ON HOLY ORDERS
Q. Who sends the pastors of the Church?
A. Christ himself sent the first pastors, in these words: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them,” &c. These first pastors, aided by the Spirit of God in making their selection, appointed their successors; and thus through the chief bishop of the Church, the body of pastors has continued down to the present day.
Q. May not any man set himself up for a Christian teacher, if he be chosen by the people as the Presbyterian ministers are? [pg. 248]
A. Certainly not; since St. Paul says, Heb. v, 4: “Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called (not by the mob, but) by God as Aaron was.” “How can they preach,” says St. Paul again— Rom. X: I5 ..” unless they be sent?”
Q. Have you any other texts on the subject?
A. In St. John, chap. x, Christ says: “For he that enter not by the sheepfold, but climb up another way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Again—Matth. xv, 14—those who intrude themselves into the pastoral office are represented as “blind leaders of the blind,” who, with their unfortunate followers, will “fall into the pit.”
Q. What are the principle duties of the pastors of the Church?
A. To preach the Gospel,—Matth. xxviii 19; to baptize,—Matth. xxviii, 19; to offer up the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist,—Luke xxii, 19; to forgive sins by the power with which God has invested them,—John xx, 22; and to administer the holy sacraments of which we are now treating. (See texts quoted, as regarding each sacrament)
Q. Did the Apostles communicate their sacred powers to those who succeeded them?
A. This is clear from the words of Christ who said he would be with them all days, even [pg. 249] to the consummation of the world. Now he could not be with the Apostles all days, as the pastors of his Church; therefore, he meant that he would be with them and their successors all days, even to the end. Besides, we hear St. Paul—Acts xx, 28—address the chief pastors who were to succeed him in these words: “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost has placed you bishops to rule the Church of God.” In fine, the religion of Christ was to be the religion of all time; therefore, of necessity, it must have, at all times, pastors ordained and sent as the Apostles were.
Q. Are bishops superior to priests in authority and jurisdiction?
A. Certainly; as much superior to the priests as the Apostles were to the other disciples. When Judas fell from the Apostleship, the other Apostles elected and raised Matthias to his place, according to that prophecy—”His bishopric let another take.“—Acts i, 16-24. St. Paul, Acts xx, 28—says, the bishops are to rule the Church of God. In 1 Tim. v, 19, he says: “Against a priest, receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses;” from which the superiority of bishops is more than evident as they are here constituted the JUDGES of the priesthood. [pg. 250]
Q. Where, in the sacrament of holy orders have we the outward sign?
A. In the imposition of the bishop’s hands, the delivery of the necessary instruments, and prayer. Read the ordination of the seven Deacons,—Acts vi, 6; and that of SS. Paul and Barnabas, Acts xiii, 3.
Q. Where does it appear that inward grace is conferred in this sacrament?
A. In 1 Tim. iv, 14, where St. Paul says to Timothy: “Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, by the imposition of the hands of the priesthood;” and in 2 Tim. i, 6: “Stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.”
Q. Who has the power to ordain priests?
A. None but bishops.
Q. How do you prove this?
A. From Titus i, 5, where St. Paul says to Titus, bishop of Crete: “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou should set in order the things that are wanting, and should ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee;“ and from 1 Tim. v, 22, where St. Paul tells that bishop of Ephesus “not to impose hands lightly on any man.”
Q. Can you establish the superiority of bishops from tradition? [pg. 251]
A. Very clearly; from the very establishment of Christianity down to the time of Luther, we defy any adversary to name even one person considered a priest, who was not ordained by some bishop.
Q. What do the Fathers say?
A. St. Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostles, who succeeded St. Peter in the See of Antioch, says, Epist. ad Trall.: “Reverence your bishop, as Christ himself, like as the blessed Apostles have commanded us; for who is the bishop, but he who has all power and principality over all.” Again—Ep. ad Magnes.—”It becomes you to obey your bishop, and in nothing to resist him,….whether you be priest, deacon, or laic.” St. Cyprian, Ep. 55, says: “Heresies and schisms rise from no other source, but disobedience to the chief pastors.” Tertullian, Lib. de Bap. cap. 17, writes: “The bishop, indeed, has a right to give baptism, and next the priests and deacons, but not without the authority of the bishops.”
Q. What says St. Epiphanius—Con. Aerius?
A. That the 65 Heresy, condemned by the Church, consisted in maintaining, as Aerius had done, that the powers of the bishop and the priest were equal. He adds, that there is this difference between the bishops and priests,— [pg. 252] that the priests are the spiritual fathers of the people by baptism, whilst the bishops are the spiritual fathers of the priests by ordination.
Q. What was done at the Council of Alexandria?
A. All the ordinations of Colluthus were declared null, because he was only a priest.
Q. What do you conclude from all this?
A. That none but Catholics have true and real priests or pastors; because, in other Churches, the ministers are not ordained at all, or ordained by men whose Episcopal ordination is doubtful; hence, I conclude also, that sectarians are deprived of the greater part of the sacraments,—their ministry is not of divine appointment but self-constituted, and their Church forms no part of the Church of Christ. “Where there is no Episcopal ordination,” says the Protestant Dodwell, “there is no ministry, no sacrament, no Church.”
Daily Indulgence: A partial indulgence, (100 days), (S.P. Ap., Dec 29, 1934). RACCOLTA pg 541