Christus Dominus 44: The Last Word

Delegation. Love it or hate it, the council indeed left many specifics to the future work of bishops, commissions, and experts in particular fields.

This sacred synod prescribes that in the revision of the code of canon law suitable laws be drawn up in keeping with the principles stated in this decree. Due consideration should also be given the observations made by the commissions and the council Fathers.

Note the importance given not only of the text of Christus Dominus, but also “the observations” of council participants. Presumably, somebody kept notes on all that. I’m not aware of any such resource that might include such observations. Is anyone?

This sacred synod also prescribes that general directories be prepared treating of the care of souls for the use of both bishops and pastors. Thus they will be provided with certain methods which will help them to discharge their own pastoral office with greater ease and effectiveness.

I’m aware of some of the these directories being prepared, catechesis is one example.

There should be prepared also a particular directory concerning the pastoral care of special groups of the faithful as the different circumstances of individual nations or regions require.

No idea if any “particular directories” have ever been prepared. Anyone?

In preparing these directories, special attention should be given to the views which have been expressed both by the commissions and the council Fathers.

Ah! More unofficial input. By way of extension, one might say that continuing views of committees, bishops, clergy, religious, and lay people should be taken into account when preparing to move the Church in a particular direction.

In conclusion, we can see where the follow through has been spotty in regard to Christus Dominus, especially in contrast to the constitution on liturgy. Leadership on the episcopal level, though not usually impacting the daily life of Catholics, nevertheless has a trickle-down effect that alters the path of the Church and directly affects its fruitfulness in preaching the gospel. Don’t count on the USCCB to take a serious look at it, though.

Some questioned the purpose of even looking at this document. I think there is one. I confess I’m a frequent critic of bishops. But is my criticism based on personal likes and dislikes? Is it based on the quirks I see or read about in a bishop? Is it touched by my distaste for the harboring of sexual predators? Perhaps this is so for many, if not all of us. But to be a responsible critic of a bishop or bishops in general, we have the opportunity to weigh their service against the ideal presented in Vatican II. We can read Christus Dominus, and hold up our favorite or detested bishop and see for ourselves: Is it something personal, or does it have an objective basis in fact and church teaching?

Final thoughts?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Christus Dominus 44: The Last Word

  1. Pingback: GDC 1: A Collaborative Effort « Catholic Sensibility

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