A Church of Christ member was telling me that “Each person is a Priest” and that we are all saints. There is no need for Priestly robes. How can I respond to this from a Catholic perspective?
Read the Rite of Baptism in the Catholic Church and you will indeed find that each Catholic is baptized into the roles of priest, prophet, and king and as a result take on certain responsibilities in their life. However in the Catholic Church Jesus also set up through the Apostles an ordained priesthood responsible for the Sacrifice of the Mass and other duties. This in someways is an extension of Judaism in which the father of a family was the “priest” for his family.
That did not wipe out the need for a special line of priests who offered the sacrifices in the temple. Your friend’s church short changes itself and is unbiblical in not making use of all that God has given us. The priests in the Jewish Temple which God established in the Torah had at God’s command special robes. Your friend either misnderstands or has not really read all of his Bible.
Thank you so much for your input. Take a look at this writing he sent to me and let me know your thoughts, I think you are right on track with explaining our beliefs. This is what he sent:
God gave Moses detailed instructions for a special priesthood to stand before God and offer sacrifices The priests were to come from the tribe of Levi of the family of Aaron, Moses’s brother. Aaron was the first high priest with his sons being priests under him. All of the sons of Aaron could be priest, but the office of High Priest was limited to Aaron and then to his oldest son and then to his oldest son on down. This is shown in Exodus and Leviticus. Hebrews chapters 7-9 explains that Christ is our
high priest and has now offered once and for all the sacrifice necessary for the sins of the world. (See Heb.9:23-28).
Under the new covenant each Christian is a priest (I Peter 2:,9) and saint (I Cor. 1:2). Special robes are no longer used, for in Rev.19:8 we find that the bride church is arrayed in the fine linen of righteousness.
in my personal preistly role i can offer up my sufferings to God for my own good and if i ever become saintly enough i can offer these same sufferings for the good of others.in cloistered convents the good sisters offer their prayers up to God for the good of us not for themselves,thier personal sacrifice is their offering to God.
You don’t need to be “saintly enough” nor live in a convent to offer up your sufferings for the sake of others. That’s what we are supposed to do with suffering, and that’s what will help you become saintly. It is an act of love.
The Church typically speaks of two kinds of priesthood: (1) The common priesthood of all the baptized & (2) the ministerial priesthood. These two kinds of priesthood are essentially different (i.e. they are different in essence, not just in degree).
See the Catechism for more details (CCC 1546-1547):
Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ
1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are "consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.
1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially. In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace --a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit–, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.
I suggeset you read all of Article 9 (I Believe In The Holy Catholic Church) in the Catechism.
And, read the sections on the Sacraments, particularly the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.
Your friend’s basic logic is flawed. Just because we all have a role in the priesthood of all believers, it does not logically or scripturally follow that any sort of ceremonial garments are unecessary or even useful.
As they are used by Catholics they are largely part of the visual aspect of the sacrifice of the Mass which lends itself to calling attention to the fact that a Real Sacrifice is being offered on the altar by a person who’s primary role is that of a priest.
I suspect your friend’s problem is not with the garments themselves, but with the Sacrifice of the Mass and thus the ministerial priesthood.
It means that we all can offer up sacrifices, not just suffering but anything we do, even washing the dishes, or giving a small piece of our favorite food to the dog instead of eating it ourself. That is what the universal priesthood means. Before Christ, only the high priest could offer sacrifices once a year. Since Christ is the only true high priest, he entered in once- for all, an event being out of time and thus accessible by all people everywhere and ever since. We give our sacrifices to Him.
Agree with both statements.
As to being saints - that’s in the NT, & it’s rooted in the OT.
All Christians are hagioi, holy ones, saints - because they have been sanctified by God, Who is the Holy One; Who has set them apart to be exclusively His.
This is objective holiness.
Those Christians whoare Saints are those in whom the grace of sanctification has been particularly fruitful, so that the Church can say that they are “approved by God” (Acts 2) - & canonisation is the Church’s recognition of this Divine fruitfulness in them.
This is subjective holiness.
The difference is largely one of degree - for all Christians are holy; but this Divine grace, & call to be holy, is more fruitful in some than in others; some are more responsive to this calling than others.
Hope that helps