What is the difference with our priesthood and ordained priesthood?


I would like to be better informed of the difference in the priesthood of all the faithfull and the priesthood of the ordained ministers. Im speaking about Catholic faith, of course.

The way I see it, is that we all are Baptised into the priestly brotherhood of Jesus and receive the gifts and merits of our one High Priest Jesus. Thus, are able to make spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus. The ordained priest is prosiding over Mass and Sacraments in office of representation of Christ as head of the Mytical Body. But it is not the priest's sacrifice that mediates our priesthood to God, but Jesus' High Priestly ordination of this apostolic office. Meaning, ordained priests are not seperated from the people as in the O.T.

Does that make sense? It does to me, but I may be a little wrong.



I did a Bible study about this. As a priesthood of people, we all cooperate to some degree in Christ's ministry. However the purpose of the ministerial or ordained priesthood is to serve the priestly people of God with the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. They are also teachers. Remember that while Israel was called "a Kingdom of priests" they still had a priesthood of believers AND a ministerial priesthood to offer sacrifices to God. The same is with the New Covenant. Our priests offer to us the sacrifice of the Eucharist. They exist for service. Service to God and to us. There used to be a garment called a maniple that the priest wore at Mass which was meant to symbolize the "bonds" of service. St Paul spoke of his ministry as being in bonds. However you are right in that both kinds of priesthood are not "separate" While one is at the service of the other, to teach and sanctify the other, we all are God's people. Just like Israel was :)

Hope this helps.


A read of this section of the Catholic Catechism might clarify, rcwitness:



[quote="rcwitness, post:1, topic:322057"]
I would like to be better informed of the difference in the priesthood of all the faithfull and the priesthood of the ordained ministers. Im speaking about Catholic faith, of course.


There are many books on the subject. It you're theologically inclined, one that you might want to consider is Yves Congar’s Lay People in the Church or Pope John Paul II's Christifidelis Laici.

One of the things that I found interesting, early on, is that there is a common distinction in the New Testament that's not immediately obvious in English.

In passages regarding ordained ministers of Christ's sacraments, such as James 5:14, the term most commonly used is some form of presbyteros (elder).

In passages regarding the priesthood of the faithful, such as 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6, the term most commonly used is some form of hiereus (sacred, one who offers sacrifice, belonging to the temple).

The latter is also the term most commonly used for priests of older covenants, as in Matthew 2:4 (chief priests = arch-hiereis).

The reason this distinction is not obvious in English is that we use one word, "priest," for all of these, even though the English word "priest" is derived only from the first, presbyteros.

One of the things this suggests to me is that the faithful have a priesthood somewhat analogous to the priests of previous covenants (the hiereus). They offered sacrifice to God, and so do we: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

But the priesthood of the ordained ministers of Christ's sacraments (the presbyteroi), the Eucharist especially, appears to be something beyond this, something new, for the service and edification of God's kingdom of priests. We offer to God what is ours, what has been given to us, while they offer to God for our benefit what is uniquely Christ's: Christ's own sacrifice.

A lot of this seems similar to your own thinking.

This is just some of my own thinking, mind you. You should definitely look to the teaching of the Church and to better theologians than I. :)


I see the first part of this section being true. The new priesthood is beyond the old. And the Eucharistic sacrifice offered to us through the priest I can see.

This role of theirs I think I understand. But the bolded part, regarding the priest offering to God…?

I have a feeling this is not the correct way to put it…? But it is a bit of a mystery. This just makes it sound as though ordained priests offer Christ’s sacrifice to God. Where I think it is more of the ordained priest offering (as a representative of the body of the faithfull) our sacrifices into the one and only sacrifice, of Christ’s, accepted by the Father.


For priest and laity, our mission is the same. Our roles, or particular apostolate or ministry, in The Church and in that one mission differ. We are the one people of God with different roles etc. in the community of the people of God.

Apostolate of the Laity: vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html

"In the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission. Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in His name and power. But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.(2)
They exercise the apostolate in fact by their activity directed to the evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ.’

Ideally speaking, while the office of the priesthood (Holy Orders) deserves our greatest respect, for those called to the priesthood it is the role of servant of the people of God. Just as for the laity, ideally our role is servant of all in secular life. We are all called into service as servants of each other, not status over others and while some roles in The Church do involve a certain status over others - this status is of “one who serves” and serves as servant those to whom he or she is called to hold status over.
Matthew Ch23 “[11] He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant.”


[quote="rcwitness, post:5, topic:322057"]
This just makes it sound as though ordained priests offer Christ's sacrifice to God.


For our benefit, they do:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you? :)


[quote="aspirant, post:7, topic:322057"]
For our benefit, they do:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you? :)


No, not neccessarily. You may very well be correct. It is why im asking about the nature of their office and ministry. This aspect of it is hard to understand. I notice the words at Mass and it makes me wonder.

Thanks for sharing,


Keep investigating, and let us know what you learn! :)


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