Saint Peter wrote, “You are a chosen race, एक शाही पुजारी, एक पवित्र राष्ट्र, God’s own people” (1 पालतू पशु. 2:9). It is true that all Christians share in the priesthood of Christ through Baptism, yet this common priesthood is to be distinguished from the ministerial priesthood. What Peter said to the faithful in the New Testament, असल में, was also said to Israel in the Old, “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (भूतपूर्व. 19:6). Within the priestly nation of Israel, तथापि, existed a distinct, ministerial priesthood, the Levitical priesthood. It is the same for God’s people in the New Covenant. हम, बहुत, are a priestly nation; and within our ranks exists a special, sacramental priesthood charged with presiding over the Sacrifice of the Mass, our communal act of worship.
Our view of the Mass as a sacrifice sets Catholics apart from other Christians. At Mass the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is made sacramentally present to us on the altar through the Holy Eucharist. This does not mean Jesus dies again at Mass. Rather we are in effect transported back through time to the very moment of His death so that we might witness and participate in that saving sacrifice.
सुसमाचारों में, the Apostles are given the authority to preside over the Eucharistic celebration. We see this in the account of Christ’s multiplication of the loaves and fish, an Eucharistic metaphor, in which the Lord commands the Apostles to feed the people (मैट. 14:16). More directly, at the Last Supper, in the midst of instituting the Eucharist, the Lord commands the Apostles, “Do this in remembrance of me” (ल्यूक 22:19). The Apostle Paul explained he was called “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offerings of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (रोम. 15:16). And elsewhere he wrote, “यह एक हमें कैसे संबंध चाहिए [अर्थात, प्रेरितों], as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries [अर्थात, संस्कारों] of God. … के लिए ही आप मसीह में अनगिनत गाइड है, आप कई पितरों की जरूरत नहीं है. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 रंग. 4:15).
While the term “priest” may not have been widely used by Christians in apostolic times, likely to set their ministers apart from the priests of Israel (सीएफ. रोम. 15:16, ऊपर), there is extensive evidence from the end of the first century forward of the term being applied to those who preside over the Eucharist. Writing in about the year 96 ईसवी, उदाहरण के लिए, Pope Saint Clement clearly distinguished between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the laity. “उच्च पुजारी,” उन्होंने लिखा है, referring to Christ, “is given his duties: पुरोहित [अर्थात, bishops] are assigned their special place, while on the Levites [अर्थात, deacons] particular tasks are imposed. The layman is bound by the layman’s code” (कुरिन्थियों को क्लेमेंट का पत्र 40:1-5). As a matter of fact, this is the earliest recorded instance of the term “layman.”
के बारे में एक साल में 107, सेंट इग्नाटियस, the Bishop of Antioch and a disciple of the Apostle John, लिखा, “Good, बहुत, are the priests; but the high priest [अर्थात, ईसा मसीह] is better, to whom was entrusted the holy of holies; and to him alone were entrusted the secret things of God” (Letter to the Philadelphians 9:1). He also counseled Christians to “follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. का पालन करें, बहुत, जैसा कि आप प्रेरितों पूजास्थान; और क्या तुम करोगी भगवान के कानून के रूप में उपयाजकों का सम्मान. कोई भी कुछ भी बिशप का अनुमोदन के बिना चर्च के साथ क्या करना है कि क्या करना चाहिए. आपको लगता है कि परम प्रसाद के रूप में मान्य है जो या तो बिशप द्वारा या किसी के द्वारा वह अधिकृत करता है मनाया जाता है के संबंध चाहिए [अर्थात, एक पुरोहित]. कहाँ बिशप मौजूद है, मण्डली को इकट्ठा वहाँ जाने, बस के रूप में जहां यीशु मसीह है, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8).