What’s so special about catholic priests? Aren’t they just men?


#1

Sorry if this came out with some computer code, especially about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In future I’ll figure out how to do a blog effectively and post a link.
Helloo all. i wrote this letter below to a non catholic ( protestant ) who kept saying what’s so special about priests. Can you read it and add your suggestions and comments to help me perfect it for a blog and to go on my website in a new forum I’m setting up along with a big upgrade very soon. I appreciate your help.

Good question. Many people in the modern world ask this question. Many catholic priests don’t seem to know the answer too. This article will attempt to help explain what is different about priests. Perhaps it will even help some priests overcome their identity crisis and help them and all understand the subject much better and help all see the unique and special role priests have in the church.

Q. What is a priest?
A. [FONT=‘Times New Roman’,‘serif’][/font]
PRIEST. An authorized mediator who offers a true sacrifice in acknowledgment of God’s supreme dominion over human beings and in expiation for their sins. A priest’s mediation is the reverse of that of a prophet, who communicates from God to the people. A priest mediates from the people to God.
Christ, who is God and man, is the first, last, and greatest priest of the New Law. He is the eternal high priest who offered himself once and for all on the Cross, a victim of infinite value, and he continually renews that sacrifice on the altar through the ministry of the Church.
Within the Church are men who are specially ordained as priests to consecrate and offer the body and blood of Christ in the Mass. The Apostles were the first ordained priests, when on Holy Thursday night Christ told them to do in his memory what he had just done at the Last Supper. All priests and bishops trace their ordination to the Apostles. Their second essential priestly power, to forgive sins, was conferred by Christ on Easter Sunday, when he told the Apostles, “For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20-22, 23).
All the Christian faithful, however, also share in the priesthood by their baptismal character. They are enabled to offer themselves in sacrifice with Christ through the Eucharistic liturgy. They offer the Mass in the sense that they internally unite themselves with the outward offering made by the ordained priest alone.

Also- In the early church priests were called presbyters. An explaination follows-

PRESBYTER. In the early Church a member of a group (usually of priests) who advised a bishop. Together they formed the presbytery, which, under a bishop, was the governing body of a community. The presbyter having no official duties, he was often commissioned by the bishop to teach, celebrate Mass, and baptize. Presbyters were usually of advanced age and, like a bishop, chosen by the people. Their rank was above that of deacons but inferior to that of bishops. There was no restriction on their number.
Whilst priests are sinners as we all are a priest lives in a state of perfection. This does not mean the priest is perfect but that he lives a life where he is constantly called on to perform the works of spiritual mercy and corporal mercy. Not many people have a vocation that requires this.


#2

These works of mercy are as follows-
**The Works of Mercy **
CCC 2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.245 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.246 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?247


In a secular world there is much confusion about the priesthood. The most important things about the priest is that he has the power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at the Mass and offer the sacrifice of Calvary which was made once for all men of good will on his altar. The same sacrifice is offered each time he says Mass. This is possible because there is no time with God. This is a genuine miracle taking place on the altar at every Mass.


#3

The priest has the power to forgive sins. You can repent and have your sins forgiven directly by God is a common argument and why must we confess to a priest is another. You need to make an act of perfect contrition to have God forgive the more serious sins and how can we be sure we have done so? With confession we only need imperfect sorrow such as fear of hell or some other less than perfect motive for sorrow to be forgiven. God in his wisdom knows that we need to unburden ourselves and tell someone the terrible things we’ve done and hear words of forgiveness. This is why Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of confession.
The priest receives these powers from a bishop who has received them from another bishop etc and they can trace their linage back to the apostles. So the powers the priest have come to them from the apostles.
The priest is a spiritual leader. He has in his charge a multitude of catholics and is responsible for the spiritual welfare of many catholics. He is a leader in his community and must be respected for this also.
What is apostolic succession that gives priests special powers?
**]APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION. [/font]**The method by which the episcopacy has been derived from the Apostles to the present day. Succession means successive consecration by the laying on of hands, performing the functions of the Apostles, receiving their commission in a lineal sequence from the Apostles, succession in episcopal sees traced back to the Apostles, and successive communion with the Apostolic See, i.e., the Bishop of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox and others share in the apostolic succession in having valid episcopal orders, although they are not in collegial union with the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

[FONT=Calibri]About the priesthood-
PRIESTHOOD. Sacrament of the New Law, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper, which confers on a man the power of consecrating and offering the body and blood of Christ, and of remitting and retaining sins. There are two grades or levels of the priesthood, the presbyterate and the episcopate. Normally priesthood refers to the presbyterate and is the second rank of orders, above the diaconate. Only a bishop can ordain priests, who must first have been ordained deacons. In the ordination of priests, the “matter” of the sacrament is the imposition of the bishop’s hands upon the individual candidates, which is done in silence before the consecration prayer, of which the following words pertain to the nature of the order and therefore are required for the validity of the act: "We ask you, all powerful Father, give these servants of yours the dignity of the presbyterate. Renew the Spirit of holiness within them. By your divine gift may they attain the second order of the hierarchy and exemplify right conduct in their lives."
PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST. The role of Christ as ordained to offer sacrifice and prayer for humanity to his heavenly Father. His ordination or anointing to the office of high priest took place at the moment of the Incarnation, i.e., at the moment when the Word of God assumed human flesh in the womb of Mary. During his life on earth Christ exercised his priestly office by all the acts of his will, and then at the Last Supper and on Calvary he united all these mortal acts into one supreme sacrifice to the Father. Along with the sacrifice, Christ also prayed as a priest, notably when he instituted the Eucharist and in the sacerdotal prayer recorded by St. John (17:1-26). Moreover, Christ’s priesthood continues everlastingly in heaven, as revealed in the Letter to the Hebrews. Regarding the manner in which he exercises his eternal priesthood, revelation merely says: “He is always making intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34), which is a truly sacerdotal function because, as St. Paul affirms, it bears an intimate relation to the sacrifice of the Cross. In fact, Christ’s continuing priesthood is the basis in faith for the existence and efficacy of the sacrifice of the Mass.

There is a lot of confusion about the fact that all are called to share in the priesthood. I hope this article explains the difference between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful. There is a big difference.
**PRIESTHOOD OF THE FAITHFUL. **The share in the high priesthood of Christ received by everyone at baptism and strengthened by confirmation and the Eucharist. Essential to this priesthood is the right to receive the other sacraments, of participating in the Church’s liturgy, and of being united with Christ the eternal priest as he offers himself, with the members of his Mystical Body, to the heavenly Father in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Parish priests are like helpers for the bishop. A bishop may have 200,000 catholics in his care and certainly needs help. The ordained priests are put in charge of parishes within the bishop’s diocese. Not all priests are parish priests.
I hope this brief explaination has been helpful. The ordained priest has a great dignity. He is the persona chrisi ( person of Christ ) when he is doing the work of Christ. Christ acts through the priest. That God would give men this tremendous power at Mass and to forgive sins is something even the angels wonder at.
Whether you believe this brief explaination or not I hope you can at least understand what is different about ordained priests and gain a better understanding of their very special dignity.


#4

I’ve put this on a blog for easier reading if any are interested whatssospecialaboutcatholicpriests.blogspot.com/


#5

Yes they are men – men who are in Persona Christi giving us the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Works for me! :thumbsup:


#6

#7

There is so much that is hidden in this post it is like a cry for help. i nor anyone can tell what you are talking about, but i hope whatever it is you find what you need.

Almost all the priests I have ever known were good men and strived to do gods will and serve their fellow man. you must have been extremely unlucky in the ones you have encountered. Hopefully god will put good holy priests in your life. I will certainly pray for you for what I dont know.


#8

What? How can you read something like that into waht i said?? Yikes… you are way off… and if i ever did feel the need to “cry for help” it wouldn’t be to any mere human being…

i nor anyone can tell what you are talking about, but i hope whatever it is you find what you need.

so you speak for everyone, huh? Well, that statement seems to say a lot about you…

Almost all the priests I have ever known were good men

How do you know? did you follow them around every minute of their day? Do you know they were always sexually pure, never did the self- gratifying thing or what have you? You just dont’ know… and to say someone is good, without knowing, is just as much judging as saying someone is bad without knowing…

strived to do gods will and serve their fellow man.

well, you are fortunate…

you must have been extremely unlucky in the ones you have encountered. Hopefully god will put good holy priests in your life. I will certainly pray for you for what I dont know.

well, here is something i can totally agree with… :slight_smile:


#9

you have to admit it takes a “unique” person to want to give up marriage and children for the rest of his life…

Frankly, i don’t think the priesthood should be “for life”… or maybe it should be “virtually for life”… because… well, i think some just feel trapped after many years… I could be wrong… but, well,

for one thing, i think only virgin men should be priests for life… non-virgins, it is a totally different story… although i would NOT speak for ALL of them… I have managed to be celibate for a long time (not without problems) so i know others can do celibacy as well… (albeit not without “problems” or strong temptations…).

Anyway… i know that one reason i’ve been alone as long as i have is because i have psychological “issues”…

Why is it so hard to believe that men who think of the priesthood are in the same “boat”?


#10

I am very busy, I may have misinterpreted but you must admit you say several times you cant or wont say what you are talking about-that is what I am referring to, when you dont say what the problem is it is troublesome, immediately several scenarios come to mind. none good.

I hope you run into and have relationships spiritually with better priests the kind I have encountered and i will pray for that.


#11

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