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Part Two

And the holy Curé of Ars: “The priest continues the work of

redemption on earth. . . . If we really understood the priest

on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. . . . The

Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”




St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: “I remind you to

rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the

laying on of my hands” (

2 Tim

1:6), and “If any one

aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.”


1 Tim

3:1) To Titus he said: “This is why I left you in

Crete, that you amend what was defective, and ap-

point presbyters in every town, as I directed you”





The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Bap-

tism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ.

This participation is called the “common priesthood

of the faithful.” Based on this common priesthood and

ordered to its service, there exists another participa-

tion in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by

the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to

serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head

in the midst of the community.


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. The

ordainedministers exercise their service for the People

of God by teaching (

munus docendi

), divine worship


munus liturgicum

) and pastoral governance (





Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been

conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bish-

ops, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. The min­

istries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the

organic structure of the Church: without the bishop,

presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the

Church (cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Trall.



The bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of

Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal

college andmakes him the visible head of the particular

83 St. John Vianney, quoted in B. Nodet,

Jean-Marie Vianney, Curé d’Ars,