Who then is the priest? He isi the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world

on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes.82


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 ofJesus.’83 1551


1590 St Paul said to his disciple Timothy: ‘I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on ofmy hands’ (2 Tim 1:6), and ‘If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task’ (i Tim 3:1). To Titus he said: ‘This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you’ (Titus i :~).

1591 The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism 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 participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry confrrred 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. 1592 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 ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching (munus docendi), divine worship (munus liturgicum) and pas toral governance (munus regendi).

1593 Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, that of presbyters and that of deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, preshyters and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church (cf St Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3, i).

1594 The bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal college and makes him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him. As successors of the apostles and members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the authority of the Pope, successor of St Peter.