God; giving the book of the Gospels to the deacon who has just received
the mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his
mission and authority. Raised to the Father’s right hand, he has not
forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through
theapostles, andguides it still through these samepastorswhocontinue
his work today.
Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles,
others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops.
Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the
apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the
apostles to hand on the “gift of the Spirit,”
the “apostolic line.”
Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic
succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of
“Only a baptized man (
) validly receives sacred ordina-
The Lord Jesus chose men (
) to form the college of the
twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose
collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.
The college of
bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes
the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality
until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by
this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination
of women is not possible.
No one has a
to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by
Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God’s call to
the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the
authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call
Preface of the Apostles I.
21 § 2.
65 Cf. DS 794 and Cf. DS 802; CIC, can.1012; CCEO, can. 744; 747.
66 CIC, can.1024.
1:5-9; St. Clement of
42, 4; 44, 3: PG 1, 292-293; 300.
68 Cf. John Paul II,
26-27; CDF, declaration,