THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS
Holy Orders is one of seven Catholic sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus, it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate (office of bishop), presbyterate (office of priesthood), and diaconate (office of service) (CCC. 1536).
A "diocesan bishop" is entrusted with the care of a local Church (diocese). He is responsible for teaching, governing, and sanctifying the faithful of his diocese, sharing these duties with the priests and deacons who serve under him.
Priests may celebrate Mass, hear confessions and give absolution, celebrate Baptism, serve as the Church's witness at the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, administer Anointing of the Sick, and administer Confirmation if authorized to do so by the Bishop.‘Priests are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to be the bishops' prudent co-workers. They form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church. They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish community or a determinate ecclesial office’ (CCC1595).
The deacon is called to service in three areas: The Word, the Liturgy and Charity. The deacon's ministry of the Word includes proclaiming the Gospel during the Mass, preaching and teaching. The deacon's liturgical ministry includes various parts of the Mass proper to the deacon, including being an ordinary minister of Holy Communion and the proper minister of the chalice when Holy Communion is administered under both kinds. The ministry of charity involves service to the poor and marginalized and working with parishioners to help them become more involved in such ministry. As clerics, deacons are required to say the Liturgy of the Hours daily; Deacons, like bishops and priests, are ordinary ministers of the Sacrament of Baptism and can serve as the church's witness at the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, which the bride and groom administer to each other. Deacons may also preside over funeral rites outside of Mass, they can preside over various services such as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may give certain blessings.
This sacrament can only be conferred on baptized men. If a woman attempts to be ordained, both she and the person who attempts to ordain her are excommunicated latae sententiae. Such titles as cardinal, monsignor, archbishop, etc., are not sacramental orders. These are simply offices; to receive one of those titles is not an instance of the sacrament of holy orders.