Further to my earlier post on the statement released by the Australian Bishops regarding the Toowoomba situation,  some have commented on what seems to be the unusual phrase, “we reaffirm our communion with and under Peter.”  The phrase, I believe, is a reference to Vatican II’s (that’s right, Vatican II) Decree on the Pastoral Office of the Bishops in the Church Christus Dominus, wherein we read:

Bishops, sharing in the solicitude for all the churches, exercise this episcopal office of theirs, which they have received through episcopal consecration, in communion with and under the authority of the supreme pontiff. (n. 3)

From a quick search, it seems that the words “and under” are not found in the more well-known Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, nor in the Code of Canon Law (1983), which might account for its seeming a bit unfamiliar.  I think it would also be fair to say that the following terms have a synonymous use in ecclesiastical documents: Peter = supreme pontiff = pope = successor of (St) Peter = Roman pontiff = Vicar of Christ.

I will add, which I didn’t before, that I think this statement from the bishops is excellent. It succinctly and truthfully – and I believe charitably – describes the situation, and points us in the forward direction.

Let’s continue to pray for the clergy, religious and all the faithful of the Toowoomba Diocese, and through the intercession of Mary of the Southern Cross, may a bishop be chosen who can continue to lead the church there with the love of the Good Shepherd.