Pre-Vatican 2 teachings on the priesthood

I got into a brief debate with a co-worker over this subject today. I was talking about benediction, she doesn’t remember it at all from when she was a child, nor has she been to it as an adult. I was taught by my very orthodox organist that the purpose of veiling the priest’s hands with the hummeril veil during benediction is to demonstrate that Christ whom is present in the blessed sacrament is blessing us. (Hence the name “benediction”)

She went off on me that is post-Vatican II thinking. Why would the hummeril veil stand for that, when Jesus works through the priest? I explained that I was taught that Jesus works through the priest at certain points only, such as: the celebration of the Eucharist, confession, annointing the sick, and giving blessings. In this case Jesus is present already. She said she was not taught that at all in her day. I said that she was not taught properly the priest is not persona christi 24-7, only at the certain points I mentioned. She then went off stating nah, I’m wrong, this thinking has led to lay ministers distributing communion, communion on the hand, etc, etc. If you ask me, I think she just got mad because I am younger then her and I was correcting her. I am not here to start a debate about how communion is distrubuted and the current trend of lay people’s involvement at Mass. I only want to know about what was the pre-Vatican II teaching on the priesthood. Is it that the Jesus works through the priest at certain points, or is it 24-7. What was the pre-Vatican II teaching?

The Pre-Vatican II teaching on the priesthod is the same as the post Vatican II teaching- it can never ever change and if anyone says it did you ask them to back it up with something that says the pre-vatican II teaching has been abolished.

The humeral veil is used to show what is taking place at Benediction, as you said, it is Jesus Himself blessing us and not the priest blessing us with Jesus. And the priest is Alter Christus only during the Sacrifice of the Mass when he says the words of consecration, not 24/7 - and that is universal Church teaching from the beginning. Go tell your friend to get the documents from before 1965 to find out for herself and prove to you her point.

The use of the humeral veil at Benedicion was never abolished to my knowledge after Vatican II either.


The priests at my NO parish still use the humeral veil at Benediction.

All the baptized are in some limited respect “other Christs” (my Latin isn’t good enough to know if alteri Christi is the correct plural). What is truly distinct about the priest is not his ability to be another Christ but his ability to be such in persona Christi capitis.

(Not meant to indicate that *alter Christus *is inaccurate or can’t be used distinctively, as it has a very ancient tradition, just splitting hairs.)

FYI, the priest is alter Christus during the entire Context of the Mass. not just at the words of Consecration.

But not 24\7 :slight_smile:

Thank you, I think what this is a matter of she doesn’t understand what I’m saying. In the pre-Vatican II days perhaps priests were held in much higher esteem and were more revered because of their being persona christi. Also, because they had a greater role in the celebration of Mass, such is the distribution of communion, that it may have come across that way. When I told her that she was taught wrong, I could tell she was pissed. She seems to think I have been poisened by this post-Vatican II mindset. (There is also the old, “I’m older then you, therefore I know more than you,” thing) I don’t think even the SSPX would argue with this, that the priest is not persona Christi 24/7, but only at certain points. Mass, confession, annointing of the sick, giving blessings, etc.

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