Arguments for non-apostolic priesthood

In the spirit of St. Thomas Aquinas giving better objections to his arguments than his opponents could…

What are the best arguments a non-Catholic Christian might have that their minister has the power to consecrate the host and wine? Let us please assume that this is what they believe they are doing.

Again, let me emphasize that we are trying our best to give the best arguments. Imagine that you are William Lane Craig trying to defend this position, or Rick Warren, or a top Protestant theologian.

Well they might say that the concept of aposolic succession is false: They might point out that it is not clear in the very early church that there was laying on of hands. They might say that the distinction of the three orders Deacon, Priest and Bishop was somewhat vague in the early church.

I don’t know anything about Craig, but I suspect Warren doesn’t believe in the real presence.
If you are asking about presbyter ordination, the CC considered it valid when practiced by the Cistercian Abbots in the 1400’s.


Actually , the use of presbyter does not replace AS, it is a valid exception to it. And it is a fact that the grades or orders of the preisthood began as one. That doesn’t mean that orders should be dismissed.
Clearly, laying on of hands has existed throughout the Church


This is not the whole story Jon. You leave out the key fact that the monks did not have the power to validly ordain, unless done with the permission of a competent authority. In the case of those Cistercian monks, the pope used his power to bind and loose, to loosen the bonds that are normally on a priest. There are some ECF’s who even held to the fact that a priest could do nothing if he wasn’t in communion with the bishop, including confect the Eucharist, even after he had been ordained.

Can you show me where?

You have to decide, Duane, what validity entails. If the argument is that validity requires AS, then you have to say that those abbots were not validly ordained, even if the pope said so. If you claim, OTOH, that the pope has to approve ordination, then the priests and bishops of the PNCC, for example, are not valid, even though Rome says they are.
It say that the Cistercian Abbots were valid without AS, then say that other forms of presbyter ordination are not. Presbyter ordination either is, or is not valid.

That said, the pope’s authority is only over those who choose to be in communion with him. And while their ordinations are obviously valid, so are those of the PNCC, Orthodoxy, Lutherans whether in succession of via presbyter ordination, Anglicans, etc. regardless of what the Vatican thinks of them, all due respect extended.

The OP asked for the arguments. There they are, and one need only look at the Lutheran confessions (for the Lutheran view) to delve deeper.


EDIT: I might add, Duane, that if all the pope has to do is declare that our presbyter ordinations are valid, like he did the Cistercian abbots, we would welcome his recognition of them, be thankful for the gesture, but we don’t have to have it to know without doubt that they are valid.

Wrong, Jon. The validity comes when the ordinations are done in communion with, and permission of a bishop who has AS. Those monks ordained while in communion with, and the permission of a bishop who had AS, in this case the pope. The minute he withdrew permission they stopped ordaining.

Nowhere did I make that claim. Notice, I said permission of a competent authority, in the case of the PNCC, their ordinations were done by bishops who retained AS (competent authority).

Where does it say that the abbots ordinations were done without AS? Are you saying the pope does not have AS?

The point you are missing, or do not care to admit, is that priests have the power to ordain, but it can only be unlocked and done validly while in communion, and with the permission of a bishop who has AS. That is what happened with those monks. The second a bishop withdraws his permission for presbyter ordination, a priests power is locked up again.

Non-recognition of an authority does not entail that such authority does not exist. Many people do not recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, this does not mean that He is not. Likewise, failure to recognize the pope’s authority, does not mean that Jesus does not recognize the authority that He has given him. Did Peter have the power to bind and loose, and if yes, does his successor retain that authority? If yes, then you must recognize the pope’s power to bind even you Jon. If no, then it is a poor power that only lasts for one generation of the Church.

He can’t, because Luther willfully threw away AS. There were two Catholic bishops who became Lutherans, but Luther refused to let them do ordinations. Lutherans could have easily retained AS right there, but Luther obviously did not think that it was important. And as a result, you have to say that it is not important.

And I have no doubt that Lutheran and Anglican ordinations are not valid, as the successor of Peter has bound them as not being valid, all due respect intended. :slight_smile:

Duane1966 #
And I have no doubt that Lutheran and Anglican ordinations are not valid, as the successor of Peter has bound them as not being valid, all due respect intended

The following looks at the reality of Lutheran “Orders”.

David Schütz
Melbourne, Australia
‘Why are so many Lutheran pastors becoming Roman Catholic?’

‘I would also add that a growing understanding of the AUTHORITY of the Catholic Church led me to question the validity of my call to act as a public minister of word and sacrament. A Lutheran pastor who becomes Catholic does so in part because he recognises the invalidity of his Lutheran ordination, that is he comes to question the authority of the Lutheran Church to confer holy orders in the first place. As a result, he comes to see precisely that he is exercising a ministry TO WHICH HE HAS NOT BEEN CALLED by Christ. If you wish to compare this to a marriage, it is as if a man has discovered that he has been living in an invalidly contracted marriage – which is hence no marriage at all, but a form of adultery or fornication. Certainly, once I became convinced of this, I could no longer declare absolution “as a called and ordained servant of the Word” or take bread and wine and say “This is my Body”, “This is my Blood.” ‘

The great Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote of Luther’s contempt for the Sacrament of Holy Orders: “all the bitterness of the young reformer against the existing priesthood in such shocking exclamations” as the following; “O you princes, not of the Catholic Church, but of the synagogue of Satan, yes of darkness.” [Cited in *Principles of Catholic Theology, Ignatius, 1987, p 261, from Luther’s Babylonian Captivity].

I’ll respond later to the rest, but to this, well of course you have no doubt. It is what your communion teaches. I would be as surprised if you said differently as you would be if I said I didn’t think our orders are valid.
It is important, both of us mentioning the intended due respect, because despite what one sees on the 'net amongst apologists, our mutual theologians have it.


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