because of its liturgical context and its connection with the proclamation of the Word through readings from Sacred Scripture. The Bishop exercises another form of proclamation through his Pastoral Letters.[155]

    Furthermore, the proper use of the diocesan, inter-diocesan and national means of communication can greatly assist the diffusion of the documents of the magisterium, pastoral programs and ecclesial events.

The Entire Church Committed to Catechesis

105.The episcopal charism of teaching is uniquely the responsibility of each Bishop and cannot be delegated in any way. Nevertheless, the responses to the Lineamenta give ample witness that the Bishop does not live in isolation within the Church. Every Bishop fulfills his pastoral service in a particular Church where he has priests as his primary collaborators, who, under his authority, are intimately united to his ministry. Deacons collaborate with the Bishop as well. According to the make-up of the Church, men and women religious and a growing number of the lay faithful also render valuable assistance to the Bishop in  proclaiming and living the Word of God.

    The Bishops ensure that the authentic Catholic faith is transmitted to parents so that they, in  turn, can pass it on to their children. Teachers and educators at all levels also assist in this process. The laity bear witness to that purity of faith which Bishops take pains to maintain. It is important that each Bishop endeavour to provide the laity with the means for a suitable formation through centres set up for this purpose.

Dialogue and Collaboration with Theologians and the Faithful

106. Particularly useful for the purposes of proclamation is dialogue and collaboration with theologians, who apply themselves to the study of the unfathomable riches of the mystery of Christ. Both the magisterium of Pastors and the work of theologians, though having different roles, rely on the one and only Word of God and have the same goal of conserving the People of God in truth. This is why Bishops have the task of offering encouragement to theologians and the support which might help them to conduct their work in faithfulness to Divine Tradition and due regard for the necessities of the historical situation.[156]

   Through dialogue with his faithful, the Bishop comes to know how to recognize and appreciate their faith, to strengthen it, to free it from anything superficial and to give it proper doctrinal content. To accomplish this task as well as to assist in formulating local catechisms which take into consideration various situations and cultures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church serves as a point of reference. In this way, the unity of the faith and adherence to Catholic doctrine will be carefully maintained.[157]

The Witness of Truth

107. Called to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ, the Bishop in his preaching is a sign of certainty of the faith for the People of God. If he, like the Church, does not always have at hand the solution to people’s problems, nevertheless, he is the minister of the splendor of the one truth which is capable of illuminating the path to follow.[158] Even though he does not possess specialized knowledge in promoting the temporal order, the Bishop, in exercising his teaching office and educating in the faith the persons and communities entrusted to him, prepares the faithful, nonetheless, through solutions which the Bishops have the responsibility to offer in keeping with their respective abilities.

   The Lineamenta responses repeatedly allude to a secularistic  mentality in a major part of society, as well as an exaggerated emphasis on freedom of thought and a relativistic culture which brings people to consider the intervention of the Bishop, or even the Pope, especially in sexual morality and the family, as mere opinion without any impact on life. Where this situation poses a fundamental challenge, it also provides another area where the Bishop can proclaim hope.

108.Furthermore, the Bishop, while respecting the autonomy of those who are competent in secular matters, cannot deny the prophetic character of his message as a bearer of hope, even if he knows that he will not be accepted. This occurs especially when he courageously denounces, not only in word but with every effective means, such subjects as war, injustice and what is destructive to the dignity of the person.

   In making present in the world the power of the Word which saves, the Bishop performs for people a great act of pastoral charity and also offers them the primary reason to hope.

Tasks for the Future

109.Some Lineamenta responses make the precise request to extend and re-consider the tasks of the magisterium of Bishops.

   Circumstances seem to dictate a broadening of diocesan and inter-diocesan initiatives such as the creation of Catholic universities which can have an effect in social life and assist in the formation of lay people who are emerging in various fields of science and technology in service to humanity and truth. In this regard, particular efforts are needed in the pastoral activity on university campuses, in keeping with the directives of the Holy See.

   As a commitment in the educational field, priests and lay people need to work to establish suitable institutions for the promotion and defense of Catholic schools. Governments are asked to recognize Catholic schools and the rights of parents to an adequate education for their children and their free choice of cultural and religious values to be taught them.

   The promotion of the means of social communication in a pluralistic society requires that communicators receive an adequate formation through various diocesan and inter-diocesan initiatives.

Culture and Inculturation

110.The Bishop’s proclamation of the Gospel in the area of culture requires promoting the faith in fields which stand in most need of the Gospel’s message.

   Preference needs to be given to dialogue with lay cultural institutions in meetings between competent persons during which the Church can show herself as the friend of everything which is authentically human.

   Useful in this dialogue is due regard for the cultural, artistic and historical patrimony of dioceses. Indeed, the cultural, historical richness of dioceses with their archives, libraries and works of art deserve particular attention as a witness in the field of culture. The initiatives in favour of museums and expositions as well as the fitting conservation, cataloguing and exposition of treasures from the artistic and literary traditions can be instruments for evangelization and the contemplation of beauty, not to mention a witness to the Church’s particular concern for human, geographic and cultural history.[159]

    According to the directives of the Holy See and in collaboration with the Episcopal Conference, the Bishop’s ministry includes bringing the faith and Christian life to various cultures as set forth on the occasion of the  assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, particularly in the areas of liturgy, priestly formation and the consecrated life.[160]

2. The Ministry of Sanctification

111.The proclamation of the Word of God serves as the basis for gathering the People of God in Ekklesìa, namely, into a worshiping assembly. This proclamation, however, reaches its fullness in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Indeed, Word and Sacrament are one and inseparable, two aspects in one single salvific work. Both make present and operative all salvation’s effects accomplished by Christ. Christ himself, the Word-Made-Flesh, is the very source of the intimate bond which joins Word and Sacrament. Where this is true for all the sacraments, it takes place in a particularly excellent way in the Holy Eucharist, which is the source and summit of all evangelization.[161]

    On behalf of this unity of Word and Sacrament, the Bishops, Successors of the Apostles who were sent forth by the Risen Lord to teach and baptize all nations (cf. Mt 28:19), are marked by the fullness of the Sacrament of Orders, and receive, in addition to their mission as Heralds of the Gospel, that of being “stewards of the grace of the Supreme Priesthood.”[162] The ministry of proclaiming the Gospel “is ordered to the service of grace in the Church’s sacraments. As minister of grace, the Bishop exercises in the Sacraments the munus sanctificandi which is the aim of the munus docendi he fulfils among the People of God entrusted to him.”[163]

   The ministry of sanctification is intimately bound to the celebration of salvation in Christ, which, in the context of hope, encourages the faithful to look to the fulfilment of God’s promises while in pilgrimage through this world towards that city which has no comparison.

 

The Bishop as Priest and Liturgist in his Cathedral

112.The role of sanctifying is inherent to the mission of the Bishop. Indeed, in his particular Church, the Bishop is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, primarily of the Eucharist. In presiding over these Sacred Mysteries, he appears to his people primarily as the man of the new and eternal worship of God, instituted by Jesus Christ through the sacrifice of his Cross. He also regulates the administration of Baptism, through which the faithful participate in the royal priesthood of Christ. He is the ordinary minister of Confirmation, the dispenser of Holy Orders and moderator of the penitential discipline.[164] The Bishop is the liturgist of the particular Church, principally in presiding over the Eucharistic gathering.[165]

   The Eucharist, where the Church experiences the supreme moment of her life, is also the place where the munus sanctificandi, exercised by the Bishop in the Person of Christ, high and Eternal Priest, achieves its supreme moment. The Second Vatican Council aptly states: “Therefore all should hold in very high esteem the liturgical life of the diocese which centers around the Bishop, especially in his cathedral church. Let them be persuaded that the Church reveals herself most clearly when a full complement of God’s holy people, united in prayer and in a common liturgical service (especially the Eucharist), exercise a thorough and active participation at the very altar where the Bishop presides in the company of his priests and other assistants.”[166]

    The privileged place of episcopal celebrations is the cathedral, where the chair of the Bishop is located and where he teaches his people. It is the Mother-Church and Center of the Diocese, a sign of the continuity of its history and of its unity. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum dedicates an entire chapter to the subject, under the heading: “The Cathedral Church.”[167]

    The Cathedral is the site of the most solemn celebrations of the liturgical year; particularly noteworthy are those for the consecration of chrism and sacred ordinations. The Cathedral is a sign of the Church of Christ, of her unity in the mystical body, of the assembly of the baptized and of the heavenly Jerusalem. Therefore, it ought to be an example for the parish churches of the diocese in the ordering of sacred space, in decoration and in the manner in which the liturgy is celebrated according to the prescribed rubrics.[168]

   The image of the Bishop-Celebrant expresses and displays its interior truth in the appointments associated with the liturgy: the Bishop’s chair, from where he presides over the assembly and guides prayer;[169] the altar, symbol of the Body of Christ and table of the Lord where the Eucharist is celebrated;[170] the presbyterium, the place for the Bishop, priests, deacons and other ministers;[171] the ambo where the Gospel is proclaimed and the Word preached, unless the Bishop prefers to do it from his chair;[172] and the baptistry where baptisms are administered during the Easter Vigil.[173]

The Eucharist at the Center of the Particular Church

113.One of the more pre-eminent duties of the Bishop is to provide that, in the community of the particular Church, the faithful have the possibility of approaching the table of the Lord, above all on Sundays, the day on which both the Church celebrates the paschal mystery and the faithful, in a spirit of joy and rest from work, give thanks to God by whose great mercy regenerates us anew “to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pt 1:3).[174]

    In many parts of the Church, because of the scarcity of priests or other grave reasons, it is becoming more difficult to provide for celebrations of the Eucharist. This situation makes all the more important the Bishop’s duty to be the steward of the grace. While always being mindful of discerning the existence of actual need and serious circumstances, the Bishop endeavours to distribute wisely the members of his presbyterate in such a way that, even in such emergencies, the community of the faithful not be long deprived of the Eucharist. This is also true in reference to the faithful who, because of sickness, old age or other reasonable motives, can receive the Eucharist only in their homes or in places where they reside.

114.The Liturgy is the highest form of praise of the Blessed Trinity. In the Liturgy, above all in the celebration of the Sacraments, the People of God, locally gathered together, expresses and realizes its sacred and organic structure as the priestly community.[175] Exercising the munus sanctificandi, the Bishop labors so that the entire particular Church become a praying community, a community of the faithful persevering and of one accord in prayer (cf. Acts 1:14).

    Imbued with the Spirit and the power of the Liturgy, beginning first with himself together with his presbyterate, the Bishop oversees in his diocese the promotion and development of an intensive educational program where the faithful may come to know the rich content of the Liturgy, celebrated according to the approved texts and whose mysteries are lived, above all, in the spiritual order. As the one responsible for divine worship in the particular Church, the Bishop guides and safeguards the liturgical life of the diocese. He does this in union with the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference to which he belongs and in faithfulness to the one faith. He also concerns himself with sustaining its dynamic aspect so that, corresponding to the needs of the times and locality, the Liturgy might be grounded in cultures. The Bishop does this by taking into account what has an unchanging character in the Liturgy, because it is divinely instituted, and what instead is possible to change.[176]

Attention to Prayer and Popular Piety

115.Prayer, in its various forms, is an act which expresses the Church’s hope. The Church’s every prayer as Bride, bearing the seal of perfect union to her Spouse, Christ, is summed up in the invocation of the Spirit who inspires her: “Come!” (Rev 22:17).[177] The Spirit pronounces this prayer with and in the Church. This prayer is one of eschatological hope, a hope which is definitively fulfilled in God, a hope of the Kingdom to come, realized through participation in the life of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit, given to the Apostles as consoler, is the guardian and animator of this hope in the heart of the Church. In the third millennium since Christ’s birth, as “the Spirit and the bride say to the Lord Jesus ‘Come!’,”[178] their prayer is filled as always with an eschatological significance.

  Conscious of this, the Bishop has the duty each day to communicate to the faithful the fullness of life in Christ through his personal witness in word, prayer and the sacraments.

   In such a context, the Bishop also gives attention to various forms of popular Christian piety and to their relation to liturgical life. In so far as they express the religious mentality of humankind, this popular piety cannot be overlooked or treated with indifference or undervalued–as Pope Paul VI writes–because of their rich value.[179] However, they are always in need of evangelization so that the faith which they express always becomes more mature. A genuine liturgical pastoral program, having a biblical basis, will know how to draw from the riches of popular piety, purify them and direct them towards the liturgy as the offering of the people.[180]

Some Special Questions

116.The Lineamenta responses refer to certain tasks associated with the liturgical ministry of the Bishop which deserve a brief treatment.

   First of all, the Bishop is the one  primarily responsible in his Church for the celebration of Christian initiation and for its discipline. In a special way, he is the promoter, the vigilant guardian and minister of the rites of the Christian initiation of adults. Consequently, it is appropriate that he preside over the more significant celebrations of the catechumenate, especially in the proximate preparation for Baptism and in the Christian initiation of adults at the Easter Vigil.

   To prompt a more genuine and profound liturgical promotion, the Bishop should frequently preside, also on the occasion of episcopal visitations, over the Liturgy of the Word or the Liturgy of the Hours, as foreseen in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum.[181] In this way, he can appear in his characteristic role as Teacher, who celebrates the Word of salvation, and as Priest, who prays and intercedes for his people.

3. The Exercise of the Ministry of Leading

The Service of Leading

117. The ministerial role of the Bishop is completed in the office of guiding the portion of the People of God entrusted to him. Church Tradition has always associated this work with two figures taken from the Gospels, which Jesus applies to himself, namely, Shepherd and  Servant. The Council uses the following words to describe the Bishop’s office of governing the faithful: “(they) govern the particular Churches entrusted to them as the vicars and ambassadors of Christ. This they do by their counsel, exhortations, and example, as well, indeed, as by their authority and sacred power. This power they use only for the edification of their flock in truth and holiness, remembering that he who is greater should become as the lesser and he who is the more distinguished, as the servant (cf. Lk 22:26-27).”[182]

   Pope John Paul II explains that “it is necessary to insist on the concept of service, which applies to every ecclesiastical ministry, beginning with that of Bishops. Indeed, the Episcopate is more a service than an honour. And if it is also an honor, it is so when the Bishop, a Successor of the Apostles, serves in a spirit of Gospel humility following the example of the Son of Man...It is in the light of this service as the Good Shepherd that the authority which the Bishop possesses in proprio must be understood, although it is always subject to that of the Supreme Pontiff.”[183] With good reason, then, The Code of Canon Law indicates that such an office is a munus pastoris and attributes to it the characteristic of pastoral solicitude.[184]

Exercise of Authentic Pastoral Charity

118.Pastoral charity is the virtue, characteristic of the Bishop, with which he imitates Christ, the “Good” Shepherd, to the point of giving his life. This is accomplished not only in acts of service but even more in the gift of self, which manifests the love of Christ for his flock.

   One of the forms taken by pastoral charity is compassion, in imitation of Christ, the High Priest, who is able to sympathize with human weakness, since he himself has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (cf. Heb 4:15). Such compassion, which the Bishop exemplifies and lives as a sign of the compassion of Christ, cannot, however, be separated from the truth of Christ. Indeed, another expression of pastoral charity is the responsibility, before God and the Church, of announcing the truth “in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2).

    Pastoral charity makes the Bishop eager to serve the common good of his diocese, which is ordained to the good of the whole Church and takes precedence over the good of particular communities of a diocese. In this regard, the Directory Ecclesiae Imago sets forth the basic principles of unity, responsible collaboration and coordination.[185]

   As a result of pastoral charity, which is the interior unifying principle of all ministerial activity, “the essential and permanent demand for unity between the priest’s interior life and all his external actions and the obligations of the ministry can be properly fulfilled, a demand particularly urgent in a socio-cultural and ecclesial context strongly marked by complexity, fragmentation and dispersion.”[186] Pastoral charity, then, ought to determine the Bishop’s manner of thinking and acting as well as his relations with people.

   In governing the diocese, the Bishop also has to be concerned that the faithful see the value of canon law in the Church, which has as its objective the well-being of persons and the ecclesial community.[187]

 

A Pastoral Style Authenticated by Life

119.Pastoral charity demands as a consequence a certain life style and conduct, in imitation of the poor and humble Christ, which permits the Bishop to be responsive to all members of the flock, from the greatest to the least, sharing their joys and sorrows not only in his thoughts and prayers but also in personally being with them. In this way, through his presence and ministry, the Bishop can approach all without self-consciousness and they can approach him in the same manner, so as to experience the love of God for humanity.[188]

    The responses to the Lineamenta from the Episcopal Conferences refer to some perceptions of the Bishop by people in various places and society. Sometimes, people see the Bishop as “self-important” or “authoritarian”, an attitude which gives the Bishop an improper position in the Church and the world; at other times, the Bishop is seen as “shepherd in the midst of his flock”, “father in the faith”, so that priests, religious and laity are not simply “assistants” of the Bishop but his “collaborators”.

    A deepening of the reality of communio can lead people to view the Bishop as an authentic “servant of the servants of God”, namely, the first among the servants of God. In fact, the Bishop is to be faithful to his mission, remembering that his personal responsibility as Shepherd is shared by the lay faithful in virtue of their Baptism, by those in sacred orders and by those specially consecrated through the evangelical counsels, each in his own way.

120.Many mention that this communio is sometimes hindered on account of the vastness of the diocese and the Bishop’s many duties.

   Other responses refer to possible dangers in the Bishop’s governing from certain elements unbecoming of a true, pastoral activity based on the Gospel. At times, they lead to the risk of people’s comparing the Bishop to celebrities in society. The Bishop’s alignment with civil authorities can also threaten his autonomy and, consequently, the people’s conception of him.

    Furthermore, people in societies which nurture ideas contrary to authority, mistakenly interpret the Bishop’s role in light of the principle of subsidiarity and the juridic institution of consultation. This occurs oftentimes as a result of perceiving authority only as “power.”

   Such situations can be overcome, if Bishops exercise their role in a fatherly fashion, presenting themselves as Successors of the Apostles not only from the point of view of the authority they exercise, but in the manner in which they live the Gospel, namely, in coherency to what they announce, in the sacrifices they make in the apostolate, in the loving and merciful care with which they attend to the faithful, especially the poor, the needy and the suffering.

    In this way, they will be the living sign of Christ in the midst of the People of God and their pastoral governing will truly be a proclamation of the Gospel of Hope. Certain externals to the office, such as titles of honor and episcopal dress, ought not to detract from the episcopal ministry of teaching in word and deed.

   Through a simple and modest life, the Bishop, who is to be the living sign of Christ who as Lord and Master washed the feet of his disciples, ought to reflect the features of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel and his character as a true “Man of God” (cf. 2 Tim 3:17).

Pastoral Visitation

121.Traditionally, the Church has given specific form to the ministry which the Bishop exercises in his particular Church. Two forms deserve particular mention: the first involves personal contacts; the second, a synodal gathering.

   Pastoral visitations are not simply a juridic institution prescribed for the Bishop by ecclesiastic discipline nor are they a tool of inquiry.[189] In visiting parishes, the Bishop permits the people to see him as the visible principal and foundation of unity in his particular Church. The Bishop’s pastoral visit “is an apostolic work, a grace-laden event, resembling that unique and altogether marvelous visitation of the ‘Chief Shepherd’ (1 Pt 5:4), the Guardian of Souls (1 Pt 2:25), Christ Jesus, who visited and redeemed his people (Lk 1:68).”[190] Furthermore, a diocese, before being a territory of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, is a portion of the People of God entrusted to the pastoral care of a Bishop. Thus, the Directory Ecclesiae Imago appropriately states that people are the priority in pastoral visitations. Therefore, to better dedicate himself to the people, the Bishop ought to delegate to others the treatment of matters which are more administrative in character.

   Pastoral visitations, which are prepared and well-planned, are propitious occasions for both the Bishop and people to come to a knowledge of each other.

   A privileged moment in parishes is the Bishop’s meeting with the parish priest and the other priests. Pastoral visits provide occasions for exercising the ministry of preaching and catechesis, dialogue and direct contact with the problems of the people, for the celebration of communion in the Eucharist and the sacraments, and for sharing prayer and popular devotions. In these circumstances, certain people call for the particular attention of the Bishop, for example, the young, children, the sick, the poor, the marginalized, and the unchurched.

   Experience suggests that the Bishop have additional meetings with others who make-up the diocese, such as, diocesan assemblies of pastoral planning and evaluation, visits at priestly or diaconal ordination and patronal feasts, or, lastly, days of special observance by the clergy, religious or families.

The Diocesan Synod

122.The celebration of the Diocesan Synod, whose nature and norms are set forth in The Code of Canon Law,[191] undoubtedly has a prominent place among the pastoral duties of the Bishop. Indeed. Church discipline lists the Synod first among the organs through which the life of a particular Church proceeds and develops. Its structure–as that of other so-called organs of “participation”–corresponds to the basic requirements of ecclesiology and expresses certain theological realities, e.g., the necessary cooperation among priests and the Bishop, the participation of all the baptized in the prophetic office of Christ, the duty of Pastors to acknowledge and foster the dignity of the lay faithful and to avail themselves freely of their prudent counsel.[192] By its nature, the Diocesan Synod can be viewed in the context of the co-responsibility of all members in the diocese, gathered around their Bishop for the well-being of the diocese. In its composition, as provided  in present canonical discipline, the Synod is the choice expression of the organic communion of the particular Church. The Diocesan Synod ought to be well prepared and be convoked with well-defined objectives.[193] At its sessions, the Bishop, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions made,[194] listens to what the Spirit is saying to the particular Church in such a manner that everyone remains sound in the faith, united in communion, open to a sense of mission, disposed to the spiritual needs of the world and full of hope before its challenges.

A Governing Imbued with a Spirit of Communion

123.Because of his pastoral office, the Bishop is the minister of charity in his particular Church, building her up through the Word and the Eucharist. Already in apostolic times, the Twelve provided for the institution of “seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:2-3), to whom they entrusted the task to serve at table. A dominant feature of the apostolate of St. Paul was his care of the poor, which remains as the basic sign of communion among Christians. Even today, the Bishop is called in a personal manner to exercise this charity in his diocese by adopting suitable structures.

   In such a way, the Bishop attests that the griefs and anxieties of people, primarily the poor and all who suffer, are also the anxieties of Christ’s disciples.[195] Today, poverty takes many forms; the accustomed forms of the past have been joined by more contemporary ones. In these situations, the Bishop is in the forefront of efforts which will lead to new approaches in the apostolate and in charity, where needs are revealing themselves in new ways. To serve, to encourage and to make people aware of the duties of solidarity, renewing each day the ancient story of the Good Samaritan, are already signs of hope for the world.

124.To fulfill the pastoral ministry of guiding and discerning, the Bishop needs the collaboration of all the faithful in a spirit of communion and a sense of mission.

  Structures of dialogue, communion and discernment, such as the Presbyteral Council and the Pastoral Council already mentioned, are established for this purpose.

    Growing pastoral needs have resulted in an orderly structuring, based on canonical norms, of the various offices of the diocesan curia. This structuring is done according to the possibilities of each particular Church and the competence of the diocesan clergy, consecrated persons and the laity, so as to respond to every diocesan need.

   It is the task of the Bishop not only to foster serious, coordinated activity, initiatives and arduous work by those responsible for the different diocesan offices, but also to stimulate these efforts through his example and collegial meetings of coordination. A sure sense of trust, friendship and responsibility needs to be demonstrated by everyone in the various structures of the Curia so that unity and mutual understanding might create a properly ecclesial style of work.

Administration of Funds

125.In recent times, the administration of the goods of the diocese has assumed a certain importance, especially in view of civil responsibilities. Vigilance and serious-mindedness in the overall administration of diocesan funds, which can also serve as an example in other diocesan institutions, requires the work of competent persons and Church experts trained in diocesan administration.

   This is one of the most important aspects of governing, namely, guaranteeing the common good of the diocese and the communion of goods and fulfilling the obligation of charity towards the missions and the poorest of the poor.

 

Practical Questions Pertaining to the Particular Church

126.Practical questions, some previously treated, deserve mentioning at this time so that, on the basis of the information in the Lineamenta responses, they might be given proper attention by the Synod.

   Many Episcopal Conferences call for the full-time presence of the Bishop in his diocese, since frequent or prolonged absences threaten the continuity of pastoral service.

    The continual presence of the Bishop in his See or in visiting parishes, his availability to priests, religious and the laity and his engagement in other kinds of pastoral visitation are a guarantee of stability and co-responsibility in the daily exercise of his ministry. In this way, the Bishop appears as a model of lasting service to his Church.

    Other responses recommend that the Bishop remain assigned to the diocese to which he is elected, so as to reenforce his mentality of self-giving to the Church entrusted to him through the bond of a faithfulness and spousal love, so as to avoid, as much as possible, such problems as a passing outlook towards his diocese, the interruption of programs and pastoral initiatives and a desire to change or transfer to  particular Churches which might be more prestigious or might have fewer problems.

    Reference was also made to dioceses left without a Pastor for a long period of time due to a delay in the appointment of Bishops. Such situations create a disadvantage in the presbyterate and the People of God who are deprived of the episcopal ministry of unity and communion.

    Finally, some responses mention a conflict today between civil and ecclesiastical fora in the processes dealing with ecclesiastical persons.  The responses often ask for public recognition of the Church’s canon law in these processes. The Bishop ought to be allowed the freedom and responsibility to deal with those in his charge in such a way as to avoid scandal and provide adequately, in justice and charity, for the salvation of souls, which is always the supreme law of the Church.[196]

 


CHAPTER V

IN SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL
FOR THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

 

In Jesus Christ: the Perennial Jubilee of the Church

127.The recently concluded Jubilee of the Year 2000 provided occasion for the Church and the world to fix their gaze on Christ, who came to announce the good news to the poor (cf. Lk 4:16ff). Sent by the Father, he came to call everyone to conversion, to give hope to humanity, to reveal each person’s dignity as a child of God and future glory. Christ manifested in his words, especially in his paschal mystery, the love of God which goes out in pursuit of persons, reveals to them their vocation and makes them aware of their high calling.[197]

     Jesus’ entire life was a great jubilee period, in which he communicated God’s grace and forgiveness, indicated the path leading to truth and drew near to everyone. He announced salvation and brought it to fulfilment through his words and deeds and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

     In the Gospel accounts of Jesus of Nazareth, the Church acknowledges a Jubilee Messiah who lives through his total gift of self, who communicates his truth and life to all, who calls everyone to conversion and who teaches the new commandment of love which he brings to the world as a way of living the Trinitarian vocation and mission.

      Christ reveals that God wills all people to be saved. He who unites himself with humanity through his Incarnation and to each person who suffers through his Passion and Death, becomes, through his Resurrection, the cause of salvation and hope for every human being, destined for communion with God in glory.

     From the time of Pentecost, the Church has continued the mission of Jesus through the grace of the Holy Spirit, announcing each day the good news of salvation and liberation from evil.

The Church’s Ministry of Salvation

128.In the spirit of collegiality and hierarchical communion, all Bishops continue this announcement which is focused on Jesus Christ, true God and true man, one and only Saviour of the world.

      Even though unaware of how Christ exercises this salvation beyond the sacramental structures of his Body to which he himself has entrusted the ministry of preaching and sanctification, the Church believes that all humanity belongs to Christ, the firstborn of all creation (cf. Col 1:15ff).

     Consequently, hope has as its ultimate goal the reconciliation of everything and everyone in Christ. This is the kind of hope which inspires the Church who announces peace and salvation “to you who were far off and to you who are near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph 2:17-18). Hope also underlies the Church’s many dialogues of salvation so that even history’s future belongs to the Lord who, known and loved as a Brother, is the revelation of the Father’s love. “As a consequence, men throughout the world will be aroused to a lively hope–the gift of the Holy Spirit–that they will finally be caught up in peace and utter happiness in that fatherland radiant with the splendor of the Lord.”[198]

A New Religious Situation

129.The very complex religious situation at the beginning of the millennium poses  challenges for the Church in exercising her mission. The great religions, as bearers of authentic human values, require that the Church seek a respectful encounter with them so that they might understand the plan of the one Saviour-God.

    At the same time, due to today’s immigration, which is bound to increase in the future along with mobility and economic/cultural exchanges, a new, multi-ethnic, multi-religious situation exists on continents where traditional religions have been prominent.

     The younger particular Churches, especially in Asia, Africa and Oceania, are living alongside other religions. While they are very involved in inter-religious dialogue, these particular Churches are also providing a considerable missionary assistance in other parts of the People of God.

130.Some Episcopal Conferences refer in the Lineamenta responses to  the Church’s need to give attention to the immigration of peoples, a recent, well-known phenomenon which, though not a new occurrence in history, has perhaps unprecedented dimensions today. Immigration creates practical problems in pastoral activity–similar to those in the work of evangelization and interreligious dialogue–especially when people profess non-Christian religions. Pastoral care of Catholic immigrants, uprooted from their lands and customs, requires the collaboration of native clergy to sustain and strengthen their faith and to help them live the Christian life.

    Consequently, the entire Church needs to make renewed efforts in evangelization, an evangelization which is always to include: a clear proclamation of revelation as a sure gift; dialogue as the method of mutual understanding; and a witness arising from the Gospel, especially a witness to charity, in everything and before all else, as the guarantee of the truth proclaimed and the basis for dialogue, so that Christ might be seen in his disciples. Furthermore, the integral proclamation of salvation requires the Church’s concern for every genuine, human value.

    The above elements underlie the Church’s task of proclaiming the meaning of life and history in light of the mystery of Christ. In her mission, the Church trusts in the power of the Gospel and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen Christ, to make known and realize the fullness of truth and divine life.[199]

Ecumenical Dialogue

131.The Church’s commitment to ecumenical dialogue in achieving Christian unity, the cherished fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit, must be unwavering. Ecumenical dialogue is a response to the prayer and intention of Christ (cf. Jn 17:21-23), a response to his sacrifice on the cross to draw all into unity (cf. Jn11:52) and a response to the Church’s required witness in the world (cf. Eph 4:4-5).

     In this regard, Bishops participate in the solicitude of the Roman Pontiff as expressed in the Vatican Council Decree Unitatis Redintegratio. They also share in the Church’s renewed efforts, a priority in the new millennium for the hope of the world, to foster the unity of all baptized Christians, as re-stated in the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint,.[200]

      Each Bishop, in keeping with the directives of the Holy See and in communion with his Episcopal Conference, is a promoter of unity and an apostle of spiritual ecumenism and dialogue through his fraternal contacts with Churches and Christian communities. Fostering what is positive in dialogue must exclude all unclear, hasty actions which can damage true ecumenism through impatience.

     The Bishop shares with his faithful the passion for unity which burns in the heart of Christ, awaiting with hope the grace which, according to the design of the Holy Spirit, will bring all into communion in the one Church of Christ.

    The specific task of ecumenism at the local level is entrusted to the Bishop and his collaborators in each diocese,[201] who have at their disposal such initiatives as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, prayer services in common and the mutual witness to the one Gospel of Christ. In this regard, a “dialogue of life”, namely, everyday encounters, and an ecumenism of simple, daily gestures of communion and service are invaluable in the cause of bringing the hearts and minds of Christians closer together.

The Proclamation of the Gospel

132.The Church is now facing new tasks in accomplishing her mission as a result of new social phenomena and cultural situations, new arenas for evangelization and new duties based on a deeper understanding of the Gospel message, for example, the promotion of peace, the development and liberation of peoples, the recognition of the rights of minorities, the promotion of women, a renewed concern for children and the young, the safeguarding of creation, the promotion of an authentic culture and scientific research respectful of the value of life, the dialogue among nations and recent global projects.[202]

     In this social and cultural context, the unchanging message of the Gospel of hope is proclaimed with a new language, new enthusiasm and new methods, especially with the power flowing from the holiness of the Church and the witness of her unity. This task is entrusted to those who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, have been appointed as Bishops to pasture the Church of God (cf. Acts 20:28).

Missionary Activity and Cooperation

133.In imitation of Jesus of Nazareth, sent by the Father to evangelize, the Bishop is inspired by the hope which is the content of the proclamation of the Good News and the penetrating force in every aspect of his ministry to the world, since his pastoral concern extends to everyone. The Bishop’s call and role in the Church make him first and foremost responsible for the abiding mission of bringing the Gospel to those who still do not know Christ, the Redeemer of Humanity. The mission of the Bishop is intimately bound to his universal ministry of teaching and his relationship to the community over which he presides in the name of Christ the Shepherd.

     The mandate entrusted by the Risen Christ to his Apostles includes all peoples. In fact, in the Apostles, “the Church (has) received a universal mission–one which knows no boundaries–which involves the communication of salvation in its integrity, according to that fullness of life which Christ came to bring (cf. Jn 10:10).”[203]

   The same is true for the Successors of the Apostles. The task of proclaiming the Gospel is not restricted to the Church community; the Gospel is intended for all peoples. The Church herself is the sacrament of salvation for all humanity. She is “the dynamic force in mankind’s journey towards the eschatological Kingdom, and is the sign and promoter of Gospel values.”[204] For this reason, the Successors of the Apostles will always have the responsibility of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

     Bishops are ordained not only for a diocese but for the salvation of the whole world.[205] They are members of the Episcopal College and  individual Pastors of particular Churches. Together with the Bishop of Rome, they are directly responsible for the evangelization of all those who still do not know Christ as the one and only Saviour and those who have not as yet placed their hope in him.

      With this in mind, the Church calls to mind the many missionary Bishops who, today as in the past, shine out in the Church through their holiness of life and the generosity of their apostolic zeal. Some of them have also been founders of missionary institutes.

134.As Pastor of a particular Church, the Bishop has the responsibility to guide all missionary endeavours by directing and coordinating them. He fulfills his duty of deeply instilling the missionary spirit in his particular Church when he inspires, promotes and guides the work of the diocese on behalf of the missions. In doing so, “he makes present the mission spirit and zeal of the People of God and, as it were, visible, so that the whole diocese becomes missionary.”[206]

    In his zeal for missionary activity, the Bishop shows himself to be the servant and witness of hope. Mission is undoubtedly “an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us.”[207] While leading peoples of all times to a new life, mission is also animated by hope and is itself the fruit of Christian hope.

     In proclaiming the Risen Christ, Christians announce the One who begins a new era in human history. They proclaim to the world the Good News of an integral and universal salvation which contains in itself the seeds of a new world in which pain and injustice will yield to joy and beauty. Therefore, Christians pray as Jesus taught them: “Thy Kingdom come” (Mt 6:10). Finally, missionary activity, in its ultimate purpose of proposing to every person the salvation accomplished by Christ once and for all, tends by its very nature towards eschatological fulfillment. Through missionary activity, the People of God increases, the Body of Christ grows and the Temple of the Holy Spirit continues to be built up until the consummation of the age.[208]

     At the beginning of the third millennium, with an increased awareness of the universality of salvation and a lived experience of the necessity each day to proclaim the Gospel, the Church is unrelenting in her missionary duty. Indeed, a new, more profound missionary cooperation exists through the collaboration of all the Successors of the Apostles and their particular Churches.[209]

Interreligious Dialogue and Meetings with Other Religions

135.As Master-Teachers of the Faith, Bishops also have to give due attention to interreligious dialogue, above all, with the brothers and sisters of Israel, the People of the First Covenant.

     Everyone is aware that present historical circumstances have given interreligious dialogue a particularly urgent character. Indeed, for many Christian communities, e.g., in Africa and Asia, interreligious dialogue has almost become an essential part of daily living for families and entire communities as well as for individuals in the workplace and in service to the public. On the other hand, in some places, e.g., in Western Europe and to a certain extent in traditionally Christian countries, interreligious dialogue is a relatively new phenomenon. In this situation, what frequently happens is that believers of different religions and forms of worship more easily come in contact with one another, often living side-by- side, because of the migration of peoples, tourism, social communications and personal choice.

    Pope John Paul II has recalled that interreligious dialogue is a part of the evangelizing mission of the Church; it was a recurring theme during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000; and is presently the challenge of the third millennium.[210] Among the principal reasons for dialogue, the Decree Nostra Aetate refers to those which come to mind in the course of professing Christian hope. Indeed, all peoples have a common origin in God, in that they are created in love and have a common destiny in God as their ultimate end.

      Christians can learn much from interreligious dialogue. In the process, however, they are always to bear witness to their hope in Christ, the one and only Saviour of humanity, cultivating the duty and determination of proclaiming, without hesitation, the unique character of Christ the Redeemer. Indeed, there is no other in whom Christians place their hope, since Christ is the fulfilment of every hope. He is “the long-awaited one for those in every people who yearn for the manifestation of divine goodness,”[211] Moreover, the Catholic faithful have to undertake and pursue dialogue with the conviction that the one true religion subsists “in the Catholic and Apostolic Church to which the Lord Jesus has entrusted the mission of communicating that religion to all people.”[212]

136.Every one of the faithful and every Christian community have the responsibility to practice interreligious dialogue, even if not always at the same level or intensity. However, the Bishop has the duty in his particular Church, where required or permitted, to assist all the faithful through his teaching and pastoral activity to respect and esteem the values, traditions and convictions of other believers, and also to promote a sound and appropriate religious formation for Christians, so that they might know how to bear witness with conviction to the great gift of the Christian faith.

     The Bishop also has to keep watch over the theological dimension of interreligious dialogue, ensuring that in his particular Church the exchange be pursued in such a manner as never to be silent about, nor hesitate to affirm, the universality and unique character of the Redemption accomplished by Christ, the one and only Saviour of the World and the one who reveals the Mystery of God.[213] Indeed, only in remaining consistent with the faith, is it also possible to share, approach and enrich spiritual experiences and forms of prayer as paths of encounter with God.

     Interreligious dialogue, however, is not a matter of doctrine only; it extends to a multiplicity of everyday encounters with believers of every type who are called to mutual respect and understanding. It is a question of a dialogue of life where believers of various religions reciprocally bear witness to each religion’s human and spiritual values so as to foster peace in their living together and collaboration for a more just and fraternal society. In promoting and attentively following such dialogue, the Bishop is always to remind the faithful that this duty flows from the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, the same virtues which ensure an increased awareness of that duty.

A Particular Attention to the Phenomenon of the Sects

137.The Bishop’s solicitude for his faithful should also include the very real danger of the allurement of religious sects and alternative movements of various kinds on persons who are unprepared to properly deal with them. Oftentimes, these movements seek to erode the Catholic faith, to take advantage of social and familial problems, and to manipulate persons and consciences. Satanic cults, with aberrant rites and behaviour, are also spreading with an anti-Christian intent.

    An accurate study needs to be done of the sects and their ways of operating so that  recourse can be made to those who might be able to help the faithful trapped in them or are threatened by them. Such assistance can also restore peace of soul to persons and bring them back to the faith.[214]

    Above all, however, what is needed to counteract the influence of these sects and movements are authentic Christian communities, full of life and enthusiasm and promoters of hope, namely, communities characterized by Gospel-sharing, missionary commitment, regard for persons, mutual help and a true and proper spiritual formation, through prayer and the sacraments, for the men and women of our world.

    In the fight against evil and the Evil One, the Bishop must enlist, according to canon law, priests endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life to perform exorcisms and practice prayer so as to obtain healing from God.[215]

Dialogue with Persons of Other Persuasions

138.The Church, in her duty to evangelize and announce salvation in Christ to all, also seeks, in the most appropriate manner possible, to establish dialogue with persons of other religious persuasions. Oftentimes, these people are open to the appeal of the Gospel, to the Person of Jesus Christ and to the authentic human values of his preaching and example. In many ways, they expect the Church to teach clearly, rise above prejudice and attentively pursue the credible values of truth and justice. Sometimes, they feel a secret longing for a Christianity in which the reasons for faith and hope meet, especially at a time when, after much disillusionment, a lack of faith keeps many people from crossing the threshold of hope.

      To accomplish this, the Bishop in his particular Church ought to promote meetings which can involve people who are in search of the truth, who are responsive to the transcendent values of goodness, justice and beauty and who have a concern for humanity in our times. This should be done so as to foster the common pursuit of promoting human values, especially through dialogue with authoritative exponents of culture and spirituality.

     As Shepherd of all and responsible for the proclamation of the Gospel in our complex society, the Bishop ought not to forget that he is the defender of the rights of the Catholic Faithful and those of the Church, rights which are oftentimes denied or contested in various places or in certain areas of social or political life. As the support of his faithful, the Bishop ought to instill and promote hope in times of persecution or hostility against the faithful by being staunch in his witness to the truth and in a life in keeping with his office.

Attention to New Social Problems and the New Forms of Poverty

139.A special moment in proclaiming hope is concern for the poor in our society, where no one ought to forget that the person–as recalled by the Second Vatican Council–is the source, center and purpose of economic and social life.[216] Part of the Church’s concern is that development might not be understood exclusively in an economic sense but rather in one which considers every aspect of the human person.

    Christian hope is directed towards the heavenly Kingdom and eternal life. However, this eschatological goal does not lessen the commitment to the advancement of the earthly city. On the contrary, it gives it meaning and incentive. Indeed “buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and lead to the happiness that flows from charity.”[217] Earthly progress and the growth of the Kingdom are not separate entities, because the vocation of humanity to eternal life, instead of relieving the person from expending his God-given energies for the development of his life in this world, makes it all the more imperative.

 

140.It is not the specific task of the Church to offer solutions to economic and social questions. However, her teachings contain general principles which are indispensable for the construction of a just social and economic order. Even in this matter, the Church must proclaim the Gospel. Each Bishop in his particular Church has to become the Herald of the Gospel, indicating that the core of its message can be found in the Beatitudes.[218]

     Finally, since the commandment of love of neighbour has concrete implications, the Bishop needs to promote appropriate initiatives in his diocese and to exhort the people to overcome possible attitudes of apathy, passivity and egoism, whether in individuals or entire groups. Equally important for the Bishop is to awaken through his preaching the Christian conscience of every citizen, exhorting each one to work in an active solidarity and with the means available to defend all persons from whatever abuses might assail their human dignity. In this regard, he has continually to remind the faithful that Christ is present in every poor and needy person (cf. Mt 25:31-46). The image of the Lord as the one who is to come as Judge at the end of time is the promise of definitive justice for the living and the dead and for all people of all times and places.[219]

Near to Those Who Suffer

141.Mindful of his title as Father and Defender of the Poor, the Bishop has the duty to inspire charitable works towards the poor with his example and his works of mercy and justice, through individual acts as well as through an ample variety of programs of solidarity.

      The responses to the Lineamenta gave particular attention to some commitments assigned to the Bishop as Promoter of Charity in our time.

     In the field of physical and mental health, each Pastor in his diocese proclaims the Gospel with the help of persons qualified in the pastoral care of the sick. Healthcare occupies a special place in our society. Medicine and healthcare which are both centered on the person and being near to people in time of suffering awaken in the heart of the Christian the image of the compassionate Christ, the Physician of Body and Soul, and calls to mind his authoritative words in the Church’s mission: “Cure the sick” (Mt 10:8).

     Organizing and continually promoting pastoral activity in this area are a priority in the heart and life of the Bishop.

Promoter of Justice and Peace

142. The subjects of justice and love of neighbor readily evoke that of peace: “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). The Church proclaims the peace of Christ, the “Prince of Peace”, who has proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Mt 5:9). These are not only those who renounce the use of violence as an unacceptable method, but also those who have the courage to work for the removal of whatever stands in the way of peace. These workers of peace know well that peace is something which begins in a person’s heart. Therefore, they work against a selfishness which keeps a person from seeing others as brothers and sisters in one human family. They are sustained in their work by hope in Jesus Christ, the sinless Redeemer, whose suffering is an unfailing sign of hope for humanity. Christ is Peace (cf. Eph 2:14); and humanity will not find peace until it encounters Christ.

     Peace is everyone’s responsibility; it is one of the thousand little acts performed in daily life. Depending on how they live each day with others, people are making choices to promote peace or work against peace. Peace stands awaiting those who will be its prophets and artisans.[220] These builders of peace must necessarily be present in the ecclesial community over which the Bishop is Pastor.

     The Bishop, therefore, needs to take every occasion to stir in people’s consciences the desire to live together in peace and to promote a shared determination to dedicate themselves to the cause of justice and peace. It is an arduous task requiring dedication, enduring strength and constant education, above all directed towards the new generations so that they will commit themselves, with renewed joy and Christian hope, to the construction of a more peaceful and friendly world. Working for peace is also one of the primary tasks of evangelization. Consequently, the promotion of an authentic culture of dialogue and peace is also a fundamental duty in the pastoral activity of the Bishop.

143. The Bishop is the Church’s voice calling out to people and gathering them together. In his evangelizing efforts, the Bishop always works in concrete ways to make his perceptive, balanced message known and heard, so that those responsible in the political, social and economic spheres might seek just solutions in resolving the problems of living together in civil society.

     In fulfilling his mission in these areas, the Bishop often faces difficult circumstances in both evangelization and human promotion. Such conditions uniquely demonstrate the element of suffering which is often a part of the episcopal ministry. Without the acceptance of suffering, the Bishop is unable to dedicate himself to his mission. Therefore, his faith in the Spirit of the Risen Lord has to be great and his heart always full of “ the hope which does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5).

Guardian of Hope, Witness of Christ’s Charity

144.Christians fulfill their prophetic mission received from Christ by being present in the world as bearers of hope. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council recalls that the Church “goes forward together with humanity and experiences the same earthly lot which the world does. She serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for human society as it is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into God’s family.”[221]

     Responsibility towards the whole world and its problems, its questioning and its expectations is also part of the duty of evangelization to which the Church is called by the Lord. The Bishop, then, is particularly involved in this work, requiring him to be attentive in reading the “signs of the times” so as to reawaken hope in every person. In this endeavour, he works as the minister of the Spirit who, even today on the threshold of the third millennium, does not cease to bring great things about so as to renew the face of the earth. After the example of the Good Shepherd, the Bishop points to each person as the way to follow, and following the example of the Good Samaritan, he bends towards each individual to bind up his wounds.

145.Each person is essentially a “being who hopes.” At the same time, due to the many ways in which hope is challenged today, events in various parts of the world tempt persons to skepticism and a lack of trust. The Church, however, finds in the mystery of the cross and resurrection of her Lord the basis of a “blessed hope” which gives a person the power to commit oneself–and to continue in that commitment–to the service of humanity and to each individual.

     The Church is the Servant of the Gospel which is the message of freedom and the power for liberation. The Gospel of Christ strips away and passes judgment on the illusory and false hopes of this world and carries the most authentic aspirations of humanity to their fulfilment. The central point in this proclamation is that Christ, through his cross and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, has opened the new way to freedom and liberation for humanity.

      A number of tasks and activities among those situations in which the Bishop is called to guide his community provide opportunities for renewing the power of the Gospel and reenforcing effective signs of hope. Particularly relevant are those tasks and activities associated with the Church’s social doctrine which, far from being an addition to the Christian message, is an essential part of it, because it teaches the direct implications of the Gospel on life and society. On many occasions, the magisterium has affirmed this fact, displaying its connection to the Paschal Mystery, where the Church always draws the truth about history and humanity. At these times, she has also recalled that the particular Churches have the responsibility, in communion with the See of Peter and among themselves, to apply the Church’s social doctrine to situations in a concrete way.

146.The list of tasks and activities begins with the Church’s relation to civil society and the political life. In this regard, it is evident that the Church’s mission is religious in nature and that the proper end of her missionary action is to proclaim to all Jesus Christ, the one and only Name “under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). On this basis–the Second Vatican Council emphasized–rests the distinction between the political community and the Church. Though independent and autonomous, each share in different ways a common service of individuals who are called to be persons and members of society.[222]

     Therefore, the Church, accessible to all people of good will as a result of the Lord’s mandate, cannot now or ever undertake the political life. Nevertheless, she is not immune to the problems which arise from living in  society. Consequently, while each remains within its sphere of competence in the integral promotion of the person, the Church can also search for solutions  to problems in the temporal order, especially in those cases where the dignity of the person is compromised and basic rights are violated.

147.Such are the circumstances in which the Bishop is to discharge his duties. He recognizes the autonomous character of the State and, therefore, avoids causing confusion between faith and politics, preferring rather to serve everyone’s freedom. Totally excluding whatever may lead to identifying faith with a determined political form, the Bishop seeks first the Kingdom of God. In this way, he undertakes an authentic, pure love in  assisting his brothers and sisters and in accomplishing, under the inspiration of charity, the works of justice. As a result, the Bishop is seen to be the guardian of the transcendent character of the human person and a sign of hope.[223] The specific contribution made by the Bishop in this area is that of the Church, namely, “her vision of the dignity of the person revealed in all its fullness in the mystery of the Incarnate Word.”[224]

    The autonomous nature of the political community does not mean that it is exempt from following moral principles; indeed, a political life deprived of a point of reference in morality leads inevitably to the degradation of social life and the violation of the dignity and rights of the human person. Consequently, the Church eagerly desires that political life maintain–or regain, as the case may be–its traditional character of service to the person and society. Since the lay faithful have the primary duty in the temporal order, the Bishop must be concerned to assist the lay faithful to discuss any questions they might have and help them make proper decisions in light of the Word of Truth. He is also to promote and care for their formation in such a way that the laity’s choices might be motivated by a sincere concern for the common good of society, i.e., the well-being of all people and the whole person. Likewise, the Bishop needs to insist that there be no contradiction between a person’s public and private life.

The Ranks of Witnesses and the Anchor of Hope

148.As a Disciple and Witness of Christ, the Bishop has the responsibility at the beginning of the new century and millennium to proclaim, celebrate and promote, like Jesus, the Father’s Kingdom in hope.

   The Bishop, grounded in a faith which is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1), prepares himself to make the people advance, like Israel in the desert, as the living image of the pilgrim Church on earth “between the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God.”[225] With her eyes fixed on Christ, the Author and Perfector of the Faith, the Church, empowered by the countless number of people who have testified to faith and hope, becomes a credible witness of the faithfulness of God in each age. Consequently, at the end of the century and the millennium, the Church desired, among other things, to make an ecumenical commemoration of the witnesses to the faith in the twentieth century, who can serve as heralds of Christian hope for new generations.

   In a globalized world, the Bishop proclaims communion, solidarity, unity and reconciliation. In a society in search of life’s meaning, he offers the liberating words of the Gospel, the Word of Truth, which opens the horizon of humanity beyond death and illumines life’s path with the light of Christ’s Easter Mystery.[226]

   The Bishop, seizing hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of soul (cf. Heb 6:18ff) guides his people in trust as the servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world.


CONCLUSION

 

149. From 6-8 October 2000, Bishops from around the world celebrated their Jubilee in communion with the Pope, in an atmosphere of conversion and prayer, inspired, at the same time, by the theme of the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World.[227] As noted above, it was the first time, since the Second Vatican Council, that so many Bishops from all parts of the world assembled to experience together a truly spiritual Jubilee event: the penitential rite at St. John Lateran, the missionary celebration at St. Paul Outside the Walls, the Rosary in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the moments with the Roman Pontiff, especially the solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, 8 October, the culminating event of the Jubilee for Bishops.

     Devotion to the Virgin Mary, culminating in the veneration of the statue of the Virgin of Fatima who has guided the laboured history of the Church in the path of hope in the twentieth century, made the Jubilee encounter particularly moving. The Pope often repeated that he felt as if the Successors of the Apostles had returned to the Cenacle at Pentecost, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

150. In this particular circumstance, John Paul II entrusted to Mary, with a particularly moving prayer, the fruits of the Jubilee and the cares and concerns of the new millennium.

     The words of the prayer of entrustment to the Virgin Mary focused on hopes for the future in the surety that the Lord Christ is the one and only Saviour and that the Spirit of Truth is the indispensable source of life for the Church.

      Noting the great progress of humanity which is now at the critical point in history, the Holy Father recalled the needs of those who are particularly defenseless: unborn children or those born into poverty and suffering; the young in search for life’s meaning; persons deprived of work or tried by famine or sickness, broken families, the elderly without assistance and persons alone and without hope.[228]

      The hope of humanity depends on the value placed on human life. The Church, entrusting herself to the God of life and to the Mother of him who is the way, the truth and the life, rigourously defends and courageously speaks out against anything which threatens human life.

      Taking up the words of the Successor of Peter in his prayer on behalf of humanity, we again heed the plea on behalf of a world in search of reasons for belief and hope.

     In logical continuity, the Church’s Bishops are to gather in the next synodal assembly to proclaim their hope in both Christ and the action of the Spirit for the future of the Church and humanity.

     The Church learns from Mary, humble maidservant who entrusted herself to God, to proclaim the Gospel of salvation and hope. The Magnificat re-echoes in song the surety of the Lord’s poor who hope in his Word. The Church has in Mary, the woman clothed with the sun and now with her Risen Son in glory, the guarantee of the fulfilment of the Lord’s promises for humanity, which is called to a final victory over evil and death. The Church looks to her, who is for pilgrims “a sign of sure hope and solace, until the day of the Lord shall come,”[229] and invokes her in prayer as Mother of Hope, the first fruits of the world to come.




[1] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 45; PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 14: AAS 59 (1967) 264.

[2] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 1-2: AAS 92 (2000) 742-744.

[3] JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (2 July 1986), 8: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 28 July 1986, p. 7.

[4] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 1.

[5] JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Bishops of Austria on the Occasion of their Ad Limina Visit (6 July 1982), 2: AAS 74 (1982) 1123.

[6] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 1.

[7] Cf. SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, The Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973).

[8] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio: AAS 85 (1993) 838-850.

[9] AAS 90 (1998) 641-658.

[10] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 38.

[11] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23.

[12] Cf. ibid., 27.

[13] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 8.

[14] DIOGNETUS, Epist. ad Diognetum, 6; Patres Apostolici I, ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae, 1901, 400; cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 38.

[15] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 25.

[16] PAUL VI, Discourse during the Wednesday General Audience (29 November 1972); L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 7 December 1972, p. 1.

[17] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 8.

[18] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 1.

[19] SYNOD OF BISHOPS, (Coetus Specialis pro Europa, 1991) Declaratio “Ut testes simus Christi qui nos liberavit” (13 December 1991); JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa (14 September 1995), 46-52; Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America (22 January 1999), 13-25), 13-25; Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (6 November 1999), 5-9.

[20] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes; PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968): AAS 60 (1968) 481-503; JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (23 November 1981): AAS 84 (1982) 81-191; and Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (25 March 1995): AAS 87 (1995) 401-522; Apostolic Letter to Families (2 February 1994) as well as various documents from the PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY and the PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE.

[21] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 30: AAS 81 (1989) 446.

[22] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Message to the IV World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities (27 May 1998): L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 10 June 1998, p. 2. 

[23] Cf. PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam (6 August 1964), III: AAS 56 (1964) 639.

[24] SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Ad Ephesios 7,2; Patres Apostolici I, Ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae, 1901, 218; cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 5.

[25] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor (6 August 1993), 107: AAS 85 (1993) 1217.

[26] SAINT AUGUSTINE, Sermones 340/A, 9: PLS 2, 644.

[27] JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Bishops of Austria on the Occasion of their Ad Limina Visit, 6 July 1982, 2: AAS 74 (1982) 1123.

[28] Surrexit pastor bonus qui animam suam posuit pro ovibus suis et pro grege suo mori dignatus est: Roman Missal, Fourth Sunday of Easter, Communion Antiphon.

[29] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae imago, 22.

[30] Cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, Tractatus 123 in Ioannem: PL 35, 1967.

[31] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 21.

[32] Cf. ibid.

[33] PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 39, Homilia, Typis Poliglottis Vaticanis, 1990, pp. 10-11.

[34] Cf. SAINT CLEMENT OF ROME, Episc. ad Corinthios, 42-44: Patres Apostolici I, ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae, 1901, 154-159.

[35] PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 39.

[36] Cf. SAINT IRENAEUS, Adversus haereses, IV, 20, 1.3: PG 7, 1032; Demonstratio Praedicationis Apostolicae, 11, Sources Chrétienne, 62, 48-49; cf. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 704.

[37] PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 47: Prex Ordinationis.

[38] Cf. SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Ad Magnesios, 6,1; 3,1; Patres Apostolici I, ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae, 1901, 232-233; 234-235.

[39] Cf. SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Ad Trallianos 3,1: Ibid., pp. 244-245.

[40] Didascalia Apostolorum II, 33, 1, in Didascalia et Constitutiones Apostolorum, II, ed. F.X. Funk, Paderborn 1905, 114-105.

[41] Cf. PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 40: Promissio Electi “plebem Dei sanctam ut pius pater fovere et in viam salutis dirigere”.

[42] Cf. SECOND VATYICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 6, 28; JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, 65: AAS 88 (1996) 41.

[43] Cf. PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 40: Promissio Electi.

[44] Cf. SAINT CYPRIAN, De Oratione Dominica, 23: PL 4, 553: “Sacrificium Deo maius est pax nostra et fraterna concordia, et de unitate Patris, et Filii et Spiritus sancti, plebs adunata”; SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 4.

[45] Cf. PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 50-54: Traditio libri evangeliorum atque insignium,

[46] Cf. ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM Erminio comiti, Epistularum lib. I, 136: PG 78, 271-272: “Id autem amiculum, quod sacerdos humeris gestat, atque ex lana, non ex lino contextum est, ovis illius, quam Dominus aberrantem quaesivit inventam que humeris suis sustulit, pellem designat. Episcopus enim qui Christi typum gerit, ipsius munere fungitur...”

[47] Cf. BENEDICT XIV, Constitution Rerum Ecclesiasticarum (12 August 1748): De pallii benedictione et traditione, in S.D.N. Benedicti Papae XIV Bullarium, tom II, 494-497: “Ut quam mysticae repraesentant pastoralis officii plentitudinem, atque excellentiam, pleno quoque operentus effectu...Sit boni magnique illius imitator pastoris, qui errantem ovem humeris suis impositam adunavit, pro quibus animam posuit”.

[48] Cf. PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 49-54: Unctio capitis et traditio Libri Evangeliorum atque insignium.

[49] SACRAMENTARY OF SERAPION, 28, in Didascalia et Constitutiones Apostolorum, II, Ed. F.X. Funk, Paderborn, 1905, 191.

[50] Cf. PONTIFICALE ROMANUM, De Ordinatione Episcopi, 47: Prex Ordinationis.

[51] SAINT AUGUSTINE, In Natale Episcopi: CCL 104, 919, 1: “Vobis enim sum episcopus; vobiscum sum christianus. Illud est nomen suscepti officii, hoc gratiae; illud periculi est, hoc salutis

[52] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Chapter III; cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), Chapter III: AAS

[53] SAINT PETER DAMIAN, Opusc. XI (Liber qui appellatur Dominus vobiscum), 5: PL 145, 235; cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, In Ioann. 32, 8: PL 35, 1645.

[54] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 41.

[55] Cf. SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), Part I, Chapter IV, 21-31.

[56] Ibid., 25.

[57] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Homily at the Eucharistic Celebration of the Jubilee of Bishops (8 October 2000), 4: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 11 October 2000, p. 6/7.

[58] Cf. SAINT ISIDORE OF SEVILLE, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis, Lib. II, 16-17: PL 83, 785.

[59] Cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, Serm. 1279, 1: PL 38, 966.

[60] ORIGIN, In Leviticum Hom. VI: PG 12, 474 C.

[61] SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 17, a: 4,3: Petitio est interpretativa spei.

[62] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 15.

[63] Cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, Ennarr in psalm., 50, 5: PL 36, 588.

[64] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 8.

[65] Cf. SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica, III, q. 60, a. 3.

[66] Cf. CAEREMONIALE EPISCOPORUM, Editio Typica, Typis Poliglottis Vaticani, 1984.

[67] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen (2 May 1995): AAS 87 (1995) 745-794; cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE EASTERN CHURCHES Instruction on the Application of the Liturgical Regulations of The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (6 January 1996).

[68] Cf. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1313.

[69] Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete in Domino (9 May 1975), I: AAS 67 (1975) 293.

[70] Cf. SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 89.

[71] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1.

[72] SECOND EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, 1985, Relatio Finalis, II, C, 1.

[73] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 3: AAS 85 (1993) 839.

[74] Cf. ibid.

[75] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 13.

[76] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 31: AAS 81 (1989) 448.

[77] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23: THE CODE OF CANON LAW, can 381§1; THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, can 178.

[78] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 22; THE CODE OF CANON LAW, can 336; THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, can 49.

[79] Cf. SAINT CYPRIAN, De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, 5: PL 4, 516; cf. FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Prologue: DS 3051; SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 18.

[80] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 13: AAS 85 (1993) 846.

[81] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23.

[82] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 9, 11-14: AAS 85 (1993) 844-847.

[83] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 6; cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23; Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 3,5.

[84] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 26.

[85] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 6.

[86] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 22-23.

[87] Ibid., 8; cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH,, Declaration Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 17.

[88] Ibid., 26.

[89] Ibid., 6.

[90] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 14: AAS 85 (1993) 846.

[91] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 25.

[92]  Cf. CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directorium pro Visitatione ad limina Constitutioni Apostolicae Pastor Bonus adnexum (29 June 1988).

[93]  Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 37-38; CIC, c. 447-449.

[94] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos (21 May 1998); AAS 90 (1998) 641-658; cf. CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Episctola Praesidibus Conferentiarum Episcopalium missa, nomine quoque Congregationis pro Gentium Evangelizatione (21 June 1999): AAS 91 (1999) 996-999.

[95] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago, 210; cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos, 5.

[96] JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos (21 May 1998), 20: AAS 90 (1998) 654.

[97] Ibid., 21: AAS 90 (1998) 655.

[98] Cf. ibid.

[99] Cf. ibid., 22: AAS 90 (1998) 655.

[100] Cf. THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, canons 110 and 152.

[101] Cf. ibid., canon 322.

[102] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos, 5, note 32: AAS 90 (1998) 645.

[103] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 22-23, cum notis.

[104] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 9; THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, canons 55-56.

[105] Cf. THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, canons 151-152.

[106] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canons 336, 337, 339.

[107] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Norms on Bishops Who Leave Office In Vita Ecclesiae (31 October 1988); PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF LEGISLATIVE TEXTS, Response (3 December 1991): AAS 83 (1991) 1093.

[108] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23.

[109] SAINT CYPRIAN, Epistola 69, 8: PL 4, 418-419:

[110] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 9-13.

[111] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS,. Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 14.

[112] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 23.

[113] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 11: cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, can 368; THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, canon 177.

[114] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 26.

[115] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10.

[116] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nunitiandi (8 December 1975), 62: AAS 68 (1976), 52.

[117] CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 8: AAS 85 (1993) 842.

[118] Ibid., 10: AAS 85 (1993) 844.

[119] Cf. ibid.

[120] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 9, 13.

[121] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH,  Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992, 9: AAS 85 (1993) 843.

[122] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 28.

[123] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 31: AAS 84 (1992) 708.

[124]  CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion Communionis Notio (28 May 1992), 16: AAS 85 (1993) 847-48.

[125] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum Ordinis, 10; JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 32: AAS 84 (1992) 709-710; Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 67: AAS 83 (1991) 329-330.

[126]  Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 28.

[127]  Cf. ibid.

[128] Cf. ibid., 7; THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 495.

[129] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 29.

[130] Cf. ibid., 29, 41.

[131] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 65: AAS 84 (1992) 770-772.

[132] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION and CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, Declaration on the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons Diaconatus permanens (22 February 1998): AAS 90 (1998) 835-842; CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION, Ratio Fundamentalis on the Permanent Diaconate Institutio Diaconorum (22 February 1998): AAS 90 (1998) 843-879; CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons Diaconatus Originem (22 February 1998): AAS 90 (1998) 879-927.

[133] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 3: AAS 88 (1996) 379.

[134] Cf. ibid., 29; SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 44.

[135] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 47: AAS 88 (1996) 420-421.

[136] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR INSTITUTES AND SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directives for the Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious in the Church Mutuae Relationes (14 May 1978), 9c: AAS 70 (1978) 479.

[137] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 84,88: AAS 88 (1996) 461-461, 464.

[138] Cf. ibid., 48: AAS 88 (1996) 421-422; SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 207.

[139] Cf.  JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 48-49: AAS 88 (1996) 421-423.

[140] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, Chapter IV; Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem; JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988): AAS 81 (1989) 393-521; SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 153-161, 208.

[141] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 39.

[142] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 26: AAS 81 (1989) 437-440.

[143] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 28.

[144] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (16 October 1979), 67: AAS 71 (1979) 1331-1333.

[145] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 515.

[146] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 27: AAS 81 (1989) 442.

[147] Cf. ibid., 48: AAS 88 (1996) 421-422; SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 184-188.

[148] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 12; JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 62: AAS 88 (1996) 435-437.

[149]  Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 27.

[150] Ibid., 25: cf. SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 55-65.

[151] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 386.

[152] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.

[153] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 386, §2.

[154] Cf. SAINT IRENAEUS, Adversus Haereses, IV, 26, 2: PG 7, 1053-1054.

[155] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 59-60.

[156] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction on the Vocation of Church Theologians Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 21: AAS 82 (1990) 1559.

[157] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992), 4: AAS 86 (1994) 113-118.

[158] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction on the Vocation of Church Theologians Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 21: AAS 82 (1990) 1559.

[159] PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE CULTURAL GOODS OF THE CHURCH, Circular Letter on the Pastoral Value of Ecclesiastical Archives (2 February 1997).

[160] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa (14 September 1995), 59-62; AAS 88 (1996) 37-39; Ecclesia in Asia (6 November 1999), 21-22: AAS 92 (2000) 482-487; Vita Consecrata (25 March 1996), 80-81: AAS 88 (1996) 456-458.

[161] Cf.  Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5.

[162] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 26.

[163] JOHN PAUL II, Discourse during the Wednesday General Audience (11 November 1992), 1: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 18 November 1992, p. 11. 

[164] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 26.

[165] Cf. SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Ad Magn. 7: PA I, Ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae 1897, 194-196; SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrocanctum Concilium, 41; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 26; Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 15.

[166] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrocanctum Concilium, 41

[167] Cf. CAEREMONIALE EPISCOPORUM, 42-54.

[168] Cf. ibid., 42-46.

[169] Cf. ibid., 42-46.

[170] Cf. ibid., 47.

[171] Cf. ibid., 48.

[172] Cf. ibid., 50.

[173] Cf. ibid., 51, 17.

[174] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrocanctum Concilium, 106; JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (31 May 1998): AAS 90 (1998) 713-766.

[175] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 11.

[176] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrocanctum Concilium, 21.

[177] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 4.

[178] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Dominum et Vivificatem (18 May 1986), 66: AAS 78 (1986), 897.

[179] Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 48: AAS 68 (1976) 37-38.

[180] Cf. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1674-1676.

[181] CAEREMONIALE EPISCOPORUM, Pars III.

[182] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 27; cf. Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church Christus Dominus, 16.

[183] JOHN PAUL II, Discourse during the Wednesday General Audience (18 November 1992), 2,4: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 25 November 1992, p. 11.

[184] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 383, §1; 384.

[185] Cf.  SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 93-98.

[186] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 23: AAS 84 (1992) 694.

[187] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Discourse to the Bishops of the Northern Region of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil during their Ad Limina Visit (28 October 1995), 5: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 1 November 1995, p. 5, 8.

[188] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum Ordinis, 17.

[189] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 396, §1; canon 398.

[190] SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 166; cf. ibid., 166-170.

[191] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 460-468; SACRED CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, Directory on the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops Ecclesiae Imago (22 February 1973), 163-165.

[192] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 212, §2.3.

[193] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS AND CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, Instruction In Constitutione Apostolica de Synodis dioecesanis agendis (19 March 1997): AAS 89 (1997) 706-727.

[194] Cf. ibid., V, 2,3,4,: THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 466.

[195] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 1

[196] Cf. THE CODE OF CANON LAW, canon 1752.

[197]  Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.

[198] Ibid., 93; cf. PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, III: AAS 56 (1964) 637-659.

[199] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 20-22; AAS 92 (2000) 761-764.

[200] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint (25 May 1995): AAS 87 (1995) 921-982.

[201] Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING THE UNITY OF CHRISTIANS, Directory on the Application of Principles and Norms in Ecumenism (25 March 1993), especially numbers 37-47: AAS 85 (1993) 1039-1119.

[202] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 37: AAS 83 (1991) 282-286.

[203] Ibid., 31: AAS 83 (1991) 276-277.

[204] Ibid., 20: AAS 83 (1991) 267-268.

[205] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity Ad Gentes, 38.

[206] Ibid., 38; cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, 63: AAS 83 (1991) 311-312.

[207] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, 11: AAS 83 (1991) 259-260.

[208] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity Ad Gentes, 9.

[209] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES, Instruction Cooperatio Missionalis (1 October 1998): AAS 91 (1999) 306-324.

[210] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 55: AAS 83 (1991) 302-304; Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 53: AAS 87 (1995) 37.

[211] SAINT JUSTIN, Dialogus cum Tryphone, 11: PG 6, 499; cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH,Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 13-15: AAS 92 (2000) 754-756.

[212] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, 1; CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 16-17: AAS 92 (2000) 756-759.

[213] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 5: AAS 83 (1991) 253-254.

[214] Cf. SECRETARIAT FOR THE UNION OF CHRISTIANS - SECRETARIAT FOR NON CHRISTIANS - PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE, Provisional Report on the Phenomenon of the Sects and New Religious Movements (7 May 1986), 10.

[215] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS, Rituale Romanum. de Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam, Editio Typica 1999; CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instructio de Orantionibus ad Obtinendam a Deo Sanationem (14 September 2000).

[216] Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 63.

[217] THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1818.

[218] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation Libertatis Conscientia (22 March 1986), 62: AAS 79 (1987) 580-581.

[219] Cf. ibid., 60: AAS 79 (1987) 579.

[220] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Concluding Address for the World Day of Prayer for Peace (27 October 1986), Assisi, Italy, 7: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 3 November 1986, p. 3.

[221] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 40.

[222] Ibid., 76.

[223] Cf. ibid., 72, 76.

[224] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 47: AAS 83 (1991) 851-852.

[225] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 8.

[226] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church Gaudium et Spes, 22.

[227] Cf. JUBILEE FOR BISHOPS, Rome, 6-8 October 2000: Participation booklet.

[228] Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Act of Entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 3-4: L’Osservatore Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 11 October 2000, 7.

[229] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 68.


INDEX

INTRODUCTION

From the Perspective of a New Millennium 

In the Footsteps of Previous Synodal Assemblies 

Continuity and Newness 

A Renewed Proclamation of the Gospel of Hope 

CHAPTER I
A MINISTRY OF HOPE 

Looking at the World with the Heart of the Good Shepherd 

Under the Sign of Theological Hope 

Between the Past and the Future 

Lights and Shadows in the World’s Realities 

Between the Return to the Sacred and Indifference 

New Ethical Problems on the Horizon 

Emerging Situations in the Church 

Signs of Vitality and Hope 

Towards a New Humanism 

The Fruits of the Jubilee 

Under the Guidance of the Spirit 

Towards Converging Paths of Unity 

A Demand for Spirituality 

The Bishop: Witness of Hope 

Faithful like the Virgin Mary to the Expectations and Promises of God 

CHAPTER II
THE MYSTERY, MINISTRY AND
SPIRITUALITY OF THE BISHOP 

The Image of Christ, the Good Shepherd 

I. MYSTERY AND GRACE OF THE EPISCOPATE 

The Grace of Episcopal Ordination 

In Communion with the Trinity

From the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit 

The Ecclesial Image of the Bishop 

The Spirit of Holiness 

II. SANCTIFICATION IN HIS MINISTRY 

The Spiritual Life of the Bishop 

A Genuine Pastoral Charity 

The Ministry of Preaching 

One Who Prays and Teaches Prayer 

Nourished by the Grace of the Sacraments 

As High Priest in the Midst of His People 

A Spirituality of Communion 

Animator of Pastoral Spirituality 

In Communion with the Holy Mother of God 

III. THE SPIRITUAL ITINERARY OF THE BISHOP 

A Necessary Spiritual Itinerary 

With the Spiritual Realism of Everyday Life 

The Divine and Human in Harmony 

Faithfulness to the End 

The Example of Bishop Saints

CHAPTER III
THE EPISCOPATE: THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNION
 
AND MISSION IN THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH 

Friends of Christ, Chosen and Sent by Him

I. THE EPISCOPAL MINISTRY IN AN ECCLESIOLOGY OF COMMUNION 

In the Church, Image of the Trinity

In an Ecclesiology of Communion and Mission 

Unity and Catholicity in the Episcopal Ministry 

In Communion with the Successor of Peter 

Collaboration in the Petrine Ministry 

Ad Limina Visits and Relations with the Holy See 

Episcopal Conferences 

The Sense and Effectiveness of Communion 

II. CERTAIN PROBLEMS 

Various Types of Episcopal Ministry 

Emeritus Bishops

The Appointment and Formation of Bishops 

CHAPTER IV
THE BISHOP IN SERVICE TO HIS CHURCH 

The Biblical Image of the Washing of the Feet: Jn 13:1-16 

I. THE BISHOP IN HIS PARTICULAR CHURCH 

The Particular Church 

A Mystery Uniting the Bishop and his People 

The Word, Eucharist and Community

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic 

One Church with a Human Face 

Universal Church, Particular Church

II. COMMUNION AND MISSION IN THE PARTICULAR CHURCH

Communion with the Presbyterate 

A Special Care for Priests

Deacons: Their Ministry and Collaboration 

The Seminary and Vocations Program 

Other Ministers

Solicitude for the Consecrated Life 

A Committed and Responsible Laity 

In Service to the Family 

Youth: A Pastoral Priority for the Future 

Parishes 

Ecclesial Movements and New Communities 

III. THE EPISCOPAL MINISTRY IN SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL

1. The Ministry of the Word 

Proclaiming the Gospel of Hope 

The Center of Proclamation

The Teaching of the Faith and Catechesis 

The Entire Church Committed to Catechesis 

Dialogue and Collaboration with Theologians and the Faithful

The Witness of Truth 

Tasks for the Future 

Culture and Inculturation

2. The Ministry of Sanctification

The Bishop as Priest and Liturgist in his Cathedral 

The Eucharist at the Center of the Particular Church 

Attention to Prayer and Popular Piety 

Some Special Questions 

3. The Exercise of the Ministry of Leading 

The Service of Leading 

Exercise of Authentic Pastoral Charity 

A Pastoral Style Authenticated by Life 

Pastoral Visitation 

The Diocesan Synod 

A Governing Imbued with a Spirit of Communion 

Administration of Funds 

Practical Questions Pertaining to the Particular Church 

CHAPTER V
IN SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL
FOR THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

In Jesus Christ: the Perennial Jubilee of the Church 

The Church’s Ministry of Salvation 

A New Religious Situation 

Ecumenical Dialogue 

The Proclamation of the Gospel 

Missionary Activity and Cooperation

Interreligious Dialogue and Meetings with Other Religions 

A Particular Attention to the Phenomenon of the Sects

Dialogue with Persons of Other Persuasions 

Attention to New Social Problems and the New Forms of Poverty 

Near to Those Who Suffer 

Promoter of Justice and Peace 

Guardian of Hope, Witness of Christ’s Charity 

The Ranks of Witnesses and the Anchor of Hope 

CONCLUSION

   

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