THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
BISHOP AND A PRIEST
A sound understanding of the difference between a Bishop and a Priest is both required and lacking today.
A Bishop as a Successor of the Apostles, is endowed with full powers of the Priesthood.
A Bishop delegates certain powers to Priests [via Ordination] whilst retaining other powers to himself. For this reason a Priest [in normal circumstances] must always be under the authority of a Bishop.
A priest is described as the Bishop's Deputy. He is deputized to do that which the Bishop [Church] instructs him to do.
In the Ceremony of Ordination, the Ordinand is ordained and his powers specified.
In all cases the Priestly Character of Christ is given; it is Christ acting in each individual.
In the case of the Bishop those powers are full whereas in the case of a Priest they are specific.
At the moment of Ordination [matter & form] the Priest receives these specific powers which are later in the same Ceremony expressed by the Ceremony itself. This expression within the Ceremony is referred to as the "Traditio Instrumentorum" or the handing over of the instruments such as chalice and paten to say Mass. This does not happen in the Consecration of a Bishop.
Pius XII declared that the "Traditio Instrumentorum" does not form part of the matter and form.
I will give a simplistic example to demonstrate my point. If you can grasp this you have grasped a lot.
Let us imagine that the Pope one day during a Papal Ceremony focuses his attention on the fact that the Cross Bearer is a Cleric of minor orders.
He says that this is no good. I want him to be a Priest. So he decides to create another rank of Priesthood. He creates a new Ceremony whereby a Cleric is ordained a Priest for the specific purpose of carrying the Cross during Papal Ceremonies.
He gives the Church a new Rite for such an Ordination. The Ordinand would be ordained with a specific power i.e. to carry the Cross during Papal Ceremonies. The Ordinand would thus be a Priest with a specific power. Of course this will not happen but serves to demonstrate my point.
This separation of Bishop and Priest goes back to the earliest times as demonstrated in the following excerpt from the Breviary [Matins] for the Feast of St. Anicletus Pope and Martyr on the 13th July.
Anaclete was an Athenian who governed the Church
in the time of the Emperor Trajan. He ordained
that a Bishop should be consecrated by three
Bishops and no less, that clerks should be
publicly ordained to Holy Orders by their own
Bishop, and that in the Mass, after the
Consecration, all should afterwards Communicate.
He adorned the grave of Blessed Peter, and
ordered a place for burying the Popes in. He held
two ordinations in the month of December, wherein
he ordained five Priests, three Deacons, and six
Bishops. He sat as Pope nine years, three months,
and ten days. He received the crown of his
testimony, and was buried on the Vatican Hill.
I believe a good discussion over Orders will give us all more insight into the problem of Novus Ordo Orders; and the persuasive power necessary for dealing with Novus Ordo Catholics to whom we have a mission.