GDC 270-271: “The service of the Holy See”

Diocese–check. Between dioceses and national conference–check, check. What support can catechists and the ministry of formation expect from Rome? Pope John Paul II sees the role of Rome as a service to sister dioceses everywhere, but also something of the very essence of what it means to be a particular Church:

270. “The command of Christ to preach the Gospel to every creature applies primarily and immediately to them (the Bishops)—with Peter, and subject to Peter”. (Ad Gentes 38a; cf. canon law 756 §§ 1-2) The ministry of the Successor of Peter—in this collegial mandate of Jesus regarding the proclamation and transmission of the Gospel—assumes a basic responsibility. This ministry must be considered “not only as a global service reaching every Church from the outside, but from inside as something already belonging to the essence of every particular Church”. (John Paul II, Allocution to the Bishops of the United States of America, during the meeting in the seminary of Our Lady of Los Angeles 16-IX-1987. The expression is taken from Communionis Notio 13 (CDF, 1993).)

The Congregation for Clergy is key, we read:

The ministry of Peter in catechesis is exercised in an eminent way through its teachings. The Pope, in what regards catechesis, acts in an immediate and particular way through the Congregation for Clergy, which assists “the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office”. (Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, art. 1. This constitution, of 28 June 1988, deals with the reform of the Roman Curia which had been requested by the Council: cf. Christus Dominus 9. The first reform was promulgated by Regimmini Ecclesiae 18 (Paul VI, 1967).)

Five functions exist for this curial department, all lifted word for word from the 1988 document Pastor Bonus:

271. The Congregation for the Clergy thus:

– “has the function of promoting the religious education of the Christian faithful of all ages and conditions;

– issues timely norms so that catechetical lessons be conducted according to a proper programme;

– maintains a watchful attention to the suitable delivery of catechetical instruction;

– grants, with the assent of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the prescribed approbation of the Holy See for catechisms and other writings pertaining to catechetical instruction; (See nn. 282 and 284 of this chapter)

– is available to catechetical offices and international initiatives on religious education, coordinates their activities and, where necessary, it lends assistance”. (Pastor Bonus 94)

Are you surprised the Congregation for Clergy is on point for this?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in General Directory for Catechesis, post-conciliar catechetical documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to GDC 270-271: “The service of the Holy See”

  1. Bill Logan says:

    I’m surprised. I’m guessing that other offices in the curia were able to fob this off and the Congregation for Clergy ultimately got stuck with this. Since the command of Christ they refer to applies primarily to the bishops, why not the Congregation of Bishops?

    Or what about the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples? Their website says that “The task of the Congregation has always been the transmission and dissemination of the faith throughout the whole world”. Or what about the Congregation for Catholic Education? Their focus could include not just educational institutions, but education outside institutions.

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