[quote=ak29]How do I answer this argument about the priesthood made to me by a protestant.
He says that when Jesus died and the Curtain on the Holy of Holies was split this was symbolic of the end of the priesthood, and that we now do not need the mediation of a priest we can contact God directly.
How do Catholics interpret the breaking on the curtain of the holy of holies?
It used to be only the High Priest that had access to the tabernacle, and at that, once a year. Now, we may all approach the presence of God in the Eucharist as often as we would like (i.e., daily). The tearing of the veil shows that we do have a great, direct access to God, all of us Christians.
And he’s half right. The levitical priesthood is meaningless. But the Catholic priesthood is not the levitical priesthood (i.e, it is not conferred through familial succession, which is the mark of the levitical priesthood), but through consecration. But just because we don’t need the levitical priesthood (which he doesn’t need the tearing of the veil to prove), doesn’t mean we don’t need the priesthood that Jesus Christ established.