Why I signed the open letter to Germany’s bishops


The individual bishops as . . . member[s] of the episcopal college and legitimate successor[s] of the apostles, [are] obliged by Christ’s institution and command to be solicitous for the whole Church, and this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church.”

This passage from the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, underscores one of the principal doctrines articulated and developed at the council: the collegiality of bishops with one another and in union with the Bishop of Rome, and the solicitude each is to have for the universal Church, beyond the confines of his own local church.

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