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Apologetics

Priests Share in the Mediatorship of Christ

The ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. The priest does not stand in Jesus’ way, but acts as His instrument. He acts in persona Christi.

Nicholas Senz – Catholic Answers Article –

Dr. J.V. Fesko, a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, lays out the classic Protestant position in a piece for the Gospel Coalition website: “The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers states that all believers in Christ share in his priestly status; therefore, there is no special class of people who mediate the knowledge, presence, and forgiveness of Christ to the rest of believers, and all believers have the right and authority to read, interpret, and apply the teachings of Scripture.”

… In his section on “scriptural teaching,” he makes twenty-two references to the Bible, but none regarding the apostles or the offices of bishop, presbyter, and deacon. If Christ had not intended to institute a ministry with real spiritual authority or efficacy, why would he give to Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19)? Why would he empower the apostles to “bind and loose” (Matthew 18:18), or to forgive and retain sins (John 20;23)? Why would St. Paul describe to Timothy and Titus in great detail the qualifications for bishops, presbyters, and deacons? Why would St. James instruct believers to call for the presbyters of the Church to anoint the sick? Why would the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, some of the earliest Christian documents we have, speak so clearly of the threefold ministry and the importance of obedience to the bishop?

Certainly, Professor Fesko does not deny the need for ministry within the Christian community. He writes that the universal priesthood “does not mean that we should do away with pastoral or ministerial authorities. While those authorities are a part of the way that God blesses his church with instruction in sound doctrine, those with churchly authority need the rest of the body just as much.”
A Catholic would not dispute this last point. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood” (1547).

The ministry of the ordained priest is not in conflict or competition with the sole mediatorship of Christ, because the priest does not claim anything of his own apart from Christ. He is Christ’s priest. The priest “depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood” (CCC 1551). He acts in persona Christi. The priest does not stand in Jesus’ way, but acts as His instrument. The Church teaches that “In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth.” (CCC 1548)

Read the full article on Catholic.com