The ministry, consisting of seven degrees, viz., Porter, Reader, Exorcist, Acolyte, Sub-Deacon, Deacon, and Priest. The first four are called the minor or lesser orders; the remaining three are called the holy or greater orders.
The Priesthood has two degrees of power and dignity—(1) that of the Bishop, whose office is to govern the particular district given to him (called a diocese), to give Confirmation and Holy Order, inflict censures, pronounce excommunications, grant Indulgences etc.: (2) that of the Priest, whose office it is to offer sacrifice, preach to the people, administer the Sacraments. etc.
The matter is the laying on of hands by the Bishop. The form consists of the prayer said by the Bishop, in the case of a priest: ‘Grant, we implore Thee. Almighty Father, to this Thy servant the dignity of the Priesthood, etc.’
Increases habitual grace; gives power to exercise sacred functions. The orders lower than the diaconate were probably instituted by the Church and therefore do not give grace.
Time of institution not certain. Its sacramental character proved from the following: ‘Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given by prophecy with imposition of the hands of the priesthood’. (Tim. iv. 14,) And again: ‘I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands’. (2 Tim. 1:6)
A Bishop only, in the case of the greater orders.