So, what is happening in the Cathedral on Monday at 12 noon? Here are some edited extracts from the Church’s code of Canon Law 382 – 387…
“A Bishop takes possession of his diocese when he shows the apostolic letters [of appointment] to the college of consultors. It is strongly recommended that this be performed with a liturgical act in the cathedral church, in the presence of the clergy and the people.”
And what is the archbishop’s job? The Code goes on: “In exercising his pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop is to be solicitous for all Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care, whatever their age, condition or nationality… He is to show an apostolic spirit also to those who, because of their condition of life, are not sufficiently able to benefit from ordinary pastoral care, and to those who have lapsed from religious practice. He is to act with humanity and charity to those who are not in full communion with the catholic Church, and foster ecumenism as it is understood by the Church. He is to consider the non-baptized as commended to him in the Lord, so that the charity of Christ, of which the Bishop must be a witness to all, may shine also on them.
He is to have a special concern for the priests, to whom he is to listen as his helpers and counsellors. He is to defend their rights and ensure that they fulfil the obligations proper to their state. He is to see that they have the means and the institutions needed for the development of their spiritual and intellectual life. He is to ensure that they are provided with adequate means of livelihood and social welfare, in accordance with the law. He must in a very special way foster vocations to the various ministries and to consecrated life, having a special care for priestly and missionary vocations.
The diocesan Bishop is bound to teach and illustrate to the faithful the truths of faith which are to be believed and applied to behaviour. However, he is to acknowledge a just freedom in the further investigation of truths. Mindful that he is bound to give an example of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way to promote the holiness of Christ’s faithful according to the special vocation of each…”