baptismal priesthood And Juridic Persons (Cann. 96 – 123)

Who belongs to the Catholic baptismal priesthood?

In the unity of faith and baptism, therefore, our community is undivided. By our baptism, we are ordered for a mission: to announce the praises of God, who called us out of darkness into light. That is, we are commissioned to preach the gospel by our words and our deeds.

And by our baptism we “remain for ever a member of Christ who is Priest, Prophet, and King” (Rite of Baptism). That is why whoever believes in Christ has been given the authority to do his works and even “greater ones than these” (Jn 14:12).

As we continue to discern the Spirit’s movement in our church, let us never forget the dignity and responsibility already given to each of us by our baptism, a power not for ourselves but for the service of those most in need.

Lumen Gentium teaches, “worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God” (Catechism, No. 901). The prophetic aspect of the mission of the laity by which they witness to the truth includes their witness to the last things. Until the end of time, God fulfills the prophetic aspect of Christ’s mission not only in the formal teaching of the hierarchy, but also in the witness of the laity who teach the Faith. Central to this prophetic ministry is the instruction in the Faith which parents should give their children.

The Church has reiterated a long-standing teaching that marriage is itself holy because the ministers are the baptized couple, made holy by baptism.

In the exchange of vows, baptized couples are the means of holiness for each other, so they truly are the ministers. The priest and the Church must be present as witnesses because it would be unfitting for Christians to exchange vows of love in any other context than that of Christ and the Church. The union of the couple is not merely religious, but supernaturally holy, because of the character of baptism present in the parties. Marriage is thus the prime exercise of the priesthood of the faithful, which was common to all the baptized.

The priestly character of marriage not only affects the unity of the spouses, but also relates directly to the procreative dimension. The purpose of procreation is not just realized in the existence of children, but also demands nurture and education. Since the body and the soul are the result of the marriage act, and the soul is created for union with God, St. Thomas does not hesitate to repeat with Aristotle that “there is something divine in human seed.”

This divine character of human seed can only be finally completed in the Vision of God, when man sees God face-to-face. Parents are the primary ministers who prepare their children for this mystery.

Education does not end at Harvard or Yale, but in heaven. The child must be schooled for the cultus Dei, the worship of God. This schooling is an education in the virtues. This makes the home a domestic Church. St. John Paul II, in his famed apostolic exhortation on the role of the Christian family in the modern world, Familiaris Consortio, explains, “The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for that reason can and should be called a domestic church” (Catechism, No. 2204).

The kingly role is expressed in Christian service, especially in the virtue of justice. One must realize that the power to rule is expressed first in ruling oneself and one’s own inclinations to sin with the help of God’s grace. St. Hilary wrote: “There are kings in whom sin does not reign, who rule their own body…. These are kings and their king is God.” This is accomplished through the self-surrender to God brought about by the rule of the virtues and the gifts.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “by Baptism, (the baptized) share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission” (CCC, 1268)

What does this truth tell us about the Sacrament of Baptism? While all sacraments do indeed change us, baptism is one of three sacraments where the change is special indeed. Along with the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders, baptism fundamentally changes the nature of the Christian. Paragraph 1241 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that in baptism, we are anointed priest, prophet, and King

Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ. … “to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God\’s own people …” (1 Peter 2:9

Chapter I


Can. 96 By baptism one is incorporated into the Church of Christ and is constituted a person in it with the duties and rights which are proper to Christians in keeping with their condition, insofar as they are in ecclesiastical communion. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ. 1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church \”a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.\” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ\’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are \”consecrated to be a holy priesthood.\”

baptismal grace-a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit.

Did You Know You’re a Priest?: the Common Priesthood of the Faithful. Called since Baptism to exercise their priesthood.

Pope Benedict XVI said, “And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God’s Kingdom.

In Romans 12:1, Paul asks Christians to offer their bodies, meaning themselves, to Christ as a living sacrifice. Everything Christians do, everything done with their bodies, is to be holy and capable of being offered to the Father as a sacrifice. Christians’ daily activities are a means of sanctifying themselves and the world. So, just as Peter reminded Christians of their priesthood in 1 Peter 2:5, Paul does also in Romans 12:1. In summary, Christians receive their priesthood from Christ in Baptism and exercise that priesthood by living their daily lives for the service of God’s kingdom.

Christ, himself High Priest of a New Covenant. In the order of Melchizedek.

What does it mean that Jesus is a high priest in the order of Melchizedek?

According to the writer of Hebrews (7:13-17) Jesus is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek because, like Melchizedek, Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron, and thus would not qualify for the Jewish priesthood under the Law of Moses.

Israel\’s Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls – Richard S. Hess, M. Daniel Carroll, (2003), page 67: \”However, many monarchs of the ancient Near East did participate in the cult to a degree that certainly exceeded the term. …David clearly is connected to the priesthood, although it is the priesthood of Melchizedek rather than the priesthood of Levi.

Melchizedek is a king and priest appearing in the Book of Genesis. The name means \”King of Righteousness\” – a name echoing kingly and priestly functions. He is the first individual to be given the title Kohen (priest) in the Hebrew Bible.


Person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion.

A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, Deity. Their office or position is the \’priesthood\’, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively. A priest may have the duty to hear confessions periodically, give marriage counseling, provide prenuptial counseling, give spiritual direction, teach catechism, or visit those confined indoors, such as the sick in hospitals and nursing homes.


According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most likely as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification.

Social stratification
Concept in sociology
Social stratification refers to a society\’s categorization of its people into groups based on socioeconomic factors like wealth, income, race, education, ethnicity, gender, occupation, social status, or derived power (social and political). As such, stratification is the relative social position of persons within a social group, category, geographic region, or social unit.

Moreover, a social stratum can be formed upon the bases of kinship, clan, tribe, or caste, or all four. Among classes of nobility and classes of peasants. Whether social stratification first appeared in hunter-gatherer, tribal, and band societies or whether it began with agriculture and large-scale means of social exchange.

The necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shinto and Hinduism. They are generally regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe, often interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths; but generally it includes mediating the relationship between one\’s congregation, worshippers, and other members of the religious body, and its deity or deities, and administering religious rituals and rites. These often include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, and at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, and mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is also commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers originally to the duties of a cleric. The question of which religions have a \”priest\” depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will often turn to for advice on spiritual matters, and less of a \”person authorized to perform the sacred rituals.\” For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, as with certain synods of Lutheranism and Anglicanism, though other branches of Protestant Christianity, such as Methodists and Baptists, use minister and pastor. The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion.

In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases, it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning \”priest\”. As seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, however, being a priest consisted merely of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses; it was not a full-time role, nor did it involve ordination.
In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism, the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood.

The word \”priest\”, is ultimately derived from Latin via Greek presbyter, the term for \”elder\”, especially elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity. The Latin presbyter ultimately represents Greek πρεσβύτερος presbúteros, the regular Latin word for \”priest\” being sacerdos, corresponding to ἱερεύς hiereús.


Middle English prēst, \”cleric ranking below a bishop and above a deacon, a parish priest,\” from Old English preost, which probably was shortened from the older Germanic form represented by Old Saxon and Old High German prestar, Old Frisian prestere, all from Vulgar Latin *prester \”priest,\” from Late Latin presbyter\”presbyter, elder,\” from Greek presbyteros \”elder (of two), old, venerable,\” comparative of presbys \”old\” (see presby-) anyone duly authorized to be a minister of sacred things; from c. 1200 of pagan and Muslim religious leaders. In the Old Testament sense (Old English), it is a translation of Hebrew kohen, Greek hiereus, Latin sacerdos.

source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pari \”around, about, through,\” parah \”farther, remote, ulterior,\” pura \”formerly, before,\” pra- \”before, forward, forth;\” Avestan pairi- \”around,\” paro \”before;\” Hittite para \”outside of,\” Greek peri \”around, about, near, beyond,\” pera \”across, beyond,\” paros \”before,\” para \”from beside, beyond,\” pro \”before;\” Latin pro \”before, for, on behalf of, instead of,\” porro \”forward,\” prae \”before,\”

on behalf of: Parian- God The Father (GodFather), Marian (God Mother) –of Mary,\” 1701, referring to the Virgin.

fem. proper name, collateral form of Marion, a diminutive of French Marie (see Mary), but often taken for a compound of Mary and Anne. (Anne was Mary’s Mother)

fem. proper name, Old English Maria, Marie, name of the mother of Jesus