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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

389

service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act

called “ordination,” that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders:

Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop

as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate

of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them

one cannot speak of the Church.

33

Episcopal ordination—fullness of the sacrament

of Holy Orders

1555

“Amongst those various officeswhich have been exercised

in the Church from the earliest times the chief place, according to

the witness of tradition, is held by the function of those who,

through their appointment to the dignity and responsibility of

bishop, and in virtue consequently of the unbroken succession

going back to the beginning, are regarded as transmitters of the

apostolic line.”

34

1556

To fulfil their exalted mission, “the apostles were endowed

by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon

them, and by the imposition of hands they passed on to their

auxiliaries the gift of the Spirit, which is transmitted down to our

day through episcopal consecration.”

35

1557

The Second Vatican Council “teaches . . . that

the fullness of

the sacrament of Holy Orders

is conferred by episcopal consecration,

that fullness namely which, both in the liturgical tradition of the

Church and the language of the Fathers of the Church, is called the

high priesthood, the acme (

summa

) of the sacred ministry.”

36

1558

“Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office

of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling. . . . In fact . . . by

the imposition of hands and through thewords of the consecration,

the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is

impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible

manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and

priest, and act as his representative (

in Eius persona agant

).”

37

“By

virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them,

bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the

faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors.”

38

33 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Trall.

3,1: Sch 10, 96.

34

LG

20.

35

LG

21; cf.

Acts

1:8; 2:4;

Jn

20:22-23;

1 Tim

4:14;

2 Tim

1:6-7.

36

LG

21 § 2.

37

LG

21.

38

CD

2 § 2.

1538

861

862

895

1121