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Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 271

ried clergy of other Christian churches who convert to Catholicism have

been admitted to Holy Orders. In the Eastern Churches, only the bishops

must be celibate. Priests and deacons may be married; however, in the

United States, priests in Eastern Churches are normally celibate.


This Sacrament configures the bishop and priest to Christ as the Head of

the Church in Christ’s threefold office of priest, prophet, and king. This

Sacrament configures the deacon to Christ as servant.

The Sacrament ofHolyOrders, like that of BaptismandConfirmation,

confers an indelible or permanent character on the recipient. This means

that this Sacrament cannot be received again. The indelible character is

a reminder to the bishop, priest, or deacon that the vocation and mission

he received on the day of his ordination marks him permanently. Like

Baptism and Confirmation, which also confer a permanent character,

Holy Orders is never repeated.

A bishop is given the grace to teach in the name of Christ; to sanctify

the Church through the celebration of the Sacraments; to guide, govern,

and defend the Church; and to be a sign of the unity of the Church.

A priest is given the grace to proclaim the Gospel and preach, to

celebrate the Sacraments (except Holy Orders), and to shepherd the

people entrusted to him.

A deacon in the Latin Church is ordained to proclaim the Gospel

and preach, to baptize, to assist the bishop or priest in the celebration of

the Eucharist, to assist at and bless marriages, to preside at funerals, and

to serve the community through works of charity.


[Priests] should be taught to seek Christ. This along with the

quaerere Deum

[the search for God] is a classical theme of

Christian spirituality. It has a specific application in the context

of the calling of the Apostles. When John tells the story of the

way the first two disciples followed Christ, he highlights this

“search.” It is Jesus himself who asks the question: “What do