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232

Part One

are, in fact, dedicated to promoting the interests of their

brethren, so that all who belong to the People of God . . . may

attain to salvation.

389

875

“How are they to believe in him of whom they have never

heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can

men preach unless they are sent?”

390

No one—no individual and no

community—can proclaim the Gospel to himself: “Faith comes from

what is heard.”

391

No one can give himself the mandate and the

mission to proclaim the Gospel. The one sent by the Lord does not

speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue of Christ’s authority;

not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in the name of

Christ. No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and

offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and

empowered by Christ. From him, bishops and priests receive the

mission and faculty (“the sacred power”) to act

in persona Christi

Capitis;

deacons receive the strength to serve the people of God in the

diaconia

of liturgy, word, and charity, in communion with the bishop

and his presbyterate. Theministry inwhichChrist’s emissaries do and

give by God’s grace what they cannot do and give by their own

powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church’s tradition. Indeed, the

ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.

876

Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial

ministry is

its character as service.

Entirely dependent on Christ

who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly “slaves of

Christ,”

392

in the image of himwho freely took “the form of a slave”

for us.

393

Because the word and grace of which they are ministers

are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of

others, they must freely become the slaves of all.

394

877

Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial

ministry that it have a

collegial character.

In fact, from the beginning of

his ministry, the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as “the seeds of the

new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.”

395

Chosen

together, they were also sent out together, and their fraternal unity

would be at the service of the fraternal communion of all the faithful:

they would reflect and witness to the communion of the divine

persons.

396

For this reason every bishop exercises his ministry from

389

LG

18.

390

Rom

10:14-15.

391

Rom

10:17.

392 Cf.

Rom

1:1.

393

Phil

2:7.

394 Cf.

1 Cor

9:19.

395

AG

5.

396 Cf.

Jn

17:21-23.

166

1548

1536

1551

427

1559