Sunday, May 27, 2007

What is a Bishop?

Fr Justin has an interesting piece on what Episcopal Ordination is.
He addresses one of the problems of the theology of Vatican II.
Trent sees a bishop who is a priest who is "unbound" to excercise the fullness of priesthood, but he is still a priest, where as Vatican II sees a Bishop as receiving additional powers, with the implication he is no longer a "mere" priest.
It seems to suggest a disruption in Catholic thought which seems to destroy the very idea of development of doctrine, so it is actually a quite an important point, and one that isn't, for some reason discussed.
Have a look.


Anonymous said...

Dear Apostle
I did have a look.

But you know, sometimes when faced with the UNBELIEVABLE, one's natural defences kick in. You simply must raise your head, turn away, sing nooo na noooo and banish the abomination from your brain with a few humble household chores.

I'm just going to pretend I DIDN'T SEE IT.

Yours catatonically

Hebdomadary said...

Father, please stop using the mis-conceived new rite lingo regarading episcopal consecration. Bishops are not ordained, never have been. They are consecrated. Priests are ordained, and you don't get baptized or ordained twice. Bishops are priests consecrated to the fullness of priesthood, to another level of priesthood, nor re-ordained. It's not my fault the reform gets it wrong in their terminology, and it's not the only thing either; and I know you know that. So why not lead the way and correct the error of usage!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I use the term "Ordination" because that is the current usage. This is what the Holy See uses in its communiques and this is what is used in the liturgical books of the Church.

Furthermore it is a term that is used in the pre-VII rites about minor orders, which do not confer "a character", so I cannot see a problem with it.

Anagnostis said...

The status of the Conciliar documents seems to to be the best-kept secret in the Church. In fact, the question was clearly settled during the course of the Council itself, following a request for clarification from a group of the Fathers to the scretary, Cardinal Fellici. The definitive response was that:
a) The Council speaks infallibly when it repeats teaching already infallibly defined
b) Otherwise, infallibility is involved only when the Council explicitly states its intention to speak infallibly.

On point "b", this never happened: the Council at no point, anywhere, ever, declared an explicit intention to speak infallibly. Therefore we can be perfectly certain that Vatican II is only infallible where it repeats and confirms whatever was infallibly defined already.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I do not think this is a matter of infallibity, it is not that important, but it is matter of the authority of its Magisterial teaching, which is quite important, because it reflects on the veracity - I don't know ithat is the right word - of the Council, and therefore its place in history.

Anagnostis said...


You're right, of course. I was responding, I suppose, to the question of infallibility as raised on Fr Justin's blog.

Londiniensis said...

In my comment over at Nova et Vetera I specifically gave a reference to the relevant entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) because these diverse opinions and confused terminologies had been around well before the "new generation" of Vatican II theologians had even been born.

In the same article, we find references to both "ordination" and "consecration" of bishops:

Example 1: Most of the older scholastics were of opinion that the episcopate is not a sacrament; this opinion finds able defenders even now (e.g., Billot, "De sacramentis", II), though the majority of theologians hold it is certain that a bishop's ordination is a sacrament.

Example 2: It is further to be remembered that scholastic theologians mostly required the previous reception of priest's orders for valid episcopal consecration, because they did not consider episcopacy an order, a view which is now generally abandoned.

Take your pick, but I'm not sure whether Vatican II can be blamed for this one.

Hebdomadary said...

All right, all right. Granted, the usage was around before VII. I STILL DON'T LIKE IT. Okay, try arguing with that!!! ;-) (That's a good humoured wink!)

Londiniensis said...

Just to muddy the waters even further,
Canon 332 §1 states: " ... If the person elected [Pontiff] lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately."
Canon 336 states: "The college of bishops, whose head is the Supreme Pontiff and whose members are bishops by virtue of sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college ... "
Canon 375 §2 states: "Through episcopal consecration itself, bishops receive with the function of sanctifying also the functions of teaching and governing ... "
The specific Canons relating to ordination (Canon 1010 et seq.) refer in general to ordination (for all orders), but then specifically to the ordination of presbyters and deacons, and the consecration of bishops.
Sigh ...
All the above from the English texts on the Vatican's website, so imperfect translations are a possibility.

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