Pope signs Apostolic Exhortation 'Pastoris Regis'

 Made public today was the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Pastores Gregis' written by Pope John Paul in conclusion to the Tenth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "The Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." The synod was held in the Vatican from September 30 to October 28, 2001. Pope John Paul signed the document in the Paul VI Hall this morning at 11 in the presence of the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia. The 196-page document is divided into an Introduction, seven Chapters and a Conclusion. The Introduction has four sections: the Tenth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; a hope founded on Christ; Hope, when hopes are dashed; Servants of the Gospel for the hope of the world (which was the synod's theme). Chapter One is entitled "The Mystery and Ministry of the Bishops" and has five parts: "... and He chose from them Twelve" (Lk 6:13); The Trinitarian Foundation of the episcopal ministry; The collegial nature of the episcopal ministry; the missionary character and the unitary nature of the episcopal ministry; and "He called to Him those whom He desired" (Mk 3:13-14). The Holy Father divided Chapter Two, "The Spiritual Life of the Bishop," into 15 sections: "And He appointed Twelve that they might be with Him" (Mk 3:14); The call to holiness in the Church in our time; The Bishop's spiritual journey; Mary, Mother of Hope and teacher of the spiritual life; Entrusting oneself to the word; Drawing nourishment from the Eucharist; Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours; The way of the evangelical counsels and the Beatitudes; The virtue of obedience; The spirit and practice of poverty in Bishops; With chastity at the service of a Church which reflects the purity of Christ; The proponent of a spirituality of communion and mission; a journey undertaken in everyday life; The permanent formation of Bishops; and The example of sainted bishops. In Chapter Three, he writes of the Bishop as "Teacher of the Faith and Herald of the Word." There are six parts: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel" (Mk 16:15); Christ at the heart of the Gospel and of humanity; The Bishop, hearer and guardian of the word; Authentic and authoritative service of the word; Episcopal ministry for the inculturation of the Gospel; Preaching by word and example. "Minister of the Grace of the High Priesthood" is the title of Chapter Four. It has ten sections: "Sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be saints" (1 Cor 1:2); The source and summit of the life of the particular Church; The importance of the Cathedral Church; The Bishop, moderator of the liturgy as a pedagogy of faith; The centrality of the Lord's Day and the liturgical year; The Bishop as minister of the Eucharistic celebration; The Bishop's responsibility for Christian initiation; The Bishop's responsibilities in the discipline of penance; Attention to popular piety; Promoting holiness for all the faithful. John Paul II entitles Chapter Five "The Pastoral Governance of the Bishops." Its thirteen sections are: "I have given you an example" (Jn 13:15); The Bishop's authority as pastoral service; Pastoral style of governance and diocesan communion; The elements of the particular Church; The Pastoral Visit; The Bishop with his presbyterate; The formation of candidates for the priesthood; The Bishop and permanent deacons; The Bishop's concern for persons of consecrated life; The lay faithful in the pastoral care of the Bishops; The Bishop's concern for the family; Young people, a pastoral priority for the future; The promotion of vocations. Chapter Six is entitled "In the Communion of the Churches" and it looks at: "Anxiety for all the Churches" (2 Cor 11:28); The Diocesan Bishop in relation to the Church's Supreme Authority; Visits "ad limina Apostolorum"; The Synod of Bishops; Communion between the Bishops and the Churches at the local level; The Eastern Catholic Churches; The Patriarchal Churches and their Synods; The organization of the Metropolitan See and of Ecclesial Provinces; Episcopal Conferences; The Church's Unity and ecumenical dialogue; Missionary Spirit in the episcopal ministry. Pope John Paul calls Chapter Seven "The Bishop Before the Challenges of the Present." In it he addresses: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33); The Bishop, Promoter of justice and peace; Interreliguious dialogue, especially on behalf of world peace; Civil, social and economic life; Respect for the Environment and the protection of creation; The Bishop's ministry in the field of health; The Bishop's pastoral care of migrants. Source: VIS

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