Within a wider reflection on the basic principles of spirituality in the pastoral ministry, this article tells how the text by John 21,15-19 has been «received» by the Church Fathers. For both the Eastern (John Chrysostom) and the Western Church (Augustine and Gregory The Great), «pastoral charity» is the centre of the minister’s spirituality. The reflection of these Fathers on the image taken from the Bible of the shepherd who «cares» for the persons he has to watch over, has found acceptance in the renewed theology of the presbyteral ministry, in the council and in the post-council texts. It can even be affirmed that any reference to «shepherd» in these texts is of basic importance to express the close relationship of the minister with Christ and with the «sheep» and that the term and category of «diaconate-ministry» is the most important expression taken from the Bible to underline the close relation with Jesus during His earthly life and His «style» of serving until giving His own self.

(Author: Mario Fini)

Summary ed.27 (I/2010)