Hss7 a history of holy orders


Published on

Published in: Spiritual, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Hss7 a history of holy orders

  1. 1. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The present state of scholarship demands great caution in our speaking about ordination, its meaning or its rites in the NT. The words “ordain” and “ordination” are not found there There is considerable disagreement about the extent to which this later Christian use may coincide with the categories of the NT With its pattern, or varied patterns, of understanding, vocabulary and practice.
  2. 2. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The evidence suggests that the church had both unity and differentiation from the beginning. There is equality based on baptism: This equality nevertheless requires authority, leadership; • That is structured and maintained as a unity through special ministers. Ministry rather than order or status is the predominant emphasis: a mission to be accomplished a task to be done Rather than a class to be entered or a status to be attained.
  3. 3. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament These differences should not be exaggerated: • ministry may well involve position • a mission may carry with it or may require a certain personal status • ministers may be grouped together because of the nature of their function. Ministry does not however arise merely out of sociological pressure; its necessity is found at a deeper level in the person and mission of Jesus Christ.
  4. 4. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The entire ministry is ultimately the work of God (1 Cor 12:6), the gift of Christ (Eph 4:7–12) and of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:4–11; cf. Acts 20:28) in and through and for the church, the body of Christ.
  5. 5. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The most important forms of ministry can be characterized as those of leadership: • Preaching the gospel and founding new churches, • Supervising and nurturing the growth of the young churches, • Leading the communities as they become established. This ministry of leadership manifests itself in a variety of activities: • Instruction, encouragement, reproof, visitation, appointment and supervision of some ministries, and so on— • Aall that is demanded by the task of building up the body of Christ.
  6. 6. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament Scholars are not agreed about the manner in which such Christian leaders came into being in the early church. • The recent trend has been towards the view that leaders emerged or were appointed in different ways in different communities with different church orders. Is there any evidence of a rite associated with this? • Rather than discuss the question simply as a NT issue, it seems best to look at it with an eye to subsequent developments.
  7. 7. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The NT mentions the laying-on of hands on four main occasions that could be important for our consideration of the sacrament of orders (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6; and cf. 1 Tim 5:22). Scholars do not agree on the background to this Christian action, • whether it was borrowed from a supposed Jewish rite of ordination • or was derived from more general OT influences • or was primarily a Christian introduction. Nor is there agreement that in these instances the function and the meaning of the gesture are the same.
  8. 8. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament In Acts 6:6 the seven are chosen in Jerusalem by the whole body of disciples for appointment by the apostles, who pray and lay their hands upon them. In Acts 13:1–3 Barnabas and Saul are set apart in the church at Antioch for a mission in obedience to a command of the Holy Spirit. • After fasting and prayer they (the prophets and teachers? others?) lay hands on Barnabas and Saul and send them on their mission. • They are understood to be sent out by the Holy Spirit (13:4). In neither of these cases do scholars agree about the function or the meaning of this imposition of hands.
  9. 9. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The second especially may have been no more than a blessing or the acknowledgment of a mandate • (cf. Acts 14:26, which may interpret this rite in saying that they were commended to the grace of God for this work). One other text from Acts makes an interesting parallel. • According to 14:23, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting. The mention of prayer and fasting and the absence of reference to the laying-on of hands are worth noting, though it could well be that the latter is presupposed.
  10. 10. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament There is also disagreement as to the meaning of the imposition of hands in the two instances from the pastoral epistles (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6), But there is a firmer consensus that it is part of what may be called with greater confidence an ordination rite. The choice of Timothy may have been made by prophetic utterance (1 Tim 1:18; 4:14; cf. Acts 13:2) The core of the rite by which he was commissioned is presented as the laying-on of hands done by the body of presbyters and by Paul (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6). Probably this was done in public (cf. 2 Tim 2:2 “before many witnesses”).
  11. 11. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament In or through this rite a spiritual gift, a gift of God, has been conferred. This gift is at the service of the word, strengthening Timothy to bear public witness to the gospel (2 Tim 1:8–14). He is warned “not to neglect”; he is to “rekindle” this gift of God that he has received and in fact the last two chapters of I Timothy envisage a broad range of responsibility for the apostolate and the community.
  12. 12. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament It is a power that enables him to carry out his ministry, a charism for the office that he has received. • Here we have the makings of a later explicitly “sacramental” understanding of such a rite. • No doubt these texts, partial as they are, represent different situations of time and place. • They may not simply be collated in the expectation that the ensemble will provide the ordination rite of the early church or of St Paul. Scholars maintain that the pattern of ministry, its understanding and its mode of appointment or recognition, may be more varied than has been acknowledged in the past.
  13. 13. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament The precise influences that led to the Christian use of the laying-on of hands are unclear and so the meaning of this action, and in some cases its role, are also unclear. • It is not evident that some such form was always and everywhere used during the NT period or indeed for some time after it, • Nor is there any probability that all these elements were present on all occasions. • But neither can it be proved from the evidence of the NT that such a form was exceptional. Elements do undoubtedly emerge from the church of the NT that will influence all later generations and that will in fact endure.
  14. 14. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament Subject to all the qualifications that have been made, the following may serve as a summary of some of the points from the NT that will be prominent also in the subsequent tradition. • In the appointment of ministers to positions of leadership the whole local body of the church and yet also particular ministers or groups of ministers have an important role. • The context of worship, of prayer and fasting is mentioned, suggesting a liturgical setting and referring the ministry and appointment to it to God. • Hands are laid on the candidate by a group within the church and/or by such individuals as Paul and Timothy.
  15. 15. The History of Holy Orders The New Testament What the church does through its corporate action or through its leaders is regarded as inspired by the Holy Spirit Through the church’s choice and the liturgical action, God provides for the church and gives a spiritual gift that in some way endures. • This inter-working of God-whole church-special ministers in the appointment of ministers is to be noted, • as is the religious form of prayer-fasting-liturgical rite that is part of it.
  16. 16. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments During the 2nd century, Episcopacy, presbyterate and diaconate emerge almost everywhere as the most important ministries and form what will be the universal pattern. • From the letter of Clement onwards, correspondences are noted between the Jewish structure of authority and the Christian. • Ignatius of Antioch already presents the bishop as an image of the Father • Here and elsewhere bishop, presbyter and deacon are related in a variety of ways to God and to Jesus Christ.
  17. 17. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments These comparisons manifest the conviction that the existence and the pattern of this ministry in the church are willed by God and mediate the authority and the power of God. Between God and the church is Jesus Christ, who came from God and from whom the power and the authority of the church originated historically.
  18. 18. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments In the 2nd and 3rd centuries a consensus may not yet have emerged as to the way in which the church commissions these ministers. Order, Ordain, Ordination. • Clement of Rome and Irenaeus had employed the language of structure and function with regard to the church, • But Tertullian is the first that we know to use the Latin words ordoordinare-ordinatio as part of the Christian terminology. • The meaning the words have in his writings is that of the common usage of the time, • He extends this to certain Christian realities and actions, giving them a new application.
  19. 19. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments He is followed closely by his fellow North African, Cyprian, and some of Cyprian’s contemporaries. The terminology is still fluid at this stage and the words are not yet the technical terms that they will become later. Ordo for Tertullian generally denotes a certain group or class in the church • With the adjectives ecclesiasticus or sacerdotalis, denotes at least the combined episcopacy, presbyterate and diaconate, • Which are distinguished from the plebs or laici. This ordo is marked by authority and function in the church. The word is thus strongly institutional.
  20. 20. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments The verb ordinare and its noun ordinatio are used in a similar way. • To ordain is to designate someone to some function, to install in a charge, to give a mandate. • It is a juridical word, suggesting a legal act carried out by authority • It fits well into an understanding of the church as structured in different groups distinguished by different responsibilities and powers. It conveys a markedly functional understanding of the act and its effects.
  21. 21. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments In broader usage the ordination could include the preparatory stages But in a more formal sense it was distinguished from the election of the candidate by the community. By ordination the minister is invested with his charge and with all the powers that it requires.
  22. 22. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments There is strong and widespread evidence for the laying-on of hands, at least in the ordination of bishops • It cannot be proved that this took place in every instance. • It seems more plausible to hold that it was used also for the presbyterate and the diaconate. It may have been regarded as a sign, but not an essential one, of the intention to ordain the candidate to the particular charge.
  23. 23. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments In some places the ordination of a bishop required the approval of neighboring bishops or provincial synods This showed concern for such ecclesial realities as: • The apostolic succession • The unity and communion of the churches in the universal church • The personal and ecclesial standing of the new bishop.
  24. 24. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Though this cluster of words conveys a primarily juridical understanding of the reality they refer to there is also a spiritual side that is important. There is emphasis • on the qualities of holiness demanded in the person to be ordained, • on the acts of sanctification for which ordination grants authority and power • and on the priestly nature of the order to which it gives access.
  25. 25. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments The church’s act of ordination is grounded on the will of God and the authority of Christ. • God ordains and the church ordains, and these are in direct relation. • The sanctifying mission of the church that has its origin in God and is derived through Christ is engaged • Through the act of the qualified leaders of the church the candidate is divinely empowered to sanctify. Thus while the early terminology of order and ordination is primarily juridical, from the beginning it is also spiritual and has clearly sacramental elements.
  26. 26. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments • • • • • • Ordination Rites. A picture that is different in some respects emerges from the Apostolic Tradition (written in Greek at Rome about 215 by Hippolytus). There bishop, presbyter and deacon are ordained Hippolytus uses the word by the bishop in a liturgical rite which has as its core the imposition of hands accompanied by prayer. The bishop certainly and probably the other ministers were chosen by the whole community. The prayers provide a context of understanding for the ordination by referring to deeds of God in the OT or in the event of Christ All pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the candidate, indicating the tasks that the ministry involves.
  27. 27. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Thus, by imposition of hands and prayer the bishop —the qualified minister of ordination— accompanied by other bishops or other ministers and by the people, gives the church’s commission. Through this ordination a gift of the Holy Spirit is communicated, • A gift that is the ground of the ministry in question and that empowers the candidate for its exercise. This represents an understanding of ministry and commissioning for it for which there is evidence in the NT and which had been growing in confidence during the 2 nd century.
  28. 28. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments The pattern of ordination so plainly given in Hippolytus will be followed in the later Roman rituals. The prayers will have the same general character; • They will be strong in OT typology; • They will continue to be addressed to the Father and to have a clearly trinitarian structure; • They will have a petition for the gift of the Spirit and will set it in some relation to the tasks of the ministry and requisite qualities in the minister.
  29. 29. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments From all this there emerges the conviction that the ministry of leadership in its threefold form is a gift of God for the church, • A gift foretold and prefigured in the OT, • A gift that had its historical origin and was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, • A gift that God continues to make to the church through the Holy Spirit in each ordination. This is a gift to be acknowledged and proclaimed in a prayer that has a certain eucharistic quality, a gift to be prayed for humbly over the candidates.
  30. 30. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments When the community of the church chooses its candidates, this is understood to be the expression or announcement of God’s choice, as the rite of ordination is the act of the church through which God operates. • In other words, no opposition is thought to exist between God and the church in the process and the rite of ordination. • God announces and accomplishes the divine will through the church’s election and its ordination; The church’s action makes known and realizes God’s provident gift.
  31. 31. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Through the church’s act of ordination the gift of the Holy Spirit is communicated to the candidate, conveying the ministry or function together with the spiritual empowerment required for its fulfillment. These are elements that later theologians will bring together in speaking of the sacrament of ordination.
  32. 32. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Ordination rites will grow in importance and be acknowledged as the ground of these ministries. Whereas in the first two to three centuries it seems that one presided at the liturgy because of one’s position as leader of the community, Subsequently one is understood to preside and so to lead the community because one has been ordained.
  33. 33. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Five important qualities of ordination and of the ordained ministry should be noted from this period. Christological Pneumatological Ecclesial Priestly Personal
  34. 34. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Christological. • Jesus, coming from God, is the historical origin of this authoritative ministry in the church, which therefore must always be related back to him. • In his life he gave the supreme example of authentic ministry, and so he remains always the model. • What he taught and preached must be passed on faithfully, so that the church’s ministers must at all times be faithful to Christ’s gospel. • As the risen Lord he is active in the church through his Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts. • In carrying out his responsibility the minister is serving Jesus Christ, who is thus in a sense the goal of the ministry.
  35. 35. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Christological. This characteristic of ministers and ministry can be summed up in the phrases, “servants of Jesus Christ,” “the service of Jesus Christ,” understood in all their virtualities. • It is much of this that is implied in the word increasingly used from the second century, “apostolic.” The apostolic character of the ministry declared its authentic relationship to its historical origin in Jesus Christ, and so grounded its fidelity to him.
  36. 36. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Pneumatological. • There is recurring reference to the role of the Holy Spirit in the provision of ministry • And regular petition for the appropriate gift of the Spirit in the various rites of ordination.
  37. 37. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Ecclesial. The ecclesial character of ministry and ordination is particularly evident in these early centuries. • Ministers are of the church and represent it, public figures of leadership in and for the community • In many cases chosen by the whole people • Ordained by the qualified minister of the church, the bishop, in the presence of all • And perhaps confirmed by neighboring churches. Public service in the church is the summary of the ministry.
  38. 38. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Priestly. While the NT uses priestly terms both of Jesus and of the whole church, it does not do so of any Christian minister. • It is only about the turn of the 2nd century that such an extension of sacerdotal vocabulary begins to be common: • First of all and primarily with reference to the bishop • Then more slowly and in a subordinate way of the presbyter • (notably so in the Roman tradition).
  39. 39. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Priestly. By the Carolingian era in the West there will be a change it will become more and more the practice to speak of the presbyter primarily as sacerdos. • Involved in this change of usage there can be detected a practical and theological shift in the relationship between bishop and presbyter • Priestly vocabulary was not generally extended to the deacon. Hippolytus had said of him explicitly that he was not ordained to the priesthood. The introduction of priestly terminology and its increasingly widespread acceptance had enormous theological and practical consequences for the understanding and the exercise of the sacrament of orders.
  40. 40. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Personal. The one ordained is not merely a functionary but a minister of Christ and of the church, So his call requires a full personal response: • Commitment to this ministry • And holiness of life in imitation of Christ.
  41. 41. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons. The triple pattern of episcopacy-presbyterate-diaconate takes some time to emerge and to establish itself, but it then becomes universal in the church • The Reformation will bring some break in the West. The functions of these orders and the relationships between them do not remain unchanged.
  42. 42. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons. The bishop becomes the focus of ministry, the center of leadership; • The office mediates divine authority, involving supervision or leadership by the individual bishop and on the part of the whole episcopal college • This is a reality of which the patristic church was strongly conscious. But the exercise of this changes considerably as the territory of the bishops’ episkope grows.
  43. 43. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons. The presbyterate, for some time primarily a council to advise the bishop, becomes more diversified: • Individual presbyters, regularly and no longer only in the absence of the bishop, carry out many formerly episcopal functions, • They emerge as leaders of areas and groups of Christians, • Preaching, presiding over the eucharist and other liturgical functions, So that the presbyterate becomes more markedly pastoral and liturgical in character.
  44. 44. The History of Holy Orders Early Developments Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons. Throughout the patristic period deacons have important pastoral and administrative tasks in addition to their liturgical functions • It will be some time before the deacon loses his strong and distinctive role in the church to become almost exclusively a liturgical minister overshadowed by the presbyter. It is important to note of all these that the ministry has a broad scope that is not exclusively or predominantly liturgical either in its exercise or in the way it is understood.
  45. 45. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The theological contribution of the Scholastics in the 12th and 13th centuries was influenced by changes in the practical exercise of orders that had been taking place for several centuries previously • These changes reflected a sharpening of the distinction between laity and clergy They were part of an older and broader process of clericalization.
  46. 46. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages With the spread of the church and the social organization of the time, The presbyter continued to establish himself and the functions of his ministry in a more defined and more independent way vis-à-vis the bishop (and also at the expense of the deacon). In practice he became the priest, the minister par excellence of the eucharist and of other sacraments too.
  47. 47. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages Decline in the popular understanding of Latin and generally in the level of popular participation in the liturgy changed the relationship between the presbyter and the people. It increased the emphasis on his sacramental power. Mass celebrated by the priest alone or with a single minister began to be common.
  48. 48. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages There were changes too in the Roman ritual of ordination, which now came to incorporate investiture, anointing and the traditio instrumentorum. • The last two would become important for the Scholastic discussion of the matter of the sacrament, • While all three would enhance the perception of the ordained minister as a figure of sacred status and power. A more general change of great consequence was the gradual loss of communication and mutual influence between the churches of West and East.
  49. 49. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Sacrament of Orders. In the course of the 12th century “sacrament” came to be defined narrowly; • Orders was recognized as one of the seven sacraments • And “the sacrament of orders” became a technical term. In addition to the issues common to all the sacraments, this raised a number of particular questions. • There had long been discussion about the number of orders, and this continued to be debated.
  50. 50. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Sacrament of Orders. The more common view emerged that there were seven orders There was less agreement that subdiaconate and the minor orders, recognized to be of ecclesiastical institution, were sacramental in the strict sense. The question was posed most acutely of the episcopacy. • Theologians agreed that orders was a single sacrament and not several • They disagreed about the precise relationship between this unique sacrament and its several parts.
  51. 51. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Sacrament of Orders. For some, no one order had the fullness of the sacrament, which was constituted rather by all the orders taken together. However, the more common opinion was that the priesthood contained the fullness of the sacrament as being the fullness of order and that the other orders participated in this plenitude, being ordered to this single end. This view fit well into the widespread medieval way of understanding reality in terms of hierarchy, order and participation.
  52. 52. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Status of Episcopacy. The status of episcopacy and the relationship between it and the presbyterate were not new issues. • In the patristic church episcopacy was commonly presented as the supreme order and the high priesthood, with the presbyterate, especially in the Roman rite of ordination, explicitly and emphatically designated as subordinate From at least the time of St. Jerome and Ambrosiaster there had been another view. • The proponents of this argued that presbyteroi and episkopoi were synonymous in the NT • They maintained that bishop and presbyter were equal as priests, the difference between them being a matter of ecclesiastical institution related to authority.
  53. 53. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Status of Episcopacy. We have seen already the change in the way in which the term “priest” came to be applied to bishops and presbyters. Now the Scholastics posed the question: is episcopacy an order? Among theologians there developed a strong tendency to define orders with reference to the Eucharist and to locate the essence of priesthood in the power over the body and blood of Christ exercised in the Eucharist.
  54. 54. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Status of Episcopacy. Since in this precise respect the powers of bishop and of presbyter (now increasingly called “priest,” sacerdos) are the same, The majority of theologians held that episcopacy in itself is not An order but an ecclesiastical honor An office of jurisdictional power only and so they denied it sacramental status. The contrast with the earlier tradition is obvious: The high priest of the liturgy, the pastor and teacher par excellence was in danger of becoming an administrator.
  55. 55. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages The Status of Episcopacy. The memory of the past had not disappeared, and some theologians, together with canonists generally, tried to provide for the episcopal office within the scheme of orders. Others, too, recognized the special dignity of the episcopacy on the grounds that its power of jurisdiction is also a power over the body of Christ, the mystical body that is the church.
  56. 56. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages Character. A number of factors contributed to the development of the concept of character among the Scholastics, • Notably the earlier and continuing debate about the status of those ordained by a heretical or schismatic minister. • The question had arisen in a corresponding way earlier for Baptism, The Scholastic theologians took up the words signaculum (seal) and character to provide the basis of an answer to the controverted question.
  57. 57. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages Character. The words were used by the Scholastics both of the external sacramental rite and of its interior effect The inner reality that was the necessary effect of the celebration of the sacrament and that remained in the recipient in a permanent manner. • In general theologians maintained that the character was a spiritual power or capacity, divinely given, enabling the recipient to carry out the proper ministerial functions. • Because of the close link established between order and the Eucharist, a number of theologians gave the character a Christological interpretation
  58. 58. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages Character. It was St. Thomas more than anyone who developed and deepened this. St. Thomas was strongly conscious that all Christian cult, with the Eucharist at its center, is derived from the unique priesthood of Christ. Christ is the source of this and its true celebrant Others can join in it only to the extent that he gives them this capacity, through the participation in his priesthood that they receive from him. This is precisely what the character is and does.
  59. 59. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages Character. It is “the character of Christ,” a configuration to him, a sharing in his priesthood that empowers the Christian to have part in the whole Christian economy. • This general presentation of the character applies analogously to baptism, confirmation and orders. St. Thomas’ understanding of it in respect of orders can be dealt with appropriately through consideration of the phrase “in persona Christi.”
  60. 60. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages In Persona Christi. In general this traditional phrase was originally used of biblical words, to attribute or refer to someone the words spoken by another • As if the one were represented in and spoke through the other. • Hence in persona Christi meant that the words spoken should be referred or attributed to Christ. During the Scholastic period the use of the phrase underwent considerable development, particularly with respect to the Eucharist, in a desire to determine the status of the biblical eucharistic words of Christ as spoken by the priest at the consecration.
  61. 61. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages In Persona Christi. St. Thomas gave the phrase a technical sense, to mean that the consecratory words were spoken by the priest in the name of Christ, who so engages himself in the priest’s speaking of the words that the deed is in fact his and not the priest’s. • The phrase is used almost exclusively of the Eucharist by St. Thomas, • But it is worth noting that on occasion he refers to the whole ministerial priestly action as action in persona Christi.
  62. 62. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages In Persona Christi. He expresses a similar understanding in different terms in his teaching that the priest as minister is an instrument of Christ’s own action. This power to act in persona Christi is conferred through the sacrament of priestly ordination • Because there the priest is configured to Christ by the sacramental character, being made to share in Christ’s priesthood. The character is permanent • Which means that the minister’s participation in Christ’s priesthood, his priestly empowerment, cannot be lost.
  63. 63. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • In Persona Christi. • St. Thomas’ technical use of the phrase in persona Christi • together with the somewhat broader expressions gerere personam, gerere vicem Christi • sum up for his time and later with respect to the priesthood and the eucharist the earlier universal tradition • that in the sacraments as celebrated by the ministers of the church Christ is present and active.
  64. 64. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • There was a similar traditional phrase, in persona ecclesiae, which resembled in persona Christi in that it indicated that words were spoken by someone in the name of the church. • With the Scholastics, St. Thomas especially, it too was developed, so that in celebrating the eucharist the priest was said • to offer the sacrifice, • to proclaim faith, • to utter the prayers in persona ecclesiae, • though the use of the phrase was not confined to the eucharist or to the church’s ministers. • For the great Scholastics it acquired the sense that the church engages itself and its faith in the official cultic actions of its ministers so that they represent it and act with its authority and its sanctifying power.
  65. 65. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • In persona Christi and in persona ecclesiae are not exactly parallel expressions, • The latter had a somewhat broader usage • (for example, the server at Mass or even the unbaptized person who baptizes in emergency act in persona ecclesiae). • For St. Thomas while the validly ordained priest who has been rejected by the church does indeed act in persona Christi in celebrating the eucharist, • he does not act in persona ecclesiae. • Later this expression will largely lose its strong Scholastic sense and will come to be interpreted in a more juridical way, as if it were merely a matter of delegation to act in the name of the church.
  66. 66. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • The two phrases and the relationship between them are important for understanding the nature and function of the ordained ministry. • Overwhelmingly but not exclusively cultic in their reference, • they sum up the traditional datum that the Christian liturgy is an act both of Christ and of the church, • and in their different ways they aim to state more exactly the role of the minister particularly in the celebration of the eucharist. • They have entered into the Catholic theological tradition and express theological positions acquired and confirmed by later tradition. • But they are still phrases of their time, from their own background of theology and practice.
  67. 67. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • That theology lacked a developed ecclesiology • neither theology nor liturgical practice was strong in attending to the role of the lay faithful in the celebration of the sacraments. • Thus in the Middle Ages the understanding of orders became more narrowly cultic. • Theologians commonly defined order by its reference to the eucharist, • they characterized it in terms of spiritual power. • The majority of the great Scholastics, including St. Thomas, held as the matter and form of the sacrament of priestly ordination • the handing over of the chalice with wine and the paten with bread to the candidate together with the accompanying formulary, seeing in this the act that confers the essential priestly power.
  68. 68. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • • • • • • • Through all of this another change may be detected: the predominant image of the ordained person, formerly that of a minister, now became more sacral or hieratic. The central work of the ordained person was related to the eucharist, a more sacral understanding was found to correspond well with this. In the ritual for ordaining priest and bishop a rite of anointing was introduced • slowly the interpretation of the central prayer and of the rite as a whole changed.
  69. 69. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • The earlier sense of the prayer has been spoken of as a “blessing” or “consecration”. • The blessing in early times might still have been understood in the Jewish sense as a prayer in which God is blessed. • Later it was thought of as a prayer which sought the blessing of God on the candidate. • Now it came to be interpreted as a prayer that blessed, or through which God blessed, the candidate, a prayer of consecration. • And so, the ordained minister became a consecrated person, and in the case of bishop and priest the anointing served to confirm this.
  70. 70. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • The investiture in appropriate apparel likewise can be interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the predominantly hieratic image that emerged. • This new image of a sacral figure with sacred, spiritual power remained the dominant one until the changes set in motion by Vatican ii. • It is easy to see how this sacral model of the priesthood can be linked • to the strongly christological understanding involved in the phrase in persona Christi • and the configuration to Christ on which this is based, • to produce eventually the common conception of the priest as alter Christus.
  71. 71. The History of Holy Orders The Middle Ages • The connection is made directly and immediately between the individual and Christ. • But the christological point of reference is almost exclusively liturgical • in this respect is much narrower than what we have seen in the patristic period. • And the ecclesiological reference too is inadequate, • although order is presented as order in and for the church.
  72. 72. The History of Holy Orders The 16th Century • The questions raised by the Reformation about the sacrament of orders arose chiefly from the more basic issues of • justification, • grace and good works, • the nature and the application to us of Christ’s redemption, etc. • that were the ground of the 16th-century controversy. • But there were also some more particular questions: • is there a sacrament of orders in the church by the institution of Christ? • Is the rite of ordination as practiced by the Catholic church a sacrament? • What are the essential functions of such special ministry? • How is this special ministry related to the priesthood of all believers?
  73. 73. The History of Holy Orders The 16th Century • Issues such as these challenged both the current theology and the practical exercise of orders in the Catholic church. • The Council of Trent did not purport to give a full, worked-out theology of orders or priesthood. • What it did was to defend on the basis of the church’s long tradition the theology and practice of orders that it had received: • in the face of attack it affirmed what it regarded as essential positions and legitimate practice, • it did so largely in the categories and the terms of the Scholastic theologians. • In addition, it issued a set of reform decrees and attacked abuses, • initiating a change in the context that had given rise to some more theological criticisms.
  74. 74. The History of Holy Orders The 16th Century • Thus Trent upheld a visible, external priesthood with its center in the eucharist and the remission of sin; • this is not a priesthood belonging to all believers nor is it a simple ministry of preaching. • Orders-ordination is a true and proper sacrament instituted by Christ; • it is not simply the act of the people or of the candidate or of any secular power; • by it the Holy Spirit is given and a permanent character is imprinted (the nature of this character is not determined).
  75. 75. The History of Holy Orders The 16th Century • There is a hierarchy in the church that is divinely instituted, comprising several ranks; • of these, bishops are superior to priests • (but the precise ground of the superiority is not stated, so that Trent left open the question whether or not episcopacy as such belongs to the sacrament of order); • the hierarchy also contains “ministers” • (who are likewise unspecified). • Thus Trent reaffirmed the traditional datum that the special ministry is not a human invention but the provision of God, • and it reinforced this by its insistence on the true sacramentality of orders and ordination.
  76. 76. The History of Holy Orders The 16th Century • The strength of Trent was the long earlier tradition and particularly the great Scholastic synthesis on which it rested. • Its weakness was its failure to come to grips with some of the issues raised by the Reformers • together with the narrowness of the eucharistic base of the medieval theology of orders and priesthood. • The teaching of Trent and the long anti-Reformation polemic that ensued combined to prolong the life and influence of this theology in the Catholic church down into the present century. • It is only in the past few decades that new and broader theological thinking has made its impact.
  77. 77. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • The following summarizes some of the salient points of Vatican ii on orders and priesthood.
  78. 78. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • While the Scholastic framework of orders took the eucharist as its base, • Vatican ii represented an important change in two respects: • it preferred to start from the person and mission of Jesus Christ • and it broadened the scope beyond the liturgical to include teaching and pastoral leadership. • The church’s ministry is essentially related to that of Jesus. • As he was prophet/teacher, priest and king/pastor, • so the church shares in his work of teaching, sanctifying and shepherding/ruling.
  79. 79. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • Vatican ii explicitly and deliberately affirmed that episcopacy is the fullness of orders. • As we have seen, medieval theologians commonly had identified the presbyterate as the highest degree of orders, seeing in the episcopacy a dignity or office superior in its authority or power of jurisdiction but not in its power of orders. • From the post-Reformation period onwards there had been a change of theological opinion, but it was not until Vatican II that this was given such authoritative corroboration. • This teaching rejoins the common tradition of the patristic church;
  80. 80. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • it enhances the episcopal office by giving it a sacramental rather than a jurisdictional foundation. • This means that the episcopal functions of teaching, sanctifying and pastoral leadership are grounded on the sacrament itself • —and hence on Christ— • and not on papal delegation. • It also strengthens the basis of episcopal collegiality, • since membership of the college of bishops too derives from the sacrament and not from any other authority.
  81. 81. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • The result of this is to make the episcopacy rather than the presbyterate the primary theological reference point of orders and priesthood. • This was accompanied by restoration of the ancient idea of the presbyterium, • the single priestly body formed by the presbyters together in communion with their bishop. • It also rejoins another element from the early centuries, • the understanding that the presbyters formed a sort of council of advisers to the bishop. • Thus the interrelationship of episcopacy and presbyterate is stressed.
  82. 82. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • This does not make the individual priest the delegate of the bishop any more than the bishop is the delegate of the pope, • since the sacrament of ordination • —and therefore the call of the Lord— • rather than episcopal empowerment • is the source of the presbyteral ministry.
  83. 83. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • The council had little to say about the diaconate, • but subsequent developments opened the possibility that it might emerge in time as a full and permanent ministry once again. • Thus not only did the council modify considerably the Catholic church’s theological presentation of orders • but it also aimed to strengthen the different orders and the network of relationships between them.
  84. 84. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • Vatican ii also recognized unambiguously the apostolate of all the baptized, • the participation that all Christians have in the triple function of Christ through the sacraments of initiation. • At the same time, it asserted an essential difference between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood • while acknowledging that they are ordered one to the other.
  85. 85. The History of Holy Orders The Second Vatican Council • All of this opened up new possibilities, but Vatican ii could not work out fully either theologically or practically all the relationships that are involved • (between the mission and ministry derived from the sacraments of initiation and that derived from ordination, for example, • or between episcopal collegiality and papal power). • Much was incomplete, as the succeeding years have shown. • Nevertheless, a different model of ministry began to emerge, • more dynamic, • multi-dimensional, • ecclesiological, • and a strong impetus was given to renewal and innovation.
  86. 86. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • • • • What does it mean to speak of the sacramentality of orders? It is to recognize the mystery of the church, that it is the fundamental sacrament of salvation. Ultimately it is the economy of God revealed and realized in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit that justifies and requires this ministry in the church; • it is this trinitarian mystery of salvation that grounds it.
  87. 87. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • The experience of history has shown that this ministry is referred in a double way to Christ: • to his historical mission and ministry, • which is the origin, exemplar and reference point of the church’s mission and ministry; • to his abiding presence in the church, • as head of his body, in his Holy Spirit. • And it is referred to the Holy Spirit, • who accomplishes in the church the mystery first achieved in Christ.
  88. 88. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • The sacramentality of orders proclaims that the church does not exist of itself or for itself or by its own resources. • What it preaches is the gospel of Christ entrusted to it. • Its work of sanctifying can begin and end only in God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. • What it is to build up is the body of Christ—and ultimately the aim for which it organizes itself is the Kingdom of God. • Sacramentality also proclaims that the ministerial activity of these orders is a genuine and efficacious preaching of Christ’s gospel, • sanctifying his church and building up his body to the glory of God. This ministry represents Christ to the church.
  89. 89. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • Contemporary Roman Catholic theology speaks of different ways in which Christ is present to his church. • This ministry and its work is a primordial mode of the dynamic presence of Christ, • through word, • sacrament • and pastoral leadership.
  90. 90. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • The sacramentality of orders also proclaims that the church is • the fruit of Christ’s work, • the communion of life achieved among Christ’s members by the Holy Spirit; • the ordained ministry gives witness to and expresses the church, • its faith, its unity, its life of grace in the Holy Spirit in its return to the Father through Christ. • Thus this ministry represents the church to itself, to God, to the world.
  91. 91. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • Ministry or representation of Christ, • ministry or representation of the church: • together these two express the essential unity and the essential differentiation of the church • they are identified in the one complex reality that is the church.
  92. 92. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • To number orders among the sacraments then is to acknowledge that this ministry belongs to the essential structure of the church, • expressing and engaging the mystery of salvation in all its dimensions: trinitarian, christological, pneumatological, ecclesiological. • This mystery, however, is working itself out in the flux of history, a fact that touches the theology of orders in two related ways: • historical issues have been posing questions for some time to the theology accepted since the Middle Ages; • the great practical and theological changes that have been occurring inside and outside the church affect theological reflection on the sacrament of orders.
  93. 93. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • The Roman Catholic church has begun to face the first of these seriously. • This effort coupled with the work initiated by Vatican ii bears closely on the second. • Four influences may be noted briefly.
  94. 94. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • The general renewal of ecclesiology and of pneumatology together with the broadening of the concept of sacrament to embrace the church have provided a better ecclesiological context and basis for the theology of orders • they suggest a fuller theological integration of the traditional data that the ordained minister represents Christ and represents the church.
  95. 95. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • Revived appreciation of the dignity and the role of all the baptized has brought not only a shift in theology but also significant changes in liturgical and pastoral practice. • This has been leading both in theory and in practice to some reassessment of the relationship between clergy and laity.
  96. 96. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • Since 1972 ministry is no longer exclusively clerical • there has been a remarkable expansion of interest in and diversification of ministry and ministries. • This is an important change in the context in which theologians reflect on ordination and the ordained ministry. • It also raises questions about the terminology to be used that may be theological issues at base.
  97. 97. The History of Holy Orders Conclusion • • • • • • • • History shows that the present triple form of the ordained ministry while very ancient does not seem to have existed everywhere from the beginning that the functions of each order together with the relationships between them have undergone considerable change. And despite the debates of history and the declarations of Vatican ii, both the meaning of “fullness of order” and the nature of the theological relationship between episcopacy and presbyterate still require clarification. All of this suggests that the nature of order or orders has still much to offer to the attention of theologians.