Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 267
the imposition of hands that has come down from the apostles. They
would be more closely bound to the altar and their ministry would be
made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the diaconate”
(AG, 16, no. 6).
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Latin Church has restored the
diaconate as a permanent rank of the hierarchy. Now, diaconate as a
permanent office may also be conferred on both married and unmarried
men. The Eastern Churches have always retained it. Seminarians prepar-
ing for priesthood have always been ordained to the diaconate before
ordination to priesthood.
THE ESSENTIAL RITE OF HOLY ORDERS
The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for
all three degrees consists in the bishop’s imposition of
hands on the head of the ordinand and in the bishop’s
specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpour-
ing of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry
to which the candidate is being ordained.
—CCC, no. 1573
The additional rites surrounding this core ordination rite vary greatly
among differing liturgical traditions, but all have in common the expres-
sion of aspects of sacramental grace. The only valid minister of ordina-
tion is a bishop. Now ascended to the Father, Christ continues to guide
the Church through the bishops, who confer this Sacrament of apostolic
ministry and hand on the gift of the Holy Spirit.
WHO MAY BE ORDAINED?
Only a baptized man may be ordained in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Jesus Christ chose men to become part of the Twelve. Throughout his
ministry, his attitude toward women was different from the culture, and
he courageously broke with it. For example, he did not hesitate to speak
with the Samaritan woman even though custom forbade it (cf. Jn 4:4-