Presbyterorum Ordinis 9b: Responsibilities In and Out of the Flock

Finishing up section 9, we read priests are to be defenders of the common good and also strenuous assertors of the truth, lest the faithful be carried about by every wind of doctrine.

I guess we’re kind of vulnerable in that regard.

They are united by a special solicitude with those who have fallen away from the use of the sacraments, or perhaps even from the faith. Indeed, as good shepherds, they should not cease from going out to them.

I recalled the relationship portrayed in that great film The Bishop’s Wife between Henry and the agnostic scholar. I know I don’t know too many non-religious types, not as many as I used to, anyway. My few non-Catholics friends are often curious about my religion and my job, and I feel free to share my Catholicism openly with them. After my baptism, I remember our home being visited often by clergy, though I think it was more for my mother’s sake than mine. (She has never become a Catholic.) The retired pastor was especially observant of the principle in PO 9, sending her books, medals, and conversing with her at every opportunity.

Mindful of the prescripts on ecumenism, let them not forget their brothers who do not enjoy full ecclesiastical communion with us. Finally, they have entrusted to them all those who do not recognize Christ as their Savior.

One internet priest put himself into a frenzy over non-Catholic ministers wearing Roman collars (Why are they Roman, for heaven’s sake?) and causing all sorts of confusion. I probably commented that a person’s attitude might also short-circuit belief that they are a man of God, but I don’t think that argument was taken to heart. PO 9 doesn’t say a priest should be involved in RCIA (and not just as a teacher) but RCIA had not quite been envisioned fully as of 1965.

The Christian faithful, for their part, should realize their obligations to their priests, and with filial love they should follow them as their pastors and fathers. In like manner, sharing their cares, they should help their priests by prayer and work insofar as possible so that their priests might more readily overcome difficulties and be able to fulfill their duties more fruitfully.

Point well taken. In planning liturgy of the hours, I’ve always made it a point of including prayers for pope, bishop, and pastor. Most guys aren’t going to come right out and give you the pattern for praying for them, but they all appreciate the prayers when they come.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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