Joseph Martos
Part Three of the Course, Fifth Assignment, Question 1
by Dr. Joe Martos - Friday, 17 February 2012, 2:00 AM
Reflect on the history of ordination, and explain why you believe that various developments in theology or practice were either positive or negative. If possible, select at least one development from each of the following periods: the apostolic and patristic periods (AD 30-500), the medieval period (AD 500-1500), and the modern period (AD 1500-1960).
Picture of arnetta sims
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fifth Assignment, Question 1
by arnetta sims - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:56 PM

The historical developments of the sacrament of ordination can be traced back to Jesus ministry. Jesus empowered twelve apostles to carry out the mission after his death. Many other ministries were developed within the community both by men and women. The office of bishops and deacons were not established by Jesus.Duties were administered according to the talents and abilities.Initially it was a shared ministry by the priest and laity.Anyone who held a position in a local parish shared it throughout other communities. This model was patterned from I Corth. 12 and the instructions of St. Paul.

The development of the presbyter derived its roots from the Jewish structure in the syngogues. The head of the structure became known as bishop and this model became an accepted term.The order of deacon was established during the New Testament era who were assistants to the bishops(pg.409). Church leadership was spelled out according to roles. We see prophets and teachers who presided over the Eucharist. Deacons replaced prophets and teachers because of the similarity of their roles. Later the role of prophet was deferred to the bishop's role. The bishop became a very dominant figure. The power and authority of the priest increased. Bishops established the structure of the priest similar to the bishop's role, but on the local level. This hierarchical flow chart answers a question that I often wondered; Why do bishops have so much power today? This very development has had a negative impact on the Church today. I believe that the bishop has too much power and the priest does too. Therefore this development suppresses the significant role of laity to be co-sharers. Also priest were selected by the community in which he ministered, but the changes allowed the bishop to select a priest to a specific territory. Often times that priest does not match the compatibility of the community, but the local community is stuck with this priest.

Now we see the shift of isolation by bishops and priest from the rest of the people of God. Priest began to dress differently from others. In this we see a class system where the priest become a club of the elite . The sacrament is now under the control of the priest while the laity becomes an observer. And the role of women diminished!

Ordination develops a rite and becomes an established sacrament because just as reconciliation it is a function of services. Absolute power brings on corruption and this is why the reformers cried foul. The Council of Trent addressed the many abuses of clerics. It demanded restructuring and education for priest.There were many issues that the church had to address with the roles of priest and their functions. In the overall results in the roles of priest leads us to a precise description teacher, sanctifier and governor. Again I believe that the Church made decisions for that time, but of course people and time change. I think as the developments evolved the church gradually moved away from the instructions and structure of St. Paul where clerics collaborated with the community.

GRADE 3 (Seems incomplete.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Sunday, 5 August 2012, 10:26 PM)

Picture of Marvin Fitchett
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fifth Assignment, Question 1
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:52 PM

The Catholic Church historical archives of its ordination system are meticulous. The detailed records are numerous and the ordination system has greatly influenced the other Catholic sacraments. The ordination system is the Catholic sacrament which permeates all the other sacraments because a human agent is require to perform baptism, confirmation, eucharist, reconciliation, anointing the sick, and marriage. A survey of the sacraments’ themes through the various periods will be offered, followed by reflective observation.

The Catholic Church archives concerning ordination dates back to the days of Moses, and in those ancient days, God designated Aaron and his ancestry as the priest of Israel. The Tribe of Levi’s responsibility was to serve God through performing all the priestly functions. Along with Moses, they taught the Israelites from the Torah, and performed the Jewish sacrificial rituals. A transition of serve to God happened while the Sadducees and Pharisees were serving God. Jesus Christ and his disciple ushered a new type of serve to God. They service flowed from love, and for God, and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ demonstrated his service to God through his earthly ministry and ultimate service. The apostles expressed their love by establishing the church of Jesus Christ through performing ministry works such as preaching and teaching the Jesus Christ death, burial and resurrection, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, and repent and receive salvation. There are more records of the Old and New Testaments that point to the foundational substance of the Catholic ordination system. The records gives us indicates a shift in the method in which required His service to be performed. The Levi’s, Sadducees and Pharisees became self absorbing in their work for God. Their piety did not win God’s approval.

The archives from the patristic period uncovered an organizing of the ministries to God and his church. In continuing the work of Jesus Christ church, there began a formal organizing of the church through assigning titles to the types of service being performed. The new titles for the organizing church were apostles, prophets, elders, presbyter, deacon, and overseer. Along with the specific titles came specialized ministry duties such administering the eucharist and performing baptism. The organization within itself is good, church affairs would be orderly and it established accountability.

The archives from the beginning portion of the medieval era have a strong influence about the exploits of the bishop’s rise to prominence. The bishop’s responsibilities continued to increase after the fall of Roman. Their authority manifested exponentially as they exercised greater spiritual and civil governance. The bishops were the spiritual was the top church leader, and they were land lords, where they governed the land under their jurisdiction. Furthermore, as the bishop’s responsibilities and authority grew, they attention was more focused on civil matter rather than spiritual matters. This initiated the appointments of the priest and positioned the holy order. The priest performed the duties in the churches and parishes. In the holy order, members performed their duties based upon their symbolic tokens. The Catholic Church’s ordination system was well organized and structured. The sign of institutionalism are rising, and this growth resembles the growth that every church past, present, and future desires.

The archives from the Modern era reveal the Reformers indifference towards the sacrament of ordinance. The most outspoken voices were that of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Luther was critical of the Catholic Church’s civil control overshadowing its spiritual responsibilities. He was equally concerned the perception the Catholic Church presented regarding their priests possessing a unique divinity. John Calvin took offense to Catholic Church system of ordination portraying distinctiveness in those that performed and those who were ordained. Calvin, reiterated the faithful working in the ministry of the church received there ordination from God and not man. Both Luther and Calvin impressed upon the Catholic Church to reform the churches structure and follow the example of the Church from the first century. The Reformers thought the God’s present day representative were pulled away from the biblical intention for serving in the ministry. For Luther and Calvin to confront Rome was courageous, and as time progress their action had an impact on the Catholic Church.

As the Catholic Church history developed, the priest documented and maintained its archives from the apostolic through the modern eras. The Catholic Church perceived their sacrament of ordination to be in accordance with the apostolic pattern. Their records gave testament to all that transpired with their ordination system.

Grade 3 (Integrates previous knowledge with new information, but not always in a way that Catholics would recognize!)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Thursday, 2 August 2012, 07:18 PM)

Picture of Eileen Rettig
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fifth Assignment, Question 1
by Eileen Rettig - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:49 PM

The history of the sacrament of Holy Orders is both as simple and as complicated as the history of Christianity. As the Apostles moved out of the confines of Palestine they spread their new faith to various areas both inside and outside the Roman Empire. They frequently preached in a town or city, helped establish a new Christian community and then appointed respected members of that community to oversee the needs of the community while the apostle moved on to another area. But we have no written records from the apostolic era that any type of ritual was involved in the recognition of the presyteros as a special class of people.

Based largely on the Epistle to the Hebrews where the author speaks of Christ as the High Priest of the New Covenant the patristic fathers clearly believed that special ministries within the church were special persons and needed a ritual to signify their connection to the Christ’s priesthood. They adopted the Old Testament ritual of laying on of hands, much as the Jews had used before the destruction of the Temple. The patristic fathers, men like Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons and others laid the foundation for the development of the sacramental priesthood. These bishops writing in the second and third centuries delineated the responsibilities of the bishop (episkopos).

Just as with Baptism, once the persecutions ended the question came up about the validity of sacraments celebrated by bishops and priests who were known to or suspected of having committed a serious sin, such as denying the faith. The theological implications of this question could affect the entire sacramental system. If the state of soul of the celebrant was a determining factor in the validity of any sacrament how could anyone be assured that the sacrament they were receiving was valid. Augustine answered this issue by postulating that the effects of the sacrament were from God, not from the minister of the sacrament. Therefore, the sacrament would be valid even if the clergyman administering the sacrament was a heretic, or a known sinner. This is important because it ensures the legal validity of the sacramental system

Aquinas and the other scholastics added to this theological theory by defining the permanent change Holy Orders left on a man’s soul, similar to the change Baptism confers on a Christian’s soul. While Baptism conformed the new Christian to Christ, Holy Orders conformed the man to Christ the High Priest. This led to the understanding “once a priest, always a priest.”

Scandals and abuses at all levels of the clergy during the end of the Middle Ages led the Protestant Reformation with an emphasis on the service aspect of ministry. The reformers denied that ordination was a sacrament since they could find no scriptural evidence in the New Testament. The Council of Trent acknowledged the abuses in the clergy and set about the rectify many of the practical problems. They also reaffirmed the Augustinian and Scholastic theology of the sacrament. For the next four hundred years no changes occurred in the theology of the priesthood. The Roman Catholic Church maintained a hierarchical system that had been born in the feudal period of the middle ages.

GRADE 3 (Accurate but not evaluative.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Thursday, 2 August 2012, 10:28 PM)