The Church Section 4: The Lived Mission of the Church
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The leadership of the Church is primarily provided by the clergy. • The Pope is the one leader of the Church and is successor of Saint Peter, the first Pope. • The Pope is a symbol of the Church’s unity. • Bishops in communion with the Pope (or those bishops who call the Pope their “boss”), have the responsibilities for the: • Spiritual well being of the entire Church • Maintaining their own assigned dioceses/ archdioceses
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The Church is composed of two distinct, yet interrelated groups: • Hierarchy (Pope, bishops, priests, deacons) • Laity (All people like you and myself who are not ordained) • Christ established the hierarchy of the Church when He appointed Peter as head of the Apostles. • However, this does not mean bishops are more important than priests or the laity. • All members of the Church are equal in dignity, but are called to different roles and ministries to build up the Church.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • From the beginning times of the Church, there have always been the three classes of ordination that are of bishop, priest, and deacon. • Only a bishop can confer, or make real, those three classes of ordination. • If this hierarchy did not exist, then the Church would not be able to make Christ present in the Sacraments.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Christ established the bishops to be the successors of the Apostles and the Pope to be the successor of Saint Peter, the head of the Apostles. • We are sometimes weary of hierarchies, but Christ called His Apostles to not be rulers, but servants. • Popes are known as “Servants of the Servants of God.”
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Just as there are different levels of hierarchy in the Church, so too there are different organizational levels in the Church. • The Holy See is the seat of central administration (government) of the whole Church, under the leadership of the Pope. • A Diocese is a certain geographical area of the Church that is governed by a bishop. • There are around 2,800 dioceses around the world today.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • A Parish is a distinct community within a diocese, usually run by a priest who is then known as a pastor. • The Family is the most basis level and structure of the Church because it is there that faith is taught and practiced. • Also called the Domestic Church. • The Holy Spirit guides all these different organizational levels, who strengthens and guides them.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The Pope is the visible head of the Catholic Church. • The Pope is first a bishop, but not just a bishop; he is the leader of all the world’s bishops. • The Pope has many different titles, including: • Successor of Peter: Peter was the first Pope and leader of the Apostles; Jesus gave Peter the “power of the keys,” showing his authority to govern the Church. • Bishop of Rome: During the time of the Apostles, Rome became the spiritual center for the Church; both Peter and Paul were martyred there.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Head of the College of Bishops: The College of Bishops is the assembly of bishops, in communion with the Pope, that hold teaching authority and responsibility over the Church. The Pope has the ability to create new bishops and bishops only have power when in communion with him. • Vicar of Christ: A Vicar is someone who serves as a substitute or agent for someone else. As Vicar of Christ, the Pope acts in the person of Christ, His human representative on Earth.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Pastor of the Universal Church: The Pope is called to be pastor of the wider Church, not just a local community, such as Rome; Christ empowers the Pope to have full, supreme, and universal power over the entire Church on Earth. • We look up to the Pope in a unique way, especially for guidance and inspiration on our common journey to an encounter with Christ.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The bishops of the world have busy schedules since they are called to teach, sanctify, and govern the Church with the Pope. • Christ formed the Twelve Apostles into a “college,” or permanent group, with Peter as their leader. • The bishops, as successors to the Apostles, receive the same authority that Christ gave to His Twelve Apostles through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The bishop is a symbol of his own particular diocese being in union with the universal Church. • Bishops are all ordained first as priests. • To become a bishop, one must: • Be in a diocese that has an open position for the bishop • Be recommended by local bishops, a papal representative, and the Congregation of Bishops • If a priest, be ordained as a bishop
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Major offices in the Church are usually headed by Cardinals, or senior Church officials and usually bishops who are given this title by the Pope, and are counted among the Church’s hierarchy who can elect a new pontiff. • A bishop sanctifies the Church by overseeing the administration of Sacraments within his diocese. • All validity of the Sacraments at our local churches flow from the sacramental authority of the bishop.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • A bishop is the only person who can ordain a priest or deacon since the Sacrament of Holy Orders continues the ministry of the Apostles. • Ministry is a word based on a word for “service,” which is a way of caring for and serving others and helping the Church fulfill its ministry. • The bishop, in his diocese, has the ability to set guidelines and rules for receiving the Sacraments.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The bishop must follow in the example of Christ to serve others, not to be served. • However, the bishops do not go unchecked in their power; they must use their authority to better the entire Church and they answer to the Pope. • The bishops must show concern for the poor, the persecuted because of their faith, and for missionaries throughout the world.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • A bishop is primarily in charge of his own diocese, but also for churches throughout the world that are most in need. • A bishop’s relationship with other bishops is known as “collegial,” meaning they share equally in the authority to make decisions affecting the Church in a particular region or for the worldwide Church, always done in union with the Pope. • Bishops gather with the Pope in such meetings as Ecumenical Councils, synods, or provincial councils at a more local level.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • A priest is the person in the Church who shares in the bishop’s service to the Church at a more local level. • Priests are in union with their bishop, just as the bishops are all in union with the Pope. • In the early Church, the term Presbyter was more commonly used when speaking about priests. • In Greek, Presbyter means “elder,” referring to a person who has experience within their community and can be looked up to.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Priests usually are responsible for a particular parish within the diocese, like Fr. Mike is the priest in charge here at St. Mary. • All baptized Catholics are called to participate in what is called the common priesthood of the faithful. • Yet this is much different that ministerial priesthood, or men who are ordained as actual priests.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The Sacrament of Holy Orders confers on a priest a special responsibility to: • Be at the service of the faithful • Represent Christ to their local community • The priest’s primary role is to celebrate the Sacraments, including the Eucharist every Sunday. • Priests, however, also have other important jobs, such as: • Tending Catholic schools • Visiting the sick • Make sure their parish is working properly • Assuring the upkeep of all Church buildings.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The priest is also called to “making disciples of all nations.” • Christ acts through the priest and is present in the priest when offering the Eucharist. • A calling to the priesthood is known as a Vocation, and in a broader sense a Vocation is also a call to all members of the Church to embrace a life of holiness.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • Deacons usually are not full time Church ministers; rather, the work in the world to make a living, like much of the laity. • Deacons can be married and have families. • The Greek word Diakoinia literally means “service,” which is what a deacon is primarily ordained to do: to serve and minister.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • You can round the services of a deacon into three categories: • Service of the Liturgy • Service of the Word • Service of Charity • A deacon, in the Liturgy (Sacraments and the Mass), can: • Be a minister at Baptism • Bless marriages in the Sacrament of Matrimony • Assist at the Eucharist and distribute it
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • In service to the Word, deacons can: • Proclaim the Gospel at Mass • Give a homily • Hold Bible studies • In service to Charity, deacons can: • Minister to familiesin need • Assist in administering Church finances • Coordinate various social services • We see the title of deacon used in the New Testament, administering to widows and helping them survive.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • The Apostles selected seven men to assist them in their mission, with Saint Stephen as one of the seven men chosen to help. • Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons and is known as the first martyr of the Catholic Church after he was stoned to death. • Over years, the deaconate declined as a ministry in the Catholic Church, especially in liturgical traditions.
Part 1: The Leadership Structure of the Church • However, the Second Vatican Council restored the deaconate into a permanent ministry in the Catholic Church. • Today, deacons have very active roles in the Church, assisting the priests in their mission to bring Christ to the world.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Christ calls all people to holiness, not just the hierarchy of the Church that we just learned about. • We are called to be holy by following the evangelical counsels of: • Obedience • Chastity • Poverty • Laity are called to the vocation of Marriage, so as to raise their families in the faith of the Church and continuously create holy peoples.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • When a person publicly professes the evangelical vows, they enter what is known as consecrated life, such as in a religious order or community. • Religious communities have their origin in the Egyptian deserts where hermits lived apart from society. • Religious communities still exist today, with newer forms being instituted, as well as older forms being brought back to life.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Celibacy is the state or condition of those who have chosen or taken vows to remain unmarried in order to devote themselves entirely to the Church. • Priests make this promise in Holy Orders. • A vow is a free and conscious commitment made to other persons, the Church, or to God. • Religious priests, brothers, and sisters all make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. • However, all Christians are called to these virtues.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • On our path to holiness, we are all called to follow the Evangelical Counsels, or the call to go beyond the minimum rules of life required by God (such as the 10 Commandments) and strive for spiritual perfection through a life committed to chastity, poverty, and obedience. • Men and women who profess publicly the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience have a vocation to living a consecrated life.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Jesus calls us to poverty, but that does not mean we all have to literally give up all our possessions. • The evangelical counsel of poverty calls us to focus on spiritual riches, instead of material riches. • Christ calls us to use money and possessions in a moderate and healthy way that does not consume our entire lives. • When publicly taken as a vow of poverty, a religious person does give up the right to individual possessions, promising to share possessions in common with one another. • Diocesan priests are called to live simple lives, but do not take a vow of poverty.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Chastity is the virtue by which people are able to successfully and healthfully integrate their sexuality into their total person and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. • By being chase, we are called not to suppress sexuality, bur rather control our sexual desires instead of having them control us. • Even married couples are called to chastity; obviously, they are to remain faithful to one another. • This also means when spacing out time between children and using natural family planning, married couples are called to abstain from sex and find other ways to be intimate.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • As young people, you are called to complete abstinence before Marriage. • It is difficult to live such a life in today’s society, but being chase allows you to appreciate the beauty of sexuality and share that beauty with the person you marry. • Those called to consecrated life, including priests, are called to live chaste lives through their vow of celibacy. • This means they commit not to get married and to not have sexual relationships. • By being chaste, a priest or consecrated person can live a life totally devoted to God.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • All Christians are called to obey Christ (0bedience); this is the very definition of being a disciple. • Since the Pope and bishops are vicars of Christ on Earth, we are then called to also obey their teachings. • In our society, we like being independent and not listen to other people; however, Christ showed us what it means to be humble and obedient, just as He was obedient to the Father’s will for Him to die on the cross.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Ordained ministers and those in consecrated life make special, lifelong vows of obedience. • Priests and deacons are obedient to their bishop. • If in consecrated life, such as a nun, they take a vow of obedience to their religious superior, who watches over all those who live in communities together and who are consecrated.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • We compose what is called the laity of the Church, since we are not ordained/ consecrated, and are part of the Body of Christ. • The laity’s primary role in the Church is to be witnesses of God’s love to the whole world. • We have a right and duty to help others known about Christ, the Gospel message, and transform society when it goes astray. • Even though we are not ordained, we participate in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ by spreading His message.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • The laity share in Christ’s priesthood by offering their daily work, family life, and leisure activities, as a sacrifice to the Father, just as a priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass to God. • By praying and praying for others too, we share in Christ’s priestly office. • Obviously, the ministerial priesthood (actually being a priest) is different than the common priesthood of all the faithful. • Ordained priests receive sacred powers for the service of the faithful, which is exercised in their teaching, sacred liturgy, and pastoral leadership.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • The laity share in Christ’s prophetic office by being witnesses and readily accepting the true teaching of the Church in faith and morals. • To be a prophet literally means to share God’s word with those who need to hear it. • Laity can also be prophets by: • Evangelization, or proclaiming Christ through word and deed • Being religious teachers • Taking part in Catholic social media • Making the Catholic stance known to society in a respectful manner
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • The laity share in Christ’s kingly office by being leaders in choosing to do right over wrong, following God, and serving those most in need. • The laity are called to lead others and be examples through their moral choices. • Laity can also be leaders by taking part in various Church committees and assisting in making their Church a better place for all people.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Many of us, as laity, have relationships with people who probably have never got to Church or even met a priest, which is why we are called to participate in Christ’s mission and live holy lives so others can see. • A primary way lay people participate in Christ’s mission is through their work/ their job. • Whether a student, teacher, nurse, librarian, etc., by doing our work well, being honest, friendly, caring, etc., we give witness to what the Kingdom of God is all about.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Another primary way lay people participate in Christ's mission is through Marriage. • Through Marriage, lay people raise a family and bring children up in the teachings of Christ, hence spreading and continuing God’s Word. • Some people have renounced the great good of Marriage so as to follow Christ as a single, celibate person. • Such people sometimes join religious communities, while others just remain single in society, helping others and growing closer to Christ.
Part 2: Many Vocations to Holiness • Some laity work in political offices of power; others are called to make their voice heard in society. • Laity in power of communities have a great responsibility to work for the common good, to act harmoniously with Church teaching, and be witnesses to peace and justice. • The family, composed of the laity, is known as the “domestic Church,” since it is there, at home, that we first hear about God in some way. • The Christian family is the first and best teacher of human virtues and Christian charity.