Ordination, be it religious or not, means someone’s destination to a role and/or goal. This often involves a process in which the person has to be properly and carefully selected, trained, and tested. Thus, ordination can also make reference to the rite that establishes and legitimates someone’s particular role and/or goal. Typically, to be a member of the clergy requires ordination.

The emergence of religious ordinations has been part—as both effect and cause—of a process of social differentiation and specialization of religion. Differentiation and specialization of religion are among the oldest processes of social differentiation. However, the more the process of functional differentiation of society includes the functional differentiation of religion, the more it gains primacy over every other process of social differentiation and the more ...

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