In CATHOLICISM (Richard P McBrien, HarperSanFrancisco, New York, 1994) the Catholic doctrine that the power to ordain was passed on by the apostles only to their successors the bishops and so on down to the present day is shown to be bereft of evidence and also no declaration was given until 1208 during the reign of Pope Innocent III that only priests could celebrate Mass (page 867).
Roman Catholicism teaches that only validly ordained bishops can ordain priests or bishops. The bishop is believed to have the full sacrament of holy orders. The priest receives all of the sacrament barring the power to ordain. The Church teaches that if a priest was invalidly ordained and a ceremony takes place to make him a bishop the ceremony won’t work. Only a priest can be validly ordained a bishop. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes the same as the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict IX who is considered to be a true pope by the Church was only eleven when he became pope in 1032 AD. This youngster was infamous for his irreligious ways and his promiscuity. He didn’t know what he was doing not just because of his age but also because of his spiritual immaturity when he became priest, bishop and pope. He cannot be considered to be a real bishop. Yet the Church says he was. If he was then there is only one conclusion that can be drawn. It is that the boy pope though incapable of having any legal validity and incapable of being validly ordained still had the powers a pope should have which are to maintain the Church by sacraments and that a pope becomes bishop by virtue of being elected even if his consecration as bishop was invalid.
The council of Chalcedon decreed that priests must be ordained only for particular Churches and be called by the people as a priest (page 869, Catholicism). It was believed that priests who were not called were not validly ordained and received no pay for his priestly work from the Emperor (page 869). Despite this rule, the Church later ignored it meaning that it produced invalid priests and bishops. Bishops today who have inherited their powers from such bishops are not bishops at all.
Interestingly there were priests ordained under papal permission in the past who were not ordained by bishops but by priests. The Catholic Church has never made it infallible dogma that only bishops have the power to ordain priests. The ecumenical therefore infallible Council of Florence decreed not that the bishop alone had this power but only that the bishop was the ordinary minister of ordination or holy orders (page 1136, 1138, Encyclopedia of Theology, A Concise Sacramentum Mundi, Edited by Fr Karl Rahner, Burns & Oates, London, 1975).   This is interesting because saying somebody is an ordinary minister implies that there can be an extraordinary minister. And this is what the Church teaches. For example, the ordinary minister of baptism is a priest but a layperson can baptise when there is no priest in an emergency. So saying the priest is ordinary minister implies there can be extraordinary or un ordinary ministers. The bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation but this does not mean the priest cannot confirm. Priests occasionally perform confirmations.
Tertullian decades after the Church began was the first to say the bishop had the full priesthood (page 1129). This came more than a bit late. The biblical evidence as the Presbyterian Church can tell you is that originally bishops and presbyters (known as priests in the Catholic system who are sometimes called presbyters) were one and the same which is why all ministers have the same rank in Presbyterianism. One minister might belong to a higher assembly or level but all ministers are equal as ministers. John Wesley used evidence like this to argue that he had the right and authority as an Anglican priest to ordain bishops for Methodism. The most authoritative source of tradition and doctrine the Bible supports the idea that priests can ordain bishops and priests assuming it supposes that it matters who ordains.
“The bishop has remained the ordinary minister of confirmation (in the West), and also of orders. But there are traces in history of exceptions to this rule, which was accepted in principle by the theologians and canonists of the Middle Ages since Huguccio, with no reserves except for papal permission” (page 1136).
“We have already mentioned the customs of the Church of Alexandria (possibly also followed by Lyons) as late as the 3rd century, when the bishop was consecrated by the college of presbyters. Cassian admits that he was he was ordained by the priest Paphnutius in Egypt (Conferences, IV, I)” (page 1136). The emperor Charlemagne “ordered the priests Willehad (d. 799) and Ludger (d. 785) to ordain other priests in the missionary territories of Frisia and Saxony” (page 1136). Pope “Boniface I, in Sacrae Religionis (1 February 1400), gave permission to the Abbot of S. Osith in Essex to confer all orders up to and including the priesthood. This was revoked by the bull Apostolicae Sedis (6 February 1403), at the insistence of the Bishop of London, who felt that his jurisdiction had been interfered with by the abbot. The revocation was not therefore on dogmatic grounds. See DS 1145f. Martin V, in Gerentes ad vos (16 November 1427), also gave permission for orders up to the priesthood (DS 1290) and Innocent VIII, in Exposcit (9 April 1489), up to the deaconate” (page 1136). Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ott is another book that can verify that Roman Catholicism didn’t always think that priests couldn’t ordain priests. This is a popular book of catholic doctrine. However there is no proof that Roman Catholicism officially accepted that bishops might be ordained by priests.
The book “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Dr. Ludwig Ott was translated from German. It has an imprimatur date of 7th October 1954 and the following comes from pages 458-459. The book says: “In regard to the sacramental Order grades of diaconate and presbyterate, most theologians, with St. Thomas, hold the opinion that a simple priest cannot validly administer these, even with plenary power from the Pope. But there are grave historical difficulties with regard to this opinion: Pope Boniface IX, in agreement with the teachings of numerous medieval canonists (for example, Huguccio d. 1210), by the Bull “Sacrae religionis” on the 1st of February 1400, conferred on the Abbot of the Augustine Monastery of St. Osytha at Essex (Diocese of London) and his successors, the privilege of administering to those subject to them both the Minor Orders and those of the subdiaconate, diaconate and priesthood. The privilege was withdrawn on 6th February, 1403, on the instance of the Bishop of London. But the Orders conferred on the ground of the privilege were not declared invalid. Pope Martin V, by the Bull “Gerentes ad vos” of 16th November, 1427, conferred the privilege on the Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Altzelle (Diocese of Meissen) of promoting all his monks and others subject to him for the term of five years, to the higher Orders also (Sub-diaconate, Diaconate, and Presbyterate). Pope Innocent VIII, by the Bull “Exposcit tuae devotions” of 9th April, 1489,conferred on the four Proto-Abbots of the Cistercian Order and their successors the privilege of ordaining their subordinates to the Sub-diaconate and the Diaconate. The Cistercian Abbots were still using this privilege in the 17th century without hindrance. Unless one wishes to assume that the Popes in question were victims of the erroneous theological opinions of their times (this does not touch the Papal infallibility, because an ex cathedra decision was not given), one must take it that a simple priest is an extraordinary dispenser of the Orders of Diaconate and Presbyterate, just as he is an extraordinary dispenser of Confirmation. In this latter view, the requisite power of consecration is contained in the priestly power of consecration as “potestas ligata.” For the valid exercise of it a special exercise of the Papal power is, by Divine or Church ordinance, necessary.”
Rome teaches that if the pope or Church authorised invalid ordination ceremonies for priests and bishops it would mean that Christ’s vow that the gates of Hell would never win where the Church was concerned would have been proven false. So the Church says it cannot happen. But history proves it has happened. So the Church is definitely not infallible and protected against such error though it says it is. It is just another arrogant human organisation that thinks it can make rules as if it were God.
The National Catholic Reporter, February 25th, 2000 reported that Czech priests who were ordained by priests in secret under special permission by Pius XII were ordered by the Vatican to have their ordinations repeated by bishops. So Pius XII didn’t believe that only bishops could ordain priests. This goes against the current Vatican fashion.
The current Roman Catholic doctrine that only bishops can ordain priests for priests don’t have the power from God to ordain means that many of its current bishops cannot be true bishops for somewhere along the line it was priests that did the ordination of their predecessors as priests or bishops. To be in communion with a false bishop is to be in schism so this is very serious and shows that Catholic unity isn’t real, it just looks real. Also to reject bishops or priests ordained by priests is to cause schism for it is unfair. Schism can be the attitude that some part of the Church is not part of your Church even if this isn’t made public by you. You are divided from them in your heart even if you pretend to be in communion with them and it appears to the world that you are all one. Understandably Protestants deny that the true Church is visible – they say it is an invisible communion made by God. It’s not an organisation but a spiritual closeness. The Roman Church has rejected many bishops ordained outside Roman Catholicism as having doubtful or non-existent holy orders though the bishops were ordained properly to all appearances. If priests can ordain bishops then we can be very sure they are really ordained and that the Church shouldn’t be giving the rejects the cold shoulder


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