Mutuae Relationes 52: Diocesan Coordination

SenanquecloisterWe’ve arrived at Chapter VII, in which the Church discusses “The Importance of Suitable Coordination.” To start with, an unnumbered introduction begins this chapter which will cover sections 52 through 67. When we complete that, we will be at the conclusion of the document, which I’ll remind you to check as a whole online here.

The varied and fruitful vitality of the Churches necessitates a real commitment to coordinating action in order to renew, create and perfect the manifold pastoral means of service and animation. We shall consider some of these according to their different levels: diocesan, national, universal.

On the diocesan level

52. In each diocese the bishop should strive to understand what the Spirit wants to manifest, even through his flock and especially through the individuals and religious families present in the diocese. This is why it is necessary for him to cultivate sincere and familiar relations with superiors, in order the better to fulfill his ministry of Shepherd towards men and women religious (cf. Christus Dominus 15; 16). In fact, it is his specific office to defend consecrated life, to foster and animate the fidelity and authenticity of religious and to help them become part of the communion and of the evangelizing action of his Church, according to their distinctive nature.

“Sincere and familiar” relations: do you suppose modern bishops are attentive to this? If these local relationships are mentioned first, are they more important to cultivate first? Bishops are urged to balance, for they have other loyalties outside of their particular flocks:

All this, of course, the bishop will have to realize in close collaboration with the episcopal conference and in harmony with the voice of the Head of the Apostolic College.

How the local bishop should be regarded:

Religious, on the other hand, should consider the bishop not only as Shepherd of the entire diocesan community, but also as the one who guarantees fidelity to their vocation as they carry out their service for the good of the local Church. Indeed they “should comply promptly and faithfully with the requests or desires of the bishops when they are asked to undertake a greater share in the ministry of salvation,” due consideration being given “to the character of the particular institute and to its constitutions (CD 35, 1).

Thoughts or comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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