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Corpus Christi: Essays on the Church and the Eucharist …
According to Peter Lombard (+ 1160),115 the diaconate was an or (the sixth). Although he held that all the were he underlined the excellence of the diaconate and the priesthood, the only ones which existed in the primitive Church by the will of the Apostles, while the others had been instituted by the Church in the course of time. He did not consider the episcopate to share in this excellence, saying that it did not belong to the sacramental but rather to the domain of dignities and offices.116
Any notion of a clear line of evolutionary development from the Latin liturgical drama must be set aside. There is no evidence that these vernacular plays arose as a result of a process of secularization or dissatisfaction with the clerical control over liturgical plays mounted in the cathedral and churches, like the and the in the Christmas and Epiphany seasons at York Minster in the thirteenth century. From the first the Corpus Christi plays arose as an expensive display for the members of the various crafts or guilds of the city who were expected to perform them, even under threat of a hefty fine if they did not — a fact that, however, does not suggest a lack of enthusiasm with the exception, it would appear, of times when the financial burden was felt to be excessive. In no way could the plays have continued to be played for two centuries in a city under the stress of difficult times if the essential good will toward them had not been present.
Speculation concerning the plays’ origin, though not explaining the source of using the wagons as stages at fixed locations, at the present seems to favor what has been dubbed the “big bang” theory.
Corpus Christi : essays on the Church and the Eucharist
On the basis of the unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, and in the conviction that they were being faithful to the Conciliar and post-Conciliar texts, some people stressed the unity of the sacrament and applied to the diaconate theological principles which were valid in proportionate ways for the three degrees of the sacrament. They maintained, with some differences of emphasis, that it should be generally understood and described as "sacerdotium ministeriale seu hierarchicum" (cf. 10b), which, they held, was borne out by the language used in the ancient tradition of the Church.294 In this line of argument the diaconate is a sacramental reality which implies a difference "essentia, non gradu tantum" (cf. 10b) in comparison with the common priesthood of the faithful. Hence the statement that the diaconate is "non ad sacerdotium" would then exclude only what related to the consecration of the Eucharist (and the sacrament of Reconciliation).295 But both because of its integration within the single sacrament of Holy Orders, and because of its special relationship with the Eucharistic ministry, both by reason of the broadly "priestly" significance of the "munera" of teaching and government and by its specific participation in the mission and grace of the High Priest, the diaconate should still be included within the "ministerial or hierarchical priesthood", as distinct from the "common priesthood" of the faithful.
According to 29a, deacons receive the imposition of hands "non ad sacerdotium, sed ad ministerium". On this point Vatican II refers to text such as the 277 whose formula has remained the same until our own times in the Roman Pontifical.278 However, the formula goes back to the (second and third centuries), which specifies something which is absent from the Council texts: "in ministerio episcopi".279 Moreover, the interpretation of the precise meaning of this divergence is disputed in the current theology of the diaconate.280 What seems excluded in this formulation ("sacerdotium") will be looked at first; after that, what seems to be stated in it (the relationship to "ministerium"). The diaconate is not "ad sacerdotium". How should this exclusion be interpreted? In a stricter sense the ministerial "sacerdotium" has been traditionally linked with the power "conficiendi eucharistiam",281 "offerendi sacrificium in Ecclesia",282 or "consecrandi verum corpus et sanguinem Domini".283 Down the centuries, the basis for the sacramental equality of bishops and priests as "priests", i.e. those who offer sacrifice,284 and the attribution of a solely jurisdictional origin to the distinction between the two,285 has been based on this close connection between priesthood and Eucharist. This same reason, then, is why deacons are not ordained "ad sacerdotium", given the impossibility for them of presiding at and validly consecrating the Eucharist, which is a power reserved exclusively to "priests". Does this restriction also imply that the diaconate is excluded from "sacerdotium" understood in a less strict sense? Vatican II did indeed place the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the Eucharist in a wider context: that of an ecclesiology centred on the Eucharist seen as ""286and that of a ministerial priesthood whose constitutive relationship with the Eucharist is rooted in a broader "", also relating to the other ministerial "".287If the diaconate is totally excluded from the "priesthood" in all senses of the term, then it will be necessary to re-think the unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders as "ministerial or hierarchical priesthood" (cf. 10b), as well as the use of "sacerdotal" categories to make a global definition or description of the sacrament. Different tendencies are to be observed on this point in the Conciliar texts, in later developments, and in theological studies of the diaconate.
Corpus christi essays on the church and the eucharist
In the current consciousness of the Church there is only one single sacrament of Holy Orders. Vatican II, taking up the teaching of Pius XII,331 affirmed this unity and saw the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate as included within it. According to the decision of Paul VI it is only these three ordained ministries which constitute the clerical state.332 However, concerning the diaconate the Council cautiously speaks only of "sacramental grace". After Vatican II, Paul VI333 and the (no. 1570) teach that the deacon, through ordination, receives the character of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Can. 1008 of the CIC states that the three ordained ministries are exercised .334Following 29, which attributed to the deacon the solemn administration of baptism (cf. 68), can. 861, 1 spoke of each of the three ordained ministers as ordinary ministers of this sacrament; can. 129 recognized that the belonged to all those who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders.335
Over and above all the questions raised by the diaconate, it is good to recall that ever since Vatican II the active presence of this ministry in the life of the Church has aroused, in memory of the example of Christ, a more vivid awareness of the value of service for Christian life.
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the Eucharist and Corpus Christi are mentioned ..
Today, in communion with the Church throughout the world, we celebrate Easter. But where has this Church come from to which we belong and how does it, in every country and culture, continue to preach the same Faith and enjoy world-wide fellowship? Because Christ founded his Church on Peter and the Apostles and, because of that unbroken line of Bishops, (today with the Pope as Peter’s successor and the bishops as the Apostles’ successors), the Church is still here for us today, still making present in the world the selfsame Church Christ Himself founded.
essays on the church and the Eucharist
The Indians gather in church well before the start of the Service. They are excited. There is a sense of expectation in the air. Men in their Sunday best are standing outside eagerly scanning St Mary’s road for the first sighting of the Bishop’s car. Inside, an Indian priest sets up and decorates the altar according to their rites and a massive brass oil lamp stands mysteriously half way down the central aisle. The women, all dressed in beautiful multi-coloured saris, mix prayer with excited chatter while they pass the time. The children, and there were lots of them, are extremely well behaved, apart from one boy. With all due respects to Liverpool, I think he was from there, probably living a stone’s throw from Aintree. He is behaving as if the church was itself Aintree and himself one of the competitors in the Grand National. With the church as the steeplechase course, the benches as fences and the spaces between them as ditches, he leaps his way resolutely from the front of the church to the back, regarding praying Indians as additional course obstacles! – Until the Parish Priest, kindly of course, dislodges him from his imaginary saddle and hastily unhorses him.
(1953) Corpus Christi; essays on the church and the Eucharist
Catholicism is about the transformation of the whole person; what they believe, what they do, and what they are. That’s why the Catechumenate takes at least a year and is concerned not only with the dogmas of the Faith but also with the Commandments of God and the Way set out for us by Christ. This transformation, which is a slow process and takes far longer than the Catechumenate itself, indeed a lifetime, is not the work of the person who leads the Catechumenate, not the effect of the wonderful community which is built up within it, though these of course have their place, but is the workings of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who is at once the Spirit of and the Spirit of What the Catechumenate offers is Catholicism live. Catholicism in its fullness. Those who were received this year into the Church on Holy Saturday and earlier, and all who were part of last year’s Catechumenate, are witnesses to this.
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