Thursday, 20 January 2011

Signs of the times: reclaiming the integrity of Holy Orders**

There are a number of interesting threads bubbling around the blogosphere at the moment all of which centre on the nature of Holy Orders.

For much of the last few decades, the importance and distinctiveness of Holy Orders, particularly in relation to the service of the altar, had been downplayed in favour of notions of the radical equality of all the baptised, an emphasis on social justice over actual worship of God, and above all the promotion of lay role in the Church at the expense of the clerical instead of as a complement to it.

So it's refreshing to see some signs of the reassertion of some more traditionally oriented theology in this area.

Here is a little reading list.

Ministry vs apostolate

I've written before (see also the sidebar on best of 2010) on a number of occasions on the problems inherent in promoting the concept of 'lay ministry' in the Catholic Church.  But now Adoro Te Devote has written a nice exposition on the subject and why it matters.

The role of deacons

The excellent Fr Hunswicke is currently running a very interesting series on the centrality of the cultic function of deacons and the reflection of this in ordination and other liturgies There are three parts so far.

Clerical continence and permanent deacons

Not entirely unrelated to the above, a fierce debate has sprung up around the canonical requirement of continence for clerics, and whether this applies to permanent deacons - first read the original article by canonist Ed Peters.  The Anchoress has a guide to the debate.  And then for round two, see Peters' response to an article in America Magazine on the subject.

**For Round Three, Ed Peters has now proposed four possible ways forward on this issue, go to his blog for details!

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