Holy Orders is a sacrament in which men are approved or “ordained” by the Church to perform the other six ສິນລະລຶກ. The men may be deacons, priests or bishops.
ຢ່າງໃດກໍຕາມ, the sacrament of Holy Orders is performed only by bishops, and that follows directly from the Bible.
There is an established way in Scripture in which God’s call to the ministry is given and received. It flows from God to Jesus, from Jesus to the Apostles, and from the Apostles to their successors (ເບິ່ງ ພຣະກິດຕິຄຸນຂອງພຣະ 10:16 ແລະໄດ້ ພຣະກິດຕິຄຸນຂອງ John 13:20; 20:21). ດັ່ງນັ້ນ, the sacrament of Holy Orders can be performed only by an Apostle or only by one on whom apostolic authority has been conferred. ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງ, Paul writes in his ຈົດຫມາຍຄັ້ງທໍາອິດກັບຕີໂມທຽວ (4:14), “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you” (ເບິ່ງ 5:22, ລາວ ຈົດຫມາຍສະບັບທີ່ສອງເຖິງຕີໂມເຕ, 1:6, ແລະລາວ ຈົດຫມາຍສະບັບທີ່ຈະ Titus 1:5). ດັ່ງນັ້ນ, the sacrament follows an unbroken chain from Jesus to today’s newest Catholic priest. (More on this below.)
In the early Church, a hierarchy developed that consisted of bishops, presbyter (or elders), ແລະມັກຄະນາຍົກ, which corresponded to Israel’s three-tiered structure of high priest, ພວກປະໂລຫິດ, ແລະຄົນເລວີ (ເບິ່ງຂອງໂປໂລ ຈົດຫມາຍເຖິງ Phillipians ໄດ້, 1:1; Saint James’ Epistle, 5:14; The Book of Numbers, 32; The Second Book of Chronicles 31:9-10).1 ໃນອິດສະຣາເອນ, the priest was seen as God’s unique emissary (ເບິ່ງ ມາລາກີ 2:7), being set apart from the assembly by an anointing and the imposition of hands (ເບິ່ງ ການອົບພະຍົບ 30:30 ຫຼື ພຣະບັນຍັດສອງ 34:9).
Given that the Apostles were Jews, the Church adopted these Jewish customs for her rite of ordination.
Aren’t We all Priests?
ບໍ່ມີ, but sometimes people are confused by the Bible’s message that all believers are called to share in Christ’s priesthood. ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງ, Saint Peter’s ຈົດຫມາຍຄັ້ງທໍາອິດ (2:9) ປະເທດ, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” These words are a reference back to ການອົບພະຍົບ 19:6, “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Reserving the authority to perform sacraments to a special group of individuals (ພວກປະໂລຫິດ) is known as sacerdotalism.
In the Old Covenant, a smaller, sacerdotal priesthood existed within the larger priestly nation of Israel. As we explain, it is the same in the New Covenant.
The Bible reveals the sacerdotal priesthood to be a kind of spiritual fatherhood, which is why the Catholic Church teaches that priestly ordination is reserved for men alone. ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງ, in the Old Testament, ໄດ້ ປື້ມບັນທຶກຂອງຜູ້ພິພາກສາ (18:19) ປະເທດ: “Come with us, and be to us a father and a priest.”
ເຊັ່ນດຽວກັນນັ້ນ, ໃນພຣະສັນຍາໃຫມ່, Paul writes in his ຈົດຫມາຍຄັ້ງທໍາອິດກັບຊາວໂກຣິນໂທ (4:15) ທີ່ “For though you have countless guides in Christ, ທ່ານບໍ່ມີບັນພະບຸລຸດຈໍານວນຫຼາຍ. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Paul elaborates more on this spiritual fatherhood or sacerdotal priesthood at the start of that same chapter, when he says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (4:1).2
At the start of His ministry, Jesus remarked that the crowds resembled “sheep without a shepherd,” ເວົ້າ, “The harvest is plentiful, ແຕ່ຄົນງານຍັງມີຫນ້ອຍຢູ່; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (ເບິ່ງ ມັດທາຍ 9:36, 37-38). These remarks preface His selection of the Twelve Apostles, whom He empowered and sent out as His vicarious shepherds over the faithful (ເບິ່ງ ພຣະກິດຕິຄຸນຂອງ John 21:15-17; ໄດ້ ກິດຈະການຂອງອັກຄະສາວົກໄດ້ 20:28; ແລະເປໂຕ ຈົດຫມາຍຄັ້ງທໍາອິດ 5:2). “You did not choose me,” He later reminded them, “but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). “How can men preach unless they are sent?” writes Paul in his ຈົດຫມາຍເຖິງຊາວໂຣມ, 10:15.
Nowhere in Scripture does a man assume the ministry for himself. “One does not take the honor upon himself, but is called by God, ພຽງແຕ່ເປັນອາໂຣນໄດ້,” write Paul in his ຈົດຫມາຍສະບັບກັບຊາວເຮັບເຣີ 5:4 (see his ຈົດຫມາຍສະບັບທີ່ຈະໄດ້ Colossians 1:25, ຍັງ). When certain Jewish exorcists attempt to rebuke evil spirits “by the Jesus whom Paul preaches,” the spirits reply, “Jesus I know, ແລະ Paul ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຮູ້; but who are you?” (ກິດຈະການຂອງອັກຄະສາວົກໄດ້, 19:13, 15).
ດັ່ງນັ້ນ, a valid call to the ministry ordinarily involves the confirmation of the apostolic hierarchy. ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງ, ໃນ Act of the Apostles (1:15), Matthias does not stand up and take his ministerial office by his own volition. He is elected according to the authority of Peter and the Apostles, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Neither does Paul, in spite of his dramatic conversion, set off on his own to preach the Gospel, claiming God’s anointing for himself. As mentioned in his Letter to the Galatians (1:18), he goes first to Jerusalem to receive the approval of the Apostles, and later he returns to verify the gospel he is preaching is correct (2:2).
While all Christians are called to evangelize, the Apostles and their successors have the unique call of safeguarding the Deposit of Faith and teaching the faithful. ໃນ ພຣະກິດຕິຄຸນຂອງມັດທາຍ (28:19-20) Jesus says to the Apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
ເຊັ່ນດຽວກັນນັ້ນ, ໃນລາວ ຈົດຫມາຍສະບັບທີ່ສອງເຖິງຕີໂມເຕ, Paul instructs: “Guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us,… What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (ເບິ່ງຂໍ້ພຣະຄໍາພີ 1:14; 2:2; 1:13; ແລະໄດ້ ກິດຈະການຂອງອັກຄະສາວົກໄດ້ 2:42).
ຕົວຈິງ, when His ministers teach it is Christ Himself who teaches through them as He said: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (ລູກາ 10:16). Elsewhere He declares, “ຢ່າງແທ້ຈິງ, ຢ່າງແທ້ຈິງ, ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າກ່າວກັບທ່ານ, he who receives any one whom I send ໄດ້ຮັບການຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ; and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (John 13:20; ເນັ້ນຫນັກໃສ່ການເພີ່ມ).
The Apostles are given the authority of presiding over the Eucharistic celebration. ຍົກຕົວຢ່າງ, while instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He bids them, “Do this in remembrance of me” (ລູກາ 22:19 and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 11:23-24). The Apostles receive a unique share in His priesthood and with it the chief duty of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice on behalf of the faithful (cf. ມີ. 5:1).3
The Apostles also receive from Jesus the power to forgive sins through the gift of the keys given to Peter and the authority to” bind and loose” conferred on them as a group (cf. Matt. 16:19; 18:18). “ໃນຖານະເປັນພຣະບິດາໄດ້ຊົງໃຊ້ເຮົາມາ,” the Savior tells them, “ແມ້ກະທັ້ງນັ້ນ I send you. … Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23; ເນັ້ນຫນັກໃສ່ການເພີ່ມ).
- Though the fullness of the apostolic office with all its prerogatives was not passed down, the bishops, as direct successors to the Apostles, remained at the head of the hierarchy. ↩
- The word “mystery,” ໃນກເຣັກ, mysterion, is translated in Latin as sacramentum ຫຼື “sacrament.” The Greek Orthodox continue to this day to refer to the Sacraments as the sacred “Mysteries.” ↩
- The Biblical view of the Eucharist as a Sacrifice (cf. ທີ່ໃຊ້ເວລາ. 1:11; 1 Cor. 10:1-5, 15-22; 11:23-30; ມີ. 10:25-26), ໃນຄວາມເປັນຈິງ, further points to the existence of a sacerdotal priesthood–for the presence of a sacrifice necessitates a priesthood to offer it. Pope Clement Saint, writing from Rome in about the year 96, clearly distinguished between the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered by the ministerial priesthood and the spiritual sacrifices offered by the priesthood of the laity (cf. Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians 40-41). Misunderstanding the Eucharistic Sacrifice, non-Catholics sometimes accuse Catholics of “re-sacrificing” Jesus at Mass. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is not a re-sacrificing, ຢ່າງໃດກໍຕາມ, but a re-presentation of the one Sacrifice of Calvary. Christ does not die again; His saving Flesh and Blood are made present on the altar under the appearances of Bread and Wine so that the faithful may “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” as Paul wrote in his ຈົດຫມາຍຄັ້ງທໍາອິດກັບຊາວໂກຣິນໂທ (11:26). ↩