Friday, July 24, 2020
Why the Catholic Priesthood Is Necessary

Having read several articles in liberal publications on the need to abolish the priesthood, I have realized that most people in our world fail to understand what the priesthood is. The Catholic priesthood is not a social club. It is not a civic organization. It is not a noble charitable work. It is not a committee or a group overseeing the Church that could be switched out. On the contrary, the Catholic priesthood is an institution which God Himself founded as necessary for our salvation, and as such, no one other than God may abolish it.

Why is the Catholic Priesthood Necessary?

The Catechism of St. Pius X explains: “The Catholic Priesthood is necessary in the Church, because without it the faithful would be deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the greater part of the sacraments; they would have no one to instruct them in the faith; and they would be as sheep without a shepherd, a prey to wolves; in short, the Church, such as Christ instituted it, would no longer exist.”

Without the priesthood, we would have no ability to have our sins absolved after Baptism. If the priesthood were to die out, there would be no Holy Eucharist or Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The perfect oblation that is offered on the altar every single day throughout the world in satisfaction for sins (cf. Malachi 1:11) would die out. Confirmation would no longer occur. There would be no teaching authority to guide the Church. Last Rites would never be imparted again to the dying.
And if no bishops remained on earth, holy orders would end. The priesthood would end. We truly would be a flock without a shepherd and the wolves would devour us. Only the Sacrament of Baptism and Holy Matrimony would be able to continue. All the other Sacraments which require a validly ordained priest would cease.

The Lord Jesus Christ Instituted the Catholic Priesthood

When did our Lord institute Holy Orders? The Catechism of St. Pius X again explains: “Jesus Christ instituted the Sacerdotal Order at the Last Supper when He conferred on the Apostles and their successors the power of consecrating the Blessed Eucharist. Then on the day of His resurrection He conferred on them the power of remitting and retaining sin, thus constituting them the first Priests of the New Law in all the fullness of their power.”

At the Last Supper, Our Savior's words, “Take and eat, this is My body... take and drink this is My blood” (Matthew 26:26-28) truly transformed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In yet another act of humility, Christ gave Himself to us through this Sacrament — the Holy Eucharist. The apostles alone were given this power which they have passed down through apostolic succession.
Our priests today have this same power to stand at the altar on account of their ordination. Our same priests have the power to forgive sins (cf. John 20:21-23) and baptize (cf. Matthew 28:19) as well as to bless and preach by virtue of this unbroken chain back to the Last Supper. A priest is necessary for our salvation and even a priest needs a priest for his own salvation since priests also must go to Confession. Without the priesthood, our religion would essentially end.

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail Against the Priesthood

Yet we must not despair of such a future day. Continuing on, the Catechism of St. Pius X assures us that despite all the threats that will assail the priesthood, the sad day when the priesthood is abolished will never occur: “In spite of the war that hell wages against it, the Catholic Priesthood will last until the end of time, because Jesus Christ has promised that the powers of hell shall never prevail against His Church.”

We ought to work for the advancement of the rites of the Catholic Church and labor for the salvation of our fellow man. We should also frequently pray to our Lord to raise up new vocations who will labor in His vineyard – a vineyard of souls. Pope Pius XII wrote a prayer for vocations that we can print out and pray daily. 

In fact, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s April 2017 Newsletter stated that praying for vocations is not optional. It is required of us:
The Lord Jesus commands that we foster vocations, "Ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest" (Mt 9:38).  Praying for priestly vocations is not optional.  This might be a revelation for many a good Catholic.  Praying for priestly vocations is not a matter of spiritual taste or preference.  Rather, praying for priestly vocations manifests our shared responsibility in obtaining from God the many "other Christs" - the priests needed chiefly for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and for reconciling penitents, but also for evangelizing, for instructing converts, and for performing the countless works of education, culture, and charity granted by God to the world through His holy priesthood.

Why Does Satan Attack the Priesthood Then?

A study of Catholic Doctrine illustrates both by reasoning and through miracles that the Catholic Church alone is God’s established religion. God, in His goodness and generosity, showers us with proofs of the accuracy of the Catholic Church’s doctrines.  And this too is why satan is not attacking Lutherans, or Baptists, or Muslims.  He is attacking the Catholic priesthood. He is infiltrating our seminaries and leading men ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ to betray their office and sexual assault children – an absolute diabolical and unspeakable blasphemy.  And satan does this because in the Catholic Church is the truth.  Why would he waste his time on attacking those souls who are already under his rule? 

The sexual abuse crisis, which has caused so many to distrust the Church, illustrates just how much we must pray for our priests and bishops. Satan continues to work for the overthrow of the Church and writers like Marie Carre in "AA-1025" describe the infiltration of seminaries and the priesthood by communists and atheists who sought to bring it down from within. But they will not succeed. Despite their efforts to scandalize the faithful and to lead souls astray, God will continue to help steer Holy Mother Church and give us good priests who will labor for the good of souls. Those priests – often the traditional Catholic priests who sacrifice so much to offer the Latin Mass – are the true priests. Let us pray for them and for more vocations. And let us pray for all those who have left the Church due to satan’s attacks. May they be reconciled soon and come back to the Sacrament of Confession, made possible because of the priesthood.

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