In persona Christi


#1

Greetings.

I’m looking for a solid, apologetic for the doctrine that priests act in persona Christi. This is a weak point in my defense of Catholicism.

References to any webpages or books are welcome.

Thanks,
Ut


#2

St. Paul uses the phrase in 2 Corinthians 2:10:
10 Cui autem aliquid donastis, et ego : nam et ego quod donavi, si quid donavi, propter vos in persona Christi, (Latin Vulgate)

10 And to whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned any thing, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ. (Douay-Rheims)


#3

OK. This works for confession.

What about the other sacraments?

Ut.


#4

uus,

“Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Hebrews 5:1) St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the proper office of a priest is to be a mediator between God and men, inasmuch as he is the representative of God with the people, bringing to them in return for their “gifts and sacrifices,” both pardon for sin, and those “most great and precious promises” by which they are “made partakers of the divine nature.” ( 2 Peter 1:4 )

Priesthood and sacrifice are correlative. The essential act of priesthood is the offering of sacrifice, both as the supreme act of man’s worship of God ( latreutic ), and in expiation for the sins of men ( propitiatory ); and our High Priest and Mediator, Jesus Christ, performed this supreme act of his Priesthood when he offered himself in sacrifice to His Heavenly Father on the Cross both as the perfect and supreme act of divine worship, and as the efficacious expiation of the sins of the world.

Another act of Our Lord as High Priest and Redeemer was to establish his Church for the salvation of the world through the merits of his Sacrifice on Calvary. He, the eternal Priest, would be its Head and High Priest. But since he was about to withdraw his corporal presence from his Church, it was necessary that his Priesthood should be exercised visibly and externally by a body of ministers appointed by himself and acting in his name.

Our Lord, therefore, on the day before he suffered, having for the last time celebrated with his Apostles the legal feast of the Paschal Lamb, instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the New Testament, first, as the perennial commemoration of the Sacrifice of Redemption on Calvary, and secondly, in order that the merits of the Sacrifice of the Cross might be applied to individual souls for the remission of their sins. Further, in order that this memorial Sacrifice might be offered in the Church till the end of time, and “show forth the death of the Lord until he come,” ( 1 Corinthians 11:26 ) by the words, “Do this in commenoration of me,” he ordained his Apostles priests and gave them power to ordain others in their turn, and thus established in his Church a permanent and perpetual Order of Christian Priesthood.

Tomster


#5

Oh that’s good. Thanks Tomster. :thumbsup:

Can you recommend any good books on the Priesthood?

Ut.


#6

It doesn’t mean what you probably think it does.
The word “person” means “mask”. So the priest puts on the “mask” of Christ like an actor in a play.

In other word he has some of the authority of Christ, but only in a constrained way. Similarly, in Britain theoretically the Queen tries all cases. The judges act in the Queen’s person, so they have the right to conduct the trial, exclude or demand evidence, and pass sentence. However they cannot dissolve parliament or appoint peers or exercise the other functions of the monarchy.


#7

So for you, a priest acts in persona Christi in a purely juridical sense, and not in a mystical sense?

Ut


#8

In other word he has some of the authority of Christ, but only in a constrained way. Similarly, in Britain theoretically the Queen tries all cases. The judges act in the Queen’s person, so they have the right to conduct the trial, exclude or demand evidence, and pass sentence. However they cannot dissolve parliament or appoint peers or exercise the other functions of the monarchy.

We have a Governor General in Canada who does have the power to dissolve parliament, but she is as likely to do this as the Queen is to dissolve the British partiament. (Totally beside the point, I know :slight_smile:

However, the Priest does not just excercise proxy power. He is standing in the person of Christ during the last supper. In his hands, the bread and the wine gets transformed into the body and blood of our Lord. He is mystically present in all of the sacraments. Wouldn’t you say?

Ut


#9

uus,

The Bible, the Catechism of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Tomster


#10

When the priest acst In Persona Christi he is the mask through which we go to the very face and person of Jesus.

That mask is so in concert with Jesus that it is an extnesion of Jesus’ very own person.


#11

“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10.9 Only God can join a husband and wife together, so I guess a priest presiding over a wedding would have to act in the person of Christ. Would a protestant minister or a justice of the peace presiding over a valid marriage be acting in the person of Christ as well?


#12

“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10.9 Only God can join a husband and wife together, so I guess a priest presiding over a wedding would have to act in the person of Christ. Would a protestant minister or a justice of the peace presiding over a valid marriage be acting in the person of Christ as well?

It would seem as though the answer is “yes” for the protestant minister, and “no” for the justice of the peace. Since the Catholic church recognises that people married in the protestant church are validly married, because they do it before God and men. On another note, the actual ministers of the sacrament of matrimony are the two couples. The Priest only acts as a minister. As far as I can tell, the couple are not acting in persona Christi though. That charism resides only with the priest. We are in a sense, all configured to the person of Christ in baptism, but for the priest, they have a special charism.

I think…:rolleyes:

Ut


#13

Because of its mysterious significance, the Church surrounds earthly nuptuals with sacred rites, reserves for its recipients the most solemn blessings, and mingles the marriage rite with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The sacrament of Matrimony, like all the sacraments, is subordinated to the Holy Eucharist and derives grace therefrom, as from a common fountain or source. The effects and purpose of the one are intimately connected with the effects and purpose of the other. By the sacrament of Matrimony a remedy is offered for the concupiscence of the flesh, lest bodily sin should prevent the reception of the body of Christ. By receiving the body of Christ we are incorporated into his Mystical Body, and of this ineffable union between humanity and Christ the sacrament of Matrimony is the type and sign.

It may appear, at first sight, that the accepted use of terms matter and form has no importance concerning Matrimony, but its value is seen if we proceed to a further point. A sacrament requires a minister. Christ is the author and principal minister of them all, and he has deputed men to act in his name. One thing is quite certain and that is that Christ instituted all the sacraments, which are as instruments in his hands, conferring grace from him to the members of his Mystical Body. Apart from this intimate union with Christ they cannot confer grace. The person who administers a sacrament contributes to its effect as a secondary cause or agent, but the primary cause is Christ, in whose person the minister acts.

Tomster


#14

The ministers of the sacrament of marriage are the bride and groom themselves. That’s why a Deacon can preside at a Catholic wedding.

Baptism can be administered by any christian when a priest is not avaliable.

All other sacraments require a bishop or a priest.

Confirmation is conferred by a bishop but he can delegate it to a priest.

Hioly Orders are conferred by a bishop.

The burial of the dead is not a sacrament–a Catholic Deacon can preside at a funeral service but priests preside at fuineral masses.


#15

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