TC Letter 9: The Sacrament of Unity

In his explanatory letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis did not number his document. I’m identifying each post for easier reference and to sequence this effort. In this post, a brief ninth paragraph:

Dear brothers in the Episcopate, Sacrosanctum Concilium explained that the Church, the “sacrament of unity,” is such because it is “the holy People gathered and governed under the authority of the Bishops”. [Cfr. Sacrosanctum Concilium 6] Lumen gentium, while recalling that the Bishop of Rome is “the permanent and visible principle and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the multitude of the faithful,” states that you the Bishops are “the visible principle and foundation of the unity of your local Churches, in which and through which exists the one and only Catholic Church”. [Cfr. Lumen Gentium 23]

Two conciliar references that underscore Church teaching. First, that the Church itself is a sacrament. What is one of the qualities of this sacrament? Unity. We profess it in creeds as the Church being “one.” On some levels, this is a mystery, as we lack uniform agreement on many matters. On others, human beings have worked actively against unity at times from within the fold, and we have the lamentable and sinful mystery of Christian division.

Pope Francis also offers a reminder that the bishops are agents of this unity. How pointed might this reminder be? If I were a bishop, I’d have to consider my ministry and its priorities. If they weren’t designed to be one, holy, catholic, and/or apostolic, I think it would be time to jettison some stuff. Why? In the area of liturgical reform, we certainly struggle in turn with each of these.

Here are the important links:

About catholicsensibility

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