Saturday 18th August 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Degrees Of Holy Orders — Presbyterate

November 4, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

The Sacrament of Holy Orders, as was reaffirmed last week, has been conferred and exercised in three levels or degrees — the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate — since the beginning of the Church. As highlighted in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all three “are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church” (n. 325).
In fact, St. Ignatius, the third bishop of Antioch who was martyred in early post-apostolic times (AD 107), resolutely proclaimed: “Apart from these there is not even the name of a church” (Letter to the Trallians 3, 1; as cited in Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1593).
In treating the episcopate last week, we saw that through episcopal ordination “the bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal college and makes him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him” (CCC, n. 1594).
As aptly stated in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the bishop “is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent” (Sacrosanctum Concilium [SC], n. 41).
As a legitimate successor to the apostles, a bishop not only has jurisdiction over the diocese entrusted to his care, but with his fellow bishops and in union with and under the authority of the Pope, shares responsibility for the universal Church. It is only a bishop who can ordain other bishops, priests, and deacons.
The next section of the Catechism examines the second level of Holy Orders, that of priests, who become the co-workers of the bishop in his ministry to the Church. “Priests, although they do not possess the highest degree of the priesthood and although they are dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power,” teach the Vatican II fathers, “are nevertheless united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity” (Lumen Gentium [LG], n. 28 § 1).
In the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, the council fathers elaborate: “The office of priests…shares the authority by which Christ builds up, sanctifies, and rules his Body….[P]riests, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are signed with a special character and are conformed to Christ the Priest in such a way that they can act in the person of Christ the Head” (Presbyterorum Ordinis [PO], n. 2 § 3).
Before proceeding, let us consider the etymology of the word priest. It has its origin in the Greek word presbyteros, which means “elder.”
However, as Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, explains in his Basic Catholic Catechism Course (BCCC), in the early Church the term denoted a person senior “not in age but in wisdom, to whom was entrusted the government of a community. In fact, the first priests in the Church, that is, the Apostles, were also elders or governors of the Church” (p. 190). In Latin, the word for priest is sacerdos, which literally means “offerer of sacrifices.”
From this, one can see how Fr. Hardon’s definition for priest reasonably follows: “An authorized mediator who offers a true sacrifice in acknowledgement of God’s supreme dominion over human beings and in expiation for their sins” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 438).
What power, then, is granted to priests through sacramental Ordination? The Catechism cites Lumen Gentium once again to answer this question:
“By the power of the sacrament of Orders, in the image of Christ the eternal high Priest, they are consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship, so that they are true priests of the New Testament” (LG, n. 28 § 1; as cited in CCC, n. 1564).
They make their diocesan bishop — to whom they promise their obedience — present in the local congregation or parish. Moreover, their mandate is even more expansive, for they “share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles” (CCC, n. 1565).
This dimension of priestly ministry is expanded upon in Vatican II’s Decree on Priestly Training. Their formation as seminarians is intended to imbue them with a Catholic spirit which will enable them “to transcend the limits of their own diocese, nation, or rite, and to help the needs of the whole Church, prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere” (Optatam Totius, n. 20 § 1).
Furthermore, “the spiritual gift which priests receive at their ordination prepared them not for a sort of limited and narrow mission but for the widest possible and universal mission of salvation ‘even to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8)” (PO, § 1).
What are the primary duties of a priest? Fr. Hardon provides an excellent, albeit abbreviated, summary:
1) To proclaim the Gospel message to all; 2) to administer the sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick; 3) to help others to grow in virtue and holiness; 4) to assist the bishop in providing for the pastoral care of the People of God and administration of his diocese; 5) to pray the Liturgy of the Hours on a daily basis; and 6) to administer the parish to which he is assigned and to attentively provide for the spiritual welfare of all souls entrusted to his care (cf. BCCC, p. 191).
The most central duty of a sacramentally ordained priest is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, an obligation the Vatican II fathers especially accentuated:
“They [priests] exercise their sacred function especially in the Eucharistic worship or the celebration of the Mass by which acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming His Mystery they unite the prayers of the faithful with the sacrifice of their Head and renew and apply in the sacrifice of the Mass until the coming of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26) the only sacrifice of the New Testament, namely that of Christ offering Himself once for all a spotless Victim to the Father (cf. Heb. 5:1-4)” (LG, n. 28 § 1).
It is “from this unique sacrifice,” affirms the Catechism, that “their whole priestly ministry draws its strength (cf. PO, n. 2 § 5)” (CCC, n. 1566).
The importance and influence of the ministry of the parish priest cannot be overemphasized, for it is normally he whom members of the Catholic faithful have direct contact with in the most defining moments of their lives. As strikingly expressed in The Didache Series: The Sacraments:
“It is the priest who will baptize them at birth and later give them their First Holy Communion. It is the priest who they see each Sunday at Mass and who hears their Confessions. It is the priest who will help them prepare for marriage and who will celebrate their wedding day with them as well as the wedding anniversaries that follow. In times of crisis, it is the priest who is called to the hospital to bring the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to those who are ill, and Viaticum to the dying.
“Finally, it will be the priest who celebrates the funeral Mass and commends the souls of the faithful departed to a merciful and loving God” (p. 162).

Spiritual Prosperity

Especially applicable to the crucial role that the parish priest plays in the lives of the faithful is a point that was briefly touched upon in an earlier installment: the holiness of priests. “A priest, as one assimilated to Christ the King,” says Fr. Hardon, “is obliged to strive for Christian perfection, directing others on the way to salvation only after mastering himself through an ever-deeper relationship with Christ. Indeed, a priest’s ministry precludes conformity to the world. To this end, priests are obligated to lead a holy life” (BCCC, p. 191).
As expressed by the fathers of Vatican II: “They [priests] cannot be ministers of Christ unless they be witnesses and dispensers of a life other than earthly life” (PO, n. 3).
Why is this so important? On multiple occasions, Fr. Hardon said, “Like priest, like people is not a clever phrase, but the verdict of almost 2,000 years of the Church’s history.”
Toward that end, Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen asserts that a priest’s “emptying of self for the people of the parish produces the spiritual prosperity of the parish” (The Priest Is Not His Own, p. 28). A sterling example is that of St. John Vianney (1786-1859), the patron saint of parish priests. So renowned for his holiness and the unparalleled hours he labored in the confessional, it is said that the Devil told him, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined.”
“The priest’s proclamation of the Gospel,” submits Fr. Hardon, “must be nourished by prayer and study so that his life itself gives witness to the Gospel faith he professes and teaches” (BCCC, p. 191). In fact, the development of a profound life of prayer as part of the seminary formation experience was emphasized by Vatican II (see OT, n. 8).
To underscore the importance of example, Archbishop Sheen notes that seminarians “are edified when they see their professors at early meditation with them and at their spiritual exercises! Lacking this example, they easily come to think of spirituality as something to be practiced only to the day of ordination” (ibid., Sheen, p. 26).
Formed is this manner, a young priest is better prepared to be “united with his fellow priests in a bond of charity, prayer, and total cooperation” (PO, n. 8 § 1).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a consecrated Marian catechist.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal says clock ticking for all in Catholic hierarchy over abuse issue

The chair of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors has warned that “the clock is ticking” for the Catholic hierarchy when it comes to dealing with clerical child sex abuse. “Catholics have lost patience with us, and civil…Continue Reading

Priests: Why we’re urging Cardinals to challenge Pope Francis on death penalty

ROME, August 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Over 75 clergy, lay scholars and prominent intellectuals today took the unprecedented step of issuing an open appeal to the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, to urge Pope Francis to “withdraw” his new teaching on…Continue Reading

Rector Placed On Leave Amid Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Against Boston Catholic Seminary

Following allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse at a Boston-based Catholic seminary owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, the head priest is being placed on sabbatical. Rector James P. Moroney has been placed on immediate leave pending…Continue Reading

Pennsylvania clergy sex abuse report still not released

A last-minute round of legal manoeuvring to keep some names from appearing in a grand jury report detailing a months-long investigation of clergy sex abuse claims in Pennsylvania may have kept the document from being made public on Wednesday –…Continue Reading

Vatican archbishop: Critics of Pope Francis are not faithful to Tradition

VATICAN CITY, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Those who criticize the teaching of Pope Francis on the basis of former magisterial documents are not faithful to the tradition of the Catholic Church, a high-ranking Vatican official has said. In an interview with Vatican…Continue Reading

PRO-LIFE ACTRESS SLAMS BISHOPS’ INACTION ON PRIEST SEX ABUSE CRISIS

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) – A pro-life Hollywood actress is slamming the U.S. bishops for their failure to prevent priest sex abuse. Actress Patricia Heaton is openly pro-life and a Catholic revert. On Twitter on Aug. 2, she responded to Cdl. Daniel DiNardo’s…Continue Reading

Conservatives skeptical of Twitter’s latest shadow-banning denial

July 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has released an official response to the latest round of shadow-banning allegations, but the statement has failed to impress conservative, Christian, and pro-life voices affected by the practice. On Thursday, LifeSiteNews covered a Vice News report accusing the social…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ top ‘reform’ cardinal slams seminarians for exposing homosexuality inside seminary

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, July 26, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – One of the Vatican’s most influential cardinals, already suspected of looking the other way while gay relationships were conducted in his personal residence, has now admonished fifty seminarians for speaking out against their seminary’s…Continue Reading

Veteran Catholic Journalist: All Bishops Involved in Sex Abuse Scandal Must Resign

Christopher Manion, a veteran journalist and political analyst, makes the striking call that all U.S. bishops should resign who knew about the ongoing abuse crisis within the U.S. hierarchy for years and yet did not intervene. He also now reveals…Continue Reading

Catholic Relief Services is a major funder of contraception lobbyists

NOTE: The following information was provided to Catholic Relief Services in person in April, 2018.  After three months of discussion on the matter, the Lepanto Institute was told that while Lepanto is convinced that CRS should withdraw from InterAction, CRS…Continue Reading

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke: U.S. Catholic Church in ‘possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced’

August 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church in the U.S. is undergoing “possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced” right now, Cardinal Burke said tonight of the ongoing sex abuse scandals and the laity’s distrust for bishops who play a part in it. “That has to be recognized and it has to be dealt with in a thorough manner which is faithful to the Church’s moral law and to the Church herself and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Addresses the Clergy Scandal

Cburke13

Thomas McKenna: Your Eminence, a new wave of clergy sexual abuse has surfaced and is indicating a widespread practice of homosexuality among clergy in dioceses and seminaries across the country. What would you say is the root cause of this corruption?   Cardinal Raymond Burke: It was clear after the studies following the 2002 sexual abuse crisis that most of the acts of abuse were in fact homosexual acts committed with adolescent young men. There…Continue Reading

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley will not attend the World Meeting of Families

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, unfortunately will not be able to participate in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 21-26. Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl named in Pennsylvania grand jury report, responds to criticism

Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2018 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh, has been named more than 200 times in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, released Aug. 14, after an 18-month investigation into historic allegations of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. The cardinal released a statement in response to the report, underscoring the gravity of the sexual abuse for the Church and the…Continue Reading

Vatican advisor: Pope ‘breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants’

Fr Thomas Rosica said the Church is now ‘ruled by an individual rather than by… its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture’ Under Pope Francis, the Church is now “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture,” a Vatican advisor has said. Fr Thomas Rosica wrote that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” because he is

Advertisement(2)

Who Determines “Universal Values”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is it any of Canada’s business whether Saudi women have the right to drive? Well, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland just made it her business. Repeatedly denouncing Riyadh’s arrest of women’s rights advocate Samar Badawi, Freeland has driven the two countries close to a break in diplomatic relations. “Reprehensible” said Riyadh of…Continue Reading

Refuting An Eastern Orthodox Priest’s Erroneous Comments

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An article by an Eastern Orthodox priest, Fr. David Hoestetler, published in an ecumenical magazine, The Sword (which recently ceased publishing), noted correctly with regard to Protestant misconceptions that it is indeed “scriptural and biblical to venerate Mary.” Unfortunately, the article was marred by various inaccuracies and errors. For example, he stated…Continue Reading

KCs Pledge Support For Persecuted Christians

By COURTNEY GROGAN BALTIMORE (CNA) — Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the fraternal organization’s continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, during his August 7 address at the 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore. Anderson also unveiled a new pilgrim icon, Our Lady Help of…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Finding A Map For Matters Of Life And Death

By DONALD DEMARCO Matters of Life & Death: A Catholic Guide to the Moral Questions of Our Time, by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press, Brooklyn, NY, 2018, 201 pp.). Available in paperback at amazon.com for $16.95. The state of perplexity and the need for guidance has long been characteristic of human beings. Rabbi Moses Maimonides…Continue Reading

Book Review… A Classic Critique Of Postconciliar Modernism

By JAMES MONTI Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Charitable Anathema, new 2017 foreword by Raymond Cardinal Burke. $22.95; Roman Catholic Books, P.O. Box 1209, Ridgefield, CT 06877; BooksForCatholics.com. In his address at the July 21, 2018 “Humanae Vitae at 50” conference brilliantly organized by Fr. Sean Connolly at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe, N.Y., which I…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Levels Of Conscience

By DON FIER In last week’s opening exposition on the role of conscience in the Christian moral life, it was stated straightaway that “conscience” is a term that is often misunderstood and misapplied in contemporary times. Frequently equated with one’s personal opinion or position, this entreaty to subjectivism is ready justification for nearly every conceivable immoral and aberrant behavior that…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: To a recent question about whether the ordination of a secret Communist would be invalid because he did not have the right intention, we said yes, citing canon 1029 of the Code of Canon Law, which says that those seeking the priesthood must “have an integral faith, are motivated by a right intention, possess the required knowledge, and…Continue Reading

Amid Church Scandals… Fix Your Hearts On Christ

By FR. JOHN DE CELLES (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews on August 6 featured the following homily by Fr. John De Celles of St. Raymond of Penafort Church, Springfield, Va., the Diocese of Arlington. (Father reminded his flock: “We follow Jesus Christ, ‘the God of Jacob,’ and we follow the Holy Catholic Church which He founded.” (In May 2005, Fr. De Celles…Continue Reading

The Eucharist Is Jesus Himself

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Prov. 9:1-6 Eph. 5:15-20 John 6:51-58 In the Gospel reading today our Lord makes several statements that we either have to believe are true or we have to run as far and as quickly from Him as we can. People who want to call themselves Christian while ignoring…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Teaching Failures At Root Of Sexual Immorality

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. “But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clare Of Montefalco

By CAROLE BRESLIN In central Italy about one hundred miles north of Rome, lies the peaceful town looking down on the Clitunno River named Montefalco. It attracts tourists with its wildlife, wineries, and vineyards, and stunning churches. One of the most beautiful churches with its vaulted, painted ceilings, marble pillars, and inspiring altars is the Basilica of St. Clare of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence

By CAROLE BRESLIN Valencia, claim its inhabitants, is the premier city in all of Spain. Located along Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coastline, it boasts stunning beaches, ancient history, and magnificent churches. Perhaps the most famous is the Valencian Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, which holds a chalice which has been defended as the relic of the true…Continue Reading