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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsPart I-I. The Common Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial PriesthoodPart I-III. The Indispensability of the Ordained MinisteryEndnotes

Part I-II. Unity and Diversity of Ministerial Functions

The functions of the ordained minister, taken as a whole, constitute a single indivisible unity in virtue of their singular foundation in Christ.[36] As with Christ, [37] salvific activity is one and unique. It is signified and realized by the minister through the functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful. This unity essentially defines the exercise of the sacred minister's functions which are always an exercise, in different ways, of the role of Christ as Head of the Church.

Therefore, since the exercise of the munus docendi, sanctificandi et regendi by the sacred minister constitute the essence of pastoral ministry, the diverse functions proper to ordained ministers form an indivisible unity and cannot be understood if separated, one from the other. Rather they must be viewed in terms of mutual correspondence and complementarity. Only in some of these functions, and to a limited degree, may the non-ordained faithful cooperate with their pastors should they be called to do so by lawful Authority and in accordance with the prescribed manner. "He (Jesus Christ) continually provides in his body, that is, in the Church, for gifts of ministries through which, by his power, we serve each other unto salvation...".[38] "The exercise of such tasks does not make Pastors of the lay faithful, in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by Pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority". [39]

This doctrine needs to be reaffirmed especially in the light of certain practices which seek to compensate for numerical shortages of ordained ministers arising in some communities. In some instances, such have given rise to an idea of the common priesthood of the faithful which mistakes its nature and specific meaning. Amongst other things, it can encourage a reduction in vocations to the [ministerial] priesthood and obscure the specific purpose of seminaries as places of formation for the ordained ministry. These are closely related phenomena. Their interdependence calls for careful reflection so as to arrive at well considered conclusions in their regard.

Table of ContentsPart I-I. The Common Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial PriesthoodPart I-III. The Indispensability of the Ordained MinisteryEndnotes

You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest  Back one page.

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You are here: Documents > The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals > On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com