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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

391

1563

“Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of

priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up

and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests,

while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless

conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament

priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special

character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way

that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head.”

45

1564

“Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical

office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bish-

ops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for

all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity;

and in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of

Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, they are consecrated in

order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to

celebrate divine worship

as true priests of the New Testament.

46

1565

Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the

universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the

apostles. The spiritual gift they have received in ordination pre-

pares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, “but for the

fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation ‘to the end of the

earth,’”

47

“prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere.”

48

1566

“It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the

Eucharistic assembly

of

the faithful (

synaxis

) that they exercise in a supreme degree their

sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming

his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the

sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they

make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the

unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ

offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.”

49

From

this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its

strength.

50

45

PO

2.

46

LG

28; cf.

Heb

5:1-10; 7:24; 9:11-28; Innocent I,

Epist. ad Decentium:

PL 20, 554

A; St. Gregory of Nazianzus,

Oratio

2, 22: PG 35, 432B.

47

PO

10

; OT

20; cf.

Acts

1:8.

48

OT

20.

49

LG

28; cf.

Cor

11:26.

50 Cf.

PO

2.

1121

611

849

1369

611