The reconciliation won by Christ has been entrusted to His ministers and His Church

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Pænitentia (1984):

But, as Pope St. Leo said, speaking of Christ’s passion, “Everything that the Son of God did and taught for the reconciliation of the world we know not only from the history of his past actions, but we experience it also in the effectiveness of what he accomplishes in the present.”32 We experience the reconciliation which he accomplished in his humanity in the efficacy of the sacred mysteries which are celebrated by his church, for which he gave his life and which he established as the sign and also the means of salvation.

This is stated by St. Paul when he writes that God has given to Christ’s apostles a share in his work of reconciliation. He says: “God . . . gave us the ministry of reconciliation . . . and the message of reconciliation.”33

To the hands and lips of the apostles, his messengers, the Father has mercifully entrusted a ministry of reconciliation, which they carry but in out in a singular way by virtue of the power to act “in persona Christi.” But the message of reconciliation has also been entrusted to the whole community of believers, to the whole fabric of the church, that is to say, the task of doing everything possible to witness to reconciliation and to bring it about in the world.

It can be said that the Second Vatican Council too, in defining the church as a “sacrament—a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people,” and in indicating as the church’s function that of obtaining “full unity in Christ” for the “people of the present day . . . drawn ever more closely together by social, technical and cultural bonds,”34 recognized that the church must strive above all to bring all people to full reconciliation.

32 St. Leo the Great, Tractatus 63 (De Passione Domini, 12), 6: Corpus Christianorum, Latin series 138/A, 386.
33 Cf 2 Cor 5:18f.
34 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1.

Reconciliatio et Pænitentia 8

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