Presbyterorum Ordinis 6: Obligations to the Flock

As a liturgist, I’m drawn to the observation made yet again:

Ceremonies however beautiful, or associations however flourishing, will be of little value if they are not directed toward the education of (people) to Christian maturity.

And that maturity is further defined as an expression and a lay administration of Christ’s “new” charity.

Of note are the “special” obligations for the priest:

  • The poor and weak in their pastoral care
  • Youth
  • Married people and parents
  • Religious men and women
  • The sick and the dying. “Above all,” it should be noted.

Formation of “Christian community.” not just a buzz word, but a pastoral responsibility:

The office of pastor is not confined to the care of the faithful as individuals, but also in a true sense is extended to the formation of a genuine Christian community. Yet the spirit of the community should be so fostered as to embrace not only the local church, but also the universal Church. The local community should promote not only the care of its own faithful, but, filled with a missionary zeal, it should prepare also the way to Christ for all (people). In a special way, catechumens and the newly-baptized who must be educated gradually to know and to live the Christian life are entrusted to his care.

As I read through the non-liturgy documents of the Church, I’m amazed at the frequency of commentary on the importance of the Eucharist. Remember, this is two years after Sacrosanctum Concilium and the verve for liturgical reform is still warm for these bishops.

No Christian community, however, is built up unless it has its basis and center in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist; from this, therefore, all education to the spirit of community must take its origin. This celebration, if it is to be genuine and complete, should lead to various works of charity and mutual help, as well as to missionary activity and to different forms of Christian witness.

I wonder about the various priests who expend their efforts in human ideology: economics, politics, etc.:

In building the Christian community, priests are never to put themselves at the service of some human faction of ideology, but, as heralds of the Gospel and shepherds of the Church, they are to spend themselves for the spiritual growth of the Body of Christ.

And as I’ve thought about it, I’d probably consider this admonishment for priests I’ve known active on the liberal side of things.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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