Summa - Supplement 682
Objection 1: It would seem that order is improperly defined by the Master (Sent. iv, D, 53), where it is said "Order is a seal of the Church, whereby spiritual power is conferred on the person ordained." For a part should not be described as the genus of the whole. Now the character which is denoted by the seal in a subsequent definition is a part of order, since it is placed in contradistinction with that which is either reality only, or sacrament only, since it is both reality and sacrament. Therefore seal should not be mentioned as the genus of Order.
Objection 2: Further, just as a character is imprinted in the sacrament of order, so is it in the sacrament of Baptism. Now character was not mentioned in the definition of Baptism. Therefore neither should it be mentioned in the definition of Order.
Objection 3: Further, in Baptism there is also given a certain spiritual power to approach the sacraments; and again it is a seal, since it is a sacrament. Therefore this definition is applicable to Baptism; and consequently it is improperly applied to Order.
Objection 4: Further, Order is a kind of relation, and relation is realized in both its terms. Now the terms of the relation of order are the superior and the inferior. Therefore inferiors have order as well as superiors. Yet there is no power of preeminence in them, such as is mentioned here in the definition of Order, as appears from the subsequent explanation (Sent. iv, D, 53), where promotion to power is mentioned. Therefore Order is improperly defined there.
I answer that, The Master's definition of Order applies to Order as a sacrament of the Church. Hence he mentions two things, namely the outward sign, a "kind of seal," i.e. a kind of sign, and the inward effect, "whereby spiritual power," etc.
Reply to Objection 1: Seal stands here, not for the inward character, but for the outward action, which is the sign and cause of inward power; and this is also the sense of character in the other definition. If, however, it be taken for the inward character, the definition would not be unsuitable; because the division of a sacrament into those three things is not a division into integral parts, properly speaking; since what is reality only is not essential to the sacrament, and that which is the sacrament is transitory; while that which is sacrament and reality is said to remain. Wherefore it follows that inward character itself is essentially and principally the sacrament of Order.
Reply to Objection 2: Although in Baptism there is conferred a spiritual power to receive the other sacraments, for which reason it imprints a character, nevertheless this is not its principal effect, but the inward cleansing; wherefore Baptism would be given even though the former motive did not exist. On the other hand, order denotes power principally. Wherefore the character which is a spiritual power is included in the definition of Order, but not in that of Baptism.
Reply to Objection 3: In Baptism there is given a certain spiritual potentiality to receive, and consequently a somewhat passive potentiality. But power properly denotes active potentiality, together with some kind of preeminence. Hence this definition is not applicable to Baptism.
Reply to Objection 4: The word "order" is used in two ways. For sometimes it denotes the relation itself, and thus it is both in the inferior and in the superior, as the objection states; but it is not thus that we use the word here. On the other hand, it denotes the degree which results in the order taken in the first sense. And since the notion of order as relation is observed where we first meet with something higher than another, it follows that this degree of pre-eminence by spiritual power is called Order.
Objection 1: It would seem that Order is not a sacrament. For a sacrament, according to Hugh of St. Victor (De Sacram. i) "is a material element." Now Order denotes nothing of the kind, but rather relation or power; since Order is a part of power according to Isidore. Therefore it is not a sacrament.
Objection 2: Further, the sacraments do not concern the Church triumphant. Yet Order is there, as in the angels. Therefore it is not a sacrament.
Objection 3: Further, just as spiritual authority, which is Order, is given by means of consecration, so is secular authority, since kings also are anointed, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 2). But the kingly power is not a sacrament. Therefore neither is order of which we speak now.
On the contrary, It is mentioned by all among the seven sacraments of the Church.
Further, "the cause of a thing being such, is still more so." Now Order is the cause of man being the dispenser of the other sacraments. Therefore Order has more reason for being a sacrament than the others.
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ; III 60,0), a sacrament is nothing else than a sanctification conferred on man with some outward sign. Wherefore, since by receiving orders a consecration is conferred on man by visible signs, it is clear that Order is a sacrament.
Reply to Objection 1: Although Order does not by its name express a material element, it is not conferred without some material element.
Reply to Objection 2: Power must needs be proportionate to the purpose for which it is intended. Now the communication of divine things, which is the purpose for which spiritual power is given, is not effected among the angels by means of sensible signs, as is the case among men. Hence the spiritual power that is Order is not bestowed on the angels by visible signs, as on men. Wherefore Order is a sacrament among men, but not among angels.
Reply to Objection 3: Not every blessing or consecration given to men is a sacrament, for both monks and abbots are blessed, and yet such blessings are not sacraments, and in like manner neither is the anointing of a king; because by such blessings men are not ordained to the dispensing of the divine sacraments, as by the blessing of Order. Hence the comparison fails.
Objection 1: It would seem that the form of this sacrament is unsuitably set forth in the text (Sent. iv, D, 24). Because the sacraments take their efficacy from their form. Now the efficacy of the sacraments is from the divine power, which works our salvation in them in a most hidden manner. Therefore the form of this sacrament should include a mention of the divine power by the invocation of the Trinity, as in the other sacraments.
Objection 2: Further, to command pertains to one who has authority. Now the dispenser of the sacrament exercises no authority, but only ministry. Therefore he should not use the imperative mood by saying: "Do" or "Receive" this or that, or some similar expression.
Objection 3: Further, mention should not be made in the sacramental form, except of such things as are essential to the sacrament. But the use of the power received is not essential to this sacrament, but is consequent upon it. Therefore it should not be mentioned in the form of this sacrament.
Objection 4: Further, all the sacraments direct us to an eternal reward. But the forms of the other sacraments make no mention of a reward. Therefore neither should any mention be made thereof in the form of this sacrament, as in the words: "Since thou wilt have a share, if faithfully," etc.
I answer that, This sacrament consists chiefly in the power conferred. Now power is conferred by power, as like proceeds from like; and again power is made known by its use, since powers are manifested by their acts. Wherefore in the form of order the use of order is expressed by the act which is commanded; and the conferring of power is expressed by employing the imperative mood.
Reply to Objection 1: The other sacraments are not ordained chiefly to effects similar to the power whereby the sacraments are dispensed, as this sacrament is. Hence in this sacrament there is a kind of universal communication. Wherefore in the other sacraments something is expressed on the part of the divine power to which the effect of the sacrament is likened, but not in this sacrament.
Reply to Objection 2: [There is a special reason why this sacrament, rather than the others, is conferred by employing the imperative mood. For]* although the bishop who is the minister of this sacrament has no authority in respect of the conferring of this sacrament, nevertheless he has some power with regard to the power of Order, which power he confers, in so far as it is derived, from his. [*The sentence in brackets is not in the Leonine edition.]
Reply to Objection 3: The use of power is the effect of power in the genus of efficient cause, and from this point of view it has no reason to be mentioned in the definition of Order. But it is somewhat a cause in the genus of final cause, and from this point of view it can be placed in the definition of order.
Reply to Objection 4: There is here a difference between this and the other sacraments. Because by this sacrament an office or the power to do something is conferred; and so it is fitting that mention be made of the reward to be obtained if it be administered faithfully. But in the other sacraments no such office or power to act is conferred, and so no mention of reward is made in them. Accordingly the recipient is somewhat passive in relation to the other sacraments, because he receives them for the perfecting of his own state only, whereas in relation to this sacrament he holds himself somewhat actively, since he receives it for the sake of exercising hierarchical duties in the Church. Wherefore although the other sacraments, from the very fact that they give grace, direct the recipient to salvation, properly speaking they do not direct him to a reward, in the same way as this sacrament does.
Objection 1: It would seem that this sacrament has no matter. Because in every sacrament that has a matter the power that works in the sacrament is in the matter. But in the material objects which are used here, such as keys, candlesticks, and so forth, there is not apparently any power of sanctification. Therefore it has no matter.
Objection 2: Further, in this sacrament the fulness of sevenfold grace is conferred, as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 24), just as in Confirmation. But the matter of Confirmation requires to be consecrated beforehand. Since then the things which appear to be material in this sacrament are not consecrated beforehand, it would seem that they are not the matter of the sacrament.
Objection 3: Further, in any sacrament that has matter there needs to be contact of matter with the recipient of the sacrament. Now, as some say, it is not essential to this sacrament that there be contact between the aforesaid material objects and the recipient of the sacrament, but only that they be presented to him. Therefore the aforesaid material objects are not the matter of this sacrament.
On the contrary, Every sacrament consists of things and words. Now in any sacrament the thing is the matter. Therefore the things employed in this sacrament are its matter.
Further, more is requisite to dispense the sacraments than to receive them. Yet Baptism, wherein the power is given to receive the sacraments, needs a matter. Therefore order also does, wherein the power is given to dispense them.
I answer that, The matter employed outwardly in the sacraments signifies that the power which works in the sacraments comes entirely from without. Wherefore, since the effect proper to this sacrament, namely the character, is not received through any operation of the one who approaches the sacrament, as was the case in Penance, but comes wholly from without, it is fitting that it should have a matter, yet otherwise than the other sacraments that have matter; because that which is bestowed in the other sacraments comes from God alone, and not from the minister who dispenses the sacrament; whereas that which is conferred in this sacrament, namely the spiritual power, comes also from him who gives the sacrament, as imperfect from perfect power. Hence the efficacy of the other sacraments resides chiefly in the matter which both signifies and contains the divine power through the sanctification applied by the minister; whereas the efficacy of this sacrament resides chiefly with him who dispenses the sacrament. And the matter is employed to show the powers conferred in particular by one who has it completely, rather than to cause power; and this is clear from the fact that the matter is in keeping with the use of power. This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.
Reply to Objection 2: It is necessary for the matter to be consecrated in the other sacraments, on account of the power it contains; but it is not so in the case in point.
Reply to Objection 3: If we admit this assertion, the reason for it is clear from what we have said; for since the power of order is received from the minister and not from the matter, the presenting of the matter is more essential to the sacrament than contact therewith. However, the words themselves of the form would seem to indicate that contact with the matter is essential to the sacrament, for it is said: "Receive" this or that.
We must next consider me effect of this sacrament. Under this head there are five points of inquiry:
(1) Whether sanctifying grace is conferred in the sacrament of Order?
(2) Whether a character is imprinted in connection with all the Orders?
(3) Whether the character of Order presupposes of necessity the character of Baptism?
(4) Whether it presupposes of necessity the character of Confirmation?
(5) Whether the character of one Order presupposes of necessity the character of another Order?
Objection 1: It would seem that sanctifying grace is not conferred in the sacrament of Order. For it is commonly agreed that the sacrament of Order is directed to counteract the defect of ignorance. Now not sanctifying grace but gratuitous grace is given to counteract ignorance, for sanctifying grace has more to do with the will. Therefore sanctifying grace is not given in the sacrament of Order.
Objection 2: Further, Order implies distinction. Now the members of the Church are distinguished, not by sanctifying but by gratuitous grace, of which it is said (1Co 12,4): "There are diversities of graces." Therefore sanctifying grace is not given in order.
Objection 3: Further, no cause presupposes its effect. But grace is presupposed in one who receives orders, so that he may be worthy to receive them. Therefore this same grace is not given in the conferring of Orders.
On the contrary, The sacraments of the New Law cause what they signify. Now Order by its sevenfold number signifies the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, as stated in the text (Sent. iv, D, 24). Therefore the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are not apart from sanctifying grace, are given in Orders.
Further, Order is a sacrament of the New Law. Now the definition of a sacrament of that kind includes the words, "that it may be a cause of grace." Therefore it causes grace in the recipient.
I answer that The works of God are perfect (Dt 32,4); and consequently whoever receives power from above receives also those things that render him competent to exercise that power. This is also the case in natural things, since animals are provided with members, by which their soul's powers are enabled to proceed to their respective actions unless there be some defect on the part of matter. Now just as sanctifying grace is necessary in order that man receive the sacraments worthily, so is it that he may dispense them worthily. Wherefore as in Baptism, whereby a man is adapted to receive the other sacraments, sanctifying grace is given, so is it in the sacrament of Order whereby man is ordained to the dispensation of the other sacraments.
Reply to Objection 1: Order is given as a remedy, not to one person but to the whole Church. Hence, although it is said to be given in order to counteract ignorance, it does not mean that by receiving Orders a man has his ignorance driven out of him, but that the recipient of Orders is set in authority to expel ignorance from among the people.
Reply to Objection 2: Although the gifts of sanctifying grace are common to all the members of the Church, nevertheless a man cannot be the worthy recipient of those gifts, in respect of which the members of the Church are distinguished from one another, unless he have charity, and this cannot be apart from sanctifying grace.
Reply to Objection 3: The worthy exercise of Orders requires not any kind of goodness but excellent goodness, in order that as they who receive orders are set above the people in the degree of Order, so may they be above them by the merit of holiness. Hence they are required to have the grace that suffices to make them worthy members of Christ's people, but when they receive Orders they are given a yet greater gift of grace, whereby they are rendered apt for greater things.
Objection 1: It would seem that in the sacrament of Order a character is not imprinted in connection with all the Orders. For the character of Order is a spiritual power. Now some Orders are directed only to certain bodily acts, for instance those of the doorkeeper or of the acolyte. Therefore a character is not imprinted in these Orders.
Objection 2: Further, every character is indelible. Therefore a character places a man in a state whence he cannot withdraw. Now those who have certain Orders can lawfully return to the laity. Therefore a character is not imprinted in all the Orders.
Objection 3: Further, by means of a character a man is appointed to give or to receive some sacred thing. Now a man is sufficiently adapted to the reception of the sacraments by the character of Baptism, and a man is not appointed to dispense the sacraments except in the Order of priesthood. Therefore a character is not imprinted in the other Orders.
On the contrary, Every sacrament in which a character is not imprinted can be repeated. But no Order can be repeated. Therefore a character is imprinted in each Order.
Further, a character is a distinctive sign. Now there is something distinct in every Order. Therefore every Order imprints a character.
I answer that, There have been three opinions on this point. For some have said that a character is imprinted only in the Order of priesthood; but this is not true, since none but a deacon can exercise the act of the diaconate, and so it is clear that in the dispensation of the sacraments, he has a spiritual power which others have not. For this reason others have said that a character is impressed in the sacred, but not in the minor, Orders. But this again comes to nothing, since each Order sets a man above the people in some degree of authority directed to the dispensation of the sacraments. Wherefore since a character is a sign whereby one thing is distinguished from another, it follows that a character is imprinted in each Order. And this is confirmed by the fact that they remain for ever and are never repeated. This is the third and more common opinion.
Reply to Objection 1: Each Order either has an act connected with the sacrament itself, or adapts a man to the dispensation of the sacraments; thus doorkeepers exercise the act of admitting men to witness the Divine sacraments, and so forth; and consequently a spiritual power is required in each.
Reply to Objection 2: For all that a man may return to the laity, the character always remains in him. This is evident from the fact that if he return to the clerical state, he does not receive again the order which he had already.
The Reply to the Third Objection is the same as to the First.
Objection 1: It would seem that the character of Order does not presuppose the character of Baptism. For the character of Order makes a man a dispenser of the sacraments; while the character of Baptism makes him a recipient of them. Now active power does not necessarily presuppose passive power, for it can be without it, as in God. Therefore the character of Order does not necessarily presuppose the character of Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, it may happen that a man is not baptized, and yet think with probability that he has been baptized. If therefore such a person present himself for Orders, he will not receive the character of Order, supposing the character of Order to presuppose the character of Baptism; and consequently whatever he does by way of consecration or absolution will be invalid, and the Church will be deceived therein, which is inadmissible.
On the contrary, Baptism is the door of the sacraments. Therefore since Order is a sacrament, it presupposes Baptism.
I answer that, No one can receive what he has not the power to receive. Now the character of Baptism gives a man the power to receive the other sacraments. Wherefore he that has not the baptismal character, can receive no other sacrament; and consequently the character of Order presupposes the character of Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: In one who has active power of himself, the active does not presuppose the passive power; but in one who has active power from another, passive power, whereby he is enabled to receive the active power, is prerequisite to active power.
Reply to Objection 2: Such a man if he be ordained to the priesthood is not a priest, and he can neither consecrate, nor absolve in the tribunal of Penance. Wherefore according to the canons he must be baptized, and reordained (Extra De Presbyt. non Bapt., cap. Si quis; cap. Veniens). And even though he be raised to the episcopate, those whom he ordains receive not the Order. Yet it may piously be believed that as regards the ultimate effects of the sacraments, the High Priest will supply the defect, and that He would not allow this to be so hidden as to endanger the Church.
Objection 1: It would seem that the character of Order necessarily presupposes the character of Confirmation. For in things subordinate to one another, as the middle presupposes the first, so does the last presuppose the middle. Now the character of Confirmation presupposes that of Baptism as being the first. Therefore the character of Order presupposes that of Confirmation as being in the middle.
Objection 2: Further, those who are appointed to confirm should themselves be most firm. Now those who receive the sacrament of Order are appointed to confirm others. Therefore they especially should have received the sacrament of Confirmation.
On the contrary, The apostles received the power of order before the Ascension (Jn 20,22), where it is said: "Receive the Holy Ghost." But they were confirmed after the Ascension by the coming of the Holy Ghost. Therefore order does not presuppose Confirmation.
I answer that, For the reception of Orders something is prerequisite for the validity of the sacrament, and something as congruous to the sacrament. For the validity of the sacrament it is required that one who presents himself for Orders should be capable of receiving them, and this is competent to him through Baptism; wherefore the baptismal character is prerequisite for the validity of the sacrament, so that the sacrament of Order cannot be conferred without it. On the other hand, as congruous to the sacrament a man is required to have every perfection whereby he becomes adapted to the exercise of Orders, and one of these is that he be confirmed. Wherefore the character of Order presupposes the character of Confirmation as congruous but not as necessary.
Reply to Objection 1: In this case the middle does not stand in the same relation to the last as the first to the middle, because the character of Baptism enables a man to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, whereas the character of Confirmation does not enable a man to receive the sacrament of Order. Hence the comparison fails.
Reply to Objection 2: This argument considers aptness by way of congruity.
Objection 1: It would seem that the character of one Order necessarily presupposes the character of another Order. For there is more in common between one Order and another, than between Order and another sacrament. But the character of Order presupposes the character of another sacrament, namely Baptism. Much more therefore does the character of one Order presuppose the character of another.
Objection 2: Further, the Orders are degrees of a kind. Now no one can reach a further degree, unless he first mount the previous degree. Therefore no one can receive the character of a subsequent Order unless he has first received the preceding Order.
On the contrary, If anything necessary for a sacrament be omitted in that sacrament, the sacrament must be repeated. But if one receive a subsequent Order, without receiving a preceding Order, he is not reordained, but he receives what was lacking, according to the canonical statutes (cap. Tuae literae, De clerico per salt. prom.). Therefore the preceding Order is not necessary for the following.
I answer that, It is not necessary for the higher Orders that one should have received the minor Orders, because their respective powers are distinct, and one, considered in its essentials, does not require another in the same subject. Hence even in the early Church some were ordained priests without having previously received the lower Orders and yet they could do all that the lower Orders could, because the lower power is comprised in the higher, even as sense in understanding, and dukedom in kingdom. Afterwards, however, it was decided by the legislation of the Church that no one should present himself to the higher orders who had not previously humbled himself in the lower offices. And hence it is that according to the Canons (cap. Tuae literae, De clerico per salt. prom.) those who are ordained without receiving a preceding Order are not reordained, but receive what was lacking to them of the preceding Order.
Reply to Objection 1: Orders have more in common with one another as regards specific likeness, than order has with Baptism. But as regards proportion of power to action, Baptism has more in common with Order, than one Order with another, because Baptism confers on man the passive power to receive Orders, whereas a lower Order does not give him the passive power to receive higher Orders.
Reply to Objection 2: Orders are not degrees combining in one action or in one movement, so that it be necessary to reach the last through the first; but they are like degrees consisting in things of different kinds, such as the degrees between man and angel, and it is not necessary that one who is an angel be first of all a man. Such also are the degrees between the head and all members of the body; nor is it necessary that that which is the head should be previously a foot; and thus it is in the case in point.
We must next consider the qualities required of those who receive the sacrament of Order. Under this head there are five points of inquiry:
(1) Whether goodness of life is required of those who receive this sacrament?
(2) Whether the knowledge of the whole of Sacred Writ is required?
(3) Whether the degree of Orders is obtained by mere merit of life?
(4) Whether he who raises the unworthy to Orders sins?
(5) Whether one who is in sin can without committing a sin exercise the Order he has received?
Objection 1: It would seem that goodness of life is not required of those who receive Orders. For by Orders a man is ordained to the dispensation of the sacraments. But the sacraments can be administered by good and wicked. Therefore goodness of life is not requisite.
Objection 2: Further, the service of God in the sacraments is no greater than service offered to Him in the body. Now our Lord did not cast aside the sinful and notorious woman from rendering Him a bodily service (Lc 7). Therefore neither should the like be debarred from His service in the sacraments.
Objection 3: Further, by every grace a remedy is given against sin. Now those who are in sin should not be refused a remedy that may avail them. Since then grace is given in the sacrament of order, it would seem that this sacrament ought also to be conferred on sinners.
On the contrary, "Whosoever of the seed of Aaron throughout their families hath a blemish, he shall not offer bread to his God neither shall he approach to minister to him [*Vulg.: 'Say to Aaron: Whosoever of thy seed,'etc.]" (Lv 21,17-18). Now "blemish signifies all kinds of vice" according to a gloss. Therefore he who is shackled by any vice should not be admitted to the ministry of Orders.
Further, Jerome commenting on the words of Titus 2:15, "Let no man despise thee," says that "not only should bishops, priests, and deacons take very great care to be examples of speech and conduct to those over whom they are placed, but also the lower grades, and without exception all who serve the household of God, since it is most disastrous to the Church if the laity be better than the clergy." Therefore holiness of life is requisite in all the Orders.
I answer that, As Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iii), "even as the more subtle and clear essences, being filled by the outpouring of the solar radiance, like the sun enlighten other bodies with their brilliant light, so in all things pertaining to God a man must not dare to become a leader of others, unless in all his habits he be most deiform and godlike." Wherefore, since in every order a man is appointed to lead others in Divine things, he who being conscious of mortal sin presents himself for Orders is guilty of presumption and sins mortally. Consequently holiness of life is requisite for Orders, as a matter of precept, but not as essential to the sacrament; and if a wicked man be ordained, he receives the Order none the less, and yet with sin withal.
Reply to Objection 1: Just as the sinner dispenses sacraments validly, so does he receive validly the sacrament of Orders, and as he dispenses unworthily, even so he receives unworthily.
Reply to Objection 2: The service in point consisted only in the exercise of bodily homage, which even sinners can offer lawfully. It is different with the spiritual service to which the ordained are appointed, because thereby they are made to stand between God and the people. Wherefore they should shine with a good conscience before God, and with a good name before men.
Reply to Objection 3: Certain medicines require a robust constitution, else it is mortally dangerous to take them; others can be given to the weakly. So too in spiritual things certain sacraments are ordained as remedies for sin, and the like are to be given to sinners, as Baptism and Penance, while others, which confer the perfection of grace, require a man made strong by grace.
Summa - Supplement 682