WADE ST. ONGE

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 3: The Bishops



III. The BISHOPS


10. Pastoral Role
- The bishop must lead the church through humble service, treating them as beloved sons in Christ, and taking care to educate and to form them – especially those who are most marginalized.

A. Ruling through Service in Humility. The bishop is to lead the Church in humility, by “stand[ing] in the midst of their people as those who serve” (CD16), remembering that “the greater should become the lesser” (LG27). He is to exercise authority, but “only for the edification [of the people] . . . in truth and holiness” (LG27), with an awareness of his own “weakness” so as to have compassion on sinners.

a. Imitation of Christ: Episcopal Role Model. The bishop must therefore “keep before his eyes the example of the Good Shepherd” (CD27) – for Christ is his role model and it is He whom the bishop must imitate.

B. Manner of Service.

a. Paternal Solicitude. The bishop is likewise best described as “true father”, for he is to “excel in the spirit of love . . . for all” (CD16), “listen[ing] to his subjects, whom he cherishes as his true sons,

b. Manner of Care and Formation. . . . tak[ing] care of [them] by his prayer, preaching, and all the works of charity” (LG27), and “gather[ing] and mold[ing]” them so “that everyone, conscious of his own duties [especially “apostolic and missionary activity” (CD16)], may live and work in the communion of love” (CD16).

c. Ways and Means. This he does primarily “by [his] counsel, exhortations, example, and even [his] authority and sacred power”(LG27).

d. Loving Familiarity. As “true fathers”, bishops must also not be distant, but be “good shepherds who know their sheep and whose sheep know them” (CD16).

C. Special Pastoral Concern and Care of Various Groups. The bishop should have a “special concern” for those who do not have ready access to priests “on account of their way of life”, including travelers, and utilize “suitable pastoral methods” (CD18) to correct this problem.

a. Ethnic and Language Groups. Bishops must also reach out to subjects of a different ethnicity and language group, providing them with priests and even an Episcopal vicar that speak the same language (CD23).

b. Immigrants. They must also “promote works for the brotherly reception and due pastoral care” of immigrants, and do so with an evangelistic aim, “show[ing] them . . . the genuine face of Christ” through love (AG38).

c. The Military. The bishops should also establish a military vicariate, supplying priests and promoting their endeavours (CD43).

d. Artists. Finally, the bishop must have a concern for artists, and seek to catechize them (SC127). In sum, those in their flock for whom there is a serious pastoral challenge must be catered to in a special way.

D. Assistance in Administration.

a. Diocesan Curia. “The bishop should also organize a diocesan curia, choosing clerics, religious, and laymen, to assist with administration and overseeing apostolic works” (CD27).

b. Liturgical Commission.  
i. Liturgical Commission. The bishop should also “set up a liturgical commission, to be assisted by experts in liturgical science, sacred music, art and pastoral practice” in order to “regulate pastoral-liturgical action throughout the territory, and to promote studies and necessary experiments” (SC44) as well as “for promoting the liturgical apostolate” (SC45).
ii. Commissions for Music and Art. Each diocese should also have “commissions for sacred music and sacred art” and …
iii. Collaboration. … ensure “these three commissions [either] work in closest collaboration [or] fuse the three of them into one single commission” (SC46).
iv. Institute for Pastoral Liturgy. He should also establish an “Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, consisting of persons who are eminent in these matters” (SC44).

Miscellaneous: Roman Curia

E. The Roman Curia.

a. Re-organization. First of all, “departments of the Roman Curia [should] be reorganized and better adapted to [present] needs” (CD9).
To this end,
i. Universal Selection. “Members [should] be more widely taken from various regions of the Church” (CD9).
ii. Bishops. “Some bishops [should] be chosen as members . . . [representing] the thinking, the desires, and the needs of all the churches” (CD10).
iii. Laymen. “The departments [should also] listen more attentively to laymen who are outstanding for their virtue, knowledge, and experience” (CD10).

b. New Secretariats. Secondly, “new secretariats should be established . . .
i. Laity. . . . including one for “the service and promotion of the lay apostolate” (AA26),
ii. Missions. . . . “one for the missions, called ‘the Propagation of the Faith’ (AG29) in order to promote and support missionary vocations, distribute information, issue directives and instructions, encouraging missionary support from all, and collecting and distributing funds, (AG29)
iii. Justice and Peace. . . . “as well as a secretariat for justice and peace, which would “stimulate the Catholic community to promote progress in needy regions and international social justice” (GS90).


11. Holiness of Life and Pastoral Charity
- The bishop must live a life of pastoral charity, for the sake of his own holiness, and as an example for his priests and members of his flock to follow. 

A. Pastoral Charity. “Pastoral charity” is the hallmark of the bishop, who “must holily and eagerly, humbly and courageously carry out [his] ministry, in imitation of [Christ] . . .

a. Means to his own Holiness. . . . in such a way that it will be the principal means also of [his] own sanctification [through] every form of episcopal care and service, prayer, sacrifice and preaching” (LG41).

B. Example of Charity. The bishop also has an “obligation to give an example of holiness in charity, humility, and simplicity of life” (CD15), refraining from sin and even from “exchanging evil for good” (LG26), and “promoting greater holiness in the Church by [this] daily example [of his]”. (LG41). He is to be the “pattern” of holiness and charity the others are supposed to follow, (LG41) for he is the chief one responsible for “fostering holiness among [his] clerics, religious, and laity” (CD15).

C. Works of Charity. The bishop should not only preach but practice the “alleviation of the sufferings of the modern age” through generous giving (GS88).  

a. Collecting Funds. All “dioceses” should set up a procedure for “collecting and distributing aids” (GS88) to nations and groups in need.


12. Preaching, Teaching, Evangelism; Role in the Modern World
- The bishop must evangelise and order the temporal world to the truth of the Gospel, by preaching the Gospel to all men and initiating dialogue with modern men and the modern world, by catechizing those whom have accepted the Gospel, and finally by supporting missionaries and missionary endeavors, and promoting missionary vocations and endeavors. 

A. Role of Teaching.

a. Preaching the Gospel. Teaching is “among the principal duties of bishops” (CD12), which is accomplished through “preaching the gospel to all” (LG27) – calling both nonbelievers to faith (especially the poor and lower classes – CD13) and strengthening the faith of believers (CD12).

b. Temporal Renewal and Social Reform and Justice. He must also preach the ordering of goods and institutions “according to the plan of God” and “man’s salvation”, including first the value of the human person, the family, and civil society, and secondly, issues of peace and justice (CD12), using various forms of media in this effort for use in various contexts (CD13).

c. Catechesis. One of the chief tasks of bishops is to “bring the faithful to a full knowledge of the mystery of salvation through a catechetical instruction” (CD30.2).
i. Timely and Relevant. To this end, “Christian doctrine must be presented according to “the needs of the times”– that is, by “respond[ing] to the difficulties and questions by which people are especially burdened and troubled” (or in other words, by what is relevant to the lives of the people) (CD13).
ii. Apologetics and Evangelization. Bishops must “guard that doctrine”, “teach . . . the faithful to defend and propagate it”, (CD13)
iii. Effectiveness. . . . as well as ensure that the doctrine as taught (catechesis) be an “effective force” (that is, one that has an effect) in the lives of the people (CD14).
iv. Adaptation. The bishop must make sure that catechesis also be “arranged suitably” and “adapted” to the specific situations of the people (i.e. age, circumstances, etc.),
v. Biblical. . . . and be based especially upon Scripture” (CD14).
vi. Assistance: Religious and Laity. To this end, he must “seek the assistance of religious and the cooperation of the laity” (CD30.2).  
vii. Catechists. . . . as well as ensure that all his catechists are “properly trained”, “thoroughly acquainted with [Church] doctrine”, and have knowledge of both “psychology” and “pedagogy” (CD14).

d. Use and Understanding of Scripture. The Council also mentions the bishop’s responsibility to the people and their use of the Word of God.
i. Translations. The bishop must ensure that “suitable and correct [vernacular] translations” are made (DV22) first of all, . . .
ii. Instruction on Scripture. . . . and then “give the faithful . . . suitable instruction”  in how to read and understand Scripture “especially the . . . Gospels”, so they may be “penetrated with their spirit”. Bishops can do this through translations which provide good explanations (DV25).

B. Evangelism and the Missions.  

a. Universal Outreach. Bishops must “have a place in their hearts for the non-baptized” (CD16), as well as those who have “strayed” (CD11), doing so primarily by being a “witness of Christ” (CD11) – especially the love of Christ (CD16).

b. Within the Diocese. Bishops, besides caring for their flock proper, should be concerned with “everyone living within the parish boundaries” (CD30.1), ensuring that contact is made with all “groups of people”, recruiting members of the laity to assist if need be (CD30.1).

c. Outside the Diocese: the Missions. Outside the diocese – in the missionary field, the bishops “with all their energy . . . must supply to the missions both workers for the harvest and also spiritual and material aid, both directly and on their own account” (LG23).

d. Directing and Promoting the Missions. In general, “it is the bishop's role . . . to promote missionary activity, to direct it and to coordinate it”, making sure they preserve the “zeal and spontaneity” of those they oversee in the process (AG30). The bishop must ensure the “mission spirit and zeal of the People of God” is manifested in order to imbibe the flock with a missionary spirit as well (AG38).

e. Providing for the Missions.
i. Pastoral Council. To these ends, the bishop should “establish a pastoral council” for missions, . . . (AG30)
ii. Personnel and Funds. . . . devote “personnel” and “funds” to the missionary efforts, . . . (AG30)
iii. Prayers and Penance.  . . . appoint some of his people – especially the “sick and those oppressed by hardship” (AG38) to offer prayers and penance for the cause of evangelization, . . . (AG38)
iv. Encouraging, Supplying, and Providing for Missionary Vocations. . . . and most especially, should also “gladly encourage youth and clerics who have vocations to [the] missions” (AG38), and “send some of their better priests, who offer themselves for mission work, to those dioceses which are lacking in clergy”, at least for a time (AG38), ensuring they be adequately “prepared for the missions” (CD6).
v. Employing Secular Institutes. The “activity” of secular institutes, “under the authority of the bishop, could be fruitful in the missions in many ways as a sign of complete dedication to the evangelization of the world” (AG40).

f. Episcopal Conferences and the Missions. The Episcopal conferences should also “pool their resources to found projects which will serve the good of all” (i.e. seminaries, use of the media, etc.) (AG31).

g. Ecumenism. Finally, “bishops should deal lovingly with the separated brethren, urging the faithful also to conduct themselves with great kindness and charity in their regard and fostering ecumenism (CD16).

C. Outreach to Modern Man and the Secular World.

a. Dialogue with Modern Man. It is chiefly the bishop who must build a bridge between the Church and various groups that stand even to some degree in opposition to Her. “Bishops [must] seek out men and both request and promote dialogue with them.
i. Nature of Dialogue. These conversations on salvation ought to be noted for clarity of speech, humility and mildness, truth joined to charity and understanding with love, and due prudence joined with trust, fostering friendship and bringing about a union of minds (CD13).

b. Temporal Renewal. Furthermore, the bishop must also have “regard for [the] social and civil progress and prosperity [of their subjects]” and “collaborate actively with public authorities for this purpose (CD19).
i. Knowledge of the Times and Place. In order to provide for the “welfare of the faithful according to the condition of each one”, of course, bishops must “become duly acquainted with their needs in the social circumstances in which they live” (CD16) according to “suitable methods”.


13. Relationship with Other Clerics
- Bishops must establish a filial relationship with all their flock, especially their priests, whom they must take care of, whose needs they must meet, and who they must frequently communicate with. 

A. Relationship to Priests.

a. Filial Love and Union. “Bishops should always embrace priests with a special love, regarding them as sons and friends” (CD16), and as “brothers” (PO7), establishing a “trusting familiarity with them” (CD16) and building a “harmony of the will” in order to “render their pastoral activity more fruitful” (CD28).

b. Meeting, Discussion, and Dialogue. Because of their special relationship, bishops should “always [be] ready to listen to [their priests]” (CD16) and in fact “call the priests into dialogue, especially about pastoral matters” even “at regularly fixed intervals insofar as this is possible” (CD28). To this end, “there should be . . . a body or senate of priests representing all the priests [to the bishop in administering the diocese]” (PO7).

c. Providing for Priests’ Personal Needs. Bishops should be solicitous for the spiritual, intellectual and material welfare of the priests so that the latter can live holy and pious lives and fulfill their ministry faithfully and fruitfully (CD16), for “upon the bishops rests the heavy responsibility for the sanctity of their priests” (PO7).

d. Providing for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.
i. Pastoral and Liturgical Formation. They must therefore ensure the “continual formation of their priests (PO7), including pastoral formation (CD16), “by encouraging institutes and holding special meetings [i.e. retreats]” (CD16), as well as ensure “the liturgical instruction of the clergy” (SC14).
ii. Evangelization and the Apostolate. Since priests should “more readily study and effectively learn the methods of evangelization and the apostolate”, the bishops should ensure “opportune aids be prepared with all care, such as the institution of courses and meetings according to territorial conditions, the erection of centers of pastoral studies, the establishment of libraries, and the qualified supervision of studies by suitable persons” (PO19).
iii. Periodic Courses. As well, “let bishops, either individually or united in groups, see to it that all their priests at established intervals, especially a few years after their ordination, may be able to frequent courses in which they will be given the opportunity to acquire a fuller knowledge of pastoral methods and theological science, both in order that they may strengthen their spiritual life and mutually communicate their apostolic experiences with their brothers” (PO19).
iv. Higher Education. Finally, the bishop should also ensure some pursue a “deeper study of theology” in order to provide “suitable teachers for the formation of clerics” (PO19).

e. Promoting Vocations. In his concern for the priesthood, bishops should foster priestly and religious vocations as much as possible [especially] missionary vocations” (CD15), “assisting without stint those whom they have judged to be called” (OT2), being a “true father in Christ to the [seminarians]” (OT5). To this end, they must “encourage their flock to promote vocations and . . . coordinat[e]” the efforts of all his subjects (OT2).

B. Relationship with Seminarians and the Seminary.

a. Qualifications and Screening. Bishops must make “inquiry . . . into the candidate’s . . . intention and freedom, his . . . qualifications . . . health, and [his] ability to [function as a priest]” (OT6). He must ensure that “in selecting and testing students, a due firmness [be] adopted even if a lack of priests should exist” (OT6). “Those [who are] not qualified for the priesthood should be given sufficient direction and guided in a fatherly way to undertake other tasks and eagerly embrace the lay apostolate” (OT6).

b. Seminarians and Internship. “Bishops should [also] establish a fitting period of time for a more intense introduction to the spiritual life, and in providing for a certain interruption in the studies or of establishing a suitable introduction to pastoral work, in order that they may more satisfactorily test the fitness of candidates for the priesthood” (OT12).
i. Pastoral Training and Internship. Pastoral training, however, should not be restricted to one lengthy internship: “Seminarians should be initiated into pastoral work both during their course of studies and also during the time of vacations, by opportune practical projects, to act on their own responsibility and in harmonious conjunction with others, methodically and under the leadership of men skilled in pastoral work, the surpassing power of supernatural means being always remembered [thus the importance of prayer and devotion]” (OT20).

c. Higher Studies. Gifted students should be properly provided for, and “it [must] be the bishops’ concern that young men suited by temperament, virtue, and ability be sent to special institutes faculties, or universities so that priests may be trained at a higher scientific level in the sacred sciences and in other fields which may be judged opportune, thus meeting the various needs of the apostolate, without neglecting their spiritual and pastoral training” (OT18). Thus, for such men, spirituality and pastoral effectiveness are still most important, even if one is sent away specifically to pursue higher education.

d. Teachers and Administrators. Finally, bishops should set up “institutes” or at least “courses” to properly train seminary professors and administrators (OT5), and make sure they are selected “from among the best men” (OT5).

C. Relationship to the Laity.

a. Listening to, Empowering, Commissioning, and Taking Care of the Laity.
i. Empowering the Laity. Bishops “should preserve for their faithful the share proper to them in Church affairs [and] respect their duty and right of [active collaboration]” (CD16).
ii. Listening to the Laity. The bishop must also “listen to his subjects, whom he cherishes as his true sons” (LG27).
iii. Commissioning and Providing for the Laity for Evangelisation and the Apostolate. Bishops must likewise “make every effort to have the faithful actively support and promote works of evangelization and the apostolate” (CD6; LG27) in its various forms (CD17), “each according to his state in life and ability” (CD17), by either participating or
giving aid. (CD17).
iv. Coordinating and Coordinating Apostolates. The bishop must also coordinate these apostolates and keep them connected to each other (CD17).
v. Providing Priests for the Apostolate. Finally, the bishop must provide apostolates with “priests who are capable of promoting particular forms of the apostolate of the laity and are properly trained” (AA25).

D. Relationship to [other] Bishops.

a. Universal Concern for all Churches. In a spirit of charity (LG23), bishops should have “a concern for all the churches” (CD6), as “all bishops . . . are consecrated . . . for the salvation of the entire world”. Thus, individual churches must keep in contact and make their needs known (AG38), and even set up a common fund enabling richer dioceses help the poorer ones (PO21).

b. Loving Concern and Care for other Bishops. In a special way, bishops “in brotherly affection” should pray and do good works on behalf of brother bishops who are in special need (CD7).

c. Episcopal Conferences. There is also an urgent need for episcopal conferences which would meet at fixed times, producing a “holy union of energies [directed toward] the service of the common good” (CD37).

d. Synods of Bishops. There is also a need for a revival in Synods of bishops that may “flourish with fresh vigor”, where bishops, moved by “fraternal charity and zeal for [their] universal mission” “pool their abilities and their wills for the . . . welfare of the individual churches” (CD36).

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