WADE ST. ONGE

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 2: The Pastors



II. The PASTORS


A. Priest, Prophet, King. All pastors – bishops (including the Pope), priests, and even deacons, have a three-fold office: “[Clerics are] teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing (LG23). In other words, they are “priests, prophets, and kings”, or have the roles of “sanctifying, preaching, and ruling”, as it has traditionally been stated.
 
a. Witnesses of Pastoral Charity. In order to effectively sanctify, preach, and lead, however, they must first and foremost be witnesses of pastoral charity: “Pastors [must] remember . . . that by their daily conduct and concern they are revealing the face of the Church to the world, and men will judge the power and truth of the Christian message thereby” (GS43). Furthermore, in order to fulfill these roles, pastors must have a “knowledge of doctrine, . . . piety, [and] apostolic zeal”, among other necessary qualities (CD31).


7. The Pastor as Priest (Sanctifying Office)
- Pastors must foster a full, active, and conscious participation in the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Lord’s Day, especially on   the Lord’s Day, and lead the people to make the Mass the Source and Summit of their entire lives.

A. Promoting the Liturgy as the “Source and Summit” of the Christian Life. Since “the [Mass] is the very heart of the congregation” (PO5), “pastors should see to it that [it] is the center and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community, [and] that the faithful are nourished . . . through the devout and frequent reception of the Sacraments and through intelligent and active participation in the Liturgy” (CD30.2). Thus, they must “instruct their people to offer to God the Father [Jesus] in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and to join to it the offering of their own lives” (PO5), and ensure the faithful approach the Mass and view it as the “source and summit” of the whole Christian life (SC11).

B. Promoting Active Participation.

a. Purpose. The chief aim of the liturgical reform was “full, conscious, and active participation” of the faithful (SC14). Therefore, “pastors of souls must . . . realize that . . . something more is required than the mere observation of the laws; [namely] ensur[ing] that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects” (SC11), preparing themselves in order that they may be penetrated by the spirit of the liturgy and greatly affected and changed by it, thus transforming their lives.

b. Ways and Means. Pastors “must zealously strive to achieve [this full and active participation], by means [not only] of the necessary instruction, [but also] in all their pastoral work” (SC14). So, in order “to promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of [prayers and songs] as well as by . . . actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes” (SC30). They are to make sure that “[in] song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute” (SC114); thus, “religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered” (SC118).

c. Liturgical Catechesis of Pastors. However, “it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this [full and active participation amongst the faithful] unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy . . .
A prime need, therefore, is . . . the liturgical instruction of the clergy” (SC14).

C. Promoting the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a life of Penance.

a. Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because of its importance in the life of the Christian, “[priests] must prompt their people to confess their sins with a contrite heart in the sacrament of Penance”, (PO5) “always mak[ing] themselves available to hear . . . confessions” (CD30.2). 

b. Penance. Pastors must also lead the faithful to a life of penance.
i. Catechesis. Thus, in their teaching, they must emphasise “not only the social consequences of sin but also that essence of the virtue of penance which leads to the detestation of sin”.
ii. Prayer. Furthermore, “the people must be exhorted to pray for sinners.”
iii. Lenten Penance. This penance should be encouraged especially “during Lent”, when pastors ensure that “penance . . . not be only internal and individual, but also external and social [and] fostered in ways that are possible in our own times and in different regions, and according to the circumstances of the faithful” (SC109,110).

D. Proper Observance of Sunday.

a. Vespers Services. In promoting the Lord’s day as a day of “freedom from work” in order to “joyfully” worship God (SC106), pastors should “see to it that . . . Vespers [services] are celebrated in common in church on Sundays” (SC100) and on other principal feasts, where there can be an additional time of worship, especially through Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, as well as supplementary teaching and catechesis over and above what is given in homilies, and the opportunity for fellowship and community.

b. Bible Services. Likewise, “Bible services should be encouraged [by pastors], especially on [certain days and feasts, and especially] in places where no priest is available” (SC35.4). This can be done for the sick and elderly, as well as during the week for small groups involved in various ministries and ecclesial activities. 


8. The Pastor as Prophet (Teaching Office)
- The pastor must preach the Gospel to all, leading all men to faith and a life of charity, teaching them the Catholic Christian faith, and bringing all things and activities into line with the Gospel, taking care to nourish himself spiritually and intellectually with the   Scripture as it must be his main resource and guide.

A. Leading the Faithful to a Life of Charity. To “the body of pastors” belongs “the task of proclaiming the Gospel everywhere on earth” (LG23). The goal of preaching is three-fold. First, they must “preach . . . to all the Christian people so that, rooted in faith, hope and charity, they will grow in Christ, and as a Christian community bear witness to that charity” (CD30.2), for it is charity which is the hallmark of the Christian, the entire “soul of the apostolate”.

B. Catechesis. Secondly, they must “bring the faithful to a full knowledge of the mystery of salvation through a catechetical instruction which is consonant with each one's age” (CD30.2).

C. Evangelism. Finally, they must “so preach the news of Christ that all the earthly activities of the faithful will be bathed in the light of the Gospel” (GS43). 

a. Formation of the Laity. “Pastors must clearly state the principles concerning the purpose of creation and the use of temporal things” (AA7) – their “true meaning and value” (AA31), being “attentive always to the common good in line with the principles of the moral and social teaching of the Church” (AA31).

b. Aids to Formation in Temporal Renewal. They also “must offer the moral and spiritual aids by which the temporal order may be renewed in Christ” (AA7).

D. Use of Scripture.

a. Nourishing and Regulating. The most necessary resource for their preaching is the Bible, for “like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture”, as it is “in the sacred books [that] the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them”, and because the Bible is the “pure and everlasting source of spiritual life” (DV21).

b. Resource and Use in Preaching and Teaching. Furthermore, since “the study of [Scripture] is . . . the soul of sacred theology, . . . pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, [should be] nourished [with the Scriptures]” (DV24). This homily – being the first and foremost place where most Catholics will hear the pastors’ preaching, “should [likewise] draw its content mainly from [Scripture], and . . . should be . . . a proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history of salvation.” (SC35.2)

c. Interior Devotion. Because Scripture is so essential to the task of preaching, it is essential that “all the clergy . . . hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study . . . so that none of them will become ‘an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly’ (DV25).

E. Education.

a. Duties. “Pastors of souls [have a] most serious obligation to see to it that all the faithful, but especially the youth who are the hope of the Church, enjoy this Christian education” (GE2).
b. Catholic Schools. In a special way, “pastors and all the faithful [should] spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfill their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith” (GE9).

F. Christian Unity and Ecumenism.

a. Eastern Christianity
i. Knowledge of. “Those who, by reason of their office or apostolic ministries, are in frequent communication with the Eastern Churches or their faithful should be instructed according as their office demands in the knowledge and veneration of the rites, discipline, doctrine, history and character of the members of the Eastern rites” (OE6).
ii. Educating the Laity. The pastors should also ensure that “the laity . . . be taught as part of its catechetical education about [Eastern] rites and their rules” (OE4).

b. Reformation and Renewal. In the Church’s outreach to the separated Eastern brethren, pastors must ensure that “if there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in church discipline or even in the way that church teaching has been formulated these can and should be set right at the opportune moment” (UR6).

G. Evangelising the World.

a. Proper Presentation of Church Teaching. Priests must ensure - “a proper presentation of the Church's teaching” (GS21) to remedy the problem of atheism or practical atheism.

b. Evangelisation through Peace and Unity. They must also, “with joint concern and energy, and under the guidance of the bishops and the supreme pontiff, erase every cause of division, so that the whole human race may be led to the unity of God's family” (GS43).

c. Dialogue with Modern Man. As well, “by unremitting study [pastors] should fit themselves to do their part in establishing dialogue with the world and with men of all shades of opinion” (GS43). 

d. Interpret the Signs of the Times; Doctrinal Penetration. Finally, “with the help of the Holy Spirit [thus, with the help of prayer] it is the task of the entire People of God, especially pastors and theologians, to hear, distinguish and interpret the many voices of our age, and to judge them in the light of the divine word, so that revealed truth can always be more deeply penetrated, better understood and set forth to greater advantage” (GS44).


9. The Pastor as King (Ruling Office)
- The Pastor must establish a relationship with his Flock, work with them fraternally, and empower them, assigning them duties and granting them freedom from action, all the while providing proper care, supervision, and guidance.

A. Relationship with the Laity.

a. Establish Relationship and Build Rapport. Pastors first of all have the responsibility of establishing a relationship with their flock and encouraging them to faith and action. Therefore, pastors must “take pains to know their own flock [and] should encourage a full Christian life among the individual faithful and also in families, in associations . . . and in the whole parish community.”
i. Visitations. To accomplish this, it is essential that they “visit homes and schools to the extent that their pastoral work demands” (CD30.2).

b. Outreach to Special Groups. However, there are special groups to whom the pastor must have a special relationship: “Pastors should pay special attention to adolescents and youth, devote themselves with a paternal love to the poor and the sick, [and] have a particular concern for workingmen”,
i. Seeking the Assistance of the Laity. . . . and to assist him in this endeavour, “encourage the faithful to assist in the works of the apostolate” (CD30), such as visiting the sick and working with youth.

c. Nature of the Working Relationship. As for their working relationship, pastors “should work fraternally with the laity in and for the Church and take special care of the lay persons in these apostolic works” (AA25).

d. Consignment and Empowerment. It is essential that this relationship be “fraternal”, and as a result, pastors should recognize the laity’s proper role in the Church, empower and commission them, and give them considerable latitude: “Let the spiritual shepherds recognize and promote the dignity as well as the responsibility of the laity in the Church. Let them willingly employ their prudent advice. Let them confidently assign duties to them in the service of the Church, allowing them freedom and room for action. Further, let them encourage lay people so that they may undertake tasks on their own initiative. Attentively in Christ, let them consider with fatherly love the projects, suggestions and desires proposed by the laity. . . . Let the shepherds respectfully acknowledge that just freedom which belongs to [the laity]” (LG37). Pastors must also “recognize their [the laity’s] ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate” in the Church’s saving mission (LG30), and “[give them] every opportunity . . . so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in [that mission]” (LG34).
i. Direction. However, in order to accomplish this, the pastors “should [especially] promote the apostolate of the laity, provide it with spiritual principles and support, direct the conduct of this apostolate to the common good of the Church, and attend to the preservation of doctrine and order” (AA24). In other words, there is a great need for the pastor to recruit, empower, form and direct the laity, and work with them.
ii. Pastoral Care. Regarding “pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology” (GS62).

e. Employees and Volunteers.
i. Attitude towards Them. In regards to those working in the Church’s apostolate, “the pastors of the Church should gladly and gratefully welcome [lay people … who devote themselves and their professional skill … to the service of associations”.
ii. Support. They should “make sure that the demands of justice, equity, and charity relative to their status be satisfied to the fullest extent, particularly as regards proper support for them and their families”.
iii. Formation and Care. “They should … provide for these lay people the necessary formation, spiritual consolation, and incentive” (AA22).

f. Incorporation of the Lay Apostolate. Finally, pastors must ensure “the lay apostolate . . . be incorporated into the apostolate of the whole Church according to a right system of relationships . . . suitably directed by the hierarchy” (AA23).

B. Relationship with Other Pastors.

a. Collaboration and Goals. Pastors “should collaborate with other pastors” so that through their “teaching, sanctifying and governing . . . the faithful [will] realize that they are members both of the diocese and of the universal Church” (CD30.1), and as such, that their focus and works must extend beyond the parish community (CD30.1).

b. Relationship to Assistants. “There should [also] always be fraternal association, mutual charity and reverence between the pastor and his assistants, . . . assist[ing] one another with counsel, help and example, providing a united will and common zeal (CD30.2).

Miscellaneous: Diaconate

C. Diaconate.

a. Duties of Deacons. “Since these duties [of the diaconate]”, including baptizing, dispensing the Eucharist, officiating over weddings and funerals, offering Communion services, preaching, and blessing, “can be fulfilled only with difficulty in many regions . . .”

b. Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate. “. . . the [permanent] diaconate can . . . be restored” (LG29).

c. Qualifications: Those Already Engaged in Diaconal Duties. In fact, “there are men who actually carry out the functions of the deacon's office [as it is], either preaching the word of God as catechists, or presiding over scattered Christian communities in the name of the pastor and the bishop, or practicing charity in social or relief work.”. These specifically should be identified and singled out for ordination, for “it is only right to strengthen them by the . . . sacramental grace of the diaconate.” (AG16).

d. Holiness. “Deacons should keep themselves free from every vice and stand before men as personifications of goodness and friends of God”.

e. Way of Life. Thus, they must remain “bound to . . . constancy in prayer . . . burning [charity], and . . . [focus and meditation upon] whatever is true, just and of good repute” (LG 41).

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