Wednesday 14th November 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Recipient, Minister, And Celebration Of Holy Orders

November 18, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

A significant reform of Vatican Council II, as we saw last week, was the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy” (Lumen Gentium, n. 29 § 2). An ordained ministry that has always been retained by the Churches of the East, it can be conferred on both married and single men. In a unique way, it sacramentally configures one to Christ the Servant, Who came “not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).
“Ordination confers on them,” teaches the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop” (n. 1596).
For those of us who can remember back to pre-Vatican II times, prior to 1972 it was through a rite called tonsure that a man entered the clerical state in the Latin Church. He would then pass through four minor orders (porter, lector, acolyte, and exorcist) which were prerequisites for reception of the three major orders (subdeacon, deacon, and priest). It was in his apostolic letter entitled Ministeria Quadam (promulgated on August 15, 1972) that Blessed Paul VI eliminated the rite of tonsure and suppressed the minor orders as well as the major order of subdeacon.
As explained by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ: “The offices of acolyte and lector were reduced to ministries” (Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 196). Moreover, as specified in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC): “Before anyone is promoted to the permanent or transitional diaconate, he is required to have received the ministries of lector and acolyte and to have exercised them for…an interval of at least six months” (canons 1035 §§ 1–2). It is important to note that “a lector is not the same as a reader, and an acolyte is not the same as an altar server” (BCCC, p. 196).
As such, persons who assist as altar servers or proclaim the Scripture readings at Sunday Mass at parish churches are most often not acolytes and/or lectors. While the ministries of acolyte and lector may also be conferred on certain members of the laity, both are reserved to men and require the formal liturgical Rite of Installation presided over by the diocesan bishop.
Having addressed each of the three degrees of Holy Orders — episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate — the Catechism next considers the celebration of the sacrament, who may confer it, and who may receive it. “Given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a priest, or a deacon has for the life of the particular Church,” states the Catechism, “its celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part” (CCC, n. 1572). The event’s wonder is “similar in both its solemnity and festivity to a wedding. Indeed, those receiving the Sacrament are wedding their lives to Christ and His Church” (The Didache Series: The Sacraments [DS-S], p. 166).
“The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees,” states the Catechism, “consists in the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand [matter of the sacrament] and in the bishop’s specific consecratory prayer [form of the sacrament] asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained” (CCC, n. 1573).
In addition, the sacrament’s celebration contains a number of complementary rituals and prayers that highlight various aspects of the ministry being conferred on each Order. The newly ordained bishop receives the book of the Gospels, the ring, the miter, and the crosier, each symbolizing a particular element of his sacred ministry; the newly ordained priest receives the chalice and paten; and the newly ordained deacon receives the book of the Gospels (cf. CCC, n. 1574). Important to remember is that ordination of a bishop requires a pontifical mandate, that is, official approval of the Vicar of Rome (see CIC, canon 377 § 1).
In answer to the question: “Who can confer this sacrament?” the Catechism first reminds us that “Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority” (CCC, n. 1575). Furthermore, “since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the ‘gift of the Spirit’ (LG, n. 21 § 2), the ‘apostolic line’ (LG, n. 20)” (CCC, n. 1575).
As we saw when we examined the episcopate, it is only validly ordained bishops who receive the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (see volume 150, n. 5; February 2, 2017). As such, it is only a man ordained to the episcopal degree of Orders who receives authority to ordain a deacon, priest, or bishop in the Catholic Church.
This authoritative teaching is clearly codified in the 1983 Code of Canon Law: “The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated bishop” (CIC, canon 1012) for the Latin Church, and in the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches: “Only a bishop validly administers sacred ordination by the imposition of hands and by the prayers prescribed by the Church (Corpus Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, canon 744).
The Catechism now considers who is eligible to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. First and foremost, as specified by Church law: “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly” (CIC, canon 1024). Sacred Scripture and Tradition clearly show that “Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry” (CCC, n. 1577).
Moreover, “the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself” (ibid.). As stated in the 1976 declaration Inter Insigniores (issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Blessed Paul VI), “the Church, in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination” (Introduction).
Although “Our Lord’s reasons for making his absolutely binding rule excluding the very possibility of change have been debated by theologians since the early days of the Church” (BCCC, p. 197), it is an authoritative teaching that has not and cannot change.
Pope St. John Paul II reaffirmed this continuous and unchangeable teaching of the Church’s infallible ordinary Magisterium in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis by forcefully stating: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (n. 4 § 2).
The Catechism likewise strongly affirms that “no one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God (cf. Heb. 5:4)” (CCC, n. 1578).
A true vocation to the clerical life is an interior divine call of grace and must be prudently and prayerfully discerned. When a person feels an interior call to the ordained ministry, he must humbly submit himself to the authority of the Church for her external judgment on whether he possesses the natural and supernatural gifts to enable him to be a worthy minister for the good of all the faithful he will ultimately serve.
“Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift” (ibid.).

Necessary Qualifications

A concise and excellent summary of the qualifications necessary for a person to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders is given in The Didache Series: The Sacraments (an earlier cited catechetical work).
The candidate must: be a baptized, confirmed male of excellent character; have an interior call from God and an exterior call from the bishop; have the necessary knowledge of the nature of Holy Orders and what the vocation entails; have attained the proper age for the degree being sought (the year of life to have been completed as currently set by canon law is 25 for priests, 23 for transitional deacons, 35 for permanent deacons if married and 25 if single); have the capacity for the rigors of the ordained ministry; be committed to lifelong celibacy (with the exception of one entering the permanent diaconate as a married man); have the philosophical and theological knowledge and training proper to their particular office; and be free of any impediments or irregularities in keeping with the requirements of canon law (cf. DS-S, p. 159).
The Catechism concludes its section on who is eligible for Ordination with a brief discussion of celibacy. In the Latin Church, men who receive Holy Orders (with the exception of permanent deacons) are normally obliged to practice lifelong celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:12). As expressed by the Vatican II Fathers, the celibate state “is a precious gift of divine grace given by the Father to certain souls, whereby they may devote themselves to God alone the more easily, due to an undivided heart” (LG, n. 42 § 3).
Blessed Paul VI, in his 1967 encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, wrote: “Priestly celibacy has been guarded by the Church for centuries as a brilliant jewel” (n. 1). Indeed, the life and practice of Our Lord Himself, who remained celibate and unmarried throughout His life is the foundation of the present discipline regarding celibacy in the Latin Church (cf. BCCC, p. 194).

+ + +

(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.

Twitter Feed

Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

One of my #prolife colleagues talked to a mom outside of an #Abortion facility the other day; at one point she asked, “My baby has a heartbeat?“ She chose life. The simple facts about the development of the #unborn turn people around. The abortion industry hides all these facts.

Load More...

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…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 . . .

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to fund pro-abortion, pro-LGBT groups

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Grants from the U.S. Bishops’ domestic anti-poverty arm are again benefitting groups associated with support for abortion and open homosexuality, new reports from the Lepanto Institute say. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) encourages Catholics to support its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which it says helps those on the margins. Yet in the last several years, roughly half a million dollars, much of which…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading

Shawnee State . . . Professors Must Speak Contrary To Their Beliefs Or Be Punished

CINCINNATI — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Shawnee State University officials Monday, November 5 on behalf of a professor that the university punished because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether…Continue Reading

Trump Administration… Announces New Conscience Exemptions For HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released two updated rules concerning conscience protections for organizations and individuals in relation to the HHS contraception mandate. Under the new rules, organizations and individuals objecting to the controversial mandate’s provisions on either religious or moral grounds will be exempt. According…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Humility — Foundation Of The Spiritual Life

By DON FIER As has been demonstrated over the past two weeks, temperance is the cardinal virtue that “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts, and provides balance in the use of created goods” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 383). Although most often associated with man’s innate appetitive drives to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading