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Saturday, 14 April 2018


The ordering of ministry in the Catholic Church is in three folds. That is, Oder of episcopate, Presbyterate and diaconate.  It is considered to be divinely instituted and essential to the Church herself.  Chapter three of the Gentium Lumen focuses on the hierarchical structure of the church, in order to shepherd the people of God and to increase its offices.
First in the hierarchy is the order of the episcopate. Christ chose twelve apostles, and commissioned them to be his collaborators in his ministry, the apostles in turn successors that continued the mission after him.  Our bishops are the successors of the successors (Apostles). The bishops receive the charge of the community presiding over the flock as teachers of doctrine, minister of sacred worship and orders of office in government. Priests assist the bishop; deacons in turn are to Christ, and bishops and priests are in the discharge of their duties.

According to Can. 1009 – the orders are the episcopal, priesthood and diaconate. Can. 1008 says that, by divine institution some among Christ’s faithful through the sacrament of Order, marked with an indelible character and thus constituted sacred ministers; thereby they are consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they fulfill, in the Persona Christ, the head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling, and so they nourish the people of God. They are all participating in mediation of Christ but in different grade.

Episcopacy- The episcopacy enjoys the fullness of priesthood. Jesus handed   down different degree of participation of munus ministerial apostolic. Priests do not belong to the fullness of priesthood. The bishops regulate power, but power directly comes   directly from Christ himself. According to (Lumen Gentium no.27), the bishops, are vicars and delegate of Christ, govern the particular churches assigned to them.
Priesthood- Priests and bishops share the same priesthood of Christ. The priests share in the ministerial mission of bishop.  Priests are prudent cooperator of the episcopal college and its support and mouthpiece, called to the service of the people of God constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sarcedotal college presbyterium.
Diaconate-Can. 1008 says that, Deacons are sacred ministers, therefore, Deacon are marked with an indelible character.  At a lower level of the hierarchy is to be found deacons who receive the imposition of hand no unto the priesthood but unto ministry.

Can. 1009, paragraph one says that, the orders are the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate. But going back to Can.1008 says each according to his own grade, fulfill in the person of Christ the head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying  and ruling, and so they nourish the people of God. This means that there is different between   them.
Precisely, the different between episcopacy and priesthood is not the one of essence. Bishops are priests but enjoy fullness of Christ’s priesthood and consecrated for their special role of shepherd. Therefore, bishop regulates power; but power comes from Jesus himself. Priesthood is a sacramental grace. According to Can.1008 of 1917-Divine institution of hierarchy among Clerics is sacred in respect of others.
There is no different between bishops and priests in case of essence. The only distinction is justification according to Can.108 of 1917. For example, if there is different between them, the bishops would have not been given “Indult”. Because the power to perform such an action on his behalf does not exists in  the indult but from the grace of ordination of being priest.
Can. 949 of 1917 says, sacred ministers are priesthood, diaconate subordinate and minor acolyte.  The Cannon law does not even mention episcopacy in the sacred minister. We now see why Saint Jerome says that the different between episcopacy and priesthood is disciplinary not sacramental. That is, different in jurisdiction.
Can. 1009 says, the Orders are the episcopate, the priest and the diaconate. And also, Can1008 says, Deacons are sacred ministers. Therefore, deacons are marked with indelible character of Deacons, the, church issues another document to ratify the error. The document is   Omnium in Mentem.

This is the church document that makes the amendment of the equality of indelible character of the episcopate and presbyterate and diaconate as written in paragraph two of Can.1009. However, the correction is that: those who are constituted in order of the episcopate and the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in Persona Christi, the head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the people of God in the ministries of the liturgy the word of God and charity.

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