Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  388 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 388 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

388

Part Two

depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has

been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the

Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred

power” which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this

authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ,

who by lovemade himself the least and the servant of all.

29

“The Lord

said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.”

30

. . . “in the name of the whole Church”

1552

The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of repre-

senting Christ—Head of the Church—before the assembly of the

faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when

presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when

offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.

31

1553

“In the name of the

whole

Church” does not mean that

priests are the delegates of the community. The prayer and offering

of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of

Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and

through his Church. The whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays

and offers herself “through him, with him, in him,” in the unity of

the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. The whole Body,

caput et membra,

prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are

especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but

also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood repre­

sents Christ that it can represent the Church.

III.

T

he

T

hree

D

egrees of the

S

acrament of

H

oly

O

rders

1554

“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised

in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have

been called bishops, priests, and deacons.”

32

Catholic doctrine,

expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice

of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial

participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the

presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this

reason the term

sacerdos

in current usage denotes bishops and priests

but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of

priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of

29 Cf.

Mk

10:43-45;

Pet

15:3.

30 St. John Chrysostom,

De sac.

2, 4: PG 48, 636; cf.

Jn

21:15-17.

31 Cf.

SC

33N

; LG

10.

32

LG

28.

1538

608

795

1536