More on The Reconciling Church …
To the hands and lips of the apostles, his messengers, the Father has mercifully entrusted a ministry of reconciliation, which they carry but in out in a singular way by virtue of the power to act “in persona Christi. ”
The sacramental ministry of bishops and presbyters, yes. But there is also the ministry of the Christian faithful:
But the message of reconciliation has also been entrusted to the whole community of believers, to the whole fabric of the church, that is to say, the task of doing everything possible to witness to reconciliation and to bring it about in the world.
I’m reminded of Pope Paul VI’s comment about the modern world finding more appeal in witnesses than teachers. Witnesses to peace and reconciliation? We still need them. Now as much as ever.
For the Church, the quality of “one,” of unity, is part of that desire for reconciliation:
It can be said that the Second Vatican Council too, in defining the church as a “sacrament-a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people,” and in indicating as the church’s function that of obtaining “full unity in Christ” for the “people of the present day…drawn ever more closely together by social, technical and cultural bonds,” (Lumen Gentium 1) recognized that the church must strive above all to bring all people to full reconciliation.
Can we be an effective and fruitful witness to those outside of our fold?
This document is Copyright © 1984 – Libreria Editrice Vatican. The link on the Vatican site is here.