Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Bishop 19

Let’s look carefully and the questions used to “examine” the bishop-elect, noting this is where we have first mention of the “successor of the apostle Peter”:

EXAMINATION OF THE CANDIDATE

19. The bishop-elect then rises and stands in front of the principal consecrator, who questions him:

An age-old custom of the Fathers decrees that a bishop-elect is to be questioned before the people on his resolve to uphold the faith and to discharge his duties faithfully.

A brief commentary gives way to the serious questions, first the calling of the Holy Spirit for a lifelong function:

My brother, are you resolved by the grace of the Holy Spirit to discharge to the end of your life the office the apostles entrusted to us, which we now pass on to you by the laying on of hands?

The bishop-elect replies: I am.

We have the proclamation of the gospel first, then the maintenance of the “deposit of faith” afterward:

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to be faithful and constant in pro­claiming the Gospel of Christ?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to maintain the deposit of faith, en­tire and incorrupt, as handed down by the apostles and professed by the Church everywhere and at all times?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Then we have two promises to the pope:

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to build up the Church as the body of Christ and to remain united to it within the order of bishops under the authority of the successor of the apostle Peter?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to be faithful in your obedience to the successor of the apostle Peter?

Bishop-elect: I am.

A promise to those who share the ministry of the bishop:

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved as a devoted father to sustain the people of God and to guide them in the way of salva­tion in cooperation with the priests and deacons who share your ministry?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Charity and social justice:

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to show kindness and compassion in the name of the Lord to the poor and to strangers and to all who are in need?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Concern for those who have wandered, and even more, an active role in facilitating their return:

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved as a good shepherd to seek out the sheep who stray and to gather them into the fold of the Lord?

Bishop-elect: I am.

Principal consecrator:

Are you resolved to pray for the people of God without ceasing, and to carry out the duties of one who has the fullness of the priesthood so as to afford no grounds for reproach?

Bishop-elect: I am, with the help of God.

Principal consecrator:

May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.

I wonder if bishops return to these examination questions and test themselves from time to time to see if they measure up to the standards expected here. What does your bishop do very well from this list?

 

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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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