Vocation Sacraments

Holy Orders-The Episcopate (Bishop)

The Holy Orders are at the service of the common priesthood and is directed at unfolding the baptismal grace of all Christians (CCC 1547).  Holy Orders is the Sacrament Christ instituted at the Last Supper: “And He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19).

<>Those who receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ’s name (CCC 1539) to feed the Church by the Word (Bible and Eucharist) and grace of God.
<>Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission Christ entrusted to His apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time (CCC 1536).

There are three degrees of Holy Orders in the apostolic ministry:
episcopate (bishops),

<>presbytrate (priests) and diaconate (deacon) (CCC 1554). Ordination to Holy Orders is a religious and liturgical act of consecration (CCC 1538) which integrates a man into the order of episcopate, presbytrate or diaconate. (CCC 1538). Holy Orders confers the gift of the Holy Spirit and permits exercise of a sacred power which can some only from Christ Himself through His Church through the laying on of hands by the bishop (CCC 1538).

This pre-eminence of the bishops refers both to their exercise of authority and to their power of consecration. But their authority depends on their own consecration. Thus only bishops have the power of ordaining bishops, priests, or deacons. The common teaching is that the difference between bishops and priests (presbyters) existed from the beginning of the Church through a direct institution by Christ.

The ordination to the episcopate began with the apostles ordained by Christ at the Last Supper, so that the episcopal succession of bishops can be literally called the apostolic succession. Every validly ordained bishop in the world today can trace his ordination historically to that first ordination on Holy Thursday night.

The Bishops and their priests, sanctify the Church through their prayers and work, by ministry of word, sacraments and example. This is symbolized by the Book of the Gospels (the word of God), the ring (authority), mitre and crosier (pastor or shepherd) he receives at his ordination.

In virtue of their ordination, bishops receive the fullness of the sacrament of Order. Only they can confer this sacrament on others. Their power to teach and rule the People of God depends on their approval by the Bishop of Rome.

Every man in Holy Orders is either a deacon, priest or bishop.  The pope is the Bishop of Rome. Pope, Cardinal, Monsignor, Archbishop, are not sacramental orders. These are simply offices and titles and thus, though they are usually imparted with a blessing of some sort, their reception is not an instance of the sacrament of holy orders. An archbishop is a bishop in charge of a large or important diocese called an archdiocese. A cardinal is a special member of the papal household. Nearly all cardinals are bishops, but there are one or two cardinals who are priests.