Sacerdos in aeternum

BITE-SIZE THEOLOGY (156) Once a priest, always a priest?

“It is true that someone validly ordained can, for grave reasons, be discharged from the obligations and functions linked to ordination, or can be forbidden to exercise them; but he cannot become a layman again in the strict sense [cf Code of Canon Law, cann. 290-293; 1336 # 1 3, 5; 1338 # 2; Council of Trent DS 1774], because the character imprinted by ordination is for ever. The vocation and mission received on the day of his ordination mark him permanently.”

Laying on of the hands

BITE-SIZE THEOLOGY (154) What are the essential elements needed to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

“The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees consists in [1] the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand [the matter of the sacrament] and in [2] the bishop’s specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained [form] [Cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution, Sacramentum Ordinis].”