Nature of Apostolic Succession


#1

I have a question regarding the transmission of Apostolic “privileges”, or the power to “bind and loose”. Does the Catholic Church hold that succession is maintained via the literal laying on of hands from bishop to bishop? Or does succession simply mean a continuance on the part of the bishop in the defense and promotion of the Apostolic faith? If the former, how does one account for the fact that bishops in the early Church were appointed by the faithful as per I Timothy, and not by a preceeding bishop?

Also, I often hear the at the Orthodox Churches are the only other Churches that can claim valid Apostolic Succession. If the Orthodox Churches are not a visible part of the Catholic Church, why do they have Apostolic Succession as opposed to, say, the Anglican Church?

God bless,

Chris


#2

Apostolic Succession is passed on by the literal laying on of hands from bishop to bishop in a valid ordination rite. The Orthodox Churches have maintained these things. The Anglican Church has not. The Anglicans changed their ordination rite to remove any reference to the sacrifice of the Mass.

how does one account for the fact that bishops in the early Church were appointed by the faithful as per I Timothy, and not by a preceeding bishop?

I must take issue with this.

I Timothy 4:14
"Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate"

The presbyterate is not “the faithful” as you imply. “Presbyter” means “priest”. So St. Paul is referring to an ordination ceremony that involved all the priests of the community laying their hands upon Timothy. I’m sure there was a bishop there as well.


#3

Good point. While my translation (NSRV) reads “council of elders” instead of “presbyterate”, I think the two are synonymous. Considering that Paul spends most of Chapter 3 listing qualifications for which bishops and deacons should be chosen from the community, however, would it be unreasonable to assume that these leaders are perhaps chosen by the faithful, who are then approved by the bishop and vested with apostolic authority via ordination?

Also, you mention that the Anglican Chiurch doesn’t have Apostolic Succession because their ordination rite omitted reference to the Real Presence. Is this the only reason they lost succession, over a wording issue? Not that an omisison of certain words is trivial, but was there not some other issue at stake here; for instance, renunciation of Papal authority?

I’m don’t mean to assume anything, but I’m just curious.

God bless,

Chris


#4

I’m not entirely sure about this but I tend to think that the changes in the rite that took out reference to the sacrificial nature of the Mass were key. It is not that there is a specific wording necessary for ordination. But, when the words are changed specifically to deny an essential doctrine then it becomes invalid.

As for the renunciation of Papal authority, I don’t think this is enough to cause the orders of a church to be rendered invalid. This is because the Orthodox churches deny papal authority and they have valid orders.

I think there is an encyclical by Pope Leo XIII in which he announces (and explains why) Anglican orders are invalid. I don’t have time right now but I’ll dig it up later and post a link.


#5

Here ya go:

Apostolicae Curae

Paragraph 24 seems to be most relevant to your question:

  1. In the examination of any rite for the effecting and administering of Sacraments, distinction is rightly made between the part which is ceremonial and that which is essential, the latter being usually called the “matter and form”. All know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify. Although the signification ought to be found in the whole essential rite, that is to say, in the “matter and form”, it still pertains chiefly to the “form”; since the “matter” is the part which is not determined by itself, but which is determined by the “form”. And this appears still more clearly in the Sacrament of Order, the “matter” of which, in so far as we have to consider it in this case, is the imposition of hands, which, indeed, by itself signifies nothing definite, and is equally used for several Orders and for Confiirmation.

#6

[quote=atsheeran]I’m not entirely sure about this but I tend to think that the changes in the rite that took out reference to the sacrificial nature of the Mass were key. It is not that there is a specific wording necessary for ordination. But, when the words are changed specifically to deny an essential doctrine then it becomes invalid.
. . . .
[/quote]

The omission removed the purpose of the priesthood, consecration of the Sacred Species, from the Rite. They no longer meant the same thing as the Church in their intent.

Denying the authority of the Pope would have left them in schism,but with valid orders, like the Orthodox.


#7

Thanks for the link and the information. I’ll definitely have to read it in depth. Considering that most of my family is Episcopalian, I think it’s worth a look.

God bless,

Chris


#8

I heard that the High Church of England had many with valid holy orders. And many go through the process again with a bishop who is believed to have valid holy orders. All that is needed is for them to have this and to ordain men is that they only have to have the same intentions as Christ did.


#9

[quote=John Russell Jr]I heard that the High Church of England had many with valid holy orders.
[/quote]

Is this because the High Church retained the idea of the Eucharist as a really present sacrifice?


#10

[quote=Thepeug]Is this because the High Church retained the idea of the Eucharist as a really present sacrifice?
[/quote]

I understand that any validly ordained bishop just has to have the same intentions as Christ had, and he can ordain you.


#11

[quote=Thepeug]Good point. While my translation (NSRV) reads “council of elders” instead of “presbyterate”, I think the two are synonymous. Considering that Paul spends most of Chapter 3 listing qualifications for which bishops and deacons should be chosen from the community, however, would it be unreasonable to assume that these leaders are perhaps chosen by the faithful, who are then approved by the bishop and vested with apostolic authority via ordination?

Also, you mention that the Anglican Chiurch doesn’t have Apostolic Succession because their ordination rite omitted reference to the Real Presence. Is this the only reason they lost succession, over a wording issue? Not that an omisison of certain words is trivial, but was there not some other issue at stake here; for instance, renunciation of Papal authority?

I’m don’t mean to assume anything, but I’m just curious.

God bless,

Chris
[/quote]

the greek uses the word prespyteros.


closed #12

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