Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Priest 15-16

As with the deacon, there is a ritual examination of the candidate by the bishop. One presumes the actual examination prior is conducted along these lines:

EXAMINATION OF THE CANDIDATE

15. The candidate then stands before the bishop, who questions him:

My son, before you proceed to the order of the presbyt­erate, declare before the people your intention to undertake this priestly office.

Are you resolved, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discharge without fail the office of priesthood in the presbyteral order as a conscientious fellow worker with the bishops in caring for the Lord’s flock?

Let’s note the theological principles elucidated for the benefit of the laity as the rite unfolds. First, the notion that a priest works in union with his bishop.

The candidate answers: I am.

Bishop:

Are you resolved to celebrate the mysteries of Christ faithfully and religiously as the Church has handed them down to us for the glory of God and the sanctifi­cation of Christ’s people?

Then the classic Vatican II two-fold purpose of liturgy.

Candidate: I am.

Bishop:

Are you resolved to exercise the ministry of the word worthily and wisely, preaching the Gospel and ex­plaining the Catholic faith?

Then the teaching role of the priest as lensed through his engagement with the Word of God.

Candidate: I am.

Bishop:

Are you resolved to consecrate your life to God for the salvation of his people, and to unite yourself more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a perfect sacrifice?

Something we’ve seen before: the lived example of holiness, and the aspiration of union with Christ.

Candidate: I am, with the help of God.

PROMISE OF OBEDIENCE

16. Then the candidate goes to the bishop and, kneeling be­fore him, places his joined hands between those of the bishop. If this gesture seems less suitable in some places, the conference of bishops may choose another gesture or sign.

If the bishop is the candidate’s own Ordinary, he asks:

Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?

Candidate: I do.

If the bishop is not the candidate’s own Ordinary, he asks:

Do you promise respect and obedience to your Ordi­nary?

Candidate: I do.

Bishop:

May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.

What about clergy in the reading commentariat: what significance did these rituals have for you?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Ordination Rites, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Priest 15-16

  1. Liam says:

    As a layman, I just want to highlight that the promise is not merely of obedience, but respect.

    To bishops, I might underscore that respect might involve conveying disagreement while still obeying. (I know in the most relationships, to consistently avoid expressing agreement is in its way to express mistrust and therefore a measure of disrespect.)

    To priests, I might underscore that respect involves strenuous avoidance of objectifying the ordinary. For that reason, the promise of respect appears to be the more challenging part of the twofold promise.

  2. FrMichael says:

    “What significance did these rituals have for you?”

    Huge.

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