These are the Sacraments
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The Mystical Press and Christ in Glory - by Marco dal Pino (Marco da Siena) - from the Vatican Museum . . . . . .
Symbolic of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Depicts the Infinite Supply of Merits and Grace accumulated by the Sufferings of Jesus in order to:

Vivify the Seven Sacraments of the Church, Instituted by Christ;
Pay the Debt of Men's Sins;
Reconcile Men to God and Reopen the Gates of Heaven to Mankind;
Deliver Men from the Power of the Devil; and
Restore the Divine Life and Vision of God to Men.


eucharist3.gif (9262 bytes) All my Sermons are Prepared-in the Presence-of the Blessed Sacrament. As Recreation is most Pleasant and Profitable in the Sun, so Homiletic Creativity is best Nourished before the Eucharist. The most Brilliant Ideas come from meeting God Face-to-face. The Holy Spirit that Presided at the Incarnation, is the best Atmosphere for Illumination. Pope John Paul II keeps a small Desk or Writing Pad near him, whenever he is in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament; and I have done this all my life I am sure for the same Reason he does, because a Lover always works better, when the Beloved is with him.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

An Insightful Examination of the Seven Sacraments, by a future Saint


These are the Sacraments

as described by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

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VI. The Sacrament of Holy Orders

Hierarchical Offices
Hierarchical Offices:








Ordained Priest




Ordained Bishop




Because Man lives-in a Society-of Free Men, there must be some 'Government' and 'Order' to make Justice prevail. Since there is the Order of Grace, above 'Creature', it too must have Degrees, Order, Hierarchy, and Government; this, Christ supplied-in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, with its Three (3) ascending levels-of Deaconship, Priesthood, and Episcopacy.

Our Blessed Lord is the Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. But in order to Mediate His Redemption, He desires Human Instruments between Himself and the World, each of whom will be "the Minister and Dispenser of the Mysteries of God" (1Corinthians 4:1). And so, some Men are appointed-by God to deliver the Sacraments to others, just as in Human Societies, One Group, Serves and Ministers-to another:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "The Purpose for which any High Priest is chosen from among his Fellowmen, and made a Representative of Men in their dealings with God, is to offer Gifts and Sacrifices in Expiation of their Sins" (Hebrews 5:11).


The Call from God

In the Fifth Chapter of Hebrews, verse Four, there is written: "His Vocation comes from God, as Aaron's did; nobody can take on himself such a Privilege as this". When a Priest receives the 'Call' from God, something happens to his Soul, like that which happened to Peter in his Barque, one dark night when Christ entered it. The young Man with a Vocation, reacts as did Peter: "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a Sinful Man". There is a Double Tension: One (1) of Attraction to the Divine, the Other, Subtraction, because of one's own Unworthiness; a Desire to-approach the All-Holy, and a Shrinking because of one's own Sense-of Inadequacy.

crucifixion3.jpg (1600 bytes) Then begins a Minimum of Six (6) Years of Difficult Study, and Moral and Spiritual Discipline, as one asks himself a Thousand Times, if he is Worthy. Either with the Crucifix that hangs-on the Wall of his Simple Room, or to the Crucifix on his Desk, he carries-on a constant Dialogue.

The Seminarian knows how Human he is, and yet, like Christ on the Cross, suspended-between Heaven and Earth, Abandoned-by One, and Rejected-by the Other, the World expects him to be more-than Human. Called to be as Pure and as Holy as an Angel, he is conscious-of his own Weakness, bearing-about as he does, the Rich Treasure in a Frail Vessel. And yet he must fulfill the Words-of his Master: "Thou hast sent me into the World on Thy Errand, and I have sent them into the World on My Errand" (John 17:18). From now on, he no longer takes the Short-breaths of the World; he must draw-in Strength from the World-of the Spirit.


The Priest and Celibacy

Our Lord wished to have a Group-of Men, who would have the 'Freedom' to give Full-time to His Service; hence He Ordained, in order that they who 'Served' the Altar, were to 'Live-by' the Altar. Celibacy, in the Latin Rite, stresses this Quality-of Total Dedication. The Priest is a Celibate, in order that he might not have the Cares-of Family and therefore, not be Afraid to Minister-to People in Plague, or to give the Last Rites to Soldiers Dying-in Battle. Saint Paul, speaking-of Celibacy as a spur-to 'Undivided' Service, writes: "And I would have you Free from Concern. He who is Unmarried, is concerned with God's claim, asking how he is to please God" (1Corinthians 7:32).

Priests must Minister-to People in Plague and Battle
Only Four (4) Military Chaplains have ever received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest Military Decoration awarded by the United States of America. All Four (4) of those Military Chaplains were Roman Catholic Priests, ready to shed their Blood for their Comrades-in-Arms. As Members of the Body of Christ (Church Militant) here on Earth, you and I are called to do the same.

Father Angelo J. Liteky
Father Joseph T. O'Callahan
Father Charles Joseph Watters (posthumously)
Father Vincent R. Capodanno (posthumously)


Jesus Christ Died in Battle

  Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis. (John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)


Chastity, however, is not something Cold or Negative. It is, as Francis Thompson called it, "a Passionless Passion, a Wild Tranquillity". A Man cannot live without Love, though he can live without Romantic Love or the Eros. The Divine Command, "Increase and Multiply" (Genesis 1:28), may be verified not only with reference-to the Body, but also to the Soul. There can be increase-of Man in the Cultural, Moral, and Religious Spheres. The Priest is called a "Father", because he begets Souls in Christ. As Saint Paul wrote-to the Galatians: "My little children, I am in Travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ's Image formed in you" (Galatians 4:19). The 'Purer' the Mirror-of his Humanity is, the 'Better' he Reflects the Image-of Christ.

Though a Priest is called a "Father", nevertheless, he is also a "Mother" of Children. Our Blessed Lord used Two (2) Analogies to-describe His Attitude-toward the City that He Loved, and also to all Humanity. He said that He Loved Jerusalem as a Hen, who gathers her Chickens, but the City Refused His Love. The Night of the Last Supper, He used the similitude-of a Mother about to bring-forth a Child, implying that He would be in-Labor, in His Crucifixion, but would bring-forth New Life in His Resurrection.


The Ordination of the Priest

The dress of the Priest, takes one back-to the Classical Days of Greece and Rome, when the Church became the Spiritual Israel. The early Clergy wore no Distinctive Dress, but rather clothed themselves in the garb-of the Ordinary People. Later on, when the Classical Roman dress began to be superseded-by the dress-of the Barbarians, the Conservativeness-of Religion asserted itself, and in consequence, the Priest wore Vestments which were no-longer in Secular use.

When the Deacons enter the Cathedral to be Vested, they wear an Amice, which was originally a White Linen Kerchief, worn about the Neck and the Shoulders. When he put it on his Head and Shoulders, he said the Prayer: "Place, O Lord, the Helmet of Salvation on my Head, to the defeat of Diabolical Invasion". Over the Amice, he wears the Alb, which was the original Roman Tunic with long-sleeves, around the waist-of which he ties the Cincture, which is the Symbol-of Chastity.

Over the Alb is worn a Maniple, which in the early days of the Greeks and Romans, was a kind-of Handkerchief worn-on the left Forearm, used at Meals for wiping Mouth and Hands. The Consul, during the Roman Empire, used it as a Sign to start the Races in the Circus. The Church, First used it to-wipe Communion Vessels and Hands, in the Celebration-of the Mass. The Symbolism-of the Maniple is to remind the Priest of the Bonds which once held the Hands of the Savior. This is Signified-in the Prayer which is Offered, when the Maniple is put-on, begging that the Cares and Sorrows of Earthly Life, should be borne-with Patience, in-view-of Heavenly Reward.

Now we come to Two (2) Vestments which are worn-by Deacons, when they come-to the Altar for Ordination; namely, the 'Stole' and the 'Chasuble'. The Stole originally was a loose-Robe, worn-by the Ancients, and in this sense, the word is still used by the English Poets. Thus, Milton 'pictures' Melancholy as having "a Sable Stole of Cypress Lawn, over her Decent Shoulders drawn".

In the Old Testament, the Levites were described as being clad-in Stoles, when conducting the Sacred Ark to Jerusalem. In the "Book of the Apocalypse" the Saints are "Clothed in White Stoles" The Stole is worn only by Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, but each wears it in a different-way, and it is associated-with Sacred Orders. When, however, the Deacon enters the Church, the Stole is carried only on One (1) Shoulder, while over the Left Arm, the Deacon carries a folded-Chasuble. In the Right Hand, he bears a Lighted Candle, and in the Cincture is a Linen Cloth, which will eventually be used-for Tying the Hands, after they have been Anointed-with Oil.

During the Ceremony-of Ordination, the Bishop draws a part-of the Stole, which rests-at the Back-of the Candidate's Neck, over the Breast and lays the Two (2) ends, Crosswise. The Chasuble, which he carries, and which is a Symbol-of Charity, is 'Folded' at the beginning-of the Ordination Ceremony, as an indication-that, the one who wears it, is not a Priest. At a later-point in the Ceremony, the Chasuble is 'Unfolded'. The Symbolism-of this is that, in the First Part of the Mass, the Deacon is made a Priest and given the Power-of Offering Sacrifice-to God. In the Second Part of the Ceremony, the Chasuble is then let-down, when he is Empowered-to Preach, and Forgive Sins. This indicates the more-complete Powers of the Priest. Saint John Chrysostom explains-well the Reason why Priests wear different Vestments at the Altar, than on the street: "When you see a Priest, Offering the Sacrifice, do not think of it as if it were he, that is doing this; it is the Hand of Christ, Invisibly stretched-forth" The Priest is really only a Tool, but he is a Tool in the sense that Aristotle called Man a Living-Tool. The Vestments 'Hide' and 'Submerge' his own Personality, so that Men may know it is Christ Who 'Teaches', Who 'Governs', and Who 'Sanctifies'.


The Call from the Bishop

No Man can be Ordained, unless he has been called-by Christ, through the Bishop. When Our Lord, called His Apostles, He called them by-Name, and this Ceremony is repeated-in the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Latin Rite, begins-by the Archdeacon, presenting the Deacons, saying that the Holy Church asks them to be Elevated-to the Rank-of Priest. The Bishop, reading-from the Pontifical, reminds them of the Old Custom-of the Church, when the People were-consulted, concerning the Life, Conduct, and Morals-of the Clergy before they were Elevated-to the Priesthood. He then tells them that, as Moses elected Seventy (70) Elders from the different Tribes-of Israel, to Aid him in the Government-of the People of the Old Law, as Our Lord chose Seventy-Two (72) Disciples to-Preach the Gospel, so are they to-Aid the Bishop in the Sacred Ministry of Sacrificing, Blessing, Presiding, Preaching, and Baptizing.

The Bishop, seated-on the Foldstool at the middle-of the Altar, begins the Ceremony-of Ordination. The Archdeacon summons the Future Priests, with these words: "Let all those who are to be Ordained Priests, come forward". As they 'Advance', their names are Read-out, One (1) by One (1). Each answers: Adsum ("I am Present"), and then Steps-forward. The Calling-by Name, means that there shall be no Intruders, and that the Priesthood is a Divine Vocation, or Calling. Our Lord "Calls His Sheep by name", even now, as He did in Galilee.

After the Bishop calls-out the Names, there follows a very Solemn Warning, that they come not under False Pretenses, that they are under no Penalties of the Church, and that they be not Illegitimate:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "Most Reverend Father and Lord in Christ, [name of Bishop] by the Grace of God and the Apostolic See, Bishop of [diocese] Commands and Charges under Pain of Excommunication, that no one here present for the purpose of taking Orders, shall presume to come forward for Ordination under any Pretext, if he be Irregular, Excommunicate in any Law or by Judicial Sentence, under Interdict or Suspension, Illegitimate or Infamous, or in any other way Disqualified, or of any other Diocese, unless he has the License of the Bishop; and that none of the Ordained shall depart until the Mass is over, and the Bishop's Blessing has been received".

The Archdeacon then bids the Bishop to Ordain these Deacons "to the Burden of the Priesthood". The phrase that is used is 'Onus' or 'Burden'. The Priesthood and the Episcopacy are both called 'Burdens', not 'Honors'. This is because the terrific 'Burden' or 'Responsibility', of saving Souls entrusted to them, is laid-upon them there. Such was the idea given to Moses when he complained-to the Lord: "Must I carry a Whole People, like a Weight on my Back?" (Numbers 11:11).

As if still 'Hesitant', as to whether-or-not the Deacons should be Ordained, the Bishop then asks the Archdeacon, the question: "Do you know them to be Worthy?". To which he answers: "So far as Human Frailty allows one to Know, I do Know, and I Testify that they are Worthy to undertake the Burden of this Office". The Bishop then answers, "Deo Gratias" ("Thanks be to God).

Moral Certitude about the Worthiness-of the Candidates, is required like the Certitude that Moses was to have, when God told him to gather Seventy (70) Men among the Ancients-of Israel, whom he Knew to be Worthy. This concern for the Worthiness-of the Candidates has always been present-in the Old Testament and the New, for Saint Paul tells Timothy that before he Ordains any Priests, he should be very certain-of their Worthiness: He must bear a Good Character, too, in the World's Eyes; or he may fall into Disrepute, and become a Prey to the False Accuser" (1Timothy 3:7).

The Bishop, as-if not Satisfied-with Assurance-of the Archdeacon, asks the People if they know any reason why the Deacons should not be Ordained. There follows a Moment-of Silence, in which the People are given an Opportunity to-Protest, if need be, against any One-of the Candidates.


The Prostration

Tryptch.jpg (33394 bytes) The Deacons now Prostrate themselves, flat-upon the ground and become-as Dead Men, while over them the Church, chanting the Litany of the Saints, invokes Heaven to-intercede, or Pray for-them, to be Merciful to-them, and to make them Good Priests.

The Prostration-of the Deacons during the Litanies, is a slightly-different form-of Prayer, than that which was used in the Old Testament, when the Jews generally stood, to Pray. It was only in times-of Great Stress, that they ever knelt (Acts 7:59 and Acts 9:40), such as when Stephen and Peter knelt. The Jews, however, did lay-prostrate before the High Priest, for a Solemn Blessing on the Day-of Atonement (Ecclesiates 50:19-26), and as Our Lord did, in the Agony in the Garden. But the reason for the kneeling is somewhat related-to a Prayer that went before, where the 'Ordinandi' were told "as they Celebrate the Mysteries of the Lord's Death, they must be earnest in Mortifying their Members of all Vices and Concupiscence". Being Prostrate is a Symbol-of their Spiritual Death, in which they Die-to their Flesh and its Concupiscences, at the same time that they invoke all the Saints in Heaven, to let them have a Resurrection, worthy-of being Ministers-of the Word.

As the Body of Adam came-from the Slime-of the Earth, when God breathed-into it a Living Soul, so each Priest, yielding his Body to-be an Instrument-of Christ, Prays fervently that it may never be a Blunt Instrument. Then, when he rises-from the ground, his Hands are bound-with a Purificator, tied together in Slavery, but that Sweet Slavery-of Love. With Paul, he says "I am Alive; or rather, not I; it is Christ that Lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).


The Laying-on of Hands

Laying On Hands.jpg (70434 bytes) The Bishop lays Hands-on the Priests, without saying anything. When a Bishop is Consecrated, the Hands of the Consecrating Prelates are Laid-on him, with the words: "Receive the Holy Spirit", but in Ordination, these words are omitted. This Laying-on, or Imposition-of Hands, is what is called the "Matter", of the Sacrament, and is part-of the Ritual-of other Sacraments, like Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick.

There are many instances in the Old Testament of Laying-on of Hands. Jacob put his Right-Hand on the Head-of Ephraim, and his Left-Hand, on the Head-of Manasse, and pronounced a Blessing (Genesis 48:14, 15). Aaron and his Sons, placed their Hands on the Heads-of Victims to be offered-in Sacrifice:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "He is to lay his Hand on the Head of the Victim, and it is to be Immolated at the entrance of the Tabernacle that bears record of me, the Priests who represent Aaron's Family pouring its Blood upon the Altar". (Leviticus 3:2).

God told Moses to-Lay his Hand on Joshua (Numbers 27:18) and Aaron, after Offering Sacrifice. In the Old Testament, it Signified that a Victim, or a Person, was dedicated-to a Holy Purpose, and also that there was a Flowing-out of Power from the One, who Laid-on the Hands.


Investiture of Priesthood

The Bishop chants a Preface, invoking the Holy Spirit upon those who are to be Ordained; then follows what is known-as the "Form", of the Sacrament:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "We beseech Thee, Almighty Father, invest these, Thy Servants, with the Dignity of the Priesthood. Do Thou, Renew in their Hearts, the Spirit of Holiness. Help them to be Steadfast in the Office of Second Priestly Rank, received from Thee, O Lord, and to Inspire others to strive for Perfection by their example. May they become Zealous fellow workers in our Ministry. May they shine in all the Christian Virtues, so that they will be able to give a Good Account of the Stewardship entrusted to them, and finally attain the Reward of Everlasting Life. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who Lives and Reigns with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen".

The Bishop arranges the Stole, in the Form-of a Cross, over the Chest, saying: "Take the Yoke of the Lord, for His Yoke is Sweet, and His Burden light". Then he invests each with the Chasuble, still Unfolded, saying: "Receive, the Vesture of Priesthood, which is the Symbol of Charity. God is well able to increase Charity in you, and make Perfect, your Works".

After the "Veni Creator Spiritus" has been Sung, in which the Holy Spirit is Invoked, the Bishop proceeds-to Anoint the Hands of each, in the Form-of a Cross. The Bishop's Right-Thumb is dipped-in the Oil of Catechumens; with the Oil, he Traces a Cross with his Right-Thumb a line-from the Thumb-of the Right-Hand, to the Index-Finger of the Left, and the Other, from the Thumb-of the Left, to the Index-Finger of the Right. Then he Anoints the Hands all-over, and as he does so, he says: "Be pleased, O Lord, to Consecrate and Hallow these Hands, by this Anointing and our Blessing. Amen". He makes a Sign (┼) over each. saying: "Whatsoever they Bless, may be Blessed, and whatsoever they Consecrate, may be Consecrated and Hallowed in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ".

In the Old Testament, the Candidate was Anointed-with Holy Oil, which, in the case of the High Priest, was poured-upon his Head, but in the case of the other Priests, it was merely put-upon his Forehead. The Anointed Hands of the Priests are Folded and tied-together with a Linen Cloth, so as to allow the Oil to Penetrate-into his Hands. He then becomes Christ's Bondsman (Ephesians 3:1).


The Delivery of Instruments

The Bishop now presents each of the Newly Ordained, with a Chalice containing Wine and Water, and a Paten, upon the Chalice, with a Host. Because the Anointed Hands of the Priest are Bound, he Touches-with the Fore and Middle Fingers, both the Paten and the Cup-of the Chalice. During the Ceremony, the Bishop says: "Receive the Power to offer Sacrifice to God and to Celebrate Mass, both for the Living and the Dead, in the Name of Our Lord. Amen".



After the Offertory, the newly-Ordained Priests begin-to Celebrate Mass with the Bishop, saying the Prayers aloud with them. They even say the Words of Consecration with him. The meaning-of the Ceremony, is that as the Apostles learned-to Celebrate Mass from Our Blessed Lord, at the Last Supper; so too, in Con-Celebrating with the Bishop, the new-Priests learn a Ritual, from a Successor-of the Apostles. As the newly-Ordained Priests Con-Celebrate with the Bishop, so too, they Receive Communion, drinking-from the same Chalice, and Consuming a Host that was Consecrated at the Mass. (Click Picture at the Right, to see Full-Size. Only the Faithful Eleven (11) were Ordained by Jesus Christ)


The Commission to Absolve

Jesus appears before the Eleven Faithful Apostles, in the Upper Room, after His Resurrection: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you Forgive the Sins of any, they are Forgiven; if you Retain the Sins of any, they are Retained" (John 20:22).


Before the Communion Prayer is Read, the Mass is Interrupted a Second (2nd) Time, to give the Priests a new-Function in the Mystical Body of Christ. After the Profession-of Faith, the Bishop sits-down and lays both Hands on the Head of each one kneeling-before him, and says: "Receive the Holy Ghost; whose Sins you shall Forgive, they are Forgiven them; and whose Sins you shall Retain, they are Retained".

The Bishop does not wear Gloves for this Second (2nd) Imposition, but he does for the First (1st). The Mass is Interrupted here, for the Second (2nd) Time, to give the Power-to Forgive Sins, because this Power was given-by Our Lord, at a time distinct-from that of the Authority-to Offer the Mass. The Night-of the Last Supper, Our Lord Ordained His Priests, after having Offered the Sacrifice of Bread and Wine, saying: "Do this in commemoration of Me". But, it was after His Resurrection, that He gave them Priestly Power to Forgive Sins, and the Power-of 'Binding and Loosing'. This corresponds also to the Double (2) Ceremony-of the Chasuble: First (1st), the putting it on as-Folded, for the pre-Resurrection Power; and Secondly (2nd), the Unfolding, to-Indicate the giving-of additional Priestly Powers of Forgiveness. When the Chasuble is Unfolded, the Bishop Prays: "May the Lord clothe you with the Robe of Innocence".


The Promise of Obedience

The newly-Ordained Priests now come-up for what is called the "Stipulatio". There is not a clasping-of Hands here, for that would signify 'Equality'. The Hands, being the Instruments-of Action and Service, are put inside the Bishop's Hands, to Signify his Will to be put-at the Service-of the Bishop. It is a Commitment-of the Young Priest, to his Father-in Christ.


The Consecration of a Bishop

The Bishop too, must be called-by the Vicar-of Christ, and cannot be Consecrated, without his express-Permission. The Consecration Ceremony begins with the question, "Have you the Mandate?"; i.e., has the Holy Father, the Successor-of Saint Peter, given us the Authority to Number this Priest among the Apostles? Two (2) Things hang-together there: Apostolic Succession, and the Primacy-of Peter. The Night-of the Last Supper, when Our Lord Consecrated His Apostles, He reminded them of how they were bound-together in-Peter, whom He had chosen as the Rock, the Leader and the First, not only in Honor, but in Jurisdiction.

What is very Singular (1) about the Words of Our Lord, is that He did not Pray for all of the Apostles as Equals: He Prayed for them, in-and-through Peter. It was through their Oneness (1) with Peter, that they would share-in His Prayer of Victory over the Evil of the World. This is brought-out in the way Our Lord addressed Peter in the 'Second Person Singular', in-distinction-to the Apostles, whom He addressed-in the 'Second Person Plural':

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has claimed Power over you all, so that he can Sift you like Wheat: but I have Prayed for thee, that thy Faith may not Fail, when, after a while, thou hast come back to Me, it is for thee to be the Support of thy Brethren". (Luke 22:31, 32)

He told Peter that he would Deny Him, but afterwards, would return and be the support-of his Brethren.

When the Communists in China, attempted-to Destroy the Church, they cleverly sought to insert a Division, between Apostolic Succession and the Primacy-of Peter. Brainwashing a few Bishops, they succeeded-in Inducing them to Consecrate a few Priests. The Priests would then, because they were Consecrated by Bishops, be in the Line-of Apostolic Succession; the Communists thus hoped-that the Faithful would accept them. But, because they had not the Authority or the Mandate from the Holy Father to do so, the Communists thereby denied the Primacy-of Peter. As it turned out, the Catholics refused-to accept the Bishops who may have been in the Line-of Apostolic Succession, but certainly were not embraced-in the Prayer-of Christ, for Peter.

An Unbroken Line-of -Successors of the Apostles exists, to maintain Transmission-of the Divine Power of Christ's Passion and Death.
St. Peter the Apostle (32-67)
St. Linus (67-76)
St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
St. Clement I (88-97)
Pius XI (1922-39)
Pius XII (1939-58)
John XXIII (1958-63)
Paul VI (1963-78)
John Paul I (1978)
John Paul II (1978-2005)
Benedict XVI (2005)


Both Apostolic Succession and the recognition-of the Primacy-of Peter, go-together. It is very much like the Problem-of Lighting a City, by Electricity. Suppose in this City there were a Thousand Houses. The Wire from One House ran only a foot; another, Twenty (20) feet; another, Five Hundred (500) feet; another, Fifteen Hundred (1500) feet; another, Eighteen Hundred (1800). But suppose that the Dynamo that supplied all of this Power was about Two Thousand (2000) feet away from the Houses. It would follow that none of the Copper Cables would be able to Light a House; regardless of how close they came to the Dynamo, they would not be in Actual-Contact with Power.

So it is with the Transmission-of Priestly Authority and Power. Any Organization which starts Today, or which started Fifty (50) years ago, or Five Hundred (500) years ago, or One Thousand (1000) years ago, is incapable-of Transmitting the Divine Power of Christ's Passion, unless there is a Contact-with Christ Himself, and under the Conditions Christ Himself laid-down. As in Biology, Life comes-from Life, so in Theology, Divine Life comes-from Divine Life. An Unbroken Succession-of Authority and Power, is essential-for the Divinization-of Souls in the Twentieth Century. The Bishops, who are Successors-of the Apostles, are One (1) in Peter and his Successors, to whom Alone, Christ promised that the "Faith would Fail not".

During the Ceremony, after the Bishop-elect has been Interrogated concerning his Fidelity, Submission, and Obedience-to God, and the Church, and all the Truths of Faith, the Consecrating Prelate, accompanied-by Two (2) Co-Consecrators, tells him at the beginning-of Mass: "It is the Duty of a Bishop to Judge, Interpret, Consecrate, Ordain, Offer, Baptize, and Confirm". After all the Saints of Heaven have been Invoked-in the Litany, the Consecrator and his Co-Consecrators, successively Touch, with both Hands, the Head of the Bishop-elect, saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit". These Words 'Constitute' the "Matter" of the Sacrament. Then comes the Prayer that is known as the "Form":

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "Be Propitious, O Lord, to our Supplications, and Bestowing the Abundance of Sacerdotal Grace upon this Thy servant, pour upon him the Power of Thy Blessing, through Our Lord Jesus Christ Who Liveth and Reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost".

He Anoints the Head of the Consecrated, kneeling before him, making First the Sign-of the Cross, on the Crown, and then Anointing the whole Crown of the Head, saying: "May the Head be Anointed and Consecrated by Heavenly Benediction, in the Pontifical Order, in the Name of the Father +, in the Name of the Son +, and of the Holy Ghost. + Amen".

After a Prayer, the newly-Consecrated Bishop has his Hands Anointed with Chrism, in the Form-of a Cross. The Consecrator draws Two (2) lines with the Thumb of his Right Hand, One (1) from the Thumb of the Right Hand to the Index Finger of the Left, the Other from the Thumb of the Left Hand, to the Index Finger of the Right; then the Whole Palm of the Consecrated, is Anointed, while these Words are said by the Consecrator:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "May these Hands be Anointed with the Sanctified Oil and the Chrism of Sanctification; as Samuel Anointed David to be King and Prophet, so may they be Anointed and Consecrated in the Name of the Father +, the Son +, and the Holy Spirit +. We make the Sign of the Holy Cross of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who Redeemed us from Death, and led us to the Kingdom of Heaven".

The newly Consecrated Bishop, Con-Celebrates the Mass with his Consecrator, even drinking-of the same Chalice. Passing over many other Details, for want-of Space, his newly-Acquired Powers are Symbolized-in his Crozier, Mitre, Ring, and Gloves.

Because the Bishop is the Father of a Spiritual Family, or a Shepherd, he is given a Shepherd's Staff. Our Blessed Lord called His Bishops and Priests, to be both Shepherds and Fishermen. Because the Bishop is the Spouse-of the Church, he is given a Ring, to indicate that Espousal. Because he is to be a Mediator-of the Old and the New Testament, he wears the Helmet of Salvation, which is the Mitre. Because he Hopes to receive the Blessing-of the Heavenly Father, as Jacob received the Blessing -- thanks to covered hands -- he wears Gloves.

After the Enthronement, the Consecrated Bishop then gives his Blessing. He goes-to the Epistle-Corner of the Altar, Kneels and Sings, "For many Years"; then going-to the Middle-of the Altar, he again Kneels and Sings in a Higher Voice, "For many Years". As he approaches the One Who Consecrated him, Kneeling a Third Time, he Sings in a still Higher Voice, "For many Years". Then he receives the Kiss of Peace from the Bishop Who Consecrated him, and from the other Bishops.

The Keynote-of the Bishop's Mission is not Administration, but Life -- the Communication-of the Life that Christ brought to this Earth. If there is Administration -- and Administration there must be -- it is in the Service-of Divine Life. All the Bishop's Powers are directed-to the Formation-of Christ in the Souls of the People. Others may be Instructors, but in each Diocese, there is only One (1) Father, the Bishop. As Saint Paul said: "Yes, you may have Ten Thousand Schoolmasters in Christ, but not more than One Father; it was I that begot you in Jesus Christ, when I Preached the Gospel to you" (1Corinthians 4:15).

Father he-is, because he has the Right and Power to Administer all the Sacraments. Father he-is, because his Government is in the exercise-of the Heavenly Fatherhood. Father he-is, because his Domain is Universal. He is sent First, to the World, and then, only for Jurisdictional Reasons, assigned-to a Diocese. The Reason is, that the Universal Church is not the sum-total of all the Dioceses, throughout the World; rather, the Dioceses derive-from the Church, not the other-way-around. The Church preceded them. It has been founded entirely-on the Episcopacy, and its Mission to make Disciples-of all Nations. The Bishop is not primarily the Pastor-of a Single Flock. He is a Pastor of the Universal Church, in union-with the Supreme Head of the Church, Peter and his Successors. Hence, One of the Primary Responsibilities of the Bishop, is to the Missions-of the Church.

The Bishop is a Father also, because he alone, has the Power to-Generate Priests, though Priests have the Power to-Generate Christians. No Priest, has the Power to-Ordain another Priest, though he has the Power to-beget the Faithful.

The Priest, or the Bishop, in his Daily Round, is a Minister-of God, a Messenger-from another World, bringing upward-to God, Prayers and Adoration; and bringing down-from God, Graces and Blessings to the People. He is to lay-hold-of Anything and Anybody who Wills to be Ennobled Curiosity, or an Accountant, like Matthew at his desk, or a Fellow-traveler with the Enemy. His Feet are Scarred-from Thorns, where the Lost-Sheep or the Fallen-aways have become Entangled; they are to be Dusty, from Searching and Sweeping for the Lost Coin of Spiritual Wanderers.

From Proud Tempers, he will meet Ridicule and Insult; from the Blasphemer, Blows; from the Oppressed, Entreaty; from the Poor, a Pleading. But he is one, who after every contact, should Inspire others to say, as the Woman at the Well: "Come and have sight of a Man Who has told me the Whole Story of my Life; can this be the Christ?" (John 4:29).

No case to him is Hopeless. Every Soul must be to him like the Drop-of Water in the Ugly Gutter which, looked at closely, reflects the Deep Serious Blue, of the far-off Sky. He knows that he cannot convince others that he comes from another World, unless he Acts as if he had been there. The World may see his Acts, but they do not, Know his Thoughts.

When he Mounts the Altar, he carries-with him all the Woes and the Wounds of the World. His feet, that walk-up the Altar Steps, must have on them the Imprint-of the Homeless, the Refugees, and the Wanderers-of the Earth. His Face, as he kisses the Altar, should bear within it the Faces-of those whose Eyes are Blasted-before Furnaces, Darkened-in Salt Mines, Wet-with the Tears of Grief, and Furrowed-with the Worry-of Sin. His Vestments should be Heavy-with the Millions-of Souls who know-not Christ, and yet who are clinging-to his Vestments, Hoping-for, they know not what. As his Fingers lift-up the Body and Blood of Christ, he asks that all the Sufferings of the World, be united-with Christ, and that no Pain go-to Waste.

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littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I give myself to God.
Here is my body. Take it.
Here is my blood. Take it.
Here is my Soul, my Will, my Energy, my Strength,
My Property, my Wealth - all that I have. It is Yours.
Take it! Offer it! Offer it with Thyself to the Heavenly Father
In order that He, looking down on this Great Sacrifice,
May see only Thee, His Beloved Son, in Whom He is Well Pleased.
Transmute the Poor Bread of my Life into Thy Divine Life;
Thrill the Wine of my Wasted Life into Thy Divine Spirit;
Unite my Broken Heart with Thy Heart;
Change my Cross into a Crucifix.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Let not my Abandonment, and my Sorrow, and my Bereavement go to Waste.
Gather up the Fragments,
And as the Drop of Water is Absorbed by the Wine at the Offertory of the Mass,
Let my Life be Absorbed in Thee;
Let my little-Cross be Entwined with Thy Great Cross,
so that I may Purchase the Joys of Everlasting Happiness in Union with Thee.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Consecrate these Trials of my Life which would go Unrewarded, unless United with Thee;
Transubstantiate me so that like Bread which is now Thy Body,
And Wine which is now Thy Blood, I too may be Wholly Thee.
I care not if the Species Remain, or that, like the Bread and the Wine,
I Seem to all Earthly Eyes the Same as before.
My Station in Life, my Routine Duties, my Work, my Family -
All these are but the Species of my Life which may Remain Unchanged;
But the Substance of my Life, my Soul, my Mind, my Will, my Heart -
Transubstantiate them, Transform them Wholly into Thy Service,
So that through me all may know how Sweet is the Love of Christ.


He will feel Sad, because he knows how Men are Bitterly Losing the Good in their Lives, but he will be Consoled, Knowing that God is near them, even if they Know it not; around them, even though they Perceive it not. In his Conversations, he will seek to lift Flippancy into Reverence, Controversy into Thoughtfulness, Frivolity into Practical Life. When he mounts the Pulpit, he should be a Speaking- Crucifix. But above all, he will not be just a Priest, but a Victim, for Christ was that, Offering Himself for our Salvation. There will be no Tear, shed-by Fellow Man, that does not Bedew his own Cheek; no Mourning Parent who will not Pierce his Heart with Grief; no Sheep who will be without a Shepherd. And because he knows that he is too-often a Priest, Offering Christ, and too-seldom a Victim, sharing His Cross, he will Daily, Pray to the Mother of Christ:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "Since you Formed Christ the Priest and Victim in thy Body, Form Him, I beg thee in my Heart. Do this, that in addition to the Words of Consecration at Mass, I may say them, as thou didst gaze on thy Son on the Cross: 'This is my Body; this is my Blood'. Then I shall, through thy Help, Live and Die with Him".


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