Read The Cat – 1541-1595September 7th, 2012 | Posted by in Podcast
In paragraph 1544 the Cat quotes: “Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the ‘one mediator between God and men.’” The prefiguration of Christ was Malchezedek – the “priest of God most high.” Often times you’ll hear critics of the church and our clergy argue that there is no need for priests or mediators between God and his faithful followers. To that point the Cat responds in paragraph 1545 “The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once and for all; yet is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. The same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ’s priesthood: ‘Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.’”
Then there is the objection to ordained clergy because we are each baptized “Priest, profit, and King.” While this is true, and all baptized people live out their baptismal priesthood through participation in their own vocation, the ministerial priesthood of bishops and priests differ in an essential way from the common priesthood of all people. The common priesthood of all people is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace, while the ministerial priesthood of bishops, priests, and deacons is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his church (paragraph 1547). Because of this difference, that preisthood is transmitted by it’s own sacrament – Holy Orders. Indeed the “ordinary” the priest or bishop is like the living image of God the father. While the Holy spirit provides perfection for the sacraments an ordained minister carries out, the spirit does not cover the personal actions of a priest, bishop, or deacon. These people are fallible. The great duty of the ordained is to act not only as a representative of Christ to the people, but also acting in the name of the whole church when presenting the sacrifice of the assembly to God.
Deacon, Priest, Bishop – we have three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders – the episcopacy, the presbyterate, and the diaconate. The deaconate serves the first two and is excluded from their “priestly participation.” Indeed it is the lineage of episcopal consecration that ties the bishops of today to Peter.
Priests are co-workers of the episcopal mission. They can only exercise their ministry in dependence and communion with the Bishop.
Deacons are there not to function in priestly duties, but to serve the bishop through a special bond.
The essential rite tied with ordiantion comes from the Bishops laying of hands upon the head of the ordained and the bishop’s consecratory prayer asking the holy spirit to pour out gifts proper to the ministry the ordained is called to. Christ initially conferred this sacrament, and continues to do so through his bishops.
No one has the right to ordination, it is only received as an unmerited gift.
As in Baptism and Confirmation an indellible mark is left upon the soul which, upon ordination, fundamentally changes a person’s sole forever. An ordained person may loose their faculties or be unable to practice their duties as priest, deacon, or bishop, but that person will never return to being a lay person as a result of the fundamental change to their soul that happens at ordiantion. Since it is Christ who ultimately works through the minister, the unworthiness of the minister does not degrade the sacraments or prevent Christ from acting.
Pages: 1 2Bishop, Deacon, Holy Orders, Ordinary, Ordination, Priesthood, sacrament