A collection of personal reflections. Copyright © 2005-2011 K. Gurries

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bishop's Authority vs. False Collegiality

Owing in large part to the para-conciliar ideology (hermeneutic of rupture), a false notion of collegiality has crept into the Church that seeks to apply secular political forms to the government of the Church.  This false collegiality calls for a progressive vision of "democracy" in the Church at all levels.  The concept of the "people of God" was often misinterpreted as "we the People" or understood "in accordance with a merely sociological or political concept." (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Address at the Lateran, May 26, 2009)  At the highest level, this erroneous view of collegiality seeks to undermine the legitimate authority and primacy of the Pope.  This error was already denounced at the time of the Second Vatican Council (Cf. LG, Nota explicativa praevia).  Extending to other levels, this false notion of collegiality also seeks to diminish the authority and role of the individual Bishop over his particular Church.  In an analogous manner, the office and legitimate authority of the parish rector or pastor is often undermined when "parish councils" operate based on similar mis-guided notions and false ideologies.  Within this false ideological vision, the authority of the Bishop in his "See" is exchanged for a "Seat" within his respective Bishop's conference.  Pope Benedict reminds Bishops of their individual responsibility within their own particular Church.         
Starting afresh from Christ in every area of missionary activity; rediscovering in Jesus the love and salvation given to us by the Father through the Holy Spirit: this is the substance and lifeline of the episcopal mission which makes the Bishop the person primarily responsible for catechesis in his diocese. Indeed, it falls ultimately to him to direct catechesis, surrounding himself with competent and trustworthy co-workers...
Precisely because faith, life, and the celebration of the sacred liturgy—the source of faith and life—are inseparable, there is need for a more correct implementation of the liturgical principles as indicated by the Second Vatican Council, as well as those contained in the Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops (cf. 145-151), so as to restore to the liturgy its sacred character. It was with this end in view that my Venerable Predecessor on the Chair of Peter, John Paul II, wished "to appeal urgently that the liturgical norms for the celebration of the Eucharist be observed with great fidelity ... Liturgy is never anyone’s private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated" (Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52). For Bishops, who are the "moderators of the Church’s liturgical life", the rediscovery and appreciation of obedience to liturgical norms is a form of witness to the one, universal Church, that presides in charity...
If we are to stay true to our solemn commitment as successors of the Apostles, we Pastors must be faithful servants of the word, eschewing any reductive or mistaken vision of the mission entrusted to us. It is not enough to look at reality solely from the viewpoint of personal faith; we must work with the Gospel in our hands and anchor ourselves in the authentic heritage of the Apostolic Tradition, free from any interpretations motivated by rationalistic ideologies.

Indeed, "within the particular Churches, it is the Bishop’s responsibility to guard and interpret the word of God and to make authoritative judgments as to what is or is not in conformity with it" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, 19). As the primary Teacher of faith and doctrine, the Bishop will rely on collaboration with the theologian, who, in order "to be faithful to his role of service to the truth, must take into account the proper mission of the Magisterium and collaborate with it" (ibid., 20). The duty to preserve the deposit of faith and safeguard its unity calls for strict vigilance so that the faith may be "preserved and handed down with fidelity and so that particular insights are clearly integrated into the one Gospel of Christ" (Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, 126).  This, therefore, is the enormous responsibility you have assumed as formators of your people, and especially of the priests and religious under your care. (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of Brazil, May 11, 2007) 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, but you omitted a key aspect of the problem: Rome has promoted the false collegiality by its passivity before the worst episcopal offenders: Hubbard, Clarke, Mahoney, Untener, Weakland,etc. etc. in the U.S.

The bishops are able to exercise false collegiality because of Rome's passivity and thus, by default, its collaboration.


March 05, 2011 6:27 AM  

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