Time and Place of Ordination
During the first centuries ordination took place whenever demanded by the
needs of the Church. The Roman pontiffs generally ordained in December
(Amalarius, “De offic.”, II, i). Pope Gelasius (494) decreed that the
ordination of priests and deacons should be held at fixed times and days,
viz., on the fasts of the fourth, seventh, and tenth months, also on the
fasts of the beginning and midweek (Passion Sunday) of Lent and on (holy)
Saturday about sunset (Epist. ad ep. Luc., xi). This but confirmed what Leo
the Great laid down, for he seems to speak of ordination on Ember Saturdays
as an Apostolic tradition (Serm. 2, de jejun. Pentec.) The ordination may
take place either after sunset on the Saturday or early on Sunday morning.
The ordination to major orders took place before the Gospel.
Minor orders might be given at any day or hour. They were generally given
after holy communion. At present minor orders may be given on Sundays and
days of obligation (suppressed included) in the morning. For the sacred
orders, a privilege to ordain on other days than those appointed by the
canons, provided the ordination takes place on Sunday or day of obligation
(suppressed days included), is very commonly given. Though it was always
the rule that ordinations should take place in public, in time of
persecution they were sometimes held in private buildings. The place of
ordinations is the church. Minor orders may be conferred in any place, but
it is understood that they are given in the church. The Pontifical directs
that ordinations to sacred orders must be held publicly in the cathedral
church in presence of the cathedral chapter, or if they be held in some
other place, the clergy should be present and the principle church, as far
as possible, must be made use of (cf. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIII, c. vii).
Written by Hubert Ahaus. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. Offered to
Almighty God for the priests and brothers of the Legionaries of Christ and
all the men ordained into the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911.
New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911.
Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur.
+John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
The subject of ORDER is treated in its various aspects in the general works
on Dogmatic Theology (Church and Sacraments). BILLOT; PESCH, De Sacr., pars
II (Freiburg, 1909); TANQUEREY; HURTER; WILHELM AND SCANNELL, A Manual of
Catholic Theology, II (London, 1908), 494-509; EINIG; TEPL; TOURNELY; SASSE;
PALMIERI, De Romano Pontifice; PETAVIUS, De Ecclesia; HIBRARCH in Dogm.,
III; DE AUGUSTINIS, HALTZCLAU in Wirceburgenses. In Moral Theology and
Canon Law, LEHMKUHL; NOLDIN, De Sacr. (Innsbruck, 1906); AERTNYS; GENICOT;
BALLERINI-PALMIERI; LAURENTIUS; DEVOTI; CRAISSON; LOMBARDI; EINIG in
Kirchenlex., s.v. Ordo; FUNK in KRAUS, Real-Encyklopädie, s.v. Ordo; HATCH
in Dictionary of Christian antiquities, s.v. Orders, Holy. Special: HALLIER,
De Sacris Electionibus et Ordinationibus (Paris, 1636), and in MIGNE, Theol.
Cursus, XXIV; MORIN, Comment. historico-dogmaticus de sacris ecclesioe
ordinationibus (Paris, 1655); MARTENE, De Antiquis Ecclesioe Ritibus
(Venice, 1733); BENEDICT XIV, De Synod. Diocoesana (Louvain, 1763);
WITASSE, De Sacramento Ordinis (Paris, 1717); DENZINGER, Ritus Orientalium
(Würzburg, 1863); GASPARRI, Tractatus Canonicus de Sacra Ordinatione
(Paris, 1894); BRUDERS, Die Verfassung der Kirche (Mainz, 1904), 365;
WORDSWORTH, The Ministry of Grace (London, 1901); IDEM, Ordination Problems
(London, 1909); WHITHAM, Holy Orders in Oxford Library of Practical Theology
(London, 1903); MOBERLEY, Ministerial Priesthood (London, 1897); SANDAY,
Conception of Priesthood (London, 1898); IDEM, Priesthood and Sacrifice, a
Report (London, 1900); HARNACK, tr. OWEN, Sources of the Apostolic Canons
(London, 1895); SEMERIA, Dogma, Gerarchia e Culto (Rome, 1902); DUCHESNE,
Christian Worship (London, 1903); SALTET, Les Réordinations (Paris, 1907);
MERTENS, Hierarchie in de eerste seuwen des Christendoms (Amsterdam, 1908);
GORE, Orders and Unity (London, 1909). For St. Jerome’s opinions see
SANDERS, Etudes sur St. Jérome (Brussels, 1903), and the bibliography on
Hierarchy, ibid., pp. 335-44).