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SUMMARY OF OUR DISCUSSION ON THE SEMINAR PAPER: THE DUAL NATURE OF THE CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD IN THE LIGHT OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL

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by March 2, 2018 Seminar Papers

SUMMARY OF OUR DISCUSSION ON THE SEMINAR PAPER: THE DUAL NATURE OF THE CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD IN THE LIGHT OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL

 

  1. According to the paper, “the Ministerial Priesthood is all who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and are chosen by God to serve and preach to others”. Is Ministerial Priesthood the same as Holy Order? How can we reconcile the definition of the ministerial priesthood with the stipulation in Can. 1009 §1 which says: The orders are the episcopate, the priesthood, and the diaconate and Can.  1008 which says, “By divine institution, some of the Christian faithful are marked with an indelible character and constituted as sacred ministers by the sacrament of holy orders. They are thus consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they may serve the People of God by a new and specific title”?
  2. There is a fundamental distinction of all the faithful based on their participation in the priesthood of Christ. This is the basis of the difference between the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood. While all baptized share the common priesthood of Christ, priests alone are said to share in the ministerial priesthood of Christ, the head of the Church. All Christ’s faithful belong necessarily to one or both forms of the priesthood of Christ.
  3. By baptism, all share in the common priesthood. By Holy Orders, some of the baptized become clerics: Deacons, Priests and Bishops. With priestly ordination, some of the baptized who are now clerics share in the ministerial priesthood- priests and Bishops. With episcopal consecration, some of the baptized who are already clerics and priests share in the fullness of the ministerial priesthood.
  4. There are two grades of ministerial priesthood or priests, namely bishops and presbyters. Bishops are priests. Actually the English term priest seems to create confusion. It refers to all endowed with the “ministerial priesthood”, that is bishops and presbyters.
  5. Holy Order is a sacrament by which bishops, priests and deacons are ordained. Ministerial priesthood confers powers to serve the people of God as pastors representing Christ the Head of the Church. Ministerial Priesthood is not equivalent to Holy Order. Ministerial priesthood refers to priests and bishops while Holy Order includes the two and a lower other one: the diaconal order. Only bishops and priests are capable of pastoral functions in persona Christi capitis. It is this status that is currently defined as ministerial priesthood. While bishops and priests can head communities of the faithful as their pastors deacons serve the communities in works of charity and liturgy as well as by assisting the pastors in various capacities. The reform does not seem to have resolved doctrinal issues satisfactorily. If Holy Orders consecrates sacred ministers it seems problematic that not all of these same ministers enjoy “ministerial” priesthood, even if they still share in the priesthood of Christ. And if we say deacons belong to the common or baptismal priesthood alone what differentiates them the other faithful? In other words what effect does their ordination have, bearing in mind that between common and ministerial priesthood there is no intermediate sacramental status of the faithful. Prof. Ben Ejeh suggested in his book titled I chierici nel popolo di Dio  (The Clergy in the People of God) that the concept of pastoral priesthood could be introduced to take care of the ordained priesthood (Episcopal and presbyteral) while leaving ministerial priesthood for all who have received Holy Orders, since they are all ministers and share in the priesthood of Christ (meaning ultimately that they are ministerial priests by virtue of the sacred ministries of Holy Orders).

 

 

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