Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, n. 25 (en)

Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, 31-III-1994

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25. Communion in the Priesthood.

By virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders “every priest is united to the other members of the priesthood by specific bonds of apostolic charity, ministry and fraternity”.(64) He is, in fact inserted into the Ordo Presbyterorum constituting that unity which can be defined as a true family in which the ties do not come from flesh nor from blood but from the grace of Holy Orders.(65)

This membership in a specific presbyterate,(66) always comes within the context of a particular Church, of an Ordinariate or of a personal Prelature. In fact, unlike the case of the College of Bishops, it seems that there are no theological foundations to affirm the existence of a universal Presbyterate.

Priestly fraternity and membership to a presbyterate are, therefore, elements characterising the priest. The rite of the imposition of the hands by the Bishop and all of the priests present during the priestly Ordination has special significance and merit because it points to the equality of participation in the ministry, and to the fact that the priest cannot act by himself; he acts within the presbyterate becoming a brother of all those who constitute it.(67)
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(64) JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis 17: l.c. 683; cf ECUMENICAL COUNCIL VATICAN II, Dogm. Const. Lumen gentium 28; Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis 8; C.l.C, can. 275 § 1.

(65) Cf JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, 74:l.C., 790; CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE PEOPLES, Pastoral Guide for Diocesan Priests that Depend on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples ( 1 October, 1989),6.

(66) .Cf. ECUMENICAL COUNCIL VATICAN II, Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis 8; C.l.C cann. 369,498, 499.

(67) Cf Pontificale Romanum De Ordinatione Episcopi Presbyterorum et Diaconorum chapter II, nn. 105; 130, editio typica altera, 1990, PP. 54; 66-67; ECUMENICAL COUNCIL VATICAN II, Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis 8.
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