Reconciliatio et paenitentia EN 18
18 Over the course of generations, the Christian mind has gained from the Gospel as it is read in the ecclesial community a fine sensitivity and an acute perception of the seeds of death contained in sin, as well as a sensitivity and an acuteness of perception for identifying them in the thousand guises under which sin shows itself. This is what is commonly called the sense of sin.
This sense is rooted in man's moral conscience and is as it were its thermometer. It is linked to the sense of God, since it derives from man's conscious relationship with God as his Creator, Lord and Father. Hence, just as it is impossible to eradicate completely the sense of God or to silence the conscience completely, so the sense of sin is never completely eliminated.
Nevertheless, it happens not infrequently in history, for more or less lengthy periods and under the influence of many different factors, that the moral conscience of many people becomes seriously clouded. "Have we the right idea of conscience?"-I asked two years ago in an address to the faithful" Is it not true that modern man is threatened by an eclipse of conscience? By a deformation of conscience? By a numbness or 'deadening' of conscience,"(97) Too many signs indicate that such an eclipse exists in our time. This is all the more disturbing in that conscience, defined by the council as "the most secret core and sanctuary of a man,"(98) is "strictly related to human freedom.... For this reason conscience, to a great extent, constitutes the basis of man's interior dignity and, at the same time, of his relationship to God."(99) It is inevitable therefore that in this situation there is an obscuring also of the sense of sin, which is closely connected with the moral conscience, the search for truth and the desire to make a responsible use of freedom. When the conscience is weakened the sense of God is also obscured, and as a result, with the loss of this decisive inner point of reference, the sense of sin is lost. This explains why my predecessor Pius XI, one day declared, in words that have almost become proverbial, that "the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin."(100)
Why has this happened in our time. A glance at certain aspects of contemporary culture can help us to understand the progressive weakening of the sense of sin, precisely because of the crisis of conscience and crisis of the sense of God already mentioned.
"Secularism" is by nature and definition a movement of ideas and behavior which advocates a humanism totally without God, completely centered upon the cult of action and production and caught up in the heady enthusiasm of consumerism and pleasure seeking, unconcerned with the danger of "losing one's soul." This secularism cannot but undermine the sense of sin. At the very most, sin will be reduced to what offends man. But it is precisely here that we are faced with the bitter experience which I already alluded to in my first encyclical namely, that man can build a world without God, but this world will end by turning against him."(101) In fact, God is the origin and the supreme end of man, and man carries in himself a divine seed.(102) Hence it is the reality of God that reveals and illustrates the mystery of man. It is therefore vain to hope that there will take root a sense of sin against man and against human values, if there is no sense of offense against God, namely the true sense of sin.
Another reason for the disappearance of the sense of sin in contemporary society is to be found in the errors made in evaluating certain findings of the human sciences. Thus on the basis of certain affirmations of psychology, concern to avoid creating feelings of guilt or to place limits on freedom leads to a refusal ever to admit any shortcoming. Through an undue extrapolation of the criteria of the science of sociology, it finally happens-as I have already said-that all failings are blamed upon society, and the individual is declared innocent of them. Again, a certain cultural anthropology so emphasizes the undeniable environmental and historical conditioning and influences which act upon man, that it reduces his responsibility to the point of not acknowledging his ability to perform truly human acts and therefore his ability to sin.
The sense of sin also easily declines as a result of a system of ethics deriving from a certain historical relativism. This may take the form of an ethical system which relativizes the moral norm, denying its absolute and unconditional value, and as a consequence denying that there can be intrinsically illicit acts independent of the circumstances in which they are performed by the subject. Herein lies a real "overthrowing and downfall of moral values," and "the problem is not so much one of ignorance of Christian ethics," but ignorance "rather of the meaning, foundations and criteria of the moral attitude."(103) Another effect of this ethical turning upside down is always such an attenuation of the notion of sin as almost to reach the point of saying that sin does exist, but no one knows who commits it.
Finally the sense of sin disappears when-as can happen in the education of youth, in the mass media and even in education within the family-it is wrongly identified with a morbid feeling of guilt or with the mere transgression of legal norms and precepts.
The loss of the sense of sin is thus a form or consequence of the denial of God: not only in the form of atheism but also in the form of secularism. If sin is the breaking, off of one's filial relationship to God in order to situate one's life outside of obedience to him, then to sin is not merely to deny God. To sin is also to live as if he did not exist, to eliminate him from one's daily life. A model of society which is mutilated or distorted in one sense or another, as is often encouraged by the mass media, greatly favors the gradual loss of the sense of sin. In such a situation the obscuring or weakening of the sense of sin comes from several sources: from a rejection of any reference to the transcendent in the name of the individual's aspiration to personal independence; from acceptance of ethical models imposed by general consensus and behavior, even when condemned by the individual conscience; from the tragic social and economic conditions that oppress a great part of humanity, causing a tendency to see errors and faults only in the context of society; finally and especially, from the obscuring of the notion of God's fatherhood and dominion over man's life.
Even in the field of the thought and life of the church certain trends inevitably favor the decline of the sense of sin. For example, some are inclined to replace exaggerated attitudes of the past with other exaggerations: From seeing sin everywhere they pass to not recognizing it anywhere; from too much emphasis on the fear of eternal punishment they pass to preaching a love of God that excludes any punishment deserved by sin; from severity in trying to correct erroneous consciences they pass to a kind of respect for conscience which excludes the duty of telling the truth. And should it not be added that the confusion caused in the consciences of many of the faithful by differences of opinions and teachings in theology, preaching, catechesis and spiritual direction on serious and delicate questions of Christian morals ends by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it altogether? Nor can certain deficiencies in the practice of sacramental penance be overlooked. These include the tendency to obscure the ecclesial significance of sin and of conversion and to reduce them to merely personal matters; or vice versa, the tendency to nullify the personal value of good and evil and to consider only their community dimension. There also exists the danger, never totally eliminated, of routine ritualism that deprives the sacrament of its full significance and formative effectiveness.
The restoration of a proper sense of sin is the first way of facing the grave spiritual crisis looming over man today. But the sense of sin can only be restored through a clear reminder of the unchangeable principles of reason and faith which the moral teaching of the church has always upheld.
There are good grounds for hoping that a healthy sense of sin will once again flourish, especially in the Christian world and in the church. This will be aided by sound catechetics, illuminated by the biblical theology of the covenant, by an attentive listening and trustful openness to the magisterium of the church, which; never ceases to enlighten consciences, and by an ever more careful practice of the sacrament of penance.
-97. Pope John Paul II, Angelus Message of March 14, 1982: Insegnamenti V, 1 (1982),861.
-98. Gaudium et Spes, GS 16.
-99. Pope John Paul II, Angelus Message of March 14, 1982: Insegnamenti V, 1 (1982),860.
-100. Pope Pius XII, Radio Message to the U.S. National Catechetical Congress in Boston (October 26,1946): Discorsi e Radiomessaggi VIII (1946) 288.
-101. Cf Pope John Paul II, encyclical Redemptor Hominis, RH 15, AAS 71 (1979), 286-289.
-102. Cf Gaudium et Spes, GS 3 cf 1Jn 3,9.
-103. Pope John Paul II, Address to the Bishops of the Eastern Region of France (April 1,1982),2: Insegnamenti V, 1 (1982), 1081.
19 In order to understand sin we have had to direct our attention to its nature as made known to us by the revelation of the economy of salvation: This is the mysterium iniquitatis. But in this economy sin is not the main principle, still less the victor. Sin fights against another active principle which-to use a beautiful and evocative expression of St. Paul-we can call the mysterium or sacramentum pietatis. Man's sin would be the winner and in the end destructive, God's salvific plan would remain incomplete or even totally defeated, if this mysterium pietatis were not made part of the dynamism of history in order to conquer man's sin.
We find this expression in one of St. Paul's pastoral letters, the First Letter to Timothy. It appears unexpectedly, as if by an exuberant inspiration. The apostle had previously devoted long paragraphs of his message to his beloved disciple to an explanation of the meaning of the ordering of the community (the liturgical order and the related hierarchical one). Next he had spoken of the role of the heads of the community, before turning to the conduct of Timothy himself in the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth." Then at the end of the passage suddenly, but with a profound purpose, he evokes the element which gives meaning to everything that he has written: "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion."(104)
Without in the least betraying the literal sense of the text, we can broaden this magnificent theological insight of St. Paul into a more complete vision of the role which the truth proclaimed by him plays in the economy of salvation: "Great indeed," we repeat with him, "is the mystery of our religion," because it conquers sin.
But what is the meaning of this expression, in Paul's mind?
-104. 1Tm 3,15f.
20 It is profoundly significant that when Paul presents this mysterium pietatis he simply transcribes, without making a grammatical link with what he has just written,(105) three lines of a Christological hymn which-in the opinion of authoritative scholars- has used in the Greek-speaking Christian communities.
In the words of that hymn, full of theological content and rich in noble beauty, those first-century believers professed their faith in the mystery of Christ, whereby:
13. He was made manifest in the reality of human flesh and was constituted by the Holy Spirit as the Just One who offers himself for the unjust.
14. He appeared to the angels, having been made greater than them, and he was preached to the nations as the bearer of salvation.
15. He was believed in, in the world, as the one sent by the Father, and by the same Father assumed into heaven as Lord.(106)
The mystery or sacrament of pietas, therefore, is the very mystery of Christ. It is, in a striking summary, the mystery of the incarnation and redemption, of the full passover of Jesus, the Son of God and son of Mary: the mystery of his passion and death, of his resurrection and glorification. What St. Paul in quoting the phrases of the hymn wished to emphasize was that this mystery is the hidden vital principle which makes the church the house of God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Following the Pauline teaching, we can affirm that this same mystery of God's infinite loving kindness toward us is capable of penetrating to the hidden roots of our iniquity! in order to evoke in the soul a movement of conversion, in order to redeem it and set it on course toward reconciliation.
St. John too undoubtedly referring to this mystery, but in his own characteristic language which differs from St. Paul's, was able to write that "anyone born of God does not sin, but he who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him."(107) In this Johannine affirmation there is an indication of hope, based on the divine promises: The Christian has received the guarantee and the necessary strength not to sin. It is not a question therefore of a sinlessness acquired through one's own virtue or even inherent in man, as the Gnostics thought. It is a result of God's action. In order not to sin the Christian has knowledge of God, as St. John reminds us in this same passage. But a little before he had written: "No one born of God commits sin; for God's seed abides in him."(108) If by "God's seed" we understand, as some commentators suggest, Jesus the Son of God, then we can say that in order not to sin or in order to gain freedom from sin the Christian has within himself the presence of Christ and the mystery of Christ, which is the mystery of God's loving kindness.
-105. The text presents a certain difficulty, since the relative pronoun which opens the literal translation does not agree with the neuter mysterion. Some late manuscripts have adjusted the text in order to correct the grammar. But it was Paul's intention merely to put next to what he had written a venerable text which for him was fully explanatory.
-106. The early Christian community expresses its faith in the crucified and glorified Christ, whom the angels adore and who is the Lord. But the striking element of this message remains the phrase"manifested in the flesh": that the eternal Son of God became man is the "great mystery.
-107. 1Jn 5,18f.
-108. Ibid., 1Jn 3,9.
21 But there is another aspect to the mysterium pietatis: The loving kindness of God toward the Christian must be matched by the piety of the Christian toward God. In this second meaning of the word, piety (eusebeia) means precisely the conduct of the Christian who responds to God's fatherly loving kindness with his own filial Piety.
In this sense too we can say with St. Paul that "great indeed is the mystery of our religion. In this sense too piety, as a force for conversion and reconciliation, confronts iniquity and sin. In this case too the essential aspects of the mystery of Christ are the object of piety in the sense that the Christian accepts the mystery, contemplates it and draws from it the spiritual strength necessary for living according to the Gospel. Here too one must say that "no one born of God commits sin"; but the expression has an imperative sense: Sustained by the mystery of Christ as by an interior source of spiritual energy, the Christian,being a child of God, is warned not to sin and indeed receives the commandment not to sin but to live in a manner worthy of "the house of God, that is, the church of the living God."(1Tm 3,15)
22 Thus the word of Scripture, as it reveals to us the mystery of pietas, opens the intellect to conversion and reconciliation, understood not as lofty abstractions but as concrete Christian values to be achieved in our daily lives.
Deceived by the loss of the sense of sin and at times tempted by an illusion of sinlessness which is not at all Christian, the people of today too need to listen again to St. John's admonition, as addressed to each one of them personally: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,"(110) and indeed, "the whole world is in the power of the evil one."(111) Every individual therefore is invited by the voice of divine truth to examine realistically his or her conscience and to confess that he or she has been brought forth in iniquity, as we say in the Miserere psalm."(112)
Nevertheless, though threatened by fear and despair, the people of today can feel uplifted by the divine promise which opens to them the hope of full reconciliation.
The mystery of pietas, on God's part, is that mercy in which our Lord and Father-I repeat it again-is infinitely rich.(113) As I said in my encyclical on the subject of divine mercy,(114) it is a love more powerful than sin, stronger than death. When we realize that God's love for us does not cease in the face of our sin or recoil before our offenses, but becomes even mere attentive and generous; when we realize that this love went so far as cause the passion and death of the Word made flesh who consented to redeem us at the price of his own blood, then we exclaim in gratitude: "Yes, the Lord is rich in mercy,n and even: "The Lord is mercy."
The mystery of pietas is the path opened by divine mercy to a reconciled life.
-110. 1Jn 1,8.
-111. Ibid., 1Jn 5,19.
-112. Cf .
-113. Cf Ep 2,4.
-114. Cf Pope John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, DM 8 DM 15, AAS 72 (1980), 1203-1207; 1231.
23 To evoke conversion and penance in man's heart and to offer him the gift of reconciliation is the specific mission of the church as she continues the redemptive work of her divine founder. It is not a mission which consists merely of a few theoretical statements and the putting forward of an ethical ideal unaccompanied by the energy with which to carry it out. Rather it seeks to express itself in precise ministerial functions directed toward a concrete practice of penance and reconciliation.
We can call this ministry, which is founded on and illumined by the principles of faith which we have explained and which is directed toward precise objectives and sustained by adequate means, the pastoral activity of penance and reconciliation. Its point of departure is the church's conviction that man, to whom every form of pastoral activity is directed but principally that of penance and reconciliation, is the man marked by sin whose striking image is to be found in King David. Rebuked by the prophet Nathan, David faces squarely his own iniquity and confesses: "I have sinned against the Lord,"(115) and proclaims: "I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."(116) But he also prays: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow,"(117) and he receives the response of the divine mercy: "The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die."(118)
The church thus finds herself face to face with man-with the whole human world-wounded by sin and affected by sin in the innermost depths of his being. But at the same time he is moved by an unrestrainable desire to be freed from sin and, especially if he is a Christian, he is aware that the mystery of pietas, Christ the Lord, is already acting in him and in the world by the power of the redemption.
The church's reconciling role must therefore be carried out in accordance with that intimate link which closely connects the forgiveness and remission of the sin of each person with the fundamental and full reconciliation of humanity which took place with the redemption. This link helps us to understand that, since sin is the active principle of division-division between man and the nature created by God-only conversion from sin is capable of bringing about a profound and lasting reconciliation wherever division has penetrated.
I do not need to repeat what I have already said about the importance of this "ministry of reconciliation,"(119) and of the pastoral activity whereby it is carried out in the church's consciousness and life. This pastoral activity would be lacking an essential aspect of its being and failing in an indispensable function if the "message of reconciliation"(120) were not proclaimed with clarity and tenacity in season and out of season, and if the gift of reconciliation were not offered to the world. But it is worth repeating that the importance of the ecclesial service of reconciliation extends beyond the confines of the church to the whole world.
To speak of the pastoral activity of penance and reconciliation, then, is to refer to all the tasks incumbent on the church, at all levels, for their promotion. More concretely, to speak of this pastoral-activity is to evoke all the activities whereby the church, through each and every one of her members-pastors and faithful, at all levels and in all spheres, and with all the means at her disposal, words and actions, teaching and prayer-leads people individually or as groups to true penance and thus sets them on the path to full reconciliation.
The fathers of the synod, as representatives of their brother bishops and as leaders of the people entrusted to them, concerned themselves with the most practical and concrete elements of this pastoral activity. And I am happy to echo their concerns by associating myself with their anxieties and hopes, by receiving the results of their research and experiences, and by encouraging them in their plans and achievements. May they find in this part of the present apostolic exhortation the contribution which they themselves made to the synod, a contribution the usefulness of which I wish to extend, through these pages, to the whole church.
I therefore propose to call attention to the essentials of the pastoral activity of penance and reconciliation by emphasizing, with the synod assembly, the following two points:
1. The means used and the paths followed by the church in order to promote penance and reconciliation.
2. The sacrament par excellence of penance and reconciliation.
-115. 2S 12,13.
-117. Ibid., Ps 51,7 (50).
-118. 2S 12,13.
-119. Cf 2Co 5,18.
-120. Cf 2Co 5,19.
24 In order to promote penance and reconciliation, the church has at her disposal two principal means which were entrusted to her by her founder himself: catechesis and the sacraments. Their use has always been considered by the church as fully in harmony with the requirements of her salvific mission and at the same time as corresponding to the requirements and spiritual needs of people in all ages. This use can be in forms and ways both old and new, among which it will be a good idea to remember in particular what we can call, in the expression of my predecessor Paul VI, the method of dialogue.
25 For the church, dialogue is in a certain sense a means and especially a way of carrying out her activity in the modern world.
The Second Vatican Council proclaims that "the church, by virtue of her mission to shed on the whole world the radiance of the gospel message, and to unify under one Spirit all people... stands forth as a sign of that fraternal solidarity which allows honest dialogue and invigorates it." The council adds that the church should be capable of "establishing an ever more fruitful dialogue among all those who compose the one people of God" and also of "establishing a dialogue with human society."(122)
My predecessor Paul VI devoted to dialogue a considerable part of his first encyclical, Ecclesism Suam, in which he describes it and significantly characterizes it as the dialogue of salvation.(123)
The church in fact uses the method of dialogue in order the better to lead people-both those who through baptism and the profession of faith acknowledge their membership of the Christian community and also those who are outside-to conversion and repentance, along the path of a profound renewal of their own consciences and lives in the light of the mystery of the redemption and salvation accomplished by Christ and entrusted to the ministry of his church. Authentic dialogue, therefore, is aimed above all at the rebirth of individuals through interior conversion and repentance, but always with profound respect for consciences and with patience and at the step-by-step pace indispensable for modern conditions.
Pastoral dialogue aimed at reconciliation continues to be today a fundamental task of the church in different spheres and at different levels.
The church in the first place promotes an ecumenical dialogue, that is, with churches and ecclesial communities which profess faith in Christ, the Son of God and only savior. She also promotes dialogue with the other communities of people who are seeking God and wish to have a relationship of communion with him.
At the basis of this dialogue with the other churches and Christian communities and with the other religions, and as a condition of her credibility and effectiveness, there must be a sincere effort of permanent and renewed dialogue within the Catholic Church herself. She is aware that, by her nature, she is the sacrament of the universal communion of charity;(124) but she is equally aware of the tensions within her, tensions which risk becoming factors of division.
The heartfelt and determined invitation which was already extended by my predecessor in preparation for the 1975 Holy Year(125) is also valid at the present moment. In order to overcome conflicts and to ensure that normal tensions do not prove harmful to the unity of the church, we must all apply to ourselves the word of God; we must relinquish our own subjective views and seek the truth where it is to be found, namely in the divine word itself and in the authentic interpretation of that word provided by the magisterium of the church. In this light, listening to one another, respect, refraining from all hasty judgments, patience, the ability to avoid subordinating the faith which unites to the opinions, fashions and ideological choices which divide-these are all qualities of a dialogue within the church which must be persevering, open and sincere. Obviously dialogue would not have these qualities and would not become a factor of reconciliation if the magisterium were not heeded and accepted.
Thus actively engaged in seeking her own internal communion, the Catholic Church can address an appeal for reconciliation to the other churches with which there does not exist full communion, as well as to the other religions and even to all those who are seeking God with a sincere heart. This she has been doing for some time.
In the light of the council and of the magisterium of my predecessors, whose precious inheritance I have received and am making every effort to preserve and put into effect, I can affirm that the Catholic Church at every level is committed to frank ecumenical dialogue, without facile optimism but also without distrust and without hesitation or delays. The fundamental laws which she seeks to follow in this dialogue are, on the one hand, the conviction that only a spiritual ecumenism-namely an ecumenism founded on common prayer and in a common docility to the one Lord-enables us to make a sincere and serious response to the other exigencies of ecumenical action.(126) The other law is the conviction that a certain facile irenicism in doctrinal and especially dogmatic matters could perhaps lead to a form of superficial and short-lived coexistence, but it could not lead to that profound and stable communion which we all long for. This communion will be reached at the hour willed by divine providence. But in order to reach it, the Catholic Church, for her part, knows that she must be open and sensitive to all "the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren";(127) but she also knows that she must likewise base a frank and constructive dialogue upon a clarity regarding her own positions and upon fidelity and consistency with the faith transmitted and defined in accordance with the perennial tradition of her magisterium. Notwithstanding the threat of a certain defeatism and despite the inevitable slowness which rashness could never correct, the Catholic Church continues with all other Christian brethren to seek the paths to unity, and with the followers of the other religions she continues to seek to have sincere dialogue. May this inter-religious dialogue lead to the overcoming of all attitudes of hostility, distrust, mutual condemnation and even mutual invective, which is the precondition for encounter at least in faith in one God and in the certainty of eternal life for the immortal soul. May the Lord especially grant that ecumenical dialogue will also lead to a sincere reconciliation concerning everything that we already have in common with the other Christian churches- faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, our savior and Lord; a listening to the word; the study of revelation and the sacrament of baptism.
To the extent to which the church is capable of generating active harmony-unity in variety-within herself and of offering herself as a witness to and humble servant of reconciliation with the other churches and ecclesial communities and the other religions, she becomes, in the expressive definition of St. Augustine, a "reconciled world."(128) Then she will be able to be a sign of reconciliation in the world and for the world.
The church is aware of the extreme seriousness of the situation created by the forces of division and war, which today constitute a grave threat not only to the balance and harmony of nations but to the very survival of humanity, and she feels it her duty to offer and suggest her own unique collaboration for the overcoming of conflicts and the restoration of concord.
It is a complex and delicate dialogue of reconciliation in which the church is engaged, especially through the work of the Holy See and its different organisms. The Holy See already endeavors to intervene with the leaders of nations and the heads of the various international bodies or seeks to associate itself with them, conduct a dialogue with them and encourage them to dialogue with one another for the sake of reconciliation in the midst of the many conflicts. It does this not for ulterior motives or hidden interests. since it has none-but "out of a humanitarian concern,"(129) placing its institutional structure and moral authority, which are altogether unique, at the service of concord and peace. It does this in the conviction that as "in war two parties rise against one another" so "in the question of peace there are also necessarily two parties which must know how to commit themselves," and in this "one finds the true meaning of a dialogue for peace."(130)
The church engages in dialogue for reconciliation also through the bishops in the competency and responsibility proper to them, either individually in the direct;on of their respective local churches or united in their episcopal conferences, with the collaboration of the priests and of all those who make up the Christian communities. They truly fulfill their task when they promote this indispensable dialogue and proclaim the human and Christian need for reconciliation and peace. In communion with their pastors, the laity who have as "their own field of evangelizing activity...the vast and complicated world of politics, society...economics...(and) international life,"(131) are called upon to engage directly in dialogue or to work for dialogue aimed at reconciliation. Through them too the church carries out her reconciling activity. Thus the fundamental presupposition and secure basis for any lasting renewal of society and for peace between nations lies in the regeneration of hearts through conversion and penance.
It should be repeated that, on the part of the church and her members, dialogue, whatever form it takes (and these forms can be and are very diverse since the very concept of dialogue has an analogical value) can never begin from an attitude of indifference to the truth. On the contrary, it must begin from a presentation of the truth, offered in a calm way, with respect for the intelligence and consciences of others. The dialogue of reconciliation can never replace or attenuate the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel, the precise goal of which is conversion from sin and communion with Christ and the church. It must be at the service of the transmission and realization of that truth through the means left by Christ to the church for the pastoral activity of reconciliation, namely catechesis and penance.
-121. Gaudium et Spes, GS 92.
-122. Decree on the Pastoral Offlce of Bishops in the Church Christus Dominus, CD 13 cf Declaration on Christian Education Gravissimum Educationis, GE 8 Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity Ad Gentes, AGD 11-12.
-123. Cf Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, III: AAS 56 (1964), 639-659.
-124. Lumen Gentium, LG 1 LG 9 LG 13.
-125. Pope Paul VI, apostolic exhortation Paterna Cum Benevolentia: AAS 67 (1975), 5-23.
-126. Cf Unitatis Redintegratio, UR 7-8.
-127. Ibid., UR 4.
-128. St. Augustine, Sermo 96, 7: PL 38, 588.
-129. Pope John Paul II, Speech to Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See January 15, 1983), 4, 6, 1 1: AAS 75 (1983), 376, 378f, 381.
-130. Pope John Paul II, Homily at the Mass for the 16th World Day of Peace (January 1, 1983), 6: Insegnamenti VI, 1 (1983), 7.
-131. Pope Paul VI, apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, EN 70, AAS 68 (1976), 59f.
Reconciliatio et paenitentia EN 18