Saturday 24th February 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Common Priesthood Of The Faithful And The Ministerial Priesthood

October 21, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

The priest-king Melchizedek, as we saw last week, is a type, or figure, of Christ. He appears only briefly in the Old Testament and his figure is shrouded in mystery. Yet he is the first person in the Pentateuch to explicitly be called a “priest,” he is the only figure in the Book of Genesis to be identified as a priest of “God Most High,” and his sacrificial offering of “bread and wine” (Gen. 14:18) can be seen to prefigure the Holy Eucharist.
“Despite the brevity of his canonical appearance,” affirms Dr. Scott Hahn, “[Melchizedek] can claim the exalted roles of first king of Jerusalem (long before David), and first priest (long before Aaron), whose legitimacy is recognized by Abraham” (Kinship by Covenant, p. 297).
We also saw last week that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews demonstrates that the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to that of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood. In its commentary on Hebrews 7:4-10, The Didache Bible succinctly summarizes the argument:
“The Mosaic Law prescribed that Levitical priests were to receive a tithe from the people. However, the fact that their father Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes, and in turn received Melchizedek’s blessing, shows that the priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek was superior to that of the Levitical priesthood” (p. 1644).
Moreover, as Sacred Scripture clearly attests of Jesus: “Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 7:17), thus fulfilling Psalm 110:4.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) resolutely proclaims that “everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the ‘one mediator between God and men’ (1 Tim. 2:5)” (n. 1544).
The repeated sacrificial offering of animals by priests of the Old Testament could not take away sin, but served as a reminder to the people of their need to repent, of their need to seek forgiveness from Almighty God for their many transgressions.
As Fr. Austin E. Green, OP, states in an article entitled “The Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ,” this forgiveness was granted “only through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross; a forgiveness that applied to all sins, those which preceded as well as those which followed upon the sacrifice of Christ” (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, June 1, 2012).
Christ’s redemptive sacrifice “is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church . . . through the ministerial priesthood” (CCC, n. 1545).
Before leaving behind the topic of the scriptural basis of Holy Orders, it would be good to identify precisely when Christ instituted the sacrament. It was at the Last Supper when, after having consecrated bread and wine and changed them into His Body and Blood, He said to His apostles: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
It was at this moment that He conferred upon the apostles and their successors the principal power of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, to consecrate and offer His Body and Blood in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Yet, as Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, explains, “Christ did not confer the fullness of the sacrament of orders all at once. He advanced the apostles only gradually to their priestly orders” (The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism, n. 1467).
Initially, He chose the Twelve (see Luke 6:12-16) and placed them above His other followers, naming Peter as their head (see Matt. 16:12-20). It was on Easter Sunday night that He gave them the power to forgive sins:
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23). Finally, it was before His Ascension that He commanded them to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).
The Catechism now examines more closely a topic we touched upon earlier, namely the distinction between the “common priesthood” of all the baptized faithful and the “ministerial priesthood” which is conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
To unpack what the Church teaches, we will draw mainly from two sources: an instruction issued by the Holy See on August 15, 1997, Ecclesiae de Mysterio (EdM), which dedicates a complete chapter to “The Common Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial Priesthood,” and a section in Fr. Hardon’s Basic Catholic Catechism Course (BCCC) which addresses distinctions between the two priesthoods.
Before identifying differences in the two participations in the one priesthood of Christ, we are reminded by the Catechism that “Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church ‘a kingdom, priests for his God and Father’ (Rev. 1:6; cf. Rev. 5:9-10; 1 Peter 2:5, 9). The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly” (n. 1546).
What does this mean? St. Paul takes up this topic in his Letter to the Romans where he teaches that “the members of Christ’s Body, like parts of a human body, have different functions, yet each contributes to the good of the whole (cf. Romans 12:4-5)” (BCCC, p. 195).
Vatican Council II’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity elaborates: “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” (Apostolicam Actuositatem [AA], n. 2 § 3; emphasis added).
Simply put, all who enter the Church through faith and Baptism receive a share in Jesus’ mission as priest, prophet, and king. It is precisely this sharing in the mission of our one great High Priest that the Church refers to as “the common priesthood of the faithful.”
Ecclesiae de Mysterio, citing Lumen Gentium (LG), further explains how the two priesthoods are similar:
“There exists ‘a true equality between all with regard to the dignity and to the activity which is common to all the faithful in the building up of the Body of Christ’ (LG, n. 32 § 2)….The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood ‘though they differ essentially and not only in degree…are none the less ordered one to another; [since] each in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of Christ’ (LG, n. 10 § 2)” (EdM, I-I § 1).
Therefore, teaches Ecclesiae de Mysterio, “the essential difference between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood is not found in the priesthood of Christ, which remains forever one and indivisible, nor in the sanctity to which all of the faithful are called” (EdM, I-I § 2).
How, then, do they differ? “While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace — a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit — the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood . . . directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians” (CCC, n. 1547).
Consequently, “the ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful” (CCC, n. 1592).

Bringing Christ To The World

The Sacrament of Holy Orders confers onto its recipients supernatural powers that the lay members of the faithful do not possess.
As Fr. Hardon expounds:
“Only men ordained to the [ministerial] priesthood through the Sacrament of Holy Orders share in the supernatural power that Christ conferred on the Apostles: the powers to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and to forgive sin. The unfolding of baptismal graces is consummated when the faithful unite themselves to Jesus, High Priest and Victim, as He continues to offer Himself for our Redemption in the Holy Eucharist. Without ordained priests, there would be no Eucharist” (BCCC, p. 196).
The lay faithful, for their part, are called to exercise their role in the life of the Church by directing their vocation in society toward the “sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. . . . Since [they] . . . 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” (AA, n. 2 § 4).
In practical terms, they are called to bring Christ, through word and deed, through their Christ-like example, to locations and settings which ordained ministers simply do not normally have access and thus “work for the sanctification of the world” (LG, n. 31 § 2).
It is primarily the laity, through the graces of their common priesthood, who are called upon to influence the social, professional, political, and economic affairs of the world in accordance with Christian doctrine. The ordained minister, for his part, “represents Christ the head, shepherd, and spouse of the Church…[and] aims at promoting the exercise of the common priesthood of the entire People of God” (Pope St. John Paul II, Pastores dabo vobis, n. 16 § 2).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a consecrated Marian catechist.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

World famous preacher Billy Graham dies at 99

MONTREAT, North Carolina, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – World-famous American evangelist preacher Billy Graham has died. William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. He converted to evangelical…Continue Reading

Pope’s special envoy in Chile sex-abuse case hospitalized on first day of investigation

ROME, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just one day into his investigation of alleged sex abuse cover-up by a bishop in Chile, the Pope’s special envoy in the “Barros case” has been hospitalized after suffering gallbladder complications, Church officials in…Continue Reading

FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Catholic Bishop Denies Communion to Pro-Abortion Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin: “Until He Repents of His Sin”

Pro-life Catholics who wish Catholic Church leaders would step up and deny communion to leading politicians who support abortion are getting good news today. One Catholic bishop is denying communion to pro-abortion Democrat Dick Durbin, a top Democrat in the Senate who has long supported and promoted abortion. Durbin joined other Democrats to block a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois says Durbin is “cooperating in evil” and persisting…Continue Reading

CDL. MÜLLER: TALK OF ‘PARADIGM SHIFT’ A LAPSE INTO MODERNISM

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Vatican’s former doctrine chief is warning against re-interpretation of Church doctrine. In a First Things article Tuesday, Cdl. Gerhard Müller slammed recent talk of a “paradigm shift” in relation to Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the pastoral care of families. The former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Müller observed that “In commenting … some interpreters advance positions contrary to the constant teaching of the Catholic Church, by effectively denying that adultery is…Continue Reading

State senator rebuffs Planned Parenthood activists: ‘Abortion is murder’

BOISE, Idaho, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Mainstream media is slinging mud at a pro-life Republican state senator in Idaho after he was filmed in a heated exchange with a dozen or so pro-abortion college students affiliated with Planned Parenthood, telling them that abortion is “murder.” When State Sen. Dan Foreman (R) canceled a meeting with University of Idaho students on Monday, the Planned Parenthood

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

The document ‘defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone’ The “liberating truth” of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” is as relevant today 50 years after its promulgation, and maybe even more so, said Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila in his new pastoral letter, “The Splendor of Love.” “The 50th anniversary of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is an occasio

Correcting Fr. James Martin

Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School. The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job. Fr Martin tweets: Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

The Motives Behind The Massacre

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Enough is enough!” “This can’t go on!” “This has to stop!” These were among the comments that came through the blizzard of commentary after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. We have heard these words before. Unfortunately, such atrocities are not going to stop. For the…Continue Reading

Myth And The God-Given Order

By JUDE DOUGHERTY “The Myth of Scientific Objectivity” is the title William A. Wilson gave to an insightful article recently published in Modern Age (November 2017). Wilson examines how unacknowledged beliefs often influence investigation, especially in the so-called social sciences. Scholars whose work focuses on colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, he believes, are especially…Continue Reading

AWOL Conservatives Desert The Culture Wars

By JACK KENNY While fiscal conservatives are still reeling from the latest spending spree sanctioned by another congressional budget-be-damned continuing “irresolution,” social conservatives may be suffering a similar sense of betrayal over a recent decision to ban an exhibit by MassResistance at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week in the Washington, D.C., suburb of…Continue Reading

Youth’s Predicament… The Longing For Love And Meaning

By GEORGE A. KENDALL Living in a nursing home has had an unexpected effect on my life — putting me in more contact with young people than I have been used to since I was young myself (about a hundred years ago). I am talking about the nurse’s aides who provide the day to day…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Professor… Criticizes University’s Provision Of “Simple Contraceptives”

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNA/EWTN News) — After the University of Notre Dame announced it would fund “simple contraceptives” in its insurance plan, one Notre Dame professor has criticized the move, calling it “a giant leap into immorality.” “Now the University [of Notre Dame] is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway,” wrote…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Unity And Indissolubility Of Marriage

By DON FIER As is true of the worthy reception of each of the seven sacraments, special graces are given to those who enter into sacred Matrimony. There “arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1638). The unique graces that are bestowed tend “to perfect…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. We have always been taught that there are eight Beatitudes, but when I read Matt. 5:3-12, it seems that there is a ninth beatitude, the one in verses 11-12. What do you think? — M.C., via e-mail. A. Verses 11-12 read: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you…Continue Reading

Our Hearts Are Like A Marketplace

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: Exodus 20:1-17 1 Cor. 1:22-25 John 2:13-25 In the second reading St. Paul tells us Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom. We see in the Gospel reading that when our Lord overturned the moneychangers’ tables and drove out the dealers and their animals, the Jews immediately ask…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen . . . “A Schismatic Church With The Pope’s Blessing Will Be Horrible!”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Hong Kong’s Joseph Cardinal Zen issued another strongly worded criticism February 13 of the Vatican’s proposed deal with China’s Communist regime, suggesting it would amount to a papal endorsement of schism. “There is no reason to fear a schismatic church created by the [Communist] Party. It will fade with the collapse of the regime,”…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The “Inner Room” Of Lent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Go to your inner room and pray to your Father in private.” Another Lent is upon us. With the Mass of Ash Wednesday we hear once again the Lord’s call to grow into a deeper awareness and love of the Father who is always lovingly aware of us. The tasks of Lent in prayer, fasting,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the thirteenth century, many alliances were solidified by a marriage between members of royalty from other nations. There were also quite a few royal persons who were known for their holiness by following Christianity, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Ludmila and St. Wenceslaus of Czechoslovakia. Related to all of these saints, Princess Agnes also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading