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  #16  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:24 am
Cristiano Cristiano is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by benedictgal View Post
Actually, you cannot get a more clear picture of the role of a priest than that given by Pope Benedict XVI when he presided over his first ordination Mass as Bishop of Rome. Here is what he said back in 2005:



Furthermore, if you were to look at the Rite for Ordination into the priesthood, the ordinand's hands are annointed with Chrism to offer the Sacrifice. He is then presented with the chalice, the paten, the stole and the chasuble. These are the symbols of his priestly office.

The deacon, on the other hand, be he permanent or transitional, is presented with the Book of the Gospel, since he is called to preach. Note that St. Francis of Assisi was not a priest; he was a deacon, and he considered it his primary role to proclaim and preach the Gospel.

Obviously, the priest is called to preach the Gospel; however, his primary role is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Without the priesthood, there would be no Mass.
I think that all of this is semantics. A priest is ordained first as a deacon and the very first mission that he receives is to go and preach the gospel. If the first mission the foremost? Or is the Mass the foremost? I think that we are making a great theological error in separating the Mass from the Gospel from the pastoral care etc.... The Mass and the other Sacraments are one more "tool in the priest's arsenal" to do God's will and to help us in accepting our salvation. The role of the priest is to take care of the souls entrusted to him, no more splitting hairs please!
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  #17  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:26 am
Layman Layman is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

My friend is a lay member of a schola. He's keen on traditional Catholicism.

I suppose preaching the Gospel is the very first thing the apostles and St. Paul did. Mass came later(?). Or if you go into a pagan land, that's the first thing you have to do. No preaching = no congregation.

The Gospel is of course preached at Mass by default (reading + sermon), so priests are covered there, regardless.

Last edited by Layman; Mar 30, '09 at 9:37 am.
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  #18  
Old Mar 30, '09, 9:36 am
benedictgal benedictgal is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by Layman View Post
My friend is a lay member of a schola. He's keen on traditional Catholicism.

I suppose preaching the Gospel is the very first thing the apostles and St. Paul did. Mass came later(?). Or if you go into a pagan land, that's the first thing you have to do. No preaching = no congregation.

The Gospel is of course preached at Mass by default (reading + sermon), so priests are covered there, regardless.
No. If you read the Acts of the Apostles, the Mass (the phrase "breaking of the bread" in the lectionary) is mentioned early on in the life of the Church. St. Paul also makes note of it in his first letter to the Corinthians (which is also the first record of liturgical abuse in the New Testament).

Here is what Pope Benedict XVI observed a year later, in 2006, when he preached at his second ordination Mass as Bishop of Rome:

Quote:
Let us now take a closer look at the three fundamental affirmations of Jesus on the good shepherd. The first one, which very forcefully pervades the whole discourse on shepherds, says: the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The mystery of the Cross is at the centre of Jesus' service as a shepherd: it is the great service that he renders to all of us.

He gives himself and not only in a distant past. In the Holy Eucharist he does so every day, he gives himself through our hands, he gives himself to us. For this good reason the Holy Eucharist, in which the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross remains continually present, truly present among us, is rightly at the centre of priestly life.

And with this as our starting point, we also learn what celebrating the Eucharist properly means: it is an encounter with the Lord, who strips himself of his divine glory for our sake, allows himself be humiliated to the point of death on the Cross and thus gives himself to each one of us.

The daily Eucharist is very important for the priest. In it he exposes himself ever anew to this mystery; ever anew he puts himself in God's hands, experiencing at the same time the joy of knowing that He is present, receives me, ever anew raises and supports me, gives me his hand, himself. The Eucharist must become for us a school of life in which we learn to give our lives.
Thus, he stresses that the most important duty of a priest is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A deacon cannot do that. All he can do is preach, assist with the distribution of Holy Communion, and assist at baptisms, weddings and funerals. But, it is only the priest who can celebrate Mass.
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  #19  
Old Mar 30, '09, 10:03 am
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

The problem with asking about the "most important" role of a priest is that "most important" isn't always a simple concept . It depends on context. Something can be important because it has a unique or it can be important because it is foundational. In general, no matter how unique something is, it can't exist without that which is foundational.

For example, most people would say carrying an unborn child is an important "act" for a woman. It is unique because men can't do it. But eating and breathing can be done by both sexes so they are not unique to women but are more foundational to the continuation of the human species than carrying a child to term because both mother and child will die if the woman does not breath and eat.

The role of preaching is foundational to the priesthood. But it's not unique to the priesthood because deacons also have that role. The role of saying Mass is unique to the priesthood (obviously I'm including bishops here too) but it is not foundational to the priesthood.

When someone asks a question like, "What is the most important role of a priest?" I think most people assume the question is about the most significant unique role of a priest. But if the asker is looking for a more foundational aspect of the priesthood (or of human beings in general), then the answer may be different.
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  #20  
Old Mar 30, '09, 10:36 am
BSHoop96 BSHoop96 is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by andy120 View Post
I did hear a theologian at a seminary speak about "preaching" as specifically the job of those in Holy Orders. That while lay share the Gospel message in other ways, bishops, priests, and deacons are the only ones who preach the Gospel (specifically in celebrating the Mass). More of a difference in terminology than theology.

I'm not sure if he is right, or if I even understood him right, but that may be where the friend is coming from.
Absolutely a lay person MAY NOT preach the homily. I was thinking more about in our daily lives. As in St. Francis saying (this is not an exact quote) "spread the gospel, if necessary use words."
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  #21  
Old Mar 30, '09, 10:37 am
BSHoop96 BSHoop96 is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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The single most important thing a priest does is to celebrate the Mass.

But keep in mind that priests, just like everyone else have to prioritize their time.

A properly decorated Church enhances the beauty of the Mass. A properly decorated Church is one of the means to the end of "providing spiritual food."
well said. I agree.
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  #22  
Old Mar 30, '09, 10:43 am
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

In RCIA (2004), we were told that the priest has two required duties:

1. To pray Mass
2. To pray the Office

Is this not true?
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  #23  
Old Mar 30, '09, 11:30 am
benedictgal benedictgal is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
In RCIA (2004), we were told that the priest has two required duties:

1. To pray Mass
2. To pray the Office

Is this not true?
Actually, it should be celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and pray the office. Of the two, the first is certainly most important, as Pope Benedict told the ordinandi. The office is also certainly important. My parochial vicar likes to come into the church before Mass to pray his office. The office helps keep the priest deeply rooted and ingrained in prayer.
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  #24  
Old Mar 30, '09, 11:41 am
JanetF JanetF is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

To be a good shepherd to his flock (parish), and in so doing, he celebrates sacraments, gives pastoral care, etc.
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  #25  
Old Mar 30, '09, 12:51 pm
Cat Cat is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by benedictgal View Post
Actually, it should be celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and pray the office. Of the two, the first is certainly most important, as Pope Benedict told the ordinandi. The office is also certainly important. My parochial vicar likes to come into the church before Mass to pray his office. The office helps keep the priest deeply rooted and ingrained in prayer.
You know what I meant. I'm glad you know the correct language. I wanted to say "celebrate Mass," but that probably would have attracted a lot of criticism from those who say that Mass is a Sacrifice and shouldn't be celebrated, but prayed."

Semantics.
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  #26  
Old Mar 30, '09, 12:54 pm
benedictgal benedictgal is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
You know what I meant. I'm glad you know the correct language. I wanted to say "celebrate Mass," but that probably would have attracted a lot of criticism from those who say that Mass is a Sacrifice and shouldn't be celebrated, but prayed."

Semantics.
Yes, I know what you mean about the word celebrate. In fact, in Latin, it is celebrandis, if I remember correctly.

I hope your foot is doing better.
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  #27  
Old Mar 30, '09, 12:58 pm
stbruno stbruno is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

As Fr.Corapi would say...no priests, no Eucharist. The offering of mass and the consecration of the Blessed Eucharist is key. And the second most important is th sacrament of reconciliation. That is why the devil is attacking our priesthood with both barrels. But we do know we can ask our Heavenly Father and the intercession of the Blessed Mother to please help our priests and spur those who are being called to the priesthood to answer the call.

God hasn't stopped calling priests, they just are turning a deaf ear to a call that is said to never go away.
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  #28  
Old Mar 30, '09, 1:27 pm
BSHoop96 BSHoop96 is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by stbruno View Post
As Fr.Corapi would say...no priests, no Eucharist. The offering of mass and the consecration of the Blessed Eucharist is key. And the second most important is th sacrament of reconciliation. That is why the devil is attacking our priesthood with both barrels. But we do know we can ask our Heavenly Father and the intercession of the Blessed Mother to please help our priests and spur those who are being called to the priesthood to answer the call.

God hasn't stopped calling priests, they just are turning a deaf ear to a call that is said to never go away.
Maybe they are not hearing as well as they used to because the secular world is screaming at them.
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  #29  
Old Mar 30, '09, 4:24 pm
Cat Cat is offline
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

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Originally Posted by benedictgal View Post
Yes, I know what you mean about the word celebrate. In fact, in Latin, it is celebrandis, if I remember correctly.

I hope your foot is doing better.
Foot's doing well. I really on crutches. Thanks for asking!
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  #30  
Old Mar 30, '09, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: The Most important role of a priest

The most important role of the priest to is to celebrate the sacraments, most especially the Most Blessed Sacrament. For this is the reason these men have been consecrated.
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