|The Teaching Function of the Church » The Ministry of the Divine Word
|§1 The office of preaching the Gospel to the whole Church has been committed principally to the Roman Pontiff and to the College of Bishops.
§2 For the particular Churches entrusted to them, that office is exercised by the individual Bishops, who are the moderators of the entire ministry of the word in their
Churches. Sometimes, however, in accordance with the law, a number of Bishops simultaneously carry out that office together in respect of a number of different
|It belongs to priests, as co-operators of the Bishops, to proclaim the Gospel of God. For the people entrusted to their care, this task rests especially on parish priests, and on other priests entrusted with the care of souls. Deacons also are to serve the people of God in the ministry of the word, in union with the Bishop and his presbyterium.
|By reason of their consecration to God, members of institutes of consecrated life bear particular witness to the Gospel, and so are fittingly called upon by the Bishop to help in proclaiming the Gospel.
|The lay members of Christ’s faithful, by reason of their baptism and confirmation, are witnesses to the good news of the Gospel, by their words and by the example of their christian life. They can also be called upon to cooperate with
Bishops and priests in the exercise of the ministry of the word.
|The mystery of Christ is to be faithfully and fully presented in the ministry of the word, which must be founded upon sacred Scripture, Tradition, liturgy and the magisterium and life of the Church.
|While pride of place must always be given to preaching and catechetical instruction, all the available means of proclaiming christian doctrine are to be used: the exposition of doctrine in schools, in institutes of higher learning, at conferences and meetings of all kinds; public declarations by lawful authority on the occasion of certain events; the printed word and other means of social communication.
|The Teaching Function of the Church » The Ministry of the Divine Word » The preaching of the word of God
|The people of God are first united through the word of the living God, and are fully entitled to seek this word from their priests. For this reason sacred ministers are to consider the office of preaching as of great importance, since proclaiming the
Gospel of God to all is among their principal duties.
|Bishops have the right to preach the word of God everywhere, even in churches and oratories of religious institutes of pontifical right, unless the local
Bishop has expressly forbidden it in particular cases.
|Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 765, priests and deacons, with the at least presumed consent of the rector of a church, have the faculty to preach everywhere, unless this faculty has been restricted or removed by the competent
Ordinary, or unless particular law requires express permission.
|To preach to religious in their churches or oratories, permission is required of the Superior who is competent according to their constitutions.
|The laity may be allowed to preach in a church or oratory if in certain circumstances it is necessary, or in particular cases it would be advantageous, according to the provisions of the Episcopal Conference and without prejudice to can. 767 §1.
|§1 The most important form of preaching is the homily, which is part of the liturgy, and is reserved to a priest or deacon. In the course of the liturgical year, the mysteries of faith and the rules of christian living are to be expounded in the homily from the sacred text.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 767 §1, 20.VI.1987]
§2 At all Masses on Sundays and holydays of obligation, celebrated with a congregation, there is to be a homily and, except for a grave reason, this may not be omitted.
§3 It is strongly recommended that, if a sufficient number of people are present, there be a homily at weekday Masses also, especially during Advent and Lent, or on a feast day or an occasion of grief.
§4 It is the responsibility of the parish priest or the rector of a church to ensure that these provisions are carefully observed.
|§1 Those who announce the word of God to Christ’s faithful are first and foremost to set out those things which it is necessary to believe and to practise for the glory of God and the salvation of all.
§2 They are also to explain to the faithful the teaching of the magisterium of the
Church concerning the dignity and freedom of the human person; the unity, stability and duties of the family; people’s social obligations and the ordering of temporal affairs according to the plan established by God.
|Christian teaching is to be explained in a manner that is suited to the condition of the hearers and adapted to the circumstances of the times.
|At certain times, according to the regulations of the diocesan Bishop, parish priests are to arrange for sermons in the form of retreats and missions, as they are called, or in other forms adapted to requirements.
|§1 Pastors of souls, especially Bishops and parish priests, are to be solicitous that the word of God is preached to those also of the faithful who, because of the circumstances of their lives, cannot sufficiently avail themselves of the ordinary pastoral care or are even totally deprived of it.
§2 They are also to take care that the good news of the Gospel reaches those living in their territory who are non-believers, since these too, no less than the faithful, must be included in the care of souls.
|§1 In the exercise of the office of preaching, everyone is moreover to observe the norms laid down by the Bishop of the diocese.
§2 In expounding christian teaching on radio or television, the provisions of the
Episcopal Conference are to be observed.
|The Teaching Function of the Church » The Ministry of the Divine Word » Catechetical instruction
|It is pastors of souls especially who have the serious duty of attending to the catechesis of the christian people, so that, through doctrinal formation and the experience of the christian life, the living faith of the people may be manifest and active.
|§1 The care for catechesis, under the direction of lawful ecclesiastical authority, extends to all members of the Church, to each according to his or her role.
[NB see m.p. Antiquum ministerium, 10.V.2021]
§2 Before all others, parents are bound to form their children, by word and example, in faith and in christian living. The same obligation binds godparents and those who take the place of parents.
|§1 While observing provisions made by the Apostolic See it is the responsibility of diocesan Bishops to issue norms concerning catechetical matters; to ensure that appropriate means of catechesis are available, even by preparing a catechism, if this seems opportune; to foster and to coordinate catechetical initiatives.
§2 If it seems useful, it is for the conference of bishops to take care that catechisms are issued for its territory, with the previous confirmation of the Apostolic See.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
§3 The Episcopal Conference may establish a catechetical office, whose principal purpose is to assist individual dioceses in catechetical matters.
|By virtue of his office, the parish priest is bound to ensure the catechetical formation of adults, young people and children. To this end, he is to avail himself of the help of clerics attached to the parish, as well as of members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, being mindful of the character of each institute; and the assistance of lay members of Christ’s faithful, especially catechists. All of these, unless they are lawfully impeded, are not to refuse to give their labours willingly. The parish priest is also to promote and to foster the role of parents in the family catechesis mentioned in can. 774, §2.
|In a special way, the parish priest is to ensure, in accordance with the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, that:
1° an adequate catechesis is given for the celebration of the sacraments;
2° children are properly prepared for first confession and first holy communion, and for the sacrament of confirmation, by means of catechetical formation over an appropriate period of time;
3° children, after they have made their first holy communion, are given a richer and deeper catechetical formation;
4° as far as their condition allows, catechetical formation is given to the mentally and physically handicapped;
5° the faith of young people and of adults is strengthened, enlightened and developed by various catechetical methods and initiatives .
|Religious Superiors and Superiors of societies of apostolic life are to ensure that catechetical formation is diligently given in their churches and schools, and in other works in any way entrusted to their care.
|Catechetical formation is to be given by employing all those aids, educational resources and means of communication which seem the more effective in securing that the faithful, according to their character capability, age and circumstances of life, may be more fully steeped in catholic teaching and prepared to put it into practice.
|Local Ordinaries are to ensure that catechists are duly trained to carry out their office properly, namely, that continuing formation is available to them, that they have an appropriate knowledge of the teaching of the Church, and that they learn both the theory and the practice of the principles of pedagogy.
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