Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  386 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 386 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

386

Part Two

The one priesthood of Christ

1544

Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant pre-

figured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator

between God and men.”

15

The Christian tradition considers Mel­

chizedek, “priest of God Most High,” as a prefiguration of the

priesthood of Christ, the unique “high priest after the order of

Melchizedek”;

16

“holy, blameless, unstained,”

17

“by a single offer-

ing he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,”

18

that

is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

1545

The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished

once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the

Church. The same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made

present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing

the uniqueness of Christ’s priesthood: “Only Christ is the true

priest, the others being only his ministers.”

19

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ

1546

Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the

Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”

20

The whole

community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise

their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each ac-

cording to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet,

and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation

the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.”

21

1547

The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and

priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate,

“each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ.”

While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially.

22

In

what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exer-

cised by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope,

and charity, a life according to the Spirit—, the ministerial priest-

hood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at

the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministe­

rial priesthood is a

means

by which Christ unceasingly builds up

15

1 Tim

2:5.

16

Heb

5:10; cf. 6:20;

Gen

14:18.

17

Heb

7:26.

18

Heb

10:14.

19 St. Thomas Aquinas,

Hebr.

8, 4.

20

Rev

1:6; cf.

Rev

5:9-10;

1 Pet

2:5, 9.

21

LG

10 §1.

22

LG

10 § 2.

874

1367

662

1268

1142

1120