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384

Part Two

I.

W

hy

I

s

T

his

S

acrament

C

alled

“O

rders

”?

1537

The word

order

in Roman antiquity designated an estab-

lished civil body, especially a governing body.

Ordinatio

means

incorporation into an

ordo.

In the Church there are established

bodies which Tradition, not without a basis in Sacred Scripture,

4

has since ancient times called

taxeis

(Greek) or

ordines.

And so the

liturgy speaks of the

ordo episcoporum,

the

ordo presbyterorum,

the

ordo diaconorum.

Other groups also receive this name of

ordo:

cate-

chumens, virgins, spouses, widows, . . .

1538

Integration into one of these bodies in the Churchwas accom-

plished by a rite called

ordinatio,

a religious and liturgical act which

was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word “

ordi­

nation

” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into

the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple

election, designation, delegation,

or

institution

by the community, for it

confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred

power” (

sacra potestas

)

5

which can come only from Christ himself

through his Church. Ordination is also called

consecratio,

for it is a

setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The

laying on of hands

by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer,

constitutes the visible sign of this ordination.

II.

T

he

S

acrament of

H

oly

O

rders

in

the

E

conomy

of

S

alvation

The priesthood of the Old Covenant

1539

The chosen people was constituted by God as “a kingdom

of priests and a holy nation.”

6

But within the people of Israel, God

chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for

liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance.

7

A special rite

consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant.

The priests are “appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to

God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

8

1540

Instituted to proclaimtheWordof God and to restore commu-

nion with God by sacrifices and prayer,

9

this priesthood nevertheless

4 Cf.

Heb

5:6; 7:11;

Ps

110:4.

5 Cf.

LG

10.

6

Ex

19:6; cf.

Isa

61:6.

7 Cf.

Num

1:48-53;

Josh

13:33.

8

Heb

5:1; cf.

Ex

29:1-30;

Lev

8.

9 Cf.

Mal

2:7-9.

922

923, 1631

875

699

2099