Rorate Caeli

Iuvenescit Ecclesia
Letter Regarding the Relationship Between Hierarchical and Charismatic Gifts in the Life and the Mission of the Church


Letter “Iuvenescit Ecclesia” to the Bishops of the Catholic Church

Regarding the Relationship Between Hierarchical and Charismatic Gifts
in the Life and the Mission of the Church


The gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church in mission

1. The Church rejuvenates in the power of the Gospel and the Spirit continually renews her, builds her up, and guides her “with hierarchical and charismatic gifts”.[1] The Second Vatican Council has repeatedly highlighted the marvelous work of the Holy Spirit that sanctifies the People of God, guides it, adorns it with virtue, and enrichens it with special graces for her edification. As the Fathers love to show, the action of the divine Paraclete in the Church is multiform. John Chrysostom writes: “What gifts that work for our salvation are not given freely by the Holy Spirit? Through Him we are freed from slavery and called to liberty; we are led to adoption as children and, one might say, formed anew, after having laid down the heavy and hateful burden of our sins. Through the Holy Spirit we see assemblies of priests and we possess ranks of doctors; from this source spring forth gifts of revelation, healing graces, and all of the other charisms that adorn the Church of God”.[2] Thanks to the Church’s life itself, to the numerous Magisterial interventions, and to theological research, happily the awareness has grown of the multiform action of the Holy Spirit in the Church, thus arousing a particular attentiveness to the charismatic gifts by which at all times the People of God are enriched in order to carry out their mission.

The work of effectively proclaiming the Gospel has proven to be particularly urgent in our time. The Holy Father Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, recalls that: “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life”.[3] The invitation to be a Church which “goes forth” leads to a rereading of the whole Christian life in a missionary key. [4] The work of evangelization touches every dimension of the Church: from ordinary pastoral ministry, to her proclamation to those who have abandoned the Christian faith and, in particular, to those who do not know Jesus Christ or have always rejected Him.[5] In the essential work of new evangelization, it is now more than ever necessary to recognize and value the numerous charisms capable of reawakening and nourishing the life of faith of the People of God.