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19. The Minister of the Keys

1. The priesthood of the Old Law was not dowered with thepower of the keys. But the priest of the Old Law had powers whichforeshadowed and prefigured the power of the keys.

2. Before all others, our Lord himself has mostexcellently thepower of the keys. He owns this power as God;he merits it as man. And this wondrous power he conferred on thepriests of his Church.

3. The power of the keys pertains to holy order, andexclusively to priests. {-Sometimes the phrase"the power of the keys" is used, by extension of meaning,for the power of jurisdiction in Church or diocese; that is, thepower and right to rule, to authorize, to excommunicate. But thisuse of the phrase is not common.-}

4. No matter how holy a layman may be, he has not thepower of the keys, nor can he, as a layman, acquire it.

5. The power of the keys belongs to the priesthood assuch. It does not depend for its effect on the state of soul (graceor sin) of the priest who exercises it.

6. Schismatical, heretical, and excommunicated priestsretain the essence of the power of the keys, but they lack theright to use it, that is, they lack jurisdiction. The Church, bywithdrawing jurisdiction from priests who are outside her pale,removes all true penitents from such confessors. No penitent couldsincerely present himself to such confessors; if he did soknowingly he would sin, and no man can obtain absolution from sinby sinning.

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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