Christus Dominus 33-35: Bishops and Religious

Christus Dominus 33-35 deals with the relationship between bishops and religious. CD 33 says nothing new: religious are to cooperate in ministry for “the particular churches.” They pray, perform acts of penance, and give life example for others. “With due consideration for the character proper to each religious community, they should also enter more vigorously into the external works of the apostolate.”

CD 34 informs us that priests of religious orders “can be said in a real sense to belong to the clergy of the diocese inasmuch as they share in the care of souls and in carrying out works of the apostolate under the authority of the prelates.” Non-clergy “also belong in a special way to the diocesan family and offer great assistance to the sacred hierarchy. With the increasing demands of the apostolate they can and should offer that assistance even more and more.”

CD 35 lists six principles for bishops and religious to follow in their shared ministry:

1. Respecting an order’s particular charisms, a bishop may call upon religious to assist actively in diocesan or parish ministry. Religious superiors should encourage this.

2. Those religious active within a diocese should maintain the observance of traditions in their order, and bishops should reinforce this obligation.

3. The institute of exemption, by which Religious are called to the service of the supreme pontiff or other ecclesiastical authority and withdrawn from the jurisdiction of bishops, refers chiefly to the internal order of their communities so that in them all things may be properly coordinated and the growth and perfection of the Religious common life promoted.

4. Religious are subject to their bishop’s authority in matters of liturgy, preaching, catechesis of all ages, and moral formation. A bishop also oversees institutions the religious in his diocese conduct, including schools.

5. Cooperation between clergy and religious is essential …

6. … as it is between bishops and religious superiors.



About catholicsensibility

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