They have been consecrated by him through baptism, so as to offer spiritual sacrifices through everything they do. About the New Pastoral Directory for Bishops — ZENIT — English In conformity with this principle, the Bishop should exercise his authority in such a way that the people can accept it as paternal care and not as an oppressive yoke: He should promote and continually safeguard ecclesial communion in the diocesan presbyterate, so that his example of dedication, of openness, of goodness, of justice, of effective and affective communion with the Pope and his brother Bishops should always unite the priests more closely with one another and with him. Emphasis is placed on the radical spirit of service and vigilance on the development of diocesan life that forms part of the pastoral governance of the Bishop. In view of the great importance of particular councils for the ordering of ecclesiastical life within the province or nation, the Bishop xuccessores be personally involved in their preparation and celebration On the contrary, he should show respect for the legitimate competence of others, granting appropriate faculties to his co-workers and encouraging healthy initiatives, individual apostolrum collective, among the faithful. The Metropolitan has the duty to be vigilant that faith and ecclesial discipline are diligently maintained throughout the province and that the episcopal ministry is exercised in conformity with canon law. If necessary, he should intervene to warn anyone who might be putting himself at risk.

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Rev I. Identity and Mission of the Bishop. For it is in the light of the mystery of Christ, Shepherd and Guardian of souls cf. He reveals the goodness, the loving care, the mercy, the gentleness and the authority of Christ, who came to give his life and to gather all people into one family, reconciling them in the love of the Father.

The Bishop also manifests the constant vitality of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church and sustains her in her human weakness. Jn and was anointed and sent into the world by the Holy Spirit cf. Mt ; Jn and 7. Eloquent Images of the Bishop. Some dynamic images of the Bishop, drawn from Scripture and from the Tradition of the Church, such as the image of the shepherd, the fisherman, the father, the brother, the friend, the comforter, the servant, the teacher, the leader, the sacramentum bonitatis, point to Jesus Christ and characterize the Bishop as a man of faith and discernment, a man of hope and serious commitment, a man of gentleness and compassion, a man of communion.

These images indicate that to enter into the Apostolic succession is to enter into combat for the Gospel 8. Among the different images, that of the shepherd illustrates with particular eloquence the breadth of the episcopal ministry, in that it expresses its meaning, purpose, style and evangelical missionary dynamism.

The model of Christ the Good Shepherd suggests to the Bishop daily fidelity to his mission, total and serene dedication to the Church, joy in leading to the Lord the People of God entrusted to his care, and gladness in gathering into the unity of ecclesial communion the scattered children of God cf.

Mt ; Jn and came not to be served but to serve cf. Mt 9. Moreover, he discovers the inspiration for his pastoral ministry and for the proper exercise of his triple munera of teaching, sanctifying, and governing according to the model of the Good Shepherd. Mt This same hope guides the Bishop throughout his ministry, illuminating his days, nourishing his spirituality, increasing his trust and sustaining him in his struggle against evil and injustice. Together with his people, he therefore looks forward in certain hope to contemplating the Lamb that was slain, the Shepherd who leads all people to the source of life and to the vision of God cf.

Rev The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium proposes a number of images which illustrate the mystery of the Church and highlight its characteristic marks, revealing the indissoluble bond that unites the People of God with Christ.

Among these, two that particularly stand out are that of the mystical body, with Christ as head 11 , and that of the People of God, which gathers together all the children of God, pastors as well as lay faithful, and intimately unites them through one baptism.

They live in the dignity and the freedom of the children of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in their hearts as in a temple. Their law is the new commandment of love and their goal is the Kingdom of God already inaugurated on earth Our Saviour entrusted to Peter and to the other Apostles the task of feeding this one and only Church of his cf. Jn and he commissioned them to govern it and to enable it to grow cf. He established it for ever as a pillar and bulwark of the truth cf. Common Priesthood and Ministerial Priesthood.

Christ has endowed all the members of this people with hierarchical and charismatic gifts, established them in a communion of life, charity and truth, and invested them with priestly dignity cf. Rev ; They have been consecrated by him through baptism, so as to offer spiritual sacrifices through everything they do. They have been sent out as the light of the world and the salt of the earth cf. Mt to proclaim the marvellous works of Him who has called them out of darkness into his wonderful light cf.

Some members of the Body of Christ, however, are consecrated by the sacrament of holy orders to exercise the priestly ministry. The common priesthood and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood differ essentially, even if they are ordered one to another, since each shares in its own proper way in the one priesthood of Christ.

The faithful indeed, by virtue of their royal priesthood, participate in the offering of the Eucharist. Particular Churches. The People of God is not merely a community of different nations, but in its very nature it is composed of different parts, the particular Churches, formed in the image of the universal Church. In them and from them exists the one and only Catholic Church The particular Church is entrusted to the Bishop 15 , who is the visible source and foundation of unity 16 , and through his hierarchical communion with the head and the other members of the episcopal College, the particular Church is incorporated into the plena communio ecclesiarum of the one Church of Christ.

In this way, the entire mystical Body of Christ is also a body of Churches 17 , generating a wonderful reciprocity, since the riches of the life and works of each one redound to the good of the whole Church. Both the Pastor and his flock thus share in the supernatural abundance of the whole Body. Hence the Successor of Peter, Head of the episcopal College, and the Body of Bishops are proper, constitutive elements of each particular Church The pastoral governance of the Bishop and the life of his diocese must manifest their reciprocal communion with the Roman Pontiff and with the episcopal College, and also with particular sister Churches, especially those present in the same region.

The Church, Sacrament of Salvation. The Church is a sacrament of salvation in that, through the visible Church, Christ is present in the midst of his people and he continues his mission, pouring out his Holy Spirit upon the faithful. The body of the Church therefore differs from all human societies, because she is governed not according to the personal capacities of her members, but through her intimate union with Christ. From him, the Church receives life and energy, which is passed on to her members.

The Church does not only signify intimate union with God and the unity of the whole human race, but she is the effective sign of this unity and is therefore a sacrament of salvation The Church, Communion and Mission. At the same time, the Church is communion. Ecclesial communion is communion of life, of charity and of truth 22 , and as a bond uniting people with God, it establishes a new kind of relationship among people and manifests the sacramental nature of the Church. At the same time, the Eucharist is the epiphany of the Church, by which her Trinitarian character is made visible.

The Church has a mission to proclaim and to spread the Kingdom of God to the utmost ends of the earth, so that all may believe in Christ and so come to eternal life The Church is therefore also missionary. The Bishop, visible principle of unity in his diocese, is called to build up the particular Church unceasingly in the communion of all its members, and to ensure that their diverse gifts and ministries, in union with the universal Church, serve to build up all the faithful and to spread the Gospel.

As teacher of the faith, sanctifier and spiritual guide, the Bishop knows he can count on a special divine grace, conferred upon him at his episcopal ordination. The Pastoral Mission of the Twelve.

At the beginning of his mission, the Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, appointed twelve Apostles to be with him and to be sent out to preach the Kingdom of God and to cast out demons Jesus willed the Twelve to be an undivided College with Peter as head, and so it was that they carried out their mission as eye-witnesses of his resurrection, beginning from Jerusalem cf. Lk and then to all the peoples of the earth cf. Mk This mission, which the Apostle Peter forcefully proclaimed when addressing the first Christian community of Jerusalem cf.

Acts , was fulfilled by the Apostles as they went forth proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples of all nations cf. The Apostles, Foundations of the Church. The Apostles, with Peter as head, are the foundation of the Church of Christ, and their names are written on the foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem cf. As the architects of the new People of God, they guarantee fidelity to Christ, cornerstone of the building, and to his Gospel: they teach with authority, they guide the community and safeguard its unity.

The apostolicity of the Church is the guarantee of fidelity to the Gospel received and to the sacrament of orders, which perpetuates the apostolic office. Continuity of the Mission of the Twelve in the Episcopal College. The pastoral mission of the Apostolic College is perpetuated in the episcopal College, just as the primatial office of Peter is perpetuated in the Roman Pontiff.

This means that the Roman Pontiff also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular Churches and groups of them The episcopate, one and undivided, shows itself united in a single fraternity around Peter, in order to fulfil its mission to proclaim the Gospel and to shepherd the Church so that it grows throughout the world, always remaining an apostolic community amid the rich diversity of times and places.

Membership and Activity of the Bishop in the Episcopal College. The Bishop becomes a member of the episcopal College by virtue of his episcopal ordination, which confers the fullness of the sacrament of orders and configures the Bishop ontologically to Jesus Christ as Pastor of his Church. By virtue of his episcopal ordination, the Bishop becomes a sacrament of Christ himself, present and active among his people. Through the episcopal ministry, Christ preaches the Word, administers the sacraments of faith and guides his Church The latter two functions, in fact, by their very nature natura sua can only be exercised in hierarchical communion, since otherwise they would lead to invalid acts.

The spirit affectus of collegiality, which is more than a mere sense of solidarity, is manifested in different degrees and the acts which derive from it may have juridical consequences.

It takes different forms, such as the Synod of Bishops, the ad limina visit, the participation of diocesan Bishops as members of Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, missionary cooperation, particular councils, Episcopal Conferences, ecumenical activity, and inter-religious dialogue Pastores Gregis , 55 I.

Cooperation for the Good of the Universal Church. By virtue of his membership in the episcopal College, the Bishop is solicitous for all the Churches. He is linked with the other members of the College by episcopal fraternity and by the close bond uniting the Bishops to the Head of the College. This requires that every Bishop should work together with the Roman Pontiff, Head of the episcopal College, who exercises primacy over the whole Church and has been entrusted with the task of bringing the light of the Gospel to all peoples.

In the first place, the Bishop must be an effective sign and source of unity in the particular Church which he represents within the universal Church. He is also bound to show due solicitude for the whole Church; even if this does not involve the power of jurisdiction over individuals, it redounds to the advantage of the whole People of God. The Bishop should never forget the pastoral principle by which, in governing his own particular Church well, he contributes to the welfare of the whole People of God, which is a corporate body of Churches.

In addition to the principal institutional means by which Bishops work together for the good of the whole Church — the Ecumenical Council, a solemn and universal exercise of the power of the episcopal College — they also work together in the exercise of their supreme and universal power through joint action, provided always that it is initiated or freely received by the Roman Pontiff Every Bishop has the right and the duty to assist and cooperate actively in one or other of these collegial actions through prayer, study, and the expression of his votum.

The Synod of Bishops, a consultative body, provides a valuable service to the primatial function of the Successor of Peter, as well as strengthening the bonds uniting the members of the episcopal College with one another If he is nominated to take part in the Synod, the Bishop should fulfil his task with zeal, for the glory of God and the good of the Church.

The same concerns should guide him when expressing his opinion on the questions proposed for the reflection of the Synod, and when participating in the election of Bishops from his own Episcopal Conference, active or retired, to be delegates at the Synod by virtue of their knowledge and experience of the topic under discussion.

This same solicitude for the universal Church should prompt the Bishop to offer the Pope recommendations, observations and suggestions, to point out dangers for the Church, opportunities for new initiatives and other useful ideas. When asked for opinions on pastoral questions and when invited to assist in the preparation of documents for the whole Church — especially in his capacity as a member or consultor of a Dicastery of the Roman Curia — the Bishop should respond candidly, after serious study and meditation coram Domino on the topic If he is asked to perform some particular task for the benefit of the whole Church, the Bishop should, if at all possible, accept it and fulfil it diligently.

If he has questions to raise regarding these doctrinal or disciplinary matters, he should, instead, have recourse to the normal channels of communication with the Apostolic See and with other Bishops. Cooperation with the Apostolic See. The Bishop should carry out faithfully the instructions of the Holy See and of the different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, which assist the Roman Pontiff in his mission of service to the particular Churches and to their Pastors.

He should ensure, moreover, that the documents of the Holy See are brought to the attention of every priest, and, when appropriate, of every member of the faithful; and he should find ways of explaining the content of the documents, so as to make them accessible to everyone.


"Apostolorum Successores": New directory for Bishops

La sollecitudine del Vescovo per la Chiesa Universale Collaborazione per il bene della Chiesa Universale. Il Sinodo dei Vescovi offre un prezioso aiuto consultivo alla funzione primaziale del Successore di Pietro, oltre a rafforzare i vincoli di unione tra i membri del Collegio episcopale Questi stessi sentimenti devono guidarlo nel dare il proprio parere sulle questioni proposte alla riflessione sinodale o quando si tratta di eleggere, nel seno della propria Conferenza Episcopale, i Vescovi impegnati nel ministero o i Vescovi emeriti che, per conoscenza ed esperienza della materia, possano rappresentarlo nel Sinodo. Collaborazione con la Sede Apostolica. Il Vescovo esegua fedelmente le disposizioni della Santa Sede e dei vari Dicasteri della Curia Romana, che aiutano il Romano Pontefice nella sua missione di servizio alle Chiese particolari e ai loro Pastori. Procuri, inoltre, che i documenti della Santa Sede giungano capillarmente a conoscenza dei sacerdoti o, secondo i casi, di tutto il popolo, illustrandone opportunamente il contenuto per renderlo accessibile a tutti.



Bami Chaptersafter recalling the identity and mission of the Bishop, reflect on his solicitude for the universal Church and on episcopal collegiality. In fulfilling his mission, the diocesan Bishop should always remember that the community over which he presides is a community of faith, needing to be nourished by the Word of God. This grave responsibility, instead of preventing the Bishop from listening to advice and seeking the cooperation of diocesan structures and councils, actually requires him to do so before issuing norms or general directives for the diocese. The Bishop should educate his priests of every age and condition to fulfil their duty of ongoing formation and he should ensure that due provision is made for thisso that their enthusiasm for the ministry does not wane, but grows and matures with the passage of time, making the sublime gift they have received more dynamic and more effective cf.


The pastoral mission of the Apostolic College is perpetuated in the episcopal College, just as the primatial office of Peter is perpetuated in the Roman Pontiff. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. In her relationship apostoporum non-Christian religions, the Church is called to establish a sincere and respectful dialogueavoiding any false irenicism, in order to discover the seeds of truth present in the religious traditions of man and to encourage legitimate spiritual aspirations. In guiding his particular Church, the Bishop should follow the principle according to which he should not normally take to himself what others can accomplish well. Just as the Bishop nurtures alostolorum seeds of vocation in adolescents and young men, so too he needs to provide for the formation of adult vocationsensuring that there are suitable institutions offering a formation programme apostoloruj to the age and state of life of these candidates for the priesthood Succdssores the law of the Church or a special mandate from the Apostolic See gives them binding force, any joint actions by these episcopal gatherings must have, as their primary criterion, a proper sensitivity and respect for the personal responsibility of each Bishop aposrolorum relation to the universal Church and to the particular Church entrusted to him, while duly acknowledging the collegial dimension inherent in the episcopal office.

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