Principles for Catholic Clerics
Catholic cleric is in a different state in life.
a cleric is not a job or a hobby, but an inherent trait different
from the laity that persists throughout all hours every day. It is
permanent in this life and the next.
the order of Sub-Deacon and above, the mark is indelible on the
soul, meaning that it both persists forever and cannot be removed.
in the minor orders can under certain circumstances lose the mark of
the clerical state.
as a married person must behave in a different way from a single
person, clerics must behave always and everywhere according to their
state in life - a Catholic cleric.
authority for a cleric comes from Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and
clergy represent the authority of Christ on earth, as transmitted to
Christ's Holy Church. In the case of the Anglican Patriarchate in the
New Roman Communion, that derives from its supreme authority, the
Archfather as Coadjutor of Rome, Grand Pontiff of the Anglican Rite,
Legate of Christ, successor of Pope Leo X, and temporal successor of
Saint Peter the Apostle.
are successors of the Apostles, which is what is meant by Apostolic
Succession. They have the fullness of Christ's Holy Priesthood.
share in the ministry of Christ's priesthood for the purpose of
celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A priest celebrating mass
stands in loco Christi (in place of Christ), meaning that he is an
alter Christus (another Christ) celebrating the very same Sacrifice
that took place at the Crucifixion.
share in the ministry specifically for the purpose of serving the
Church and the people. Liturgically, they assist at the altar and
sing the Gospel.
participate in the diaconal mission of service. Liturgically, they
assist at the altar and sing the Epistle lesson. Traditionally they
are the first order of the Holy Orders that are permitted by right of
their office to touch the Sacred Vessels.
Minor Orders each pertain to an element of service within the
Church. They are:
the highest of the minor orders. They were originally altar servers,
though that role has been greatly expanded over the years. In some
rites, they also used to assist at the altar in a manner similar to a
Sub-Deacon. The chief duty traditionally was to light the candles on
the altar, to carry candles in procession, and to carry candles at
the reading of the Gospel, as well as to prepare the water and wine
for the mass and assist at other public liturgy.
previously conducted exorcisms, particularly on those preparing to
be baptized. Now the role of exorcisms is generally limited to
priests who have permission from their bishop. However, those in the
order of Exorcist may perform exorcisms as appointed in the Ritual on
physical objects, such as water and salt in the creation of holy water.
traditionally read lessons. They may sing the Epistle lesson if
there is no Sub- Deacon and may read the lesson at a dialogue mass.
They may also be given the faculty to lead certain public worship,
such as the Divine Offices.
were traditionally hosts who guarded the doors to the church and
rang the church bells. In the rite of ordination, a new porter opens
and closes the church door, as well as rings the church bell. Their
main function is to serve in hospitality.
Clerics are those who have received the First Tonsure and are
therefore clerics, but have not yet received Holy Orders.
have an absolute obligation to obedience Christ and the Church.
of order, clerics are obliged by solemn promise to God to place
their duty and obligations as a cleric above all other things. To be
a cleric means that the Church becomes their nation and the church
hierarchy their supreme government. All other obligations, loyalties,
and oaths must be subservient always and everywhere to one's duty to
God and the Holy Church as a cleric. To violate this is an offense
there is no such thing as a part-time or hobby cleric. National
identity must never be placed above identity as a Catholic cleric.
The Church knows no borders. One is a cleric always and everywhere.
The rules, duties, and obligations of being a cleric apply always and everywhere.
while recognizing human frailty, are held to a higher standard.
have an absolute obligation to act in accordance with the state in life.
must seek to spread the Gospel always and everywhere and act in
accordance with the rules pertaining to their state in life is a
cleric. They are not expected to be perfect, for they are still
human. However, being outside of church property, for example, or
being in secular employment does not in any way reduce or remove the
obligations of a cleric to act in accordance with their state in
life. Clerics, within the bounds of human frailty, must seek to set a
have an absolute obligation to dress in accordance with the state in life.
vesture of clerics is rooted in antiquity, tied inextricably to the
Scripture and doctrine of the faith, and a means of reminding both
the clerics himself and others of the love of God for the world.
Christ promised that we would not be alone, and so He sent the Holy
Spirit and founded the Holy Catholic Church. By dressing always and
everywhere as Holy Mother Church instructs, clerics reflect the love
of God and the fulfillment of Christ's promise to humanity that we
would not be alone.
options for vesture exist and delineated in canon law and other
instructions. The Anglican Patriarchate retains certain older customs
in accordance with its specific heritage and patrimony, which
includes, for example, the use of a suit similar to that of the laity
under certain circumstances. Nevertheless, the obligation to ensure
that everything worn is appropriate for the clerical state exists at
all times and in all places.
must continually study and grow in their faith.
who have entered the clerical state have taken on an obligation that
is not easy. The fullness of the mind of God is beyond the complete
comprehension of mankind. However, we have the collective wisdom of
approximately 2000 years of the Church, as well as the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit.
exists within the true Church three essential elements: Holy
Scripture, Sacred Tradition (including the Doctrine and Dogma of the
Faith), and the Magisterium (teaching authority of the church).
having taken on this immense obligation in human frailty, must
therefore continually study the faith within the framework of the
three essential elements.
must continually pray.
and Bishops must celebrate the Holy Mass. Other clerics must attend
and assist at mass. All must participate in the general liturgy and
prayers, both public and private, of the church. All must pray the
Holy Rosary. We must pray without ceasing that all may be united in
Christ with the hope of eternal salvation.
enter the clerical state to take on the mantle of service. That
service is above all to God. Chief within the service to God is
service to Christ's Holy Church under the leadership of its
hierarchy. Within that framework, clerics must serve humanity - both
the people of the Christian faith and those who are not yet
Christian, that they may see the light of Christ. All service and
indeed all good works mean nothing and are not truly good unless they
flow from the altar of Christ. Unless they are rooted in the
Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, then they are ultimately void of
meaning, purpose, and merit. Everything in the Church and indeed in
the world should flow from the Holy Sacrifice that takes place on the altar.
must maintain the traditions of the Holy Church.
does not exist in a vacuum, but instead is the product of society.
Likewise, society in turn is influenced by the culture that it
creates. The Church in a similar manner has its own culture and
indeed its own language, both of which are a product of, reflect, and
reinforce the faith. Efforts to "modernize" the Church in
terms of various cultural elements take from secular society at
large, no matter the stated intention, are inherently heretical, for
they necessarily are at odds with and therefore seek to change the
sacred elements of the church, including her most sacred beliefs.
Tradition often is at odds with society at large - including local
culture. Clerics must not alter that tradition, even in terms of
their own conduct or presentation, simply to "fit" within
local society or gain acceptance. That is a misguided approach that
leads to a decline of true faith. Just as Christ was at odds with the
society in which He lived on earth, so too will the true Church of
Christ always be at least somewhat at odds with society at any given time.
Tradition is the bedrock upon which Christ's Holy Church exists on
earth. The Church here on earth is called the Church Militant because
the enemies of the Church are ever encompassed around her seeking her
destruction. The Church exists beyond this world, however. In
purgatory, it is called the Church Suffering. In heaven, it is called
the Church Triumphant. All Christians, and especially all clerics
must recall that the kingdom we serve is ultimately not of this
world, and so we must not seek the approval of mere worldly society,
but rather seek to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That is, we
must promote that the societies of this world should conform to the
laws of God, not the other way around.
have not only obligations, but rights and privileges to assist in
their vast mission and weighty responsibilities.
with their significant and solemn responsibilities, clerics have
rights and privileges that are designed not to feed the ego, but to
assist them and protect them in their mission on earth. Under Canon
law and International law, the Archfather and various members of the
Pontifical Court and the Patriarchal Curia have immunity by right.
This extends in different ways and to different degrees to all
members of the clergy, who by ancient right are to be protected
against the authority of civil government. These rights exist for the
protection of the clergy and to maintain the sovereignty of Holy
Mother Church. And, they exist by right whether or not a civil
government acknowledges them, and the Church vigorously asserts them.
clergy also has certain honours, that their role in the Church of
Christ may be known and respected by all. The titles of the clergy
reflect the glory of God and the power of Christ and His Holy Church,
without which they are nothing. These honours are part of the Sacred
Tradition of the Church. Within the Anglican Patriarchate, the
standard honours of the clergy are as follows:
The Reverend Don
by itself is used only with the full name or first name.
may also be known as Father, and numbers of religious orders may also
known as Brother according to the traditions of their order.
OR METROPOLITAN CURIAL PRELATES: The Reverend Monsignor
is used only with the full name or surname.
His Grace the Right Reverend Monsignor
His Grace the Most Reverend Monsignor
OF HIS HOLINESS & EMINENCE: The Reverend Monsignor
CHAMBERLAINS: The Very Reverend Monsignor
CANONS: His Excellency the Very Reverend Monsignor
ARCHDEACON: His Excellency the Very Reverend and Venerable Monsignor
BISHOPS: His Excellency the Right Reverend Monsignor
ARCHBISHOPS: His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor
CARDINALS: His Eminence the Most Reverend (First Name) Cardinal (Surname)
His Holiness and Eminence
The faithful should stand when a priest enters the room and remain
standing until invited to sit. Men must remove their hats in his
presence. The faithful may ask for and receive a blessing (especially
if the priest is the parish rector and is visiting the house of one
of the faithful of his parish) in which case one should kneel on the
left knee unless kneeling would be awkward or impossible. It is also
acceptable to kiss the right hand of any priest as a sign of respect
for their duty of consecrating the Eucharist. Reverential gestures
should be repeated by the faithful when leaving his presence.
The faithful and regular clergy should stand when the prelate enters
the room and remain standing until invited to sit. Men must remove
their hats in his presence. The faithful may ask for and receive a
blessing, if he is a priest, in which case one should kneel on the
left knee unless kneeling would be awkward or impossible. The
reverential gestures should be repeated when leaving his presence.
The faithful and regular clergy should stand when a bishop enters
the room and remain standing until invited to sit. Men must remove
their hats in his presence. Kneel on the left knee and kiss ring as
sign of respect for his office. One may ask for and receive a
blessing. If kneeling would be awkward or impossible, bow at the
waist and kiss his ring. Reverential gestures should be repeated when
leaving his presence.
Most formally, the faithful and clergy should kneel on the left
knee, bow, and touch the Archfather's right foot with the right hand.
Less formally, the standard kiss of the ring as a sign of respect for
the office is acceptable. If kneeling cannot be done, then bow. One
may ask for and receive a blessing. Stand when he enters the room and
remain standing until invited to sit. Men must remove their hats in
his presence. Reverential gestures should be repeated when leaving
A BISHOP: Kissing the Sacred Ring, I have the honor to remain Your
Grace's most humble servant;
is used in place of Grace for a Capitular Bishop.)
A PATRIARCHAL CANON: I have the honor to remain Your Excellency's
most humble servant;
A CARDINAL: Kissing the Sacred Purple, I have the honour to remain
Your Eminence's most humble and devoted servant,".
THE ARCHFATHER: Kissing the Sacred Foot, I have the honour to remain
Your Holiness and Eminence's most humble and devoted servant,".
clergy are not their own, but of God. They serve Christ and His Holy
Church above all else. All must be directed to that purpose.
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