Christus Dominus 11: Bishop and Diocese, part 1

Christus Dominus 11 begins the second chapter of the document, which details the relationship of the bishop with his diocese. A diocese is defined in two ways:

  • a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop to be shepherded by him with the cooperation of the presbytery. 
  • a particular church in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.

In other words, part of a universal whole, yet also inclusive of the four qualities attributed to that same universal Church. Something more, it seems, than a local representation of the Church of Rome.

Bishops are recognized as pastors, like the pope, “performing for (their people) the office of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.”

Bishops are entrusted with the care of the faithful, but also of “those who have strayed in any way from the path of truth or are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and His saving mercy…”

I’m genuinely curious. Do bishops take this seriously? And if they do, how do they conduct this ministry to inactive Catholics and non-Christians? This commission need not always take the direct approach: namely, the bishop himself persuading people to return or convert to Christ. But at minimum, one would think if the bishop is not personally involved in these ministries, he oversees a coordinated effort through chancery or some other official channel.

What interfaith efforts does your bishop involve himself in? And how does he address the return of inactive Catholics?

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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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