Monday, December 31, 2007
-Matthias Joseph Scheeben in Nature and Grace.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Friday, December 14, 2007
The liturgy adds a sanctoral cycle to its temporal one, because it never separates the Body from the Head, the saints from their Lord and Master. In the celebration of the liturgy the whole mystical vine of salvation is communicated. It is truly the total reality of the Covenant that is offered to us.
It is not only taught to us or merely brought to our notice; it is celebrated, realized, rendered present and communicated not simply as a doctrine and truth, but as a reality. The doctrinal feasts were instituted relatively recently. They have a lot to recommend them, but even before the institution of a feast of Christ the King the liturgy was from beginning to end, and still is, the very realization and proclamation of the universal Lordship of Christ; it taught and teaches this by all that it is; it brings home this truth in a living way, exactly as a family inculcates the sense of duty in a child without giving him theoretical lessons on the subject. There was talk of instituting a feast of Redemption! It is unlikely that this will happen, and it would be quite superfluous if proper use is made of the liturgy, because the liturgy is, from beginning to end, the active celebration of the Redemption, and its efficacious enactment. The liturgy does not theorize on the Redemption, but it ceaselessly brings us into loving communication with Christ our Savior, with his Cross and its fruit, the hope of eternal life. Similarly…the liturgy teaches scarcely any lesson about the Eucharist—and none before the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi in 1264. But the liturgy celebrates the Eucharist; it offers us the means by which we may prepare ourselves to approach it; the liturgy brings us into communication with it and envelops it in a whole cult and worship, which radiates naturally from it.”
-Yves Congar in The Meaning of Tradition.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
That seems alot different than what the National Geographic Society has revealed it to say! Dr. April Deconick takes a look at the Coptic manuscript and finds out that the NGS needs lessons in translation! Read it here.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Christianity did not bring a message of social revolution like that of the
ill-fated Spartacus, whose struggle led to so much bloodshed. Jesus was not
Spartacus, he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas
or Bar- Kochba. Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally
different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living
God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a
hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within.
I have to go to work now, but I will blog more on the encyclical later!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
-John Henry Newman in A Letter Addressed to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk.
-John Henry Newman in Present Position of Catholics in England.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
-Pope St. Leo the Great
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Does anyone else see the absurdity of the National Right to Life Committee's endorsement of Thompson based on this? Why did they not endorse someone who is 100% pro-life? Does any candidate fit that description? It seems that Huckabee does. Although, I am not so quick to endorse him. Is there anyone else out there willing to stand up for life? Surely, someone is willing to resist compromise and support the dignity of human life!
I do know for a fact that I will not be voting for Giuliani!
-Sozomen in Ecclesiastical History.
-Athanasius in his letter to the Bishops of Egypt.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
-Salaminus Hermias Sozomenus in Ecclesiastical History.
Friday, November 16, 2007
-Socrates Scholasticus in Ecclesiastical History.
-Vladimir Soloviev in The Russian Church and the Papacy.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
-John Henry Newman in An Essay On the Development of Doctrine.
-John Henry Newman in An Essay On the Development of Doctrine.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
-told by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
In the Prima Secunda of his Summa Theologica, Q. 98, articles 1 and 2, Thomas Aquinas answers these questions. In the first article, Aquinas affirms that the Law was indeed good even though Ezekiel says that God “gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments in which they shall not live” (20:25). It seems as though Revelation is against Thomas here, but he makes a distinction. Namely, the Laws “that were not good” refers to the ceremonial precepts. They were not good because they did not confer the Grace necessary for the remission of sins. Another “not good” aspect of this Law is that, as Aquinas mentions, it caused concupiscence to increase “since we desire a thing the more from its being forbidden.” And when a desire wants what is forbidden, this disordered desire leads to sin. So how then is the Law good? Here Aquinas makes a distinction between degrees of good:
-A perfect good: a good which is sufficient in itself to bring about the desired
-An imperfect good: a good that is of some assistance in attaining the
end, but not sufficient in itself for its acquirement.
The end of the Divine Law (of which the Old Law is part) is “to bring man to that end which is everlasting happiness.”
Hence, the Old Law is an imperfect good that points to the end of everlasting happiness, and provides assistance, but is in itself insufficient to reach such end.
If you are keeping score, we now have an Old Law which not only is imperfect, but leads to sin. How can such a Law possibly be from God?
First, Aquinas tells us that the Old Law was ordained to Christ in two ways:
1) It bears witness to Christ.
2) It withdrew men from idolatrous
worship and taught them to worship the One God.
Thus, the Old Law has to be from God. “For the devil would not make a law whereby men would be led to Christ, Who was to cast him out….Therefore the Old Law was given by the same God, from Whom came salvation to man, through the grace of Christ.”
Building upon the previous conclusion, Thomas affirms the words of St. Paul in the Letter to the Galatians (3:24), “The law was our pedagogue in Christ.” The Old Law prepared us for the Grace of Christ. It was a Law that was humanly impossible to keep, but Christ would come and write a New Law on our hearts and give us the Grace to make it possible to keep the Divine Law. Apart from the Grace of Christ, we are unable to obtain Salvation. This is the heresy of Pelagius, who thought that some men did not need Christ’s Grace, but were able to reach Salvation on their own. God gave the Old Law precisely so men would not fall into this Pelagian way of thinking.
God wished “to give such a law as men by their own forces could not fulfill, so
that, while presuming on their own powers, they might find themselves to be
sinners, and being humbled might have recourse to the help of grace.”
The Divine Pedagogue that was the Old Law was designed to show men how weak and sinful they really were in order for them to recognize that they needed God and the Grace that only comes from Christ. In Romans 1, Paul tells us that the pagans did not pick up on the necessity of humbling themselves, but rather gave in to the sin of pride and “although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator..” (Rom 1: 21-23, 25).
In article 2, Aquinas also seems to suggest that the fathers of old had some kind of faith in Christ. For he says:
“Although the Old Law did not suffice to save man, yet another help from God
besides the Law was available for man, viz. faith in the Mediator, by which the
fathers of old were justified even as we are.”
This is an odd suggestion that is found elsewhere in the Summa where Aquinas suggests that Adam and Eve had a pre-lapsarian awareness of the Grace of Christ.
The ways of God are truly wonderful! By showing us our weakness we come to recognize our sinfulness and our absolute need of His love and Grace given by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Monday, November 12, 2007
-John Henry Newman in An Essay On the Development of Doctrine.
I think the best answer when someone asks if you believe in Q is to answer "yes." Then when they astonishingly question if you are putting them on, simply reply:
"Of course I believe in 'Q'. 'Q' is Matthew."
I apologize to those who are not into Biblical Criticism and may not know who or what "Q" refers to. It's probably best to stay that way! But for those who are interested:
"According to the Two Source Hypothesis accepted by a majority of contemporary scholars, the authors of Matthew and Luke each made use of two different sources: the Gospel of Mark and a non-extant second source termed Q. The siglum Q derives from the German word "Quelle," which means "Source." Q primarily consists of the "double tradition" material, that which is present in both Matthew and Luke but not Mark. However, Q may also contain material that is preserved only by Matthew or only by Luke (called "Sondergut") as well as material that is paralleled in Mark (called Mark/Q overlaps). Although the temptation story and the healing of the centurion's son are usually ascribed to Q, the majority of the material consists of sayings. For this reason, Q is sometimes called the Synoptic Sayings Source or the Sayings Gospel. Some scholars have observed that the Gospel of Thomas and the Q material, as contrasted with the four canonical gospels, are similar in their emphasis on the sayings of Jesus instead of the passion of Jesus." [Source]
Saturday, November 10, 2007
In contrast to the uncertain opinions of men, the word of Peter represents the stability and unity of the true faith; in contrast to the narrow national ideas of the Messiah to which the apostles gave utterance, his word expresses the messianic idea in its absolute and universal form. The idea of the Messiah which had sprung from the soil of Jewish national consciousness is already in the visions of the post-exilic prophets growing too large for these limits. But the true meaning of these mysterious and enigmatic visions was hardly divined by the inspired writers themselves, while Jewish public opinion remained exclusively nationalistic and could see no more in Christ than a great national prophet such as Elijah, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist, or at the most an all-powerful dictator, liberator, and leader of the chosen people such as Moses or David. This was the highest idea that the mob which followed Jesus held of him; and we know that even his chosen disciples shared these popular notions up to the end of his earthly life (cf. Luke 24:19-21).
Only in Peter’s confession does the messianic idea emerge, freed from all its nationalistic trappings and invested for the first time in its final and universal form. ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matt. 16:16). Here is no question of a national king or prophet; the Messiah is not a second Moses or David. From this time on, he bears the unique name of him who, though he is the God of Israel, is nonetheless the God of all nations. Peter’s confession transcended Jewish nationalism and inaugurated the universal Church of the New Covenant.
This is yet one more reason why Peter should be the foundation of Christendom and why the supreme hierarchical authority, which of itself has ever maintained the universal or international character of the Church, should be the true heir of Peter and the actual possessor of all those privileges conferred by Christ upon the prince of the apostles.”
-Vladimir Soloviev in The Russian Church and the Papacy.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
-John Henry Newman in The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine: Sermon XV preached before the University of Oxford on the Purification, 1843.
Vladimir Soloviev in The Russian Church and the Papacy.
-John Henry Newman in The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine: Sermon XV preached before the University of Oxford on the Purification, 1843.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
A: First of all we have to keep in mind that without a distinction between mortal and venial sins, we cannot have a proper concept of the Original sin of Adam.
Now, if we follow the logic of the translators of the NIV, then we need to be consistent and would have to translate 1 Jn. 5:17 also in the singular to read "but there is a sin which is not mortal." Following this logic, we have two singular sins. One leads to death (mortal). One does not. If they say that the one mortal is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, what do they claim is the one not-mortal sin? They would probably answer that it is absurd to say that there are only two possible sins, and they would be right. Hence the absurdity of their argument for the translation in the NIV and the absurdity of the logical conclusion that follows!
John 19:11 has Jesus say "...for this reason the one who handed me over to you had the greater sin." Jesus Himself makes a distinction in the degree of sins! We know that the "one who handed" Christ over was Judas. Judas certainly didn't blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. So how is it that he commits a greater sin? Because his sin is a mortal sin and Christ Himself makes a distinction between degrees of sin.
Also, Paul in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 states: "Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters..." If their were no distinction between sins, Paul's telling us of certain sins that cut us off from God (i.e. mortal) would be superfluous!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We owe our praise, therefore, to this great Mother of ours for the divine mystery which she communicates to us… This chaste Mother pours into us and sustains a faith which is always whole and which neither human decadence nor spiritual lassitude can touch, however deep they may go…This wise Mother steers us clear of sectarian excesses and the deceptive enthusiasm which is always followed by revulsion; she teaches us to love all that is good, all that is true, all that is just, and to reject nothing which has not been tested… She scatters the darkness in which men either slumber or despair or—pitifully—‘shape as they please their fantasies of the infinite.’ Without discouraging us from any task she protects us from the deceptive myths of the Churches made by the hand of man…she is initiated into His secrets and teaches us whatever pleases Him.”
-Henri De Lubac in The Splendor of the Church.
-Msgr. Blanchet, at the Institut Catholique inaugural Mass, November 1950.
Monday, October 22, 2007
-Bishop Vincent Gasser in his relatio at Vatican I, found in the book "The Gift of Infallibility."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Church has no official opinion on these prophecies. As with all private revelation, the Church emphasizes that not only must the utmost discernment go into their authenticity, but also into their interpretation as well. In my opinion, many have tried way too hard to find a way of connecting the descriptions of the future popes with each successive pope that sits in the Chair of Peter. It really is quite ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact, that it is said that Cardinal Spellman of New York, in 1958 before the Conclave that elected Pope John XXIII, in a tongue-in-cheek manner hired a boat filled with sheep and sailed up and down the Tiber in order to show that he was “pastor et nautor”, the description of the next pope in the prophecies!
The problems with this supposed prophecy are two fold (at least):
1) The 142nd Pope, Sergius IV, was born with the name of Peter. And guess where he was born….Rome! So, even before Malachy’s prophecy, there is already a “Peter the Roman.”
2) The last pope is supposed to be the 112th pope from Celestine II who was the 165th Pope. Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope. Unless my math fails me, there have only been 100 popes, so the next pope is only 101 from Celestine II. You only reach 112 with the next pope if you count anti-popes, who are not real popes to begin with!
For info on the speculation concerning Pope Benedict and Malachy’s prophecy, see this article.
"Living as we do after the celebration of a Second Vatican Council, the objection seems to carry little weight, and, indeed, history has demonstrated that Gasser's reply was accurate. He said, in essence: papal infallibility is not a new doctrine; the Pope has always been infallible. We are simply about to define that truth. And, although, the Pope has always been infallible, ecumenical councils were held in the past and so will they be in the future. They have never been, he says, absolutely necessary, but they have always been the 'most solemn judgment' of the Church in matters of faith and morals, since they visibly manifest the union of the Pope with the other bishops in fulfilling their roles as teachers of the faith. As such, ecumenical councils will always remain necessary."
Gasser's relatio can be found in the book "The Gift of Infallibility" along with Fr. O'Conner's theological synthesis of papal infallibility. This is an excellent book! If anyone is struggling with the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, (whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant) they should get* this book as soon as possible. You might come away with a different view and you will definitely understand the dogma better!
*I just did a search for this on amazon in order to link to it and apparently it is out of print and not available for less than $90 (which I assure my wife is not the price I paid for it!). I'm sure your local library will have a copy though, so go get it!
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|You scored as Catholic |
You are a Catholic. You believe that the bread and wine are transformed by the priest and become the Body and Blood of Christ. Though the accidents, or appearance, of bread and wine remain, the substance has been changed. The Eucharist remains the Body and Blood of Christ after the celebration, and is reserved in the Tabernacle; Eucharistic devotions are proper. As the whole Christ is present under either species, you partake fully of the Eucharist even if you receive only one.
I came out as scoring Catholic, but Orthodox apparently scored equal measure. I think this is due to my confusion over one question that was ambiguously asked concerning whether the Holy Spirit brings about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Only after the quiz did I realize that it was referring to the epiclesis; the point in which the Orthodox hold that the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood, rather than at the words of consecration. I took it as a general question referring to the animating principal of the change. If I had realized this, the Orthodox rating probably would have been a 75 instead of 100. Oh well.
Friday, October 19, 2007
-Profession of Faith at the Fourth Council of Constantinople(869) which was taken from the formula of the profession of faith expressed in 517 by Pope Hormisdas.
A Warning to all who purhcase anything through Amazon Marketplace: NEVER ORDER FROM "EDUCATIONMEDIA"!
If you do so, you will end up paying for books that you will never receive. (I filed for a refund with Amazon, so I should get my money back)
Instead, if anyone wants to order the same series of the Church Fathers, I would highly recommend ordering them from ChristianBooks.com. They were $15 cheaper than the total price from educationmedia.
Modestus: What, do you not fear my power?
Basil: What could happen to me? What might I suffer?
Modestus: Any one of the numerous torments which are in my power.
Basil: What are these? Tell me about them.
Modestus: Confiscation, exile, torture, death.
Basil: If you have any other, you can threaten me with it, for there is nothing so far which affects me.
Modestus: Why, what do you mean?
Basil: Well, in truth confiscation means nothing to a man who has nothing, unless you covet these wretched rags, and a few books: that is all I possess. As to exile, that means nothing to me, for I am attached to no particular place. That wherein I live is not mine, and I shall feel at home in any place to which I am sent, Or rather, I regard the whole earth as belonging to God, and I consider myself as a stranger or sojourner wherever I may be. As for torture, how will you apply this? I have not a body capable of bearing it, unless you are thinking of the first blow that you give me, for it will take me sooner to the God for Whom I live, for Whom I act, and for Whom I am more than half dead, and Whom I have desired long since.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
It's almost as amusing as Fundamentalists who take all of the Bible literally, except when Christ says "This is my body"...."This is my blood."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Holy Scripture provides several instances of natural priesthood, one of which is the case of Abel, the ‘just man,’ whose sacrifice is commemorated daily in the Mass (Gn. 4:4). Natural priesthood is most often exercised by the leaders of a people in an act of public worship to obtain blessing for them. This office naturally falls, then, to the head of a family and to the qualified representatives of an ethnic group or clan.
Later, the sacrificial offering became the privilege of kings. Melchisedec, the high priest, was king of Salem (Gn. 14:18). The Babylonian and Assyrian leaders took pride in their priestly dignity; among the titles of honor attributed to them, that of priest was of exceptional importance. In Egypt, Pharaoh called himself ‘priest of all the gods,’ the qualified mediator between the divinities and his people. It is also true that, with the exception of a few cases, these priest-kings chose certain curates to replace them in the sacerdotal functions. In the organization of the tribes, as we read in Sacred Scripture, each family formed a small ceremonial community whose head was usually its priest. Thus, we see Abraham (Gn. 12:8, 15:8-17), Isaac, after the death of his father (Gn. 26:25), Jacob (Gn. 33:20), and Job (Jb. 1:5) offering sacrifices to the Almighty. It is to be expected that the Israelites would keep this usage in Egypt; it is also likely that the example of a privileged priestly caste, such as existed there, would influence them. This latter probability is enhanced by the fact that Joseph allied himself to the priestly nobility of the country of the Pharaohs by his marriage to Aseneth, daughter of Putiphare, priest of On (Heliopolis) (Gn. 41: 45).
Even under the Mosaic Law the ancient custom of authorizing the heads of families and of clans to fulfill the office of priest or of choosing replacements persisted. We see this in the example of Micha (Jgs. 7:5) who conferred the priestly investiture on one of his sons. But the sequel to that narration shows that this privilege of the Levites was recognized, since Micha subsequently invested an itinerant Levite and accounted himself of more worth in the eyes of God for having done so: ‘Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, since the Levite has become my priest’ (Jgs. 17:13).
The privilege of the royal priesthood was maintained in Israel for a long time. David exercised it in transferring the holy ark to Sion. He donned the priestly vestment (2 Sm. 16:14; 16:20); he offered sacrifices (2 Sm. 6:13, 17) and blessed the people (2 Sm. 6:18)—all functions reserved to the priests (Nm. 6:22-27; Lv. 9:22-23; 3:10; 18:7). His sons were priests (2 Sm. 8:18), that is, substitutes for their father in the sacerdotal offices. Solomon, in his turn, filled the ministry with authority (3 Kgs. 3:4, 14; 8:14-15; 30:55). Besides this, he appointed and removed the priests, considering them his functionaries (3 Kgs. 2:26-27; 35). The custom continued under Jeroboam I (3 Kgs. 12:33) and Achaz (4 Kgs. 5:12ff.). The sacerdotal reform which took place under Josias (640-609 B.C.) put an end to this privilege of the kings. At that time the cult was centralized at Jerusalem (Dt. 12:1-14; 4 Kgs. 23), an innovation indeed, which was not yet in effect under the Judges (Jgs. 6:28, 13:16 ff.), nor even under Solomon (3 Kgs. 3:4).”
-Clement Dillenschneider, C.SS.R. in Christ the One Priest and We His Priests.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
It seems to be though, that material sufficiency would be extremely easy to disprove. All one would have to do is show a part of the deposit of the faith that isn’t contained at least implicitly in Scripture and material sufficiency ceases to exist. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and cannot come up with anything not implicitly contained in Scripture. Thus, I am forced to hold for material sufficiency.
Can anyone out there think of any part of the deposit that is not contained in Scripture explicitly or implicitly?
What a great way to celebrate, by quoting Matthias Scheeben. Go read his stuff now (if you can find it...)!
It's been a little over two years since I started blogging. What a journey! I'll see you at the next 1,000th......
Oh yeah,.....and I love being Catholic!
Similarly in the conferring of supernatural divine light and the reflection of the divine nature upon our soul, in the impress of the supernatural likeness of God, the eternal splendor of the Father is irradiated over us, and His consubstantial image, the Son of God, is imprinted in our soul and is reborn in us by an imitation and extension of the eternal production. Thus God’s Son Himself in His divine and hypostatic character is lodge in the creature as the seal of the creature’s likeness to God. By the impress of this seal the creature is made conformable to the Son Himself, and by fellowship with the Son he receives the dignity and glory of the children of God.
The application to the creature of the divine love-flame flaring up in the Holy Spirit by the enkindling of a similar flame, and the reflection upon the creature of the divine glory shining in the Son by the irradiation of a similar splendor: these two images give us a striking illustration of the two divine missions as prolongations of the eternal processions and their entrance into the creature. These images become still more striking if we combine them with the image of the stamp of the seal imprinted by God upon the soul in the spiritual kiss wherein He so pours forth the light of His countenance and the sigh of His heart that the soul is illuminated and transfigured by His light, and inflamed and animated by His breath.
In the case of the Holy Spirit especially the outer procession as a prolongation of the inner is most fittingly expressed by saying that the Father and the Son breathe Him into the creature. This is the exalted sense in which the Fathers expound the words of Genesis: ‘And the Lord God...breathed into his face the breath of life.’
The statement just made would suffice in itself to enable us to perceive a true mission of the divine persons (Son and Holy Spirit) in the communication of grace. In this communication the Son and the Holy Spirit, as distinct from the Father and from each other, are present in the creature by virtue of a defining image impressed by each of them, an image which is so vivid and perfect that it infinitely surpasses the symbol. They are both so closely connected with this image that they dwell in it, not only as regards our way of conceiving the matter, because of the relation of similarity, but really, with their substance and personality. This is so far the general reason that as God they are everywhere present, and also because, even if they were not already present everywhere in substance for that general reason, they have to be present in so perfect an impress and effluence of their most intrinsic, personal perfections and origins, just as the seal must be present in its counterpart. Indeed, unlike the material seal after an impression has once been made, they cannot even be thought of as removed from immediate contact with the impression, for the latter, which has existence only from them, also has existence only in them.”
-Matthias J. Scheeben in The Mysteries of Christianity.
Objection 1: It would seem that there cannot be anyone in the Church higher than the bishops. For all the bishops are the successors of the apostles. Now the power so given to one of the apostles, namely Peter (Mat. 16:19), was given to all the apostles (Jn. 20:23). Therefore all bishops are equal, and one is not above another.
Objection 2: Further, the rite of the Church ought to be more conformed to the Jewish rite than to that of the Gentiles. Now the distinction of the episcopal dignity and the appointment of one over another, were introduced by the Gentiles. as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 24); and there was no such thing in the Old Law. Therefore neither in the Church should one bishop be above another.
Objection 3: Further, a higher power cannot be conferred by a lower, nor equal by equal, because "without all contradiction that which is less is blessed by the greater [Vulg.: 'better']"; hence a priest does not consecrate a bishop or a priest, but a bishop consecrates a priest. But a bishop can consecrate any bishop, since even the bishop of Ostia consecrates the Pope. Therefore the episcopal dignity is equal in all matters, and consequently one bishop should not be subject to another, as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 24).
On the contrary, We read in the council of Constantinople: "In accordance with the Scriptures and the statutes and definitions of the canons, we venerate the most holy bishop of ancient Rome the first and greatest of bishops, and after him the bishop of Constantinople." Therefore one bishop is above another.
Further, the blessed Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, says: "That we may remain members of our apostolic head, the throne of the Roman Pontiffs, of whom it is our duty to seek what we are to believe and what we are to hold, venerating him, beseeching him above others; for his it is to reprove, to correct, to appoint, to loose, and to bind in place of Him Who set up that very throne, and Who gave the fulness of His own to no other, but to him alone, to whom by divine right all bow the head, and the primates of the world are obedient as to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself." Therefore bishops are subject to someone even by divine right.
I answer that, Wherever there are several authorities directed to one purpose, there must needs be one universal authority over the particular authorities, because in all virtues and acts the order is according to the order of their ends (Ethic. i, 1,2). Now the common good is more Godlike than the particular good. Wherefore above the governing power which aims at a particular good there must be a universal governing power in respect of the common good, otherwise there would be no cohesion towards the one object. Hence since the whole Church is one body, it behooves, if this oneness is to be preserved, that there be a governing power in respect of the whole Church, above the episcopal power whereby each particular Church is governed, and this is the power of the Pope. Consequently those who deny this power are called schismatics as causing a division in the unity of the Church. Again, between a simple bishop and the Pope there are other degrees of rank corresponding to the degrees of union, in respect of which one congregation or community includes another; thus the community of a province includes the community of a city, and the community of a kingdom includes the community of one province, and the community of the whole world includes the community of one kingdom.
Reply to Objection 1: Although the power of binding and loosing was given to all the apostles in common, nevertheless in order to indicate some order in this power, it was given first of all to Peter alone, to show that this power must come down from him to the others. For this reason He said to him in the singular: "Confirm thy brethren" (Lk. 22:32), and: "Feed My sheep" (Jn. 21:17), i.e. according to Chrysostom: "Be thou the president and head of thy brethren in My stead, that they, putting thee in My place, may preach and confirm thee throughout the world whilst thou sittest on thy throne."
Reply to Objection 2: The Jewish rite was not spread abroad in various kingdoms and provinces, but was confined to one nation; hence there was no need to distinguish various pontiffs under the one who had the chief power. But the rite of the Church, like that of the Gentiles, is spread abroad through various nations; and consequently in this respect it is necessary for the constitution of the Church to be like the rite of the Gentiles rather than that of the Jews.
Reply to Objection 3: The priestly power is surpassed by the episcopal power, as by a power of a different kind; but the episcopal is surpassed by the papal power as by a power of the same kind. Hence a bishop can perform every hierarchical act that the Pope can; whereas a priest cannot perform every act that a bishop can in conferring the sacraments. Wherefore as regards matters pertaining to the episcopal Order, all bishops are equal, and for this reason any bishop can consecrate another bishop.
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 40, a. 6.
Objection 1: It would seem that the female sex is no impediment to receiving Orders. For the office of prophet is greater than the office of priest, since a prophet stands midway between God and priests, just as the priest does between God and people. Now the office of prophet was sometimes granted to women, as may be gathered from 4 Kings 22:14. Therefore the office of priest also may be competent to them.
Objection 2: Further, just as Order pertains to a kind of pre-eminence, so does a position of authority as well as martyrdom and the religious state. Now authority is entrusted to women in the New Testament, as in the case of abbesses, and in the Old Testament, as in the case of Debbora, who judged Israel (Judges 2). Moreover martyrdom and the religious life are also befitting to them. Therefore the Orders of the Church are also competent to them.
Objection 3: Further, the power of orders is founded in the soul. But sex is not in the soul. Therefore difference in sex makes no difference to the reception of Orders.
On the contrary, It is said (1 Tim. 2:12): "I suffer not a woman to teach (in the Church),* nor to use authority over the man." [*The words in parenthesis are from 1 Cor. 14:34, "Let women keep silence in the churches."]
Further, the crown is required previous to receiving Orders, albeit not for the validity of the sacrament. But the crown or tonsure is not befitting to women according to 1 Cor. 11. Neither therefore is the receiving of Orders.
I answer that, Certain things are required in the recipient of a sacrament as being requisite for the validity of the sacrament, and if such things be lacking, one can receive neither the sacrament nor the reality of the sacrament. Other things, however, are required, not for the validity of the sacrament, but for its lawfulness, as being congruous to the sacrament; and without these one receives the sacrament, but not the reality of the sacrament. Accordingly we must say that the male sex is required for receiving Orders not only in the second, but also in the first way. Wherefore even though a woman were made the object of all that is done in conferring Orders, she would not receive Orders, for since a sacrament is a sign, not only the thing, but the signification of the thing, is required in all sacramental actions; thus it was stated above (Q, A) that in Extreme Unction it is necessary to have a sick man, in order to signify the need of healing. Accordingly, since it is not possible in the female sex to signify eminence of degree, for a woman is in the state of subjection, it follows that she cannot receive the sacrament of Order. Some, however, have asserted that the male sex is necessary for the lawfulness and not for the validity of the sacrament, because even in the Decretals (cap. Mulieres dist. 32; cap. Diaconissam, 27, qu. i) mention is made of deaconesses and priestesses. But deaconess there denotes a woman who shares in some act of a deacon, namely who reads the homilies in the Church; and priestess [presbytera] means a widow, for the word "presbyter" means elder.
Reply to Objection 1: Prophecy is not a sacrament but a gift of God. Wherefore there it is not the signification, but only the thing which is necessary. And since in matters pertaining to the soul woman does not differ from man as to the thing (for sometimes a woman is found to be better than many men as regards the soul), it follows that she can receive the gift of prophecy and the like, but not the sacrament of Orders.
And thereby appears the Reply to the Second and Third Objections. However, as to abbesses, it is said that they have not ordinary authority, but delegated as it were, on account of the danger of men and women living together. But Debbora exercised authority in temporal, not in priestly matters, even as now woman may have temporal power.
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 39, a. 1.
It is important to note here the Sacramental aspect of the priesthood that Aquinas stresses. This is one of the main things feminist theologies neglect in their advocacy of a women priesthood. In order for a Sacrament to be validly conferred, there must be valid matter. Women do not constitute valid matter.
-St. Cyril of Alexandria
Objection 2: Further, the priesthood of the Old Law was more akin to Christ's priesthood than was the priesthood that existed before the Law. But the nearer the sacraments were to Christ, the more clearly they signified Him; as is clear from what we have said in the SS, Q, A. Therefore the priesthood of Christ should be denominated after the priesthood of the Law, rather than after the order of Melchisedech, which was before the Law.
Objection 3: Further, it is written (Heb. 7:2,3): "That is 'king of peace,' without father, without mother, without genealogy; having neither beginning of days nor ending of life": which can be referred only to the Son of God. Therefore Christ should not be called a priest according to the order of Melchisedech, as of some one else, but according to His own order.
On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 109:4): "Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech."
I answer that, As stated above (A, ad 3) the priesthood of the Law was a figure of the priesthood of Christ, not as adequately representing the reality, but as falling far short thereof: both because the priesthood of the Law did not wash away sins, and because it was not eternal, as the priesthood of Christ. Now the excellence of Christ's over the Levitical priesthood was foreshadowed in the priesthood of Melchisedech, who received tithes from Abraham, in whose loins the priesthood of the Law was tithed. Consequently the priesthood of Christ is said to be "according to the order of Melchisedech," on account of the excellence of the true priesthood over the figural priesthood of the Law.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ is said to be according to the order of Melchisedech not as though the latter were a more excellent priest, but because he foreshadowed the excellence of Christ's over the Levitical priesthood.
Reply to Objection 2: Two things may be considered in Christ's priesthood: namely, the offering made by Christ, and (our) partaking thereof. As to the actual offering, the priesthood of Christ was more distinctly foreshadowed by the priesthood of the Law, by reason of the shedding of blood, than by the priesthood of Melchisedech in which there was no blood-shedding. But if we consider the participation of this sacrifice and the effect thereof, wherein the excellence of Christ's priesthood over the priesthood of the Law principally consists, then the former was more distinctly foreshadowed by the priesthood of Melchisedech, who offered bread and wine, signifying, as Augustine says (Tract. xxvi in Joan.) ecclesiastical unity, which is established by our taking part in the sacrifice of Christ [*Cf. Q, A]. Wherefore also in the New Law the true sacrifice of Christ is presented to the faithful under the form of bread and wine.
Reply to Objection 3: Melchisedech is described as "without father, without mother, without genealogy," and as "having neither beginning of days nor ending of life," not as though he had not these things, but because these details in his regard are not supplied by Holy Scripture. And this it is that, as the Apostle says in the same passage, he is "likened unto the Son of God," Who had no earthly father, no heavenly mother, and no genealogy, according to Is. 53:8: "Who shall declare His generation?" and Who in His Godhead has neither beginning nor end of days.
-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III. Q. 22, a. 6.