When bishops instruct the faithful
When the Second Vatican Council ended, several of the
bishops who took part told me that the most important
lesson they had learned through the conciliar process had
been a renewed recognition that the church exists to be, for all its
members, a lifelong school of holiness and wisdom, a lifelong school of
friendship (a better rendering of caritas than “charity” would be). It
follows that the most fundamental truth about the structure of
Christian teaching cannot lie in distinctions between teachers and
pupils—although such distinctions are not unimportant—but in the
recognition that all Christians are called to lifelong learning in the
Spirit, and all of us are called to embody, communicate and protect
what we have learned. Much of what is said about the office of
“teachership” or magisterium seems dangerously forgetful of this fact.