Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 259 - Part III.

YOUCAT Question n. 259 - Part III. How is the universal priesthood of all the faithful different from the ordained priesthood?

(Youcat answer - repeated) Through Baptism Christ has made us into a kingdom of “priests to his God and Father” (Rev 1:6). Through the universal priesthood, every Christian is called to work in the world in God’s name and to bring blessings and grace to it. In the Upper Room during the Last Supper and when he commissioned the Apostles, however, Christ equipped some with a sacred authority to serve the faithful; these ordained priests represent Christ as pastors (shepherds) of his people and as head of his Body, the Church.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 1550) This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. The power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister's sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Using the same word,  “priest”, for two related things that nevertheless “differ essentially and not only in degree” (Second Vatican Council, LG 10, 2) often leads to misunderstandings. On the one hand, we should observe with joy that all the baptized are “priests” because we live in Christ and share in everything he is and does. Why, then, do we not call down a permanent blessing on this world? On the other hand, we must rediscover God’s gift to his Church, the ordained priests, who represent the Lord himself among us.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 1551) This priesthood is ministerial. "That office…which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service" (LG 24). It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a "sacred power" which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all (Cf. Mk 10 43-45; 1 Pet 5:3). "The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him" (St. John Chrysostom, De sac. 2, 4: PG 48, 636; cf. Jn 21:15-17).

(This question: How is the universal priesthood of all the faithful different from the ordained priesthood? is continued)

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