Tuesday, 1 April 2008

More on orders

Fr G commented on the last post:
It is also of course the case that various priests have historically had the power to ordain to various grades. Boniface VIII allowed the Abbot of London's Augustinian Monastery to ordain his subjects as priests (albeit this was soon revoked wanted to reserve this power to himself). Martin V allowed some abbots in Saxony to ordain and Innocnet VIII allowed certain cistercian abbots to ordain, something contained in their rituals right up the the 20th century (although the practice, I believe, had fallen out of use a long time previously).
This is certainly true, though I understand that this information has only relatively recently become known. I read some time ago that Cardinal Ottaviani, at the council, wishing to oppose the making of a distinction of kind between Episcopacy and Presbyterate, had commented 'if only we could find one single case of presbyteral ordination, we could finish this attempt off for good'. And yet the matter had been known to, at least, the eminent liturgiologist and doorkeeper of Archbishop's House, Westminster, Archdale King.
I've tried hunting around the documents of Vatican II for where this matter is dealt with, but no luck yet. — update: see the comments box.


Anonymous said...

Father, i don't know where in Vatican II's acta teh discussions can be found, but the original documents are found in Denzinger I believe. (DS1145-1146, 1290, 1435) I don't have a copy of Denzinger to ckeck this out (Shock! Horror!) but an English version of DS1145 is found in Neuner-Dupuis "The Christian Faith" 1704, where one can also find an historical description. There they also note that the historical authenticity of these documents cannot be questioned.

Anonymous said...

There are more recent examples. In pre-Revolutionary France several Abbots, who were not in Episcopal orders, ordained priests.
I do not have the details to hand but will look them up.

Anonymous said...

I think the main place to look for is Lumen Gentium Ch III (§§ 18 – 29), although the theology obviously underlies Presbyterorum Ordinis (e.g. § 2) and Christus Dominus (passim).

Anonymous said...

Try Lumen Gentium, chapter III, especially no. 28, also nos. 21 and 26.

The first sentences of no. 28:

"Christus ... consecrationis missionisque suae ... Episcopos participes effecit, qui munus ministerii sui, vario gradu, variis subiectis in Ecclesia legitime tradiderunt. Sic ministerium ecclesiasticum divinitus institutum diversis ordinibus exercetur ab illis qui iam ab antiquo Episcopi, Presbyteri, Diaconi vocantur. Presbyteri, quamvis pontificatus apicem non habeant et in exercenda sua potestate ab Episcopis pendeant, cum eis tamen sacerdotali honore coniuncti sunt et vi sacramenti Ordinis, ad imaginem Christi, summi atque aeterni Sacerdotis, ad Evangelium praedicandum fidelesque pascendos et ad divinum cultum celebrandum consecrantur, ut veri sacerdotes Novi Testamenti." (Trent is quoted three times in these sentences).

Pastor in Monte said...

Yes, I found this bit, but fortunately it is not explicitly affirming that ministry is only threefold; it just implies it. Deo gratias.
I am interested that VII uses the word pontificatus as being the thing that the priest does not share in the same degree as a Bp, and not sacerdotale honor, which he does share. Do we have a good latinist or theologian who can make a distinction here? Can pontificatus imply jurisdiction?

Anonymous said...

I read that since the local bishop refused to ordain his monks, Gueranger himself ordained (to what grade I'm not sure) citing ancient privileges of Abbots.

Anonymous said...

I just checked Ott's dogmatics (German edition). He says, referencing exactly the two quotations from Trent you have given: „Usually seven grades of ordination are being enumerated: four minor ones, viz. ostiariate, lectorate, exorcistate and acolythate, and three greater ones, viz. Subdiaconate, diaconate and sacerdotium; the last comprises the presbyterate and the episcopate.

Then he says: „Episcopal consecration is a Sacrament. Sententia certa.“ He references Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, since it defines form and matter “in ordinatione vel consecratione Episcopali“ (DS 3860), and of course Lumen Gentium which has already been mentioned., especially § 21: „Docet autem Sancta Synodus episcopali consecratione plenitudinem conferri sacramenti Ordinis“.

Regarding the possibilty of diaconal and presbyteral ordination being conferred by priests, he says: „The majority of theologians holds the view, together with Thomas and Scotus, that a simple priest cannot confer them validly even with papal authorisation.“ He then mentions „serious historical difficulties“ which „oppose this view“, viz. the historical ordinations of priests by abbots authorised by Boniface IX, Martin V and Innocent VIII, which have been mentioned here. He goes on to say: „If one does not want to assume that these popes fell victim to an erroneous theological view of their time (papal infallibility would not thereby be touched, since a magisterial decision was in no way intended), one has to assume that the simple priest is an extraordinary minister of diaconal and presbyteral ordination in an analogous manner to his being an extraordinary minister of confirmation. According to this last explanation, the necessary power to ordain is contained in the priestly power to ordain as potestas ligata. For the licit exercise of the same, be it by divine or ecclesiastical disposition, a special papal authorisation is required.“

This would be the view that my old parish priest was tought in his „conciliar seminary“, because he used to tell me that „every priest has the crosier in his knapsack“.

However, I wonder about this canon of Trent (sessio XXIII, can. 7; DS 1777): „Si quis dixerit, episcopos non esse presbyteris superiores; vel non habere potestatem confirmandi et ordinandi, vel eam, quam habent, illis esse cum presbyteris communem; ... an. s.“. So there must be a difference between the power to ordain of a bishop and that of a priest (if it exists), no? Since this canon mentions ordination and confirmation together in the same way, Ott's proposition that a priest might be an extraordinary minister extraordinary minister of diaconal and presbyteral ordination in an analogous manner to his being an extraordinary minister of confirmation would seem to have some merit.

But I am a layman, and not a theologian, so these are really just musings, of course I submit in everything to the Magisterium.

Augustine said...

Surely the Catechism (1575, 1576) shows that orders can only be conferred by bishops?

Joshua said...

This is a most important issue, for it effectually deals with two pressing concerns: theorizings (dare I mention Raymond Brown SSS?) about the NT origins of the episcopate and presbyterate, suggesting that the two were originally one and only became differentiated by the end of the 1st century (as St Ignatius testifies); and similar theological arguments mounted by our separated brethren the Lutheran heretics, some of whom (e.g. in Sweden) have retained bishops, but most of whom have used what we would call presbyteral ordination down from the Reformation. (I assume, of course, that the Pope did not allow Dr Luther et al. to ordain!)