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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery


Church entrusted to him. As successors of the

apostles andmembers of the college, the bishops share

in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the

whole Church under the authority of the Pope, succes­

sor of St. Peter.


Priests are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dig-

nity and at the same time depend on them in the

exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to

be the bishops’ prudent co-workers. They form

around their bishop the presbyterium which bears

responsibility with him for the particular Church.

They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish

community or a determinate ecclesial office.


Deacons are ministers ordained for tasks of service of

the Church; they do not receive the ministerial priest-

hood, but ordination confers on them important func-

tions in the ministry of the word, divine worship,

pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks

which they must carry out under the pastoral author-

ity of their bishop.


The sacrament of HolyOrders is conferred by the laying

onof hands followedby a solemnprayer of consecration

asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy

Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an

indelible sacramental character.


The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only

on baptized men (


), whose suitability for the exer-

cise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church

authority alone has the responsibility and right to call

someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.


In the LatinChurch the sacrament of HolyOrders for the

presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates

who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who pub-

licly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the

love of God’s kingdom and the service of men.


It is bishops who confer the sacrament of Holy Orders

in the three degrees.