Busted Halo
November 15th, 2011

Holy Orders (what ordination means)


Join Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, as he explains what Holy Orders are, what happens at an Ordination, and what it means to say yes to God.

These questions and more are answered in this edition of “Sacraments 101,” a web video series geared for those who’d like an introduction or refresher course on these important, tangible Catholic experiences of God.

To download this video go here and click the download arrow or choose save or download.

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  • dave

    Bottom line for me, I think we as a people deserve to have men and women who have spiritual discipline and who can be neutral, uninhibited by family or a nice house somewhere and the promise of a lucrative paycheck. They are human just like we are, but they have an a beyond human task placed before them, and I don’t think we can underestimate that, or the needs they may serve by the lives they lead. And if you’ve ever known a great priest or nun, you can’t help but feel grateful for the life they have chosen, which is a life among us, but a life apart at the same time, attached in a very intimate way to God.

  • dave

    I have to say though, I don’t think celibacy is just an outdated custom. We call these men father. Yes, there are some bad priests out there, and some priests who aren’t doing things for the right reasons. Many people do that in their profession. What makes it worse in this instance is that they are given such a massive responsibility to guide people spiritually.

    But I’ve also known many many priests, especially Paulists who have well earned the title- “Father”- and they are not married. They are self-giving, they are men who have not been able to channel their love into just one person and into just one family.

    Loneliness is a reality of the human condition. Celibacy is not necessarily outdated, and the perception that the Church shoots Herself in the foot by not allowing something like married priests is a matter of perspective. I’ve heard many old priests talk about the days when they had hundreds of men entering seminary…. and only ten would come out competent. Today only ten enter many of the smaller seminaries across the world per year, and yet these men, many whom I have met show some of the greatest potential and spiritual depth of anyone I know. Celibacy is difficult, but it is also embracing a human reality, and in that tension, finding their way to God all the time.

    Nothing wrong with marriage, I just would prefer we hold onto that custom. Men and women are still entering holy orders if you look at statistics, the numbers are fairly stable, and the quality is far greater than it was years ago. Many of the great Buddhist mystics are celibates and Westerners listen to them. I’d hesitate to come down too hard on that particular custom. But I am open to the idea of a vision for reforming how women are able to serve the Church.

  • andy

    i’d say at the heart of it, this video is about a Calling, more than it is just about a sacrament. Paul is correct: women, married men, and GLBTQ individuals also feel this Calling to the priesthood, but because they don’t happen to be single males who are willing to vow to a life of celibacy, they are restricted from following this Calling. It’s a shame that the Church in its current state is so restrictive, because it’s basically shooting itself in the foot by denying the preaching and sacramental gifts that they offer.

    Dave, I also see your point. Allowing these individuals to practice the sacraments but not title them as “priests” could be the right step along a path to solution. But it’s funny that you mention the term, “craving power in the hierarchy” because i’m quite certain there’s a large percentage of current Catholic priests (and especially new and incoming priests) that do just that. There will always be people in any sort of human administration that crave power, but what we should focus more on are those that crave to perform the duties of the Sacramental Priesthood but are currently restricted from doing so.

    And Peter, in the long and sordid history of our dear Church, humanity has certainly made a mess of things. Priests are not allowed to marry not because of an edict of Christ, but rather a rule made by those in power who wished to keep it (property and inheritance issues of Church land mainly. Most, if not all of the apostles, were married weren’t they?)

    I think this is a great discussion because it’s time the Church continued putting the power in the people (and not just some of the people) but all those who feel the strong Calling of the Almighty, but are as of now shackled and hindered by their fellow man.

  • Peter O’Brian

    Jesus did not “just happen” to choose men to be ordained, just as he didn’t “just happen” to choose bread & wine to confect the Eucharist. Also, the early Chruch was made up of gentiles who came from religions with priestesses. The nature of the priesthood is an article of our Catholic faith. It’s not to be taken lightly. After all, without the priesthood we wouldn’t have the Eucharist. It’s also not something that can change to suit cultural mores.

  • Dave

    Paul, I don’t understand why you’d advocate GLBTQ individuals for ordination. I know priests who are likely gay, what matters for priests is sexual maturity, not sexuality. Many vocational retreats tell people that. I feel like the glorification of sexuality that we find in the Anglican Church and more recently in Judaism is pretty arrogant considering they are supposed to be our spiritual guides, not sex therapists. But I understand your point is you feel there is discrimination.

    I think the argument that Christ just happened to choose men is indeed a bad justification for men only. But nor do I think we should rush into ordaining women without thinking about what it should look like. Have you ever met Buddhist nuns? Wonderful people who don’t have to try and pretend to be “one of the boys” as we see with Anglican female priests. They appear distinct from the men and they are deeply spiritual, not simply women craving power in the hierarchy. We also have to be careful we don’t destroy the idea of Mary in ordaining women and I think if we do that there should be a special emphasis on a female priest being “in persona Maria” and additionally she should not have the title of priest but be able to administer the sacraments. I don’t know what we’d call them. But it’s not as easy as just saying, “hey lets suddenly start ordaining women.”

  • Paul

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Gal 3: 28. Why can the church hierarchy say the call to priesthood is not valid for women, married men, or GLBTQ individuals? Women once were ordained deacons. Who are church leaders to say only their call is valid (when they are only men)? Are they not committing the sin of sexism?

    • Patrick

      The video specifically says that Christ called only men to the
      priesthood. If that is the sole rationale for denying membership in the
      priesthood to women then that is the priesthood as Christ intended it. However, the men Christ chose were also for
      the most part married. Why does the Latin Rite Church not allow married
      priests? How can the Church so willfully ignore that example of
      Christ’s, while clinging to the male only priesthood. And before the issue of a priest’s sacrifice for the good of all, and the impact that that would have on his family, let us remember that Christ knew that would happen to his Apostles.

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