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118 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

activity, catechetical ministry, the teaching of theology, and the use of

all forms of contemporary media. While witness is essential, we should

be always aware of opportunities to share our faith verbally with each

other and with all those who do not yet profess it. This prophetic role is

exercised with the guidance of the bishops, who have a special teaching

responsibility entrusted to them by Christ.


God’s people share in Christ’s kingly mission, which is to lead others

through loving service to them. Jesus came not “to be served but to serve

and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). We are called,

in imitation of the Lord Jesus, to be people who offer ourselves will-

ingly in service to others. Actions of such service can point to Christ’s

Kingdom of love, justice, mercy, and salvation to all persons, cultures,

governments, and other structures of society. We are also called to a

life of service to the Church herself. Servant leadership is a responsibil-

ity of all God’s people within their differing roles and responsibilities.

Bishops have a particular responsibility of leadership and governance in

the Church.

“Lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the

exercise of this power [of governance].” . . . The Church pro-

vides for their presence at particular councils, diocesan synods,

pastoral councils; the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish,

collaboration in finance committees, and participation in eccle-

siastical tribunals, etc. (CCC, no. 911, citing

Code of Canon


, can. 129 §2)


The image of the Church as Communion has the value of connecting

truths about the Church in a fruitful and harmonious manner. We begin

with a definition of the Church as Communion.