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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

395

someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be

received

only as an unmerited gift.

1579

All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the

exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among

men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain

celibate

“for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

70

Called to conse-

crate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the

affairs of the Lord,”

71

they give themselves entirely to God and to

men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the

Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart

celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.

72

1580

In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in

force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from

among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and

priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these

priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities.

73

Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern

Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the

Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already

received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.

VII.

T

he

E

ffects of

the

S

acrament of

H

oly

O

rders

The indelible character

1581

This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a

special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ’s

instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a

representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of

priest, prophet, and king.

1582

As in the case of Baptism and Confirmation this share in

Christ’s office is granted once for all. The sacrament of Holy Orders,

like the other two, confers an

indelible spiritual character

and cannot

be repeated or conferred temporarily.

74

1583

It is true that someone validly ordained can, for grave reasons, be

discharged from the obligations and functions linked to ordination, or can

be forbidden to exercise them; but he cannot become a layman again in the

strict sense,

75

because the character imprinted by ordination is for ever.

70

Mt

19:12.

71

1 Cor

7:32.

72 Cf.

PO

16.

73 Cf.

PO

16.

74 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1767;

LG

21; 28; 29;

PO

2.

75 Cf. CIC, cann. 290-293; 1336 § 1 3°, 5°; 1338 § 2; Council of Trent: DS 1774.

1618

2233

1548

1121