Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  293 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 293 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 265

other bishops. “The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the

common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power

for the service of the faithful. The ordained ministers exercise their ser-

vice for the People of God by teaching (

munus docendi

), divine worship


munus liturgicum

) and pastoral governance (

munus regendi

)” (CCC,

no. 1592). Deacons in the Latin Church can baptize and witness the

Sacrament of Marriage, as do priests and bishops.

The ordained bishop and priest serve the Church in the person of

Christ as head of the Body. “Through the ordained ministry, especially

that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church

is made visible in the midst of the community of believers” (CCC, no.

1549). The Sacrament does not preserve the ordained from weakness

and sin, but the Holy Spirit guarantees that the minister’s sin does not

impede the effectiveness of the Sacrament and its graces. The ordained

are called to a holiness of life and an attitude of humility that conforms

them to Christ whose priesthood they share. The priest acts not only in

the person of Christ, the Head of the Church, but also in the name of the

Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, especially in

the Eucharist.


Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the

bishop as 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.

—CCC, no. 1554, citing St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad. Trall

. 3, 1


By ordination to the episcopacy, bishops receive the fullness of the

Sacrament of Holy Orders and become successors of the Apostles.

Through this Sacrament, a bishop belongs to the college of bishops and

serves as the visible head or pastor of the local church entrusted to his

care. As a college, the bishops have care and concern for the apostolic