| Year 2002 Canonical Studies pp. 15-55
THE BISHOP AS THE MIRROR OF JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
IN THE PARTICULAR CHURCH: SOME PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS
ON EPISCOPAL MINISTRY
(Prof. Augustine Mendonca)
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Introduction

It was just over a year ago that I received the formal invitation to make this presentation and at the time a tentative title for it was suggested to reflect its intended content, that is, “The Bishop as the Mirror of Justice and Equity in the Particular Church.” The development of events of the recent past in the United States and the world all over made me really uncomfortable with the subject matter and even tempted me to re-consider the topic and to venture into some other aspect of justice and equity in the Church. Despite the emotional reactions engendered in my own psyche by these development, I said to myself, the opportunity given to us to reflect on this issue personally and collectively may help us, canon lawyers, to evaluate or re-evaluate our own consciences in regard to the ministry we are called upon to offer to the people of God who come to us seeking justice and, in many instances, mercy and charity. Therefore, I take this as a challenge and will try to reflect with you some of the theological and canonical principles related to Episcopal ministry which should mirror in all its aspects true justice and equity. The principal hypothesis of my study is that the Church is the mirror of justice and equity because, the Church as the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, should reflect the ministry of Jesus, the ministry of redemption, the ministry of God’s justice and forgiving mercy. The Church is a sacrament, a mystery which reveals to us humans God’s redemptive action carried out through the sacrifice of his only son. Any person who represents this Church of Christ cannot but reflect this identity and mission of the Church. Therefore, when a bishop carries out his ministry entrusted to him by the Church, he must mirror true justice and equity in his relationship with his people.

My presentation will be divided into four sections: First, we shall try to understand the meaning of justice and equity in the tradition of the Church. Second, the goal of the Second Vatican Council was to present to the modern world an image of the Church that would be a true reflection of the mission entrusted to it by Jesus. We all are well aware that the ecclesiology presented in conciliar document is essentially different from the one we had known prior to the council. The council certainly embraced the biblical models of the Church rather than the predominantly sociological and civil law or political models advanced by the First Vatican Council. This shift in its self-perception based on the biblical models has forced the Church to

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