Get this from a library! Directory for the pastoral ministry of bishops: Apostolorum successores. [Catholic Church. Congregatio pro Episcopis.]. Here is a translation of the Vatican press office’s presentation on the new “ Pastoral Directory for Bishops, ‘Apostolorum Successores,’”. AS Apostolorum successores, Congregation for Bishops, Directory for the Pastoral ministry of Bishops (February 22, ). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice.

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About the New Pastoral Directory for Bishops – ZENIT – English

He should also ensure the necessary clarity so that it is obvious when an instruction is obligatory and when it is merely a guideline, what type of conduct is prescribed and what is prohibited. Nevertheless, its exercise is ultimately regulated by the supreme authority of the Church — the Roman Pontiff — and so can be restricted in certain respects for the advantage of the Church or of the faithful He should be able to say with Saint Paul: At the same time, the visit is also important for the life of the particular Church which, through the person of its Bishop, strengthens the bonds of faith, communion and discipline uniting it to the Church of Rome and to the entire ecclesial body It should be arranged in such a way that each one has time for an authentic and personal encounter with God and for reflection on his personal life and ministry.

The Bishop, like Christ himself, should manifest the most genuine and perfect human qualities if he is to share the daily life of his people and to be one with them in times of joy and sorrow. For the Bishop, on the other hand, the Report provides a good opportunity to examine the state of his Church and to formulate a pastoral plan: So as not to hinder any legitimate particular good, the Bishop should make it his business to acquire accurate knowledge of the common good of the diocese. The bond of communion between the Churches is clearly manifested in the fidei donum priests, chosen from among those who are suitable and sufficiently trained.

The Bishop father and pastor of the diocese munus regendi.

In order to help successoress maintain a chaste commitment to God and to the Church, the Bishop needs to take great care that celibacy is presented in all its Biblical, theological and spiritual richness In exercising the legislative function, the diocesan Bishop should keep in mind some basic principles:.

Such harmony should arise naturally when there is respect for the canonical norms which regulate the matters under discussion. The Conference may invite non-members to attend its meetings, but only in certain cases and only with a consultative vote In the decree, without harming the good reputation of persons, he should indicate the precise motives both in order to justify his succsesores and to avoid any appearance of arbitrariness.


The diocesan Bishop should welcome him gladly in a spirit of faith and should promote an effective communion by virtue of their joint episcopal responsibility, establishing an authentic partnership which, with a coadjutor, should be particularly cordial and fraternal for the good of the diocese.

The Bishop should consider the annual retreat a primary and essential element in the ongoing formation of his priests. He should respect and require others to respect their rights and should defend them against unjust criticism This is why Bishops, generation after generation, are called to apostokorum and to hand on Sacred Scripture and to promote the Traditiothat is, the proclamation of the one Gospel and the one faith, in complete fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles.

Some dynamic images of the Bishop, drawn from Scripture and from the Tradition of the Church, such as the image of the shepherd, the fisherman, the father, the brother, the friend, the comforter, the servant, the teacher, the leader, the sacramentum bonitatispoint to Jesus Christ and characterize the Bishop as a man of faith and discernment, a man of hope and serious commitment, a man of gentleness and compassion, a man of suvcessores.

If he is ill and in danger of death, he should be prompt to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and sacred Viaticum, with due solemnity and with the participation of clergy and faithful, for the edification of all.

“Apostolorum Successores”: New directory for Bishops

Thus, when enacting laws for the good of the diocese, he should always ensure the necessary harmony between these local pastoral decrees or guidelines and universal canonical discipline or the particular law established by Episcopal Conferences or particular councils. This mission, which the Apostle Peter apostplorum proclaimed when addressing the first Christian community of Jerusalem cf.

These practices nourish his faith and his life in the Spirit, which he needs if he is to live pastoral charity to the full in the exercise of his day-to-day ministry, in communion with God and in fidelity to his mission. By virtue of his episcopal ordination, the Bishop becomes a sacrament of Christ himself, present and active among his people. They must be chosen from among the best priests of the diocese, they should excel in devotion and sound doctrine, suitable pastoral experience, zeal for souls and particular aptitude for succssores and teaching.

Proper attention to rest will allow the Bishop to nurture a profound humanity with wisdom, balance, joy and patience. In due time he should apostolorim up his last will and testament, ensuring that, if any goods have come to him from the service of the altar, they return entirely to the altar.

To this end, the Bishop should seek to ensure that formators and future professors themselves receive the necessary formation, to the highest academic level possible. The Bishop, in guiding his diocese, should observe the principles of justice and legality, knowing that respect for the rights of all in the Church requires that everyone, including himself, be subject to canon law. Prudence will prompt him to preserve the legitimate traditions of his particular Church, but it will also make him keen to encourage due progress, zealous in his search for new initiatives, while always safeguarding the unity that is needed.


The Bishop should also give particular care and attention to ensuring that they are adequately prepared for the task, on a technical, pedagogical, spiritual, human and theological level In the course of his ministry, the Bishop should look to the example of canonized Bishops whose lives, teaching and holiness can shed light on his own spiritual journey and offer him direction.

He should avoid governing according to an unduly personal interpretation of ecclesial life. A separate chapter 8th is dedicated to the parish, the Church present in the midst of the homes of men, and to the Foreign Vicariates, with indications on the adaptation of parish assistance to particular needs. In the exercise of the executive function, the Bishop should keep in mind the following criteria:.

For this reason, St. The practice of obedience is strengthened rather than weakened if the Bishop, as far as possible and without prejudice to justice and charity, explains to the interested parties the reasons for his decisions.

No priest should feel excluded from the paternity, the fraternity and the friendship of the Bishop. Through his episcopal ordination, the Bishop receives a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit which configures him in a singular way to Christ, Head and Shepherd. In fact the Bishop has ultimate responsibility for the admission of candidates to holy orders. The establishment of a major diocesan seminary is conditioned by the resources at the disposal of the diocese for offering a profound human, spiritual, cultural and pastoral formation to candidates for the priesthood.

If he has questions to raise regarding these doctrinal or disciplinary matters, he should, instead, have recourse to the normal channels of communication with the Apostolic See and with other Bishops. This knowledge should be continually updated and confirmed through frequent visits among the people of God entrusted to him — so that he comes to know them — and also through study, socio-religious research, the counsel of prudent persons and constant dialogue with the faithful, since modern life is subject to such rapid changes.

This is the purpose of his pastoral visits, when as much time as possible should be given to personal matters, rather than to administrative concerns which might equally well be addressed by a cleric delegated by the Bishop The latter, by virtue of their baptism, are responsible for the building up of the Body of Christ, and hence for the good of the particular Church The Bishop and the priests are constituted as ministers of the apostolic mission.