The Common Priesthood

Were you aware that you are members of the “common priesthood” through your baptism?

According to the Patriarchal Syniod document on the Laity, Text 9:
8. The decrees of Vatican II validated the concept of the Church as the “Body of Christ,” “the People of God,” the Participation Church, and the Church of the One Body, in which all the members are active. Within the Church both the talents and the distinctive callings are numerous with each person performing his role in order to build up the Body and maintain its wellbeing. Vatican II defined the term laity as “all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specifically approved by the Church. By way of their common priesthood, the laity are called to holiness: These faithful are, by baptism, made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ, and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them.

We distinguish between the ” ministerial priesthood that is given to priests through their ordination and the common priesthood that is given to the faithful at their baptism, whereby they receive Christ and become his brethren, children of his Father by adoption, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Hence, they become partners in his Priesthood.

Vatican II discusses the subject of laity in Constitutions and Decrees: Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, 1964 (Chapter IV, no. 30.-38.), Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution On the Church In the Modern World, 1965; Apostolicam Actuositatem, Decree On the Apostolate of the Laity, 1965; and it completes the decrees that discuss Christus Dominus, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church; Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree on the Ministry and Life of the Priests; Perfectae Caritates, Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life; Ad Gentes, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church (1965) which addresses the laity directly on number 21.

Stay tuned for a discussion of the priesthood and priests. What is a priest? What role does the priest play in the parish? In the community? A closer look at your parish priest. How you make a priest what he’s not and shouldn’t be. How can a priest go “bad”? Can you help your priest stay “good”? The discussion will center on the synod documents, Vatican II documents, Scripture, real life examples. Please take part in the discussion.


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