The Profession of Faith
Paragraph 4. Christ’s Faithful—Hierarchy, Laity,
“The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they
have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been
constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have
become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office in
their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which
God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord
with the condition proper to each one.”
“In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all
the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the
activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of
Christ in accord with each one’s own condition and function.”
The very differences which the Lord has willed to put
between the members of his body serve its unity and mission. For
“in the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission.
To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office
of teaching, sanctifying, and governing in his name and by his
power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical,
and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and
in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole
People of God.”
Finally, “from both groups [hierarchy and laity]
there exist Christian faithful who are consecrated to God in their
own special manner and serve the salvific mission of the Church
through the profession of the evangelical counsels.”
Why the ecclesial ministry?
Christ is himself the source of ministry in the Church. He
instituted the Church. He gave her authority and mission, orienta
tion and goal:
In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its
numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church
a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body.
The holders of office, who are invested with a sacred power,
385 CIC, can. 204 § 1; cf.
386 CIC, can. 208; cf.
388 CIC, can. 207 § 2.