Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Ecclesial Ministry and the Pope

With the Canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII, I found it fitting to discuss quickly what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the ecclesial ministry and the head of that ministry, the Pope. Tomorrow will be a glorious day in the life of the Catholic Church when two of its recent princes will be officially elevated to Sainthood.

Let us give Praise and Thanksgiving to Our Lord Jesus Christ for his abundant mercy and for sending us these two great priests, bishops, and Popes to serve the Church in the latter years of the 20th century. Let us also offer our gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints and the Angels in the Heavenly Kingdom that watch and intercede for the entire Church. Come Holy Spirit Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful!

CCC 935: To proclaim the faith and to plant his reign, Christ sends his apostles and their successors. He gives them a share in his own mission. From him they receive the power to act in his person.

CCC 936: The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. The bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is “head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church on earth” (Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 331).

CCC 937: The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls” (Christus Dominus, 2).

CCC 938:  The Bishops, established by the Holy Spirit, succeed the apostles. They are “the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches” (Lumen Gentium 23).

CCC 939: Helped by the priests, their co-workers, and by the deacons, the bishops have the duty of authentically teaching the faith, celebrating divine worship, above all the Eucharist, and guiding their Churches as true pastors. Their responsibility also includes concern for all the Churches, with and under the Pope.

For a more extensive teaching on the above paragraphs, please read CCC 874-896 of Chapter 3, Article 9, Paragraph 4, Section I.

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