Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 3, 2008
The Bishops of the Catholic Church can trace their ordinations back to the apostles themselves. This laying on of hands in the sacrament of the Holy Orders take place as part of an uninterrupted chain connecting us to Christ himself two thousand years ago. In every sense, today’s bishops are the successors of Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Mathew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and even-in very rare and unfortunate intances to Judas Iscariot.
Acts 6:6 -“They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.” The Church’s authority is thus passed from generation to generation.
Eph. 2:19-20 – “household of God, builth upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets…” The Church’s authority is not based on human wisdom or insight, or even on the Bibles, but on the authority of God passed to and through the apostles.
St. Paul and St. Barnabas ordain others. No one ordains himself, nor does anyone presume to act as presbyters without firts being ordained
Acts 14:23 -“They appointed presbyters for them in each church…”
2 Tim.1:6 – “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.”
The laying on of hands is the vehicle whereupon the Holy Spirit – the “flame” – is imparted. This is an utterly sacramental view of the infusion of the life of the Holy Spirit, and of the passing on of apostolic authority. Paul here gove us an excellent insight into te workings of Sacred Tradition – the teachings of the apostles that are passed along, through the authority of the Church – from one generation to the next.
2Tim.3:14 – “…Remain faithful to what you learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it…” Authority is derived from apostolic succession – not from an appeal to “scripture alone.” The Bible is quite clear ont this. Likewise, in Mt. 16:19, Jesus gives St. Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. It is in this authority that Peter’s power to bind and to loose in heaven as well as on earth – is founded.
Heb. 13:7 – “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Again, the hierarchy is upheld. The truth of scritural interpretation does not come from men, but from the Holy Spirit, through the apostles and their successors. We are not free to arrive at our own interpretations of the scriptures, apart from the apostles and the Church Jesus founded upon them. Indeed, the authority of the scriptures is derived from the apostles which is to says, the Church – and not vice versa.