Loyalty to the Pope DAILY CATHOLIC for November 25
The Vicar of Christ Speaks
Print in TEXT ONLY format






To print this page, we recommend you CLICK HERE to go to TEXT ONLY

vol, 8
no. 38

Gif Animation Photos of Holy Father used with permission of EWTN

INTRODUCTION: With the release on November 13th of the document on the respective duties of priests and lay people, especially in parish life and ecause of its importance and need for dissemination, we will take the next several issues to bring you this document in installments, signed by the heads of the Congregation for the Clergy, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. It was approved by the Holy Father on August 13 this year and signed two days later on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released publicly November 13th, the feast of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, a saint known for education. Education on these guidelines is necessary for all parishes at every level. Therefore, we bring you the Holy See's complete document in installments.

THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
on the Role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

seventh installment: THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES part three
2. Unity and Diversity of Ministerial Functions
     The functions of the ordained minister, taken as a whole, constitute a single indivisible unity in virtue of their singular foundation in Christ. (36)
    (36: Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1581.)
As with Christ,(37)
    (37: Cf. John Paul II, Letter Novo incipiente, (8 April 1979), n. 3: AAS 71(1979), p. 397.)
salvific activity is one and unique. It is signified and realized by the minister through the functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful. This unity essentially defines the exercise of the sacred minister's functions which are always an exercise, in different ways, of the role of Christ as Head of the Church.

      Therefore, since the exercise of the munus docendi, sanctificandi et regendi by the sacred minister constitute the essence of pastoral ministry, the diverse functions proper to ordained ministers form an indivisible unity and cannot be understood if separated, one from the other. Rather they must be viewed in terms of mutual correspondence and complementarity. Only in some of these functions, and to a limited degree, may the non-ordained faithful cooperate with their pastors should they be called to do so by lawful Authority and in accordance with the prescribed manner. "He (Jesus Christ) continually provides in his body, that is, in the Church, for gifts of ministries through which, by his power, we serve each other unto salvation...".(38)

    (38: Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, n. 7.)
"The exercise of such tasks does not make Pastors of the lay faithful, in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by Pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority".(39)
    (39: John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici (30 December 1998) , n. 23: AAS 81 (1989), p. 430.)

      This doctrine needs to be reaffirmed especially in the light of certain practices which seek to compensate for numerical shortages of ordained ministers arising in some communities. In some instances, such have given rise to an idea of the common priesthood of the faithful which mistakes its nature and specific meaning. Amongst other things, it can encourage a reduction in vocations to the (ministerial) priesthood and obscure the specific purpose of seminaries as places of formation for the ordained ministry. These are closely related phenomena. Their interdependence calls for careful reflection so as to arrive at well considered conclusions in their regard.

NEXT ISSUE: Theological Principles -part four 3. The Indispensability of the Ordained Ministry

November 25, 1997 volume 8, no. 38
VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS



November 1997