No Catholic Priest for 100s of years?


#1

I had a Holy Cross Nun state in an RCIA class that the early church didn’t have any priests. She stated that priests weren’t around for hundreds of years.

Is this true? If not, please respond with references.

Thank you,

rmw82


#2

It seems to me that Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons are spelled out pretty well in scriptural referrences to the early church. Can’t quote the exact places off the top of my head…is it Acts or the Pauline Epistles?

I’m sure this will be handled post haste (couldn’t resist the pun) around here…


#3

I am pretty sure that priests are mentioned in Acts\James, Priest is a contraction of the word presbyter.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyter

God Bless
Scylla


#4

The word “Presbyter” is where we developed the word “Priests”. So, yes, we had priests since the beginning, but the word, “priest”, took centuries to develope.

NotWorthy


#5

Paul discusses all three levels of the Catholic hierarchy. Since Paul didn’t speak English, he used the Greek for Priests (Presbyters), Bishops (Episcopoi) and Deacons.


#6

Romans 15:16

15 But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit.

Or the Douay-Rheims translation:
*

16 That I should be the minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles; sanctifying the gospel of God, that the oblation of the Gentiles may be made acceptable and sanctified in the Holy Ghost.

Paul is offering a sacrifice (oblation, offering) to be sanctificed (consecrated) by the Holy Spirit. That sounds awfully like a priest offering the sacrifice of the Mass. This is the central priestly duty, and Paul does it. *


#7

**Scriptural references to priests:

**Acts, Chapter 14, verses 21-23

21 After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. 22 They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” 23 They appointed presbyters [/font]5 for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Acts, Chapter 15, verses 1 and 2:

1 Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” [/font]2 2 Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question. Acts, Chapter 20, verses 17- 21:

17 From Miletus he had the presbyters of the church at Ephesus summoned. 18 When they came to him, he addressed them, "You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, 20 and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. 21 I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. First Timothy, Chapter 5, verses 17-19:

17 Presbyters who preside well deserve double honor, especially those who toil in preaching and teaching. 18 For the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is threshing,” and, “A worker deserves his pay.” 19 Do not accept an accusation against a presbyter unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. **Epistle to Titus, Chapter 1, verses 5 and 6:5 For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, 6 on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious. ** First Epistle of Peter, Chapter 5, Verses 1 - 3: 1 So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. 2 Tend the flock of God in your midst, (overseeing) not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. 3 Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. **Second Epistle of John, Verses 1 and 2:**1 The Presbyter to the chosen Lady and to her children whom I love in truth–and not only I but also all who know the truth-- 2 because of the truth that dwells in us and will be with us forever. **Third Epistle of John, Verse 1:**1 The Presbyter to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth. **Epistle of James, Chapter 5, Verses 14 and 15:**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,

15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.


#8

Jesus established the Priesthood at the Last Supper, where has this nun been?


#9

Thank you, everyone. Hopefully your responses will help others as well that may have heard similar things. Afterall, I’m sure she didn’t come up with this on her own, she must have heard it somewhere.


#10

[quote=rmw82]I had a Holy Cross Nun state in an RCIA class that the early church didn’t have any priests. She stated that priests weren’t around for hundreds of years.

Is this true? If not, please respond with references.

Thank you,

rmw82
[/quote]

Loosely speaking the early Church did not have many priests. The Faithful always gathered around their Bishop when Christianity was grouped in large cities. As Christianity spread out into smaller and smaller towns priests (parish) were needed to represent the Bishop responsible for that area since every town could not have it’s own Bishop. But to begin with the Bishop was the focus of the Christian Community for the celebration of the Eucharist and initiation when nearly all Baptisms were adults.


#11

Yes, the offices of Priest and Bishop were often combined in a single man, as Paul indicates, continuing with the verses I quoted from Titus, above:

5 For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you,
6 on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious.
7 For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain,
8 but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled,
9 holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.


#12

[quote=rmw82]I had a Holy Cross Nun state in an RCIA class that the early church didn’t have any priests. She stated that priests weren’t around for hundreds of years.

Is this true? If not, please respond with references.

Thank you,

rmw82
[/quote]

Ask her to explain why this was written by the Bishop of Antioch sometime between 107 & 110 AD and just what she thinks those “approved” guys were that offered the Eucharist.

This man was taught by St. John himself…a tad closer to the source than a Holy Cross nun. :frowning:

CHAP. VIII.–LET NOTHING BE DONE WITHOUT THE BISHOP.

See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out[through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop.** Let that be deemed a proper(18) Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it.** Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.(2) even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast.(1) But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid. (Emphasis mine)
The whole letter.

She’s wrong.
Pax tecum


#13

There are a lot of feminists who have infiltrated the orders of Sisters.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon9.gif


#14

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Loosely speaking the early Church did not have many priests. The Faithful always gathered around their Bishop when Christianity was grouped in large cities. As Christianity spread out into smaller and smaller towns priests (parish) were needed to represent the Bishop responsible for that area since every town could not have it’s own Bishop.
[/quote]

And that is reflected in Paul’s letter to Titus. In Titus 1:5, Paul is instructing Titus (a bishop) to appoint priests in all the towns of his jurisdiction.

That all would have happend in Apostolic times.


#15

The only thing I could add is that presbyter and priest are synonyms, meaning that they are differing words that mean the same thing. Check out Websters dictionary. Notice how it mentions a member of the governing body of an early Christian Church. There was only one Church in the early Church; the Catholic Church!

**Main Entry: pres·by·ter **

Pronunciation: 'prez-b&-t&r, 'pres-
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin, elder, priest, from Greek *presbyteros, *comparative of *presbys *old man, elder; akin to Greek *pro *before and Greek *bainein *to go – more at FOR, COME

  • **1** **:** a member of the governing body of an early Christian church **2** **:** a member of the order of priests in churches having episcopal hierarchies that include bishops, priests, and deacons **3** **:** [**ELDER**]("http://javascript:lookup('elder%20');")4b **- pres·byt·er·ate** /prez-'bi-t&-r&t, pres-, -"rAt/ *noun* lookupchange('presbyter','lookUpDic');

  • #16

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