How is a presbyter a priest?


In reading James 5:14-16 14 Is anyone among you sick? *He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, I see it said presbyter,how can you tell a non-catholic that this is saying priest.Thank You


Dear Will,

The English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).

In Hebrews 5 we read: “Every high priest has been taken out of mankind and is appointed to act for men in their relations with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; and so he can sympathize with those who are ignorant or uncertain because he too lives in the limitations of weakness…No one takes this honor on himself, but each on is called by God, as Aaron was.”

As for St. Paul, he was very definitely a priest: “He has appointed me a priest of Jesus Christ, and I am to carry out my priestly duty by bringing the Good News from God to the pagans…” Rom 15:15-
And today, some priests answer questions on the internet.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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