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Reflections: Sacraments Section (Holy Orders)

Holy Orders

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Holy Orders

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Holy Orders Basics / Misc.

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Priests / Holy Orders (Topic Page) 

Holy Orders (General Information) 

Holy Orders (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Holy Orders (Topical Scripture)

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism  Tip: Select "Display by Lesson", then select lesson number corresponding to Holy Orders.

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Holy Orders Basics / Misc.

Also See: Priests / Holy Orders (Topic Page)

Note: Various changes regarding Holy Orders were implemented in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. However, traditional religious orders may still use traditional practices. Also note that the Church is unable to change certain items integral to the sacrament [e.g. limiting the reception of holy orders to men (click here for more information).]

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (Jesus) said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'" (Jn. 20:19-23)

"Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 4:14)

"For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God." (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 1:6-8)

"For this reason I left you [Titus] in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters [priests] in every town, as I directed you" (St. Paul, Ti. 1:5)

"Can. 1024 Only a baptized man can validly receive sacred ordination." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1012 The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 977 Orders are to be conferred by steps, so that ordination all at once is prohibited." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Only to the apostles, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood." (Pope Pius XII)

"Can. 1033 Only one who has received the sacrament of sacred confirmation may lawfully be promoted to orders." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Christ, who says to the Apostles: 'Do this in remembrance of me' (1 Cor 11:24), institutes the Sacrament of Holy Orders." (Pope John Paul II)

"[O]nce a man is ordained he never loses his Order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The principal act of the priest's Order is to consecrate Christ's body." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1013 No Bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone as Bishop, unless it is first established that a pontifical mandate has been issued." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1043 If the Christian faithful are aware of impediments to sacred orders, they are obliged to reveal them to the ordinary or pastor before the ordination." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 999 All the faithful are bound to reveal to the Ordinary or to the pastor any impediments to sacred orders, if they know of any, before sacred ordination." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1011 §1 An ordination is normally to be celebrated in the cathedral church. For pastoral reasons, however, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1010 Ordination is to be celebrated within the solemnities of the Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation. For pastoral reasons it can take place also on other days, even weekdays." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Those bound by an impediment are to be barred from the reception of orders. An impediment may be simple; or it may be perpetual, in which case it is called an irregularity." [1983 Code of Canon Law (From Can. 1040)]

"Those who are in sacred Orders signify Christ by more sublime actions...than those who are married." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1028 The diocesan Bishop or the competent Superior must ensure that before they are promoted to any order, candidates are properly instructed concerning the order itself and its obligations." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 949 In the canons that follow, by the name of major orders or sacred orders are understood presbyterate, diaconate, and subdiaconate; while minor orders are acolyte, exorcist, lector, and doorkeeper." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1009 §1 The orders are the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate. §2 They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the liturgical books prescribe for each grade." (1983 Code of Canon Law) [Note: This Canon was modified in 2009 - Canon 1009 "will be given an additional third paragraph in which it is specified that the minister constituted into the Order of the episcopate or the priesthood receives the mission and power to act in the person of Christ the Head, while deacons receive the faculty to serve the People of God in the diaconates of the liturgy, of the Word and of charity" (VIS, 12/15/09) "...priests and bishops participate in the headship of Christ 'in persona Christi,' whereas deacons serve the Church, the people of God, through the ministry, services, or 'diaconias' of liturgy, word, and charity...[there is a] clear distinction between the diaconate and the presbyterate."]

"If any one saith, that, besides the priesthood, there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both greater and minor, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made unto the priesthood; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the sacred unction which the Church uses in holy ordination, is not only not required, but is to be despised and is pernicious, as likewise are the other ceremonies of Order; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1026 A person must possess due freedom in order to be ordained. It is absolutely forbidden to force anyone in any way or for any reason to receive orders or to turn away from orders anyone who is canonically suitable." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Bishops shall themselves confer orders; but, should they be prevented by illness, they shall not send their subjects to another bishop for ordination, unless they have been already approved of and examined." (Council of Trent, 1564 A.D.)

"[T]he Sacrament of ordination would remain in those ordained; and if, perhaps someone is removed from office because of some fault, he will not lack the Sacrament of the Lord once it has been imposed, though not it remains to his judgment" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 401 A.D.)

"Can. 1030 The proper Bishop or the competent major Superior may, but only for a canonical reason, even one which is occult, forbid admission to the priesthood to deacons subject to them who were destined for the priesthood, without prejudice to recourse in accordance with the law." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The sacred Orders are an impediment to the contracting of marriage and annul the marriage that is already contracted. But the four lower Orders neither impede the contracting nor annul the contract. Therefore these are not sacred Orders." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[H]oliness of life is required in one who receives an Order, that he may be qualified to exercise it. Now a man sins mortally if he present himself for orders in mortal sin. Much more therefore does he sin mortally whenever he exercises his Order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[A]lthough the bishop who is the minister of this sacrament has no authority in respect of the conferring of this sacrament, nevertheless he has some power with regard to the power of Order, which power he confers, in so far as it is derived, from his." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If any one saith, that, by sacred ordination, the Holy Ghost is not given; and that vainly therefore do the bishops say, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; or, that a character is not imprinted by that ordination; or, that he who has once been a priest, can again become a layman; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1014 Unless the Apostolic See has granted a dispensation, the principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together with the bishops mentioned." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or, that it is a kind of human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters; or, that it is only a kind of rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1037 A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married and likewise a candidate for the priesthood, is not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless he has, in the prescribed rite, publicly before God and the Church undertaken the obligation of celibacy, or unless he has taken perpetual vows in a religious institute." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1008 By divine institution some among Christ's faithful are, through the sacrament of order, marked with an indelible character and are thus constituted sacred ministers; thereby they are consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they fulfil, in the person of Christ the Head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling, and so they nourish the people of God." (1983 Code of Canon Law) [Note: This Canon was modified in 2009 - "The variation to the text of canon 1008 will now limit itself to affirming that 'those who receive the Sacrament of Orders are destined to serve the People of God with a new and specific title'" (VIS, 12/15/09) "...priests and bishops participate in the headship of Christ 'in persona Christi,' whereas deacons serve the Church, the people of God, through the ministry, services, or 'diaconias' of liturgy, word, and charity...[there is a] clear distinction between the diaconate and the presbyterate."]

"Can. 1031 §1 The priesthood may be conferred only upon those who have completed their twenty-fifth year of age, and possess a sufficient maturity; moreover, an interval of at least six months between the diaconate and the priesthood must have been observed. Those who are destined for the priesthood are to be admitted to the order of diaconate only when they have completed their twenty-third year." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1029 Only those are to be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgment of their own bishop or of the competent major superior, all things considered, have sound faith, are motivated by the right intention, have the requisite knowledge, possess a good reputation, and are endowed with integral morals and proven virtues and the other physical and psychic qualities in keeping with the order to be received." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 974 § 1 In order to be licitly ordained, there is required: 1° Reception of the sacrament of confirmation; 2° Morals congruent with the order begin received; 3° Canonical age; 4° Due knowledge; 5° Taking up the lower orders; 6° Observation of the interstices; 7° Canonical title, if it concerns major orders. § 2 As to what pertains to episcopal consecration, the prescription of Canon 331 is to be observed." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1036 In order to be promoted to the order of diaconate or of presbyterate, the candidate is to present to his bishop or competent major superior a declaration written in his own hand and signed in which he attests that he will receive the sacred order of his own accord and freely and will devote himself perpetually to the ecclesiastical ministry and at the same time asks to be admitted to the order to be received." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Whereas, by the testimony of Scripture, by Apostolic tradition, and the unanimous consent of the Fathers, it is clear that grace is conferred by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, no one ought to doubt that Order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of holy Church. For the apostle says; I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love of sobriety." (Council of Trent)

"Orders are not degrees combining in one action or in one movement, so that it be necessary to reach the last through the first; but they are like degrees consisting in things of different kinds, such as the degrees between man and angel, and it is not necessary that one who is an angel be first of all a man. Such also are the degrees between the head and all members of the body; nor is it necessary that that which is the head should be previously a foot" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is at least required that the ordainer know that nothing contrary to holiness is in the candidate for ordination. But besides this he is required to take the greatest care, in proportion to the Order or office to be enjoined, so as to be certain of the qualifications of those to be promoted, at least from the testification of others. This is the meaning of the Apostle when he says (1 Timothy 5:22): 'Impose not hands lightly on any man.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The worthy exercise of Orders requires not any kind of goodness but excellent goodness, in order that as they who receive Orders are set above the people in the degree of Order, so may they be above them by the merit of holiness. Hence they are required to have the grace that suffices to make them worthy members of Christ's people, but when they receive Orders they are given a yet greater gift of grace, whereby they are rendered apt for greater things." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Order may be understood in two ways. In one way as a sacrament, and thus...every Order is directed to the sacrament of the Eucharist. Wherefore since the bishop has not a higher power than the priest, in this respect the episcopate is not an Order. In another way Order may be considered as an office in relation to certain sacred actions: and thus since in hierarchical actions a bishop has in relation to the mystical body a higher power than the priest, the episcopate is an Order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For any human act to be rightly ordered there must needs be the direction of reason. Wherefore in order that a man exercise the office of an Order, it is necessary for him to have as much knowledge as suffices for his direction in the act of that Order. And consequently one who is to be raised to Orders is required to have that knowledge, and to be instructed in Sacred Scripture, not the whole, but more or less, according as his office is of a greater or lesser extent - to wit, that those who are placed over others, and receive the care of souls, know things pertaining to the doctrine of faith and morals, and that others know whatever concerns the exercise of their Order." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"An Order is said to be sacred in two ways. First, in itself, and thus every Order is sacred, since it is a sacrament. Secondly, by reason of the matter about which it exercises an act, and thus an Order is called sacred, if it exercises an act about some consecrated thing. In this sense there are only three sacred Orders, namely the priesthood and diaconate, which exercise an act about the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ, and the subdiaconate, which exercises an act about the consecrated vessels. Wherefore continency is enjoined them, that they who handle holy things may themselves be holy and clean." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Those who are in minor Orders are not forbidden to marry by virtue of their order; for although those Orders are entrusted with certain spiritualities, they are not admitted to the immediate handling of sacred things, as those are who are in sacred Orders. But according to the laws of the Western Church, the use of marriage is an impediment to the exercise of a non-sacred order, for the sake of maintaining a greater honesty in the offices of the Church. And since the holding of an ecclesiastical benefice binds a man to the exercise of his Order, and since for this very reason he enjoys the privilege of clergy, it follows that in the Latin Church this privilege is forfeit to a married cleric." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As Dionysius says (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia iii), 'even as the more subtle and clear essences, being filled by the outpouring of the solar radiance, like the sun enlighten other bodies with their brilliant light, so in all things pertaining to God a man must not dare to become a leader of others, unless in all his habits he be most deiform and godlike.' Wherefore, since in every Order a man is appointed to lead others in Divine things, he who being conscious of mortal sin presents himself for Orders is guilty of presumption and sins mortally. Consequently holiness of life is requisite for Orders, as a matter of precept, but not as essential to the sacrament; and if a wicked man be ordained, he receives the Order none the less, and yet with sin withal." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The sixth sacrament is that of order, the matter of which is that through whose transmission the order is conferred: just as the priesthood is transmitted through the offering of the chalice with wine and of the paten with bread; the diaconate, however, by the giving of the book of the Gospels; but the subdiaconate by the giving of the empty chalice with the empty paten superimposed; and similarly with regard to the others by allotment of things pertaining to their ministry. The form of such priesthood is: Accipe potestatem offerendi sacrificium in ecclesia pro vivis et mortuis, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. And thus with regard to the forms of the other orders, as is contained extensively in the Roman pontifical. The ordinary minister of this sacrament is the bishop. The effect is increase of grace, so that the one ordained be a worthy minister." (Pope Eugenius IV, "Exultate Deo", 1439 A.D.)

"Ordinations of sacred orders shall be celebrated publicly, at the time appointed by law, and in the cathedral churches, in the presence of the canons of that church, who are to be invited for that purpose; but, if they are celebrated in some other place of the diocese, in the presence of the clergy of the place; the principal church being always, as far as possible, made use of. But each one shall be ordained by his own bishop. And if any one ask to be promoted by another bishop, this shall by no means be allowed him, even under the pretext of any general or special rescript or privilege whatsoever, even at the appointed times; unless his probity and morals be recommended by the testimony of his own Ordinary; otherwise, he who ordains him shall be suspended from conferring orders during a year, and he who has been ordained shall be suspended from exercising the orders which he has received, for as long a period as shall seem expedient to his own Ordinary." (Council of Trent, 1565 A.D.)

"Can. 978 § 1 Interstitial time are to be observed in ordinations so that those ordained, according to the prescriptions of the Bishop, can exercise them. § 2 The intervals between first tonsure and doorkeeper and the other individual minor orders are left to the prudent judgement of the Bishop; but between acolyte and subdeacon, subdeacon and deacon, and deacon to presbyter, there shall be no promotions before acolyte [has been exercised] at least one year, [and for] subdeacon and deacon [there need to be] at least three months in which one so ordained can function therein, unless necessity or utility of the Church in the judgment of the Bishop shows otherwise. § 3 Nevertheless, without special permission from the Roman Pontiff, minor orders shall never be conferred along with the subdiaconate or two holy orders conferred on the same day, reprobating any contrary custom; nor shall first tonsure be conferred with any of the minor orders, not all of the minor orders at one time." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Multiplicity of Orders was introduced into the Church for three reasons. First, to show forth the wisdom of God, which is reflected in the orderly distinction of things both natural and spiritual. This is signified in the statement of 3 Kings [1 Kings] 10:4,5 that 'when the queen of Saba saw ... the order of' Solomon's 'servants ... she had no longer any spirit in her,' for she was breathless from admiration of his wisdom. Secondly, in order to succor human weakness, because it would be impossible for one man, without his being heavily burdened, to fulfill all things pertaining to the Divine mysteries; and so various orders are severally appointed to the various offices; and this is shown by the Lord giving Moses seventy ancients to assist him. Thirdly, that men may be given a broader way for advancing (to perfection), seeing that the various duties are divided among many men, so that all become the cooperators of God; than which nothing is more God-like, as Dionysius says (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia iii)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1041 The following persons are irregular for the reception of orders: 1° one who suffers from any form of insanity, or from any other psychological infirmity, because of which he is, after experts have been consulted, judged incapable of being able to fulfil the ministry; 2° one who has committed the offence of apostasy, heresy or schism; 3° one who has attempted marriage, even a civil marriage, either while himself prevented from entering marriage whether by an existing marriage bond or by a sacred order or by a public and perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman who is validly married or is obliged by the same vow; 4° one who has committed wilful homicide, or one who has actually procured an abortion, and all who have positively cooperated; 5° one who has gravely and maliciously mutilated himself or another, or who has attempted suicide; 6° one who has carried out an act of order which is reserved to those in the order of the episcopate or priesthood, while himself either not possessing that order or being barred from its exercise by some canonical penalty, declared or imposed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It is written in the Appendix of Gratian: 'It is not lawful for every priest to loose or bind another priest's parishioner.' Therefore a priest cannot absolve everybody. Further, judgment in spiritual matters should be better regulated than in temporal matters. But in temporal matters a judge cannot judge everybody. Therefore, since the use of the keys is a kind of judgment, it is not within the competency of a priest to use his key with regard to everyone... Now the use of the keys implies a certain power to exercise authority, whereby the one on whom the keys are used, becomes the proper matter of that act. Therefore he that has power over all indiscriminately, can use the keys on all, whereas those who have received authority over distinct persons, cannot use the keys on everyone, but only on those over whom they are appointed, except in cases of necessity, when the sacraments should be refused to no one... A material key can open only its own lock, nor can any active force act save on its own matter. Now a man becomes the matter of the power of order by jurisdiction: and consequently no one can use the key in respect of another over whom he has not jurisdiction." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The matter employed outwardly in the sacraments signifies that the power which works in the sacraments comes entirely from without. Wherefore, since the effect proper to this sacrament, namely the character, is not received through any operation of the one who approaches the sacrament, as was the case in Penance, but comes wholly from without, it is fitting that it should have a matter, yet otherwise than the other sacraments that have matter; because that which is bestowed in the other sacraments comes from God alone, and not from the minister who dispenses the sacrament; whereas that which is conferred in this sacrament, namely the spiritual power, comes also from him who gives the sacrament, as imperfect from perfect power. Hence the efficacy of the other sacraments resides chiefly in the matter which both signifies and contains the divine power through the sanctification applied by the minister; whereas the efficacy of this sacrament resides chiefly with him who dispenses the sacrament. And the matter is employed to show the powers conferred in particular by one who has it completely, rather than to cause power; and this is clear from the fact that the matter is in keeping with the use of power." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"By a certain fittingness the very nature of holy Order requires that it should be an impediment to marriage: because those who are in holy Orders handle the sacred vessels and the sacraments: wherefore it is becoming that they keep their bodies clean by continence (Isaiah 52:11). But it is owing to the Church's ordinance that it is actually an impediment to marriage. However it is not the same with the Latins as with the Greeks; since with the Greeks it is an impediment to the contracting of marriage, solely by virtue of Order; whereas with the Latins it is an impediment by virtue of Order, and besides by virtue of the vow of continence which is annexed to the sacred Orders; for although this vow is not expressed in words, nevertheless a person is understood to have taken it by the very fact of his being ordained. Hence among the Greeks and other Eastern peoples a sacred Order is an impediment to the contracting of matrimony but it does not forbid the use of marriage already contracted: for they can use marriage contracted previously, although they cannot be married again. But in the Western Church it is an impediment both to marriage and to the use of marriage, unless perhaps the husband should receive a sacred Order without the knowledge or consent of his wife, because this cannot be prejudicial to her." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of Holy Orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration. For they alone, in answer to an inward supernatural call, have entered the august ministry, where they are assigned to service in the sanctuary and become, as it were, the instruments God uses to communicate supernatural life from on high to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Add to this...the fact that they alone have been marked with the indelible sign 'conforming' them to Christ the Priest, and that their hands alone have been consecrated 'in order that whatever they bless may be blessed, whatever they consecrate may become sacred and holy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ' Let all, then, who would live in Christ flock to their priests. By them they will be supplied with the comforts and food of the spiritual life. From them they will procure the medicine of salvation assuring their cure and happy recovery from the fatal sickness of their sins. The priest, finally, will bless their homes, consecrate their families and help them, as they breathe their last, across the threshold of eternal happiness." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"It is worse to raise the wicked to the sacred ministry, than not to correct those who are raised already. But Heli sinned mortally by not correcting his sons for their wickedness; wherefore 'he fell backwards ... and died' (1 Kings [1 Samuel] 4:18). Therefore he who promotes the unworthy does not escape sin. Further, spiritual things must be set before temporal things in the Church. Now a man would commit a mortal sin were he knowingly to endanger the temporalities of the Church. Much more therefore is it a mortal sin to endanger spiritual things. But whoever promotes the unworthy endangers spiritual things, since according to Gregory (Hom. 12 in Evangelia) 'if a man's life is contemptible, his preaching is liable to be despised'; and for the same reason all the spiritual things that he dispenses. Therefore he who promotes the unworthy sins mortally... Our Lord describes the faithful servant whom He has set 'over His household to give them their measure of wheat.' Hence he is guilty of unfaithfulness who gives any man Divine things above his measure: and whoso promotes the unworthy does this. Wherefore he commits a mortal crime, as being unfaithful to his sovereign Lord, especially since this is detrimental to the Church and to the Divine honor which is promoted by good ministers. For a man would be unfaithful to his earthly lord were he to place unworthy subjects in his offices." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 2 (90). When a bishop is ordained, let two bishops place (expose) and hold the book of the Gospels above his head, and while one pours forth the benediction upon him, let all the remaining bishops, who are present, touch his head with their hands. Can 3 (91). When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blessing [him] and holding his hands over his head, let all the priests also, who are present, hold their hands close to the hands of the bishop above his head. Can. 4 (92). When a deacon is ordained, let the bishop alone, who blesses him, place his hands above his head, because he is consecrated not for the priesthood, but for the ministry. Can. 5 (93). When a subdeacon is ordained, because he does not receive the imposition of hands, let him receive the empty paten from the band of the bishop, and the empty chalice. But from the hand of the archdeacon let him receive the cruet with the water and the maniple, and the towel. Can. 6 (94). When an acolyte is ordained, let him indeed be taught by the bishop how he ought to conduct himself in his office; let him receive from the archdeacon the candlestick with the wax tapers, so that he may know that he is about to be given the right to kindle the lights of the church. Let him also receive the empty cruet for carrying the wine at the Eucharist of the Blood of Christ. Can. 7 (95). When the exorcist is ordained, let him receive from the hand of the bishop the little book in which the exorcisms are written, while the bishop says to him: Receive and commit to memory, and have the power of imposing the hand upon one possessed of the devil, whether [he be] baptized or a catechumen. Can. 8 (96). When a lector is ordained, let the bishop speak a word concerning him to the people, pointing out his faith, his life, and his ability. After this, while the people look on, let him hand him the book, from which he is about to read, saying to him: Receive and be the reporter of the word of God; if you fulfill the office faithfully and usefully, you will have a part with those who have administered the word of God. Can. 9 (97). When a porter is ordained, after he has been instructed by the archdeacon as to how he ought to live in the house of God, at the suggestion of the archdeacon let the bishop hand him the keys of the church from the altar, saying: So act as if You were about to give God the reason for these things which are opened with those keys. Can. 10 (98). The psalmist, that is the cantor, can receive his office of singing without the knowledge of the bishop, by the sole order of the presbyter, the presbyter saying to him: See that what you sing with your heart, and what you believe with your heart, you confirm with your deeds." (From 'Ancient Statutes of the Church', Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D.)

Also See: Holy Orders (Gen'l. Info.) | Holy Orders (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Praise / Benefits of Holy Orders | Character Imprinted on the Soul | Priests & Vocations Section | Priests & Vocations (Reflections) | Priests / Priesthood (Priests & Vocations Reflections) | Priests & The Sacraments (Priests & Vocations Reflections) | Why Priestly Celibacy? | Top Reasons Why Women Can't Be Priests | Priests / Vocations (Classic Encyclicals) | Holy Orders (Topical Scripture) | Prayers for Priests / Bishops / Pope / The Church | Vatican View Section | Vatican View (Reflections)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Praise / Benefits of Holy Orders

Also See: Priests / Holy Orders (Topic Page)

"...while all the other Sacraments impart grace to the recipient for his own use and sanctification, he, on the other hand, who receives Holy Orders is made partaker of the heavenly grace precisely that by his ministry he may promote the welfare of the Church and therefore all of mankind." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Such is the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is the essential means established for the salvation of mankind, the channel through which God has ordained that the infinite graces of the Incarnation should flow upon the earth, and the medium whereby is perpetuated among us the presence and action of our Redeemer." (Dom Gueranger)

"There is here a difference between this and the other sacraments. Because by this sacrament an office or the power to do something is conferred; and so it is fitting that mention be made of the reward to be obtained if it be administered faithfully. But in the other sacraments no such office or power to act is conferred, and so no mention of reward is made in them. Accordingly the recipient is somewhat passive in relation to the other sacraments, because he receives them for the perfecting of his own state only, whereas in relation to this sacrament he holds himself somewhat actively, since he receives it for the sake of exercising hierarchical duties in the Church. Wherefore although the other sacraments, from the very fact that they give grace, direct the recipient to salvation, properly speaking they do not direct him to a reward, in the same way as this sacrament does." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"These august powers are conferred upon the priest in a special Sacrament designed to this end: they are not merely passing or temporary in the priest, but are stable and perpetual, united as they are with the indelible character imprinted on his soul whereby he becomes 'a priest forever'; whereby he becomes like unto Him in whose eternal priesthood he has been made a sharer. Even the most lamentable downfall, which, through human frailty, is possible to a priest, can never blot out from his soul the priestly character. But along with this character and these powers, the priest through the Sacrament of Orders receives new and special grace with special helps. Thereby, if only he will loyally further, by his free and personal cooperation, the divinely powerful action of the grace itself, he will be able worthily to fulfill all the duties, however arduous, of his lofty calling. He will not be overborne, but will be able to bear the tremendous responsibilities inherent to his priestly duty; responsibilities which have made fearful even the stoutest champions of the Christian priesthood, men like St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory the Great, St. Charles and many others." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

Also See: Holy Orders (Gen'l. Info.) | Holy Orders (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Holy Orders Basics / Misc. | Priests & Vocations Section | Priests / Priesthood (Priests & Vocations Reflections)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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