The Sacraments – Holy Orders

The Sacraments – Holy Orders

 

In the same way only a few are called to receive the sacrament of matrimony, there are also those who are specifically called to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that,

“Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.”

 

So all of that is to say that the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony are in fact sacraments of service.

When a priest accepts the call of God to be a shepherd for His people he is giving up his (the priest) life for the good of God’s people.

When man and wife come before God they are, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their (marital) state by a special sacrament”

 

 

We will discuss further the sacrament of Holy Matrimony in a few weeks.

 

 

But what is Holy Orders? We turn to our Catechism once again – “Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry.”

 

 

Why the “order”?

One can say that this apostolic ministry has been entrusted to all Christians.

However as a priest said recently – Christ didn’t leave a bible, he left His Church entrusted in the hands of His disciples;

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

 

 

The Church has given us a guideline as to how this sacrament is structured.

There are three degrees of this Sacrament; episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons).

Each degree plays a significant and particular role in the apostolic ministry of the Church.

 

 

What is Holy Orders? – A sacrament – that can only be administered by a bishop and is not received all at once, hence the degrees of the sacrament mentioned above.

 

 

The Catechisms defines it as,

“the sacrament through which men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church” .

At each order there are rights and powers belonging to the degree of the order that is received.

Deacons have the rights to baptize, preach and administer Holy Communion.

Priests have the power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ and to forgive sins.

Bishops who possess the fullness of priesthood have the power to confirm and to ordain – that is to pass the power of the priesthood on to other in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

 

 

So a questions arises – how is it that there are deacons who are married men.

Leo Trese explains this quite well in “The Faith Explained”.

There was a time when deaconship was a “working” order, and significant helpers to priest and bishops, however at some point in time it became simply a stepping stone to priesthood.

After Vatican Council II the ancient concept of the deaconship was restored where men (including married men) were ordained to the deaconship with the purpose of remaining deacons.

 

 

The second stage of Holy Orders is the priesthood or presbyterate.

As is seen in our Church this is last stage of the sacrament for many who are called to the priesthood.

It is the order that gives to power to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and the power to forgive sins;

 “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:20) and forgive sins; ” Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (Luke 20: 22-23).

 

 

What makes a priest a priest is the power to offer the sacrifice that is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

 

 

The final stage of Holy Orders that few are elected to is that of the Espisocpacy – Bishop.

These priests receives for the final time the laying of hands from a bishop.

Now added to his previous powers is the power to administer the sacrament of Confirmation and to administer the sacrament of Holy Orders.

 

 

So what about the Pope?

The Pope is a bishop – The Bishop of Rome and the successor of St. Peter.

The Pope has no additional spiritual power received through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he does however have the additional authority of the Bishop of Rome and successor of St. Peter.

Recall the words of Jesus, “You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church” .

St. Peter had authority over the entire Church of Christ and such those who succeed him have that same authority.

 

 

So we have a basic understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

I know there may still be many questions; like what is the difference between a bishop and an archbishop?

what is difference from a priest, bishop and cardinal?

All these are titles that are designated separate and apart from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

These are designated because of the structure of the Church.

The Catechism and The Faith Explained, go into a little more detail on these matters.

 

 

We have to remember for our purposes the foundation of this sacrament – “the sacrament through which men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church”

 

 

HilaryDeFreitasProfileImageempHilary De Freitas

Catholic Blogger and  Author (among other things.)

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About Hilary De Freitas

Hilary De Freitas is a wife, mother, engineer and marketer. She is dedicated to helping people build better businesses using the information available to them. Apart from helping people build businesses she runs her own Knights Consulting business as well as being a network marketer. Hilary has been on a faith journey that guided her along her professional life. She shares what she had learned in her faith and how she uses it in her everyday life.

About The Author

Hilary

Hilary De Freitas is a wife, mother, engineer and marketer. She is dedicated to helping people build better businesses using the information available to them. Apart from helping people build businesses she runs her own Knights Consulting business as well as being a network marketer. Hilary has been on a faith journey that guided her along her professional life. She shares what she had learned in her faith and how she uses it in her everyday life.

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