Clergy & Laity

Hi there, I am definitely not ‘knocking’ the division between clergy and laity, but in protestantism the phrase ‘The priesthood of all believers’ can be used by some low Church protestants to mean every Christian can baptize or take the Eucharist.

In the OT we see in the golden calf that the first-born sons of each tribe of Israel repudiate their God-given priesthood by their idolatry, and, due to their sin, the priesthood is given to the faithful Levites.

My question is this: Why has the NT Church carried on this tradition despite the fact it was instituted because of sin. Wouldn’t the greater glory of the New Covenant expect to see this special priesthood returned to all ‘first-borns of each tribe of new Israel’ so-to-speak, since things are ‘made new’, e.g. New creation.

I’m confused…and certainly not against clergy, but would like a reason why this punishment of OT idolatry has continued into the New Covenant and not been ‘redeemed’ (for use of a more sensitive word). Please understand my heart in this. Just my understanding is missing.

Thanks,
Chris

There seem to be some assumptions going into this. If idolatry was the *occasion *for establishing a hierarchy, it does not follow necessarily that it was the sole reason for doing so, or that it was primarily a punishment. It was in fact a benefit and a blessing to God’s people.

Our Lord became Incarnate to redeem fallen man. Does that make the Incarnation any less perfect? Does it mean that our Lord should cease being Incarnate now that the Redemption is accomplished?

The Catholic Church affirms a priesthood of all believers, which carries with it great blessings and responsibilities. That the Apostles were given a greater share in the priesthood of our Lord does not take away from the sanctity of the lay vocation.

The ministerial priesthood is not a continuation of the Jewish priests of the tribe of Levi.

It is a new creation. Christ is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2A.HTM

Mercuriel #1
In the OT we see in the golden calf that the first-born sons of each tribe of Israel repudiate their God-given priesthood by their idolatry, and, due to their sin, the priesthood is given to the faithful Levites.

My question is this: Why has the NT Church carried on this tradition despite the fact it was instituted because of sin.

Jesus came to redeem Mankind and to do so He also instituted His Church with Her priesthood At the Last Supper Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, saying: “This is My Body, which will be given up for you.” (Lk 22: part 19). After they had eaten, He took the cup and said: “This cup is the new covenant In My Blood, which will be shed for you.” (v 20). [Transubstantiation]. “Do this in memory of Me.” (v 19). These Apostles, led by Peter celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and ordained other priests and bishops.

Regarding Baptism, although a lay person cannot licitly baptize under the current Code of Canon Law, except in an emergency, baptism by a lay person, done licitly or not, is still a valid baptism, if he uses the proper form and matter, i.e., done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit with fresh water by immersion or by pouring.

Regarding the Eucharist, the New Testament really doesn’t say who can validly confect it, except perhaps that only the Twelve Apostles were told at the Last Supper to do it. However, if the Eucharist is like the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Spirit or what Catholics call Confirmation (Acts 8:18) or like the anointing of the sick (James 5:14), it was reserved to the Apostles and their successors, the ordained elders of the Church. St Ignatius of Antioch, writing about A.D. 107, said:
Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. ( chapter 8Epistle to the Smyrnaeans,)

In Korah’s rebellion, Korah and some other Levites tried to usurp the prerogatives of the Aaronic priesthood. (Numbers 16) If all Christians share exactly the same priestly prerogatives, none more and none less, then the reference to Korah’s rebellion in Jude 1:11 makes no sense.

Catholics do believe that all the Baptized take part in Christ’s role as Priest, Prophet and King; but we express it differently.

We believe there are three levels of “priesthood” just like there are three levels of the ordained Holy Orders (Deacon, Priest & Bishop)

Those levels are:

  1. Jesus Christ as High Priest
  2. the Ordained, reestablished Priesthood of Melchizedek to stand in for Jesus, acting in Persona Christi to feed the sheep
  3. all the Baptized who lead the families and evangelize others to bring them to Christ

Think about it for a moment, even in the most fundamentalist, Protestant communities, there is a pastor.

I once hear the following to describe the difference between the ordained priesthood and the laity:

“The job of the laity is to bring people to Christ, the job of the ordained priesthood is to bring Christ to the people.”

This makes sense because the laity bring (at minimum) their families and friends to Mass while the Priest brings the Christ to us through the Blessed Sacrament.

God Bless

Thanks everyone,

Particularly 1ke for the article.

Perhaps I could phrase my findings this way: So, figuratively, the 12 apostles act as the first born sons of the New Israel, and their successors as their ‘sons’.

We also see in Malachi 3:3: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

So Jesus Christ has renewed or recreated the Aaronic Priesthood under the New Covenant in His Blood.

You might want to read through St Clement of Rome’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, written about A.D. 90. Though not specifically about the various expressions of Christian priesthood, it’s theme seems to be: “The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.” ( chapter 40First Epistle to the Corinthians,)

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