THE MEANING OF THE SACRAMENT OF ORDER
The Order is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, the presbyterate and the diaconate. The integration in one of the body, the church was through a ritual called ordination, religious and liturgical act which was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word ordination is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates in the order of bishops, presbyters and deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community because it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit to exercise a "sacred power" that can only come from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecration because it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The imposition of hands of the Bishop, with the prayer of consecration, are the visible sign of this dedication.
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