Just some catechetical aspects of this concept of persona Christi.
In Persona Christi
The Church teaches that ultimately Jesus is the ONLY Priest and we merely have a differing share in HIS Priesthood.
There is the “priesthood of all the faithful” which all Baptized Christians are part of.
Then there is varying degrees of the ministerial Priesthood (which the Bishops, Priests, and to a lesser [non-sacredotal] extent, the deacons share in.
One of the main concepts of this ministry for the Bishops and ministerial Priests is that they serve in a way that Jesus in them and through them acts in a special and personal way to forgive sins and confect the Eucharist!
Deacons and Laity do not share in this aspect of Christ’s Priesthood. This serving in the actual person of Christ is called “in persona Christi”.
They act in the name of Jesus as do we, but they also act in the PERSON of Jesus (and we do not in this manner) in this special “sacerdotal” way. (one reason among many why there will be no female ministerial Priesthood within the fullness of Christianity–Catholicism).
CCC 1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders,** acts in persona Christi Capitis**:
[INDENT]It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.[/INDENT]
Let’s look at St. Paul matter-of-factly employ this concept of acting in the person of Christ without any felt need to defend it.
2nd CORINTHIANS 2:1-11 1 For I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 5 But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure–not to put it too severely-- to you all. 6 For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence (Greek word “prospon”) of Christ, 11 to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
2nd CORINTHIANS 2:10 (DRV Catholic Bible translation) And to whom you have forgiven any thing, I also: for, what I forgave, if I have forgiven any thing, it was for your sakes in the person of Christ, 11 that we may not be circumvented by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Prospon is only used three times in the New Testament in the context of Jesus. All three have a special association. Once it is used in the context of in Christ’s person through St. Paul, once in the context of Pilate referring to Jesus in regards to Himself and the other time in Hebrews 1 it is in the context of sharing God’s nature (which makes sense because Jesus is true God and true man).
Hope this gives some deeper insight to the concept of “in persona Christi” AmosTown.