“One is constituted a member of the episcopal body in
virtue of the sacramental consecration and by the hierarchical
communion with the head and members of the college.”
of the episcopal order are evidenced
among other ways by the Church’s ancient practice which calls for
several bishops to participate in the consecration of a newbishop.
In our day, the lawful ordination of a bishop requires a special
intervention of the Bishop of Rome, because he is the supreme
visible bond of the communion of the particular Churches in the
one Church and the guarantor of their freedom.
As Christ’s vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the
particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears
collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the
all the Churches:
“Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of
the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate succes
sor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, respon-
sible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the
The above considerations explain why the Eucharist cele-
brated by the bishop has a quite special significance as an expres-
sion of the Church gathered around the altar, with the one who
represents Christ, the Good Shepherd and Head of his Church,
The ordination of priests—co-workers of the bishops
“Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the
world, has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bish-
ops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in
their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of
the Church with the office of their ministry.”
“The function of the
bishops’ ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to
priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priest-
hood and be
co-workers of the episcopal order
for the proper fulfillment
of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.”
41 Pius XII,
AAS 49 (1957) 237; cf.
4; 36; 37;
5; 6; 38.
2 § 2.