We have thus far read conciliar decrees on priests, laity, and religious. Today we begin the Second Vatican Council’s look at bishops: the Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, known by the Latin title of Christus Dominus (“Christ the Lord”).
Today we read through the Preface of the document. Article 1 starts things off:
1. Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that He might save His people from their sins(1) and that all men might be sanctified. Just as He Himself was sent by the Father, so He also sent His Apostles.(2) Therefore, He sanctified them, conferring on them the Holy Spirit, so that they also might glorify the Father upon earth and save men, “to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12), which is the Church.
Fittingly, the document begins with the titular reference to Jesus, who is the reference point for the authority of the bishops and their primary mission: the salvation of souls.
Articles 2 and 3 flow from the first by elaborating on the role of the pope and bishops in their cooperation with this mission. This sets the stage for the rest of the document to follow.
Here is the Scripture citation:
And the footnotes:
1. cf. Matt. 1:21.
2. cf. John 20:21.
3. cf. First Vatican Council, fourth session, part 1 of Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, c. 3, Denz. 1828 (3061).
4. cf. First Vatican Council, fourth session, Introduction to Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, Denz. 1821 (3050).
5. cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 3, nos. 21, 24 and 25: A.A.S. 57 (1965) pp. 24-25, 29-31.
6. cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 3, no. 21: A.A.S. 57 (1965) pp. 24-25.
7. cf. John XXIII’s apostolic constitution, Humanae Salutis, Dec. 25, 1961: A.A.S. 54 (1962) p. 6.