Chapter VI of Mutuae Relationes includes an unnumbered introductory section–just two paragraphs. Let’s read them, and we’ll get a start on the topic of those commitments and responsibilities of bishops and religious.
The Church lives in the Spirit and rests on the foundation of Peter and the Apostles and their successors, so that the episcopal ministry is in fact the guiding principle of the pastoral dynamism of the entire People of God. Consequently the Church works in harmony both with the Holy Spirit who is her soul and with the Head operative in the Body (cf. Part I, ch. II). This evidently has well determined consequences for bishops and religious in the carrying out of their initiatives and activities, even though they are vested with a specific competency, each according to his own role.
The overarching concern–a concern for every believer–is the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, the impulse to spread the Gospel everywhere and to all peoples. As successors to the apostles, bishops are urged to this mission. Less so I would think the preservation of the peripherals of the institution. Perhaps that is why there seems to be such a gulf between the Holy Spirit working in the people and prelates, between different parts of the Body. Truly we are in a dismembered state when we are at our worst.
The practical directives set forth here refer to two kinds of needs in the field of action: namely, the pastoral and the religious.
Numbered sections 36-43 will address pastoral; 44-51 the religious.
“…so that the episcopal ministry is in fact the guiding principle of the pastoral dynamism of the entire People of God.” I have to say that I understand the theology behind this, but in fact find that pastoral dynamism comes at the parish level.
Agreed. It is the pastor who sets the tone. Or who allows others to express it.