The Sacrament of Holy Orders (1) makes certain baptized men particularly like Christ the High Priest, (2) entrusts them with a ministry of special service in the Church, and (3) provides them the sacred power to fulfill this ministry.
1. The Sacrament of Holy Orders makes certain baptized men particularly like Christ the High Priest.
Holy Orders is the act by which certain baptized men, called by God, are enabled to mediate, in a special way, Christ’s high priestly ministry. These men, bishops, priests and deacons, are set apart and given grace for their vocation in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
2. The Sacrament of Holy Orders entrusts bishops, priests, and deacons with a ministry of special service in the Church.
Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, Jesus Christ makes Himself present, through bishops and priests, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to baptize, to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation, to distribute His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, to forgive the sins of penitents in the Sacrament of Penance, to anoint the sick, and to bless and sanctify marriages. Assisting the bishops and priests in this ministry of service, and sharing with them the Sacrament of Orders, are the deacons.
3. The Sacrament of Holy Orders provides bishops and priests the sacred power to fulfill this ministry.
By His own authority Jesus chose the Apostles to be His priests to continue His ministry in the world. At the Last Supper, Our Lord gave His Apostles the power to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood. “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19). After His Resurrection, Jesus granted them the power to forgive men’s sins when He said: ‘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 20:22–23).