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The «Cursus Honorum»

A Study of the Origins and Evolution of Sequential Ordination


John St.H. Gibaut

The term cursus honorum describes sequential ordination through the grades of the Church’s ministry. While the cursus honorum has long been an assumed part of ordination practice, there are contemporary calls for its reassessment. This study of sequential ordination, from the first century to the twentieth, draws on evidence from conciliar legislation, papal letters and decretals, canonistic collections, ordination liturgies, theological literature, and biographies, largely from the Latin West. The historical sources provide ample precedent for a reassessment of the practice in the life of the contemporary Church.