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  #1  
Old Aug 1, '11, 9:02 am
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Poetpeace Poetpeace is offline
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Default Origins of the Priest?

Ok, kinda stupid question I know, but it came about when I was having a rather heated debate the purpose and usefulness of priests with a Baptist friend of mine.

My local priest is wonderful and very helpful, he has been a great help since I am a newbie in the Catholic church. But, sometimes I feel I don't know enough about why Priests are part of the church, and why we don't just pray straight to God for redemption.

So, why do we not just pray straight to God and remove the role of the Priest all together? Its something I would like to better understand.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old Aug 1, '11, 9:42 am
At Trent At Trent is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetpeace View Post
Ok, kinda stupid question I know, but it came about when I was having a rather heated debate the purpose and usefulness of priests with a Baptist friend of mine.

My local priest is wonderful and very helpful, he has been a great help since I am a newbie in the Catholic church. But, sometimes I feel I don't know enough about why Priests are part of the church, and why we don't just pray straight to God for redemption.

So, why do we not just pray straight to God and remove the role of the Priest all together? Its something I would like to better understand.

Thanks
Simple.

Do this in memory of Me

Christ commissioned/ordained the Apostles with those words.
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  #3  
Old Aug 1, '11, 10:26 am
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Spencerian Spencerian is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetpeace View Post
Ok, kinda stupid question I know, but it came about when I was having a rather heated debate the purpose and usefulness of priests with a Baptist friend of mine.

My local priest is wonderful and very helpful, he has been a great help since I am a newbie in the Catholic church. But, sometimes I feel I don't know enough about why Priests are part of the church, and why we don't just pray straight to God for redemption.

So, why do we not just pray straight to God and remove the role of the Priest all together? Its something I would like to better understand.

Thanks
Hi.

Christ explicitly indicated that he was not eliminating the priesthood, a sacrifice to God or the Commandments, but came to perfect them in His new Church:

Quote:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)
There was a priesthood of God in the Old Covenant, and thus, Christ chose 12 men to be the first leaders of the priesthood of the New Covenant. The sacrifice of lambs for the day of Atonement was replaced by the One Sacrifice of Christ Himself on the Cross. This single Sacrifice is re-presented at any Mass, as if we were there at Calvary at that moment (and, just as Christ did so in teaching His priests-to-be with bread and wine at the Last Supper, explaining what he literally meant about His body becoming the new sacrifice in John 6.)

After the Resurrection, Christ made a series of gestures that gave the Apostles authority in Christ's name to hear sins (see John 20). Since priests aren't telepaths, sins must be spoken to them. We can pray to God for sins, but atonement comes from Christ alone--and that comes through not an invisible Christ, but an alter Christi-- another Christ, a priest with authority by God Himself to hear your most serious sins and grant forgiveness, without reservation or judgment (unless he feels you are not contrite, thus the very rare "retaining" of sins), as Christ did while he was here.

The priest does not do this himself, but only by the authority given by Christ to the many bishops and priests who were ordained in the Church that Christ established. Christ directed the Apostles to forgive sins told to them, so the certainty of atonement is far more than if one were to pray to God alone or to stick to traditions from the Old Covenant (which were not sufficient to forgive sins, but to show piety in preparation for the Messiah).

There are passages that suggest that we Christians are all priests, but that is partially correct. Christ wanted us to spread the Gospel to others as priests would, but the specific consecration of the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity that is the Lamb of God, the replacement of the lambs of men, as well as the authority to forgive serious (mortal) sins, are the role of His ordained priesthood. Only the Catholic and Orthodox faiths have such ordained.
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  #4  
Old Aug 1, '11, 10:31 am
Trebor135 Trebor135 is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

This is an important question, not only because of the role played by priests in the Catholic faith, but because of how subtly the Bible speaks of this office as a feature of both Old and New Covenants. The following links should at least give your Protestant friend some food for profound thought about his one-office, low-church ecclesiology:
  1. Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood
  2. The Priesthood Debate
  3. The Office of the New Testament Priest
  4. Is Ministerial Priesthood Scriptural?
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  #5  
Old Aug 1, '11, 10:49 am
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Mumbles140 Mumbles140 is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

I always think of it with this analogy:

God gave us the ability to heal ourselves with medicine, and doctors have studied and written this, and there is a great collection of medical works. Now, because of easy access to these collections (bookstore, WebMD, etc), someone could (in theory) treat themselves. However, would you trust yourself to diagnose and treat a medical ailment? Wouldn't you rather like to be aware of what is going on, but allow the professional to treat you?

The same is for the soul. We have these resources, and it is good to know them and do our best to understand them, but it is those who have been trained for years who should be administering sacraments and guiding us to God. Christ chose His apostles to carry on His teachings, especially the sacrifice at the Last Supper which is our Eucharist. That is the origin of the priesthood, and it has remained that way in Christianity for almost 2,000 years (and if you consider the Jewish origins of the priesthood, it goes back much further).
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  #6  
Old Aug 1, '11, 11:30 am
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Spencerian Spencerian is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbles140 View Post
I always think of it with this analogy:

God gave us the ability to heal ourselves with medicine, and doctors have studied and written this, and there is a great collection of medical works. Now, because of easy access to these collections (bookstore, WebMD, etc), someone could (in theory) treat themselves. However, would you trust yourself to diagnose and treat a medical ailment? Wouldn't you rather like to be aware of what is going on, but allow the professional to treat you?

The same is for the soul. We have these resources, and it is good to know them and do our best to understand them, but it is those who have been trained for years who should be administering sacraments and guiding us to God. Christ chose His apostles to carry on His teachings, especially the sacrifice at the Last Supper which is our Eucharist. That is the origin of the priesthood, and it has remained that way in Christianity for almost 2,000 years (and if you consider the Jewish origins of the priesthood, it goes back much further).
An excellent analogy! There are some things we shouldn't "DIY" much, if at all. Medical care. Buying a home. Fixing a home. Parenting. If our faith is that important to us, why do we take it upon ourselves, rather than letting those practiced and professionally taught to guide us?
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  #7  
Old Aug 1, '11, 11:34 am
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Poetpeace Poetpeace is offline
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Default Re: Origins of the Priest?

Mumbles140 - Thanks for the wonderful analogy

All makes sense now! I shall read and study the links you guys have sent me
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