Priesthood in the Catholic Church

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The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons. Only men are allowed to receive holy orders.

Holy orders sacraments of the Catholic Church

In the Christian churches, holy orders are ordained ministries such as bishop, priest, or deacon, and the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders. Churches recognizing these orders include the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Assyrian, Old Catholic, Independent Catholic and some Lutheran churches. Except for Lutherans and some Anglicans, these churches regard ordination as a sacrament. The Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism identifies more with the Roman Catholic position about the sacramental nature of ordination.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

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The church has different rules for priests in the Latin Church – the largest Catholic particular church – and in the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. Notably, priests in the Latin Church must take a vow of celibacy, whereas most Eastern Catholic Churches permit married men to be ordained. [1] Deacons are male and usually belong to the diocesan clergy, but, unlike almost all Latin-rite (Western Catholic) priests and all bishops from Eastern or Western Catholicism, they may marry as laymen before their ordination as clergy. [2] The Catholic Church teaches that when a man participates in priesthood after the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he acts in persona Christi Capitis, representing the person of Christ. [3]

Latin Church Automonous particular church making up of most of the Western world Catholics

The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 such churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity through its direct leadership under the Holy See, founded by Peter and Paul, according to Catholic tradition.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian autonomous particular churches in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. They are united with one another and with the Latin or Roman Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra. The majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches are groups from the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the historic Church of the East that have returned to communion with the Bishop of Rome, either due to theological concerns or due to understanding the role of the Bishop of Rome as head of church. As such the five liturgical traditions of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Alexandrian Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite, and the West Syriac Rite, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches. Consequently, the Catholic Church consists of six liturgical rites; including the aforementioned five liturgical traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church.

Sacrament sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance

A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.

Unlike usage in English, "the Latin words sacerdos and sacerdotium are used to refer in general to the ministerial priesthood shared by bishops and presbyters. The words presbyter, presbyterium and presbyteratus refer to priests in the English use of the word or presbyters." [4] According to the Annuario Pontificio 2016, as of December 31, 2014, there were 415,792 Catholic priests worldwide, including both diocesan priests and priests in the religious orders. [5] A priest of the regular clergy is commonly addressed with the title "Father" (contracted to Fr, in the Catholic and some other Christian churches). [6]

<i>Annuario Pontificio</i> annual directory of the Holy See

The Annuario Pontificio is the annual directory of the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It lists all the popes to date and all officials of the Holy See's departments. It also gives complete lists with contact information of the cardinals and Catholic bishops throughout the world, the dioceses, the departments of the Roman Curia, the Holy See's diplomatic missions abroad, the embassies accredited to the Holy See, the headquarters of religious institutes, certain academic institutions, and other similar information. The index includes, along with all the names in the body of the book, those of all priests who have been granted the title of "Monsignor". As the title suggests, the red-covered yearbook, compiled by the Central Statistics Office of the Church and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, is mostly in Italian.

Catholics living a consecrated life or monasticism include both the ordained and unordained. Institutes of consecrated life, or monks, can be deacons, priests, bishops, or non-ordained members of a religious order. The non-ordained in these orders are not to be considered laypersons in a strict sensethey take certain vows and are not free to marry once they have made solemn profession of vows. All female religious are non-ordained; they may be sisters living to some degree of activity in a communal state, or nuns living in cloister or some other type of isolation. The male members of religious orders, whether living in monastic communities or cloistered in isolation, and who are ordained priests or deacons constitute what is called the religious or regular clergy, distinct from the diocesan or secular clergy. Those ordained priests or deacons who are not members of some sort of religious order (secular priests) most often serve as clergy to a specific church or in an office of a specific diocese or in Rome. [7]

Consecrated life is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by believers who wish to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church". The Code of Canon Law defines it as "a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honour, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory."

Monasticism religious way of life

Monasticism or monkhood is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Similar forms of religious life also exist in other faiths, most notably in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism, although the expressions differ considerably. By contrast, in other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in Judaism.

Monk member of a monastic religious order

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

History

A Catholic priest celebrating mass. Traditional Latin Mass - Elevation.jpg
A Catholic priest celebrating mass.

Catholic priests are ordained by bishops through the sacrament of holy orders. The Catholic Church claims that Catholic bishops were ordained in an unbroken line of apostolic succession back to the Twelve Apostles depicted in the Catholic Bible. The ceremony of Eucharist, which Catholics believe can only be performed by priests, in particular derives from the story of the Last Supper, when Jesus Christ distributed bread and wine in the presence of the Twelve Apostles, in some versions of the Gospel of Luke commanding them to "do this in memory of me". (Some Protestant critics have challenged the historical accuracy of the claim of unbroken succession. [8] )

Apostolic succession the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession

Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops. This series was seen originally as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. According to historian Justo L. González, apostolic succession is generally understood today as meaning a series of bishops, regardless of see, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated similarly in a succession going back to the apostles. According to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, "apostolic succession" means more than a mere transmission of powers. It is succession in a Church which witnesses to the apostolic faith, in communion with the other Churches, witnesses of the same apostolic faith. The "see (cathedra) plays an important role in inserting the bishop into the heart of ecclesial apostolicity", but, once ordained, the bishop becomes in his Church the guarantor of apostolicity and becomes a successor of the apostles.

Catholic Bible Bible authorized for Catholic use

A Catholic Bible includes the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books.

Eucharist Christian rite

The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.

Catholic tradition says the apostles in turn selected other men to succeed them as the bishops (episkopoi, Greek for "overseers") of the Christian communities, with whom were associated presbyters (presbyteroi, Greek for "elders") and deacons (diakonoi, Greek for "servants"). As communities multiplied and grew in size, the bishops appointed more and more presbyters to preside at the Eucharist in place of the bishop in the multiple communities in each region. The diaconate evolved as the liturgical assistants of the bishop and his delegate for the administration of Church funds and programmes for the poor. Today, the rank of "presbyter" is typically what one thinks of as a priest, although Church catechism considers both a bishop and a presbyter as "priests". [9]

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.

Various churches which split off from the Catholic Church make the same claim of apostolic succession, including the Church of the East (split in 424), the Oriental Orthodoxy (split in 451) and the Eastern Orthodox Church (split with the East–West Schism of 1054). During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and William Tyndale advocated the priesthood of all believers, the idea that all baptized Christians are priests. This was not universally accepted, contributing to the schism of various Protestant churches. The doctrine is interpreted in various ways by different protestant denominations, with some dropping apostolic succession and holy orders as a sacrament, and different requirements for who can perform the Eucharist ceremony. Through the principle of church economy, the Catholic Church recognizes as valid the ordination of priests in denominations with unbroken apostolic succession, such as in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Polish National Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, Church of Sweden, and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, but not other Lutheran churches. Recognition of the ordination of Anglican Church priests was denied in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII through the papal bull Apostolicae curae , over a dispute in the wording of the Anglican ceremony starting in the 1500s.

In 1965, the Second Vatican Council released Presbyterorum Ordinis on the ministry and life of priests, and Optatam Totius on the training of priests.

Since 1970, the number of Catholic priests in the world has decreased by only about 5,000, to 414,313 priests as of 2012. [10] but the worldwide Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.229 billion in 2012. [10] This has resulted in a worldwide shortage of Catholic priests. In 2014, 49,153 Catholic parishes had no resident priest pastor. [10] The number of priests is increasing in Africa and Asia, but not keeping pace with growth in Catholic populations there. The number of priests is falling in Europe and the Americas faster than the number of local Catholics is declining. This has resulted in some African and Asian priests being recruited to European and American churches, reversing the historical practice of Catholic missionaries being sent from Western countries to the rest of the world.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests gained worldwide attention, with thousands of accused priests and tens of thousands of alleged victims. The church estimated that over the 50 years ending in 2009, between 1.5% and 5% of Catholic priests had a sexual encounter with a minor, [11] and Dr. Thomas Plante estimated a figure of 4%. [12] [13] Public anger was fueled by the revelation that many accused priests were transferred to another parish rather than being removed from ministry or reported to police. The scandal caused some Catholics to leave the church, made recruitment of new priests more difficult, and resulted in billions of dollars in lawsuit settlements and bankruptcies that increased financial pressure to close parishes with declining membership. In February 2019, clerical abuse of nuns, including sexual slavery, has been acknowledged by the Pope. [14] [15]

Theology of the priesthood

Passover and Christ

Ordination to the priesthood (Latin rite); devotional card, 1925 Holy Orders Picture.jpg
Ordination to the priesthood (Latin rite); devotional card, 1925

The theology of the Catholic priesthood is rooted in the priesthood of Christ and to some degree shares elements of the ancient Hebraic priesthood as well. [16] A priest is one who presides over a sacrifice and offers that sacrifice and prayers to God on behalf of believers. Jewish priesthood which functioned at the temple in Jerusalem offered animal sacrifices at various times throughout the year for a variety of reasons.

In Christian theology, Jesus is the Lamb provided by God himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Before his death on the cross, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples (the Last Supper) and offered blessings over the bread and wine respectively, saying: "Take and eat. This is my body" and "Drink from this all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26–28 Jerusalem Bible). The next day Christ's body and blood were visibly sacrificed on the cross.

Catholics believe that it is this same body, sacrificed on the cross and risen on the third day and united with Christ's divinity, soul and blood which is made present in the offering of each Eucharistic sacrifice which is called the Eucharist. However, Catholicism does not believe that transubstantiation and the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist involves a material change in the 'accidental' features: i.e. under normal circumstances, scientific analysis of the Eucharistic elements would indicate the physical-material properties of wine and bread.

Thus Catholic priests, in celebrating the Eucharist, join each offering of the Eucharistic elements in union with the sacrifice of Christ. [17] Through their celebration of the Holy Eucharist, they make present the one eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Catholicism does not teach that Christ is sacrificed again and again, but that "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice.". [18] Instead, the Catholic Church holds the Jewish concept of memorial in which "..the memorial is not merely a recollection of past events....these events become in a certain way present and real." and thus "...the sacrifice Christ offered once and for all on the cross remains ever present." [19] Properly speaking, in Catholic theology, expressed by Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers." [20] Thus, Catholic clergy share in the one, unique, Priesthood of Christ. [21]


Previwed by Morris Kayanja National Seminary Ggaba

Education

The Canon law of the Catholic Church holds that the priesthood is a sacred and perpetual vocational state, not just a profession (which is a reason for, and symbolized by, the state of celibacy). There are programs of formation and studies which aim to enable the future priest to effectively serve his ministry. These programs are demanded by canon law (in the Latin rite, canons 232–264) which also refers to the Bishops' Conferences for local more detailed regulation. As a general rule, education is extensive and lasts at least five or six years, depending on the national Programme of Priestly Formation. [22]

Regardless of where a person prepares for ordination, it includes not only academic but also human, social, spiritual and pastoral formation. The purpose of seminary education is ultimately to prepare men to be pastors of souls. [24] In the end, however, each individual Ordinary (such as a bishop or Superior General) is responsible for the official call to priesthood, and only a bishop may ordain. Any ordinations done before the normally scheduled time (before study completion) must have the explicit approval of the bishop.

Rite of ordination

During the rite of ordination, after the bishop the priests present lay their hands on the ordinands Priesterweihe in Schwyz 2.jpg
During the rite of ordination, after the bishop the priests present lay their hands on the ordinands
Coat of arms of a Catholic priest External Ornaments of a Priest.svg
Coat of arms of a Catholic priest

The Rite of Ordination is what "makes" one a priest, having already been a deacon and with the minister of Holy Orders being a validly ordained bishop. [25]

The Rite of Ordination occurs within the context of Holy Mass. After being called forward and presented to the assembly, the candidates are interrogated. Each promises to diligently perform the duties of the Priesthood and to respect and obey his ordinary (bishop or religious superior). Then the candidates lie prostrate before the altar, while the assembled faithful kneel and pray for the help of all the saints in the singing of the Litany of the Saints. The essential part of the rite is when the bishop silently lays his hands upon each candidate (followed by all priests present), before offering the consecratory prayer, addressed to God the Father, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit upon those being ordained. After the consecratory prayer, the newly ordained is vested with the stole and chasuble of those belonging to the Ministerial Priesthood and then the bishop anoints his hands with chrism before presenting him with the chalice and paten which he will use when presiding at the Eucharist.[ citation needed ]

Clerical celibacy

Early Christianity

The earliest Christians were Jews and Jewish tradition has always deemed the married state as more spiritual than the celibate state. [26] However some Christian traditions place a higher spiritual value on chastity. According to the Catholic Bible, the Apostle Peter had a spouse from Gospel stories of Peter's mother-in-law sick with fever (Matt 8:14, Mark 1:29, Luke 4:38) [27] and from Paul's mention that Peter took along a believing wife in his ministry (1 Cor 9:5).

From its beginnings, the idea of clerical celibacy has been contested in canon courts, in theology, and in religious practices. Celibacy for Roman Catholic priests was not mandated under canon law for the universal church until the Second Lateran Council in 1139. [28]

The Council of Elvira in Spain (c. 305–306) was the first council to call for clerical celibacy. In February 385, Pope Siricius wrote the Directa decretal, which was a long letter to Spanish bishop Himerius of Tarragona, replying to the bishop’s requests on various subjects, which had been sent several months earlier to Pope Damasus I. [29] It was the first of a series of documents published by the Church's magisterium that claimed apostolic origin for clerical celibacy.

After the Great Schism

A Ukrainian Orthodox priest at a St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Orthodox Church (His wedding ring appears on his right hand
as per Byzantine tradition). Fr. Pavlo Smiling.jpg
A Ukrainian Orthodox priest at a St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Orthodox Church (His wedding ring appears on his right hand as per Byzantine tradition).

Within a century of the Great Schism of 1054, the Churches of the East and West arrived at different disciplines as to abstaining from sexual contact during marriage. In the East, candidates for the priesthood could be married with permission to have regular sexual relations with their wives, but were required to abstain before celebrating the Eucharist. An unmarried person, once ordained, could not marry. Additionally, the Christian East required that, before becoming a bishop, a priest separate from his wife (she was permitted to object), with her typically becoming a nun. In the East, more normally, bishops are chosen from those priests who are monks and are thus unmarried.

In the West, the law of celibacy became mandatory by Pope Gregory VII at the Roman Synod of 1074. [30] [31] This law mandated that, in order to become a candidate for ordination, a man could not be married. The law remains in effect in the Latin Church, although not for those who are priests of the Eastern Catholic Churches, who remain under their own discipline. (These churches either remained in or returned to full communion with Rome after the schism, unlike for example the Eastern Orthodox Church which is now entirely separate). The issue of mandatory celibacy in the Latin Church continues to be debated.[ citation needed ]

Duties of a Catholic priest

Bishops, priests, and deacons who want to become priests are also required to recite the principal and minor offices of the Liturgy of the Hours daily, [32] a practice which is also followed by non-ordained people in some religious orders.

A priest who is a pastor is responsible for the administration of a Catholic Parish, typically with a single church building dedicated for worship (and usually a nearby residence), and for seeing to the spiritual needs of Catholics who belong to the parish. This involves performing ceremonies for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, and counseling people. [33] He may be assisted by other diocesan priests and deacons, and serves under the local diocesan bishop, who is in charge of the many parishes in the territory of the diocese or archdiocese. In some cases due to the shortage of priests and the expense of a full-time priest for depopulated parishes, a team of priests in solidum may share the management of several parishes.

According to Catholic doctrine, a priest or bishop is necessary in order to perform the ceremony of the Eucharist, take confession, [34] and perform Anointing of the Sick. [35] [36] Deacons and lay Catholics may distribute Holy Communion after a priest or bishop has consecrated the bread and wine. Priests and deacons ordinarily perform Baptism, but any Catholic can baptize in extraordinary circumstances. In cases were a person dies before the baptism ceremony is performed, the Catholic Church also recognizes baptism of desire, where a person desired to be baptized, and baptism of blood, when a person is martyred for their faith. According to church doctrine, a priest or bishop ordinarily performs a Holy Matrimony, but a deacon or layperson can be delegated if that is impractical, and in an emergency the couple can perform the ceremony themselves as long as there are two witnesses. (Church doctrine says it is the couple actually conferring marriage upon each other, and the priest is merely assisting that it be done properly.) [37]

Eastern Catholic Churches

The Catholic Church has different rules for the priesthood in the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches than in the Latin Church. The chief difference is that most of the Eastern Catholic Churches ordain married men, whereas the Latin Church enforces mandatory clerical celibacy. This issue has caused tension among Catholics in some situations where Eastern churches established parishes in countries with established Latin Catholic populations. In the Americas and Australia, this tension led to bans on married Eastern Catholic priests, all of which were overturned by Pope Francis in 2014. [1]

Demographics

Worldwide, the number of priests has remained fairly steady since 1970, decreasing by about 5,000. This stagnation is due to a balance of large growth in Africa and Asia and a significant decrease in North America and Europe.

Historical number of priests worldwide
YearPriests±%
1970419,728    
1975404,783−3.6%
1980413,600+2.2%
1985403,480−2.4%
YearPriests±%
1990403,173−0.1%
1995404,750+0.4%
2000405,178+0.1%
2005406,411+0.3%
YearPriests±%
2010412,236+1.4%
2014414,313+0.5%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Asia

Singapore

Historical number of priests in Singapore
YearPriests±%
195043    
1969105+144.2%
198090−14.3%
YearPriests±%
1990119+32.2%
2000140+17.6%
2004137−2.1%
YearPriests±%
2010131−4.4%
2014145+10.7%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Europe

Belgium

Historical number of priests in Belgium
YearPriests±%
195014,690    
197012,100−17.6%
198012,741+5.3%
YearPriests±%
19909,912−22.2%
20006,989−29.5%
20046,366−8.9%
YearPriests±%
20135,595−12.1%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

France

Historical number of priests in France
YearPriests±%
195540,000    
197832,475−18.8%
YearPriests±%
200317,473−46.2%
200615,440−11.6%
YearPriests±%
201314,000−9.3%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Luxembourg

Historical number of priests in Luxembourg
YearPriests±%
1950601    
1969524−12.8%
YearPriests±%
1980457−12.8%
1990352−23.0%
YearPriests±%
2004248−29.5%
2013205−17.3%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Poland

Historical number of priests in Poland
YearPriests±%
18482,218    
YearPriests±%
19126,500+193.1%
YearPriests±%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Sweden

Historical number of priests in Sweden
YearPriests±%
194945    
196980+77.8%
198099+23.8%
YearPriests±%
1990110+11.1%
2000134+21.8%
2004151+12.7%
YearPriests±%
2010156+3.3%
2014159+1.9%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

Switzerland

Historical number of priests in Switzerland
YearPriests±%
19702,877    
YearPriests±%
19892,100−27.0%
YearPriests±%
20091,441−31.4%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

North America

Mexico

Historical number of priests in Mexico
YearPriests±%
198010,192    
199011,641+14.2%
YearPriests±%
200014,176+21.8%
201016,856+18.9%
YearPriests±%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

United States

Historical number of priests in the US
YearPriests±%
193027,000    
195050,500+87.0%
196558,632+16.1%
197059,192+1.0%
197558,909−0.5%
YearPriests±%
198058,398−0.9%
198557,317−1.9%
199052,124−9.1%
199549,054−5.9%
200045,699−6.8%
YearPriests±%
200541,399−9.4%
201039,993−3.4%
201537,192−7.0%
Includes both diocesan and religious priests.

See also

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The term major orders or greater orders was for some centuries applied in the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish what the Council of Trent also called holy orders from what at that time were termed "minor orders" or "lesser orders". The Catechism of the Council of Trent spoke of the "several distinct orders of ministers, intended by their office to serve the priesthood, and so disposed, as that, beginning with the clerical tonsure, they may ascend gradually through the lesser to the greater orders", and stated:

Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Organization of the Catholic Church

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.

The term secular clergy refers to deacons and priests who are not monastics or members of a religious institute. A diocesan priest is a Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox priest who commits himself or herself to a certain geographical area and is ordained into the service of the citizens of a diocese, a church administrative region. That includes serving the everyday needs of the people in parishes, but their activities are not limited to that of their parish.

Holy orders in the Catholic Church Sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church

The sacrament of holy orders in the Catholic Church includes three orders: bishop, priest, and deacon. In the phrase "holy orders", the word "holy" simply means "set apart for some purpose." The word "order" designates an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordination means legal incorporation into an order. In context, therefore, a group with a hierarchical structure that is set apart for ministry in the Church.

Clerical celibacy is the discipline within the Catholic Church by which only unmarried men are ordained to the episcopate, to the priesthood in some autonomous particular Churches, and similarly to the diaconate. In other autonomous particular churches, the discipline applies only to the episcopate.

This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.

Priesthood (Eastern Orthodox Church) priesthood in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Presbyter is, in the Bible, a synonym for bishop (episkopos), referring to a leader in local Church congregations. In modern usage, it is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. Its literal meaning in Greek (presbyteros) is "elder."

In the Catholic Church the term minister enjoys a variety of usages. It most commonly refers to the person, whether lay or ordained, who is commissioned to perform some act on behalf of the Church. It is not a particular office or rank of clergy, as is the case in some other churches, but minister may be used as a collective term for vocational or professional pastoral leaders including clergy and non-clergy. It is also used in reference to the canonical and liturgical administration of sacraments, as part of some offices, and with reference to the exercise of the lay apostolate.

References

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  4. Woestman, Wm., The Sacrament of Orders and the Clerical State St Paul's University Press: Ottawa, 2006, p. 8, see also De Ordinatione
  5. Junno Arocho Esteves, Vatican statistics report increase in baptized Catholics worldwide, Catholic News Service (March 7, 2016).
  6. "Father".
  7. Cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 266
  8. Jay, Eric G. The Church: its changing image through twenty centuries John Knox Press: 1980, p.316f
  9. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1547–57; Aidan Nichols, Holy Order: The Apostolic Ministry from the New Testament to the Second Vatican Council
  10. 1 2 3 "Frequently Requested Church Statistics". cara.georgetown.edu. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. Archived from the original on 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
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  22. can. 242.1 CIC 1983
  23. can. 235.1, CIC 1983
  24. Presbyterorum ordinis 4
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  27. Audet, Jean, Structures of Christian Priesthood, New York: Doubleday 1961
  28. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America: Washington, vol 3, 366
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  31. Helen Parish, Clerical Celibacy In The West: c. 1100–1700, p. 100, footnotes 45 and 46 (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010). ISBN   978-0-7546-3949-7
  32. Congregation for Divine Worship, Institutio generalis de Liturgia horarum Feb. 2, 1971
  33. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Priesthood"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  34. "Code of Canon Law – IntraText" . Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  35. "Code of Canon Law – IntraText" . Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  36. "Code of Canon Law – IntraText" . Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  37. canons 1108–1116