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September 17, 2005

Ch. XXIV. Q. 134. What is the Priestly Office of the Church?

THE PRIESTLY Office of the Church is two-fold: (a.) to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice: (b.) to administer manifold gifts of grace by means of the Sacraments.1

2. It is by means of the Eucharistic Sacrifice that the Church participates, under earthly conditions, in the heavenly oblation which Christ perpetually makes above. In it she (a.) offers herself to the Father, in sacramental union with Christ, under the signs of bread and wine, these signs being made effectual by being converted into the Body and Blood of Christ: (b.) makes a memorial of the death of Christ, whereby her oblation becomes acceptable to God: (c.) offers her bounden duty and service of adoration, praise, thanksgiving and intercession for all men (Q. 150).

3. The Church dispenses, by means of her Sacraments, those gifts which Christ has won for men.2 Thus (a.) in Baptism, she incorporates men into the Body of Christ, removing the guilt of original sin, and imparting a new life which, under the conditions of faith and repentance, will ultimately purge out all the old leaven of wickedness: (b.) In Confirmation, she completes the grace of Baptism by imparting the Holy Ghost and His seven-fold gifts: (c.) In the Holy Eucharist, she nourishes the regenerate with the Bread from heaven, the Body and Blood of Christ, and applies the benefits of Christ's death: (d.) In Penance, she absolves penitents from post-baptismal sins which hinder the reception of grace: (e.) In Order, she perpetuates the Apostolic Ministry, by which her means of grace are administered: (f.) In Matrimony, she blesses the union of man and wife, and sanctifies it to be a type of the mystical union between Christ and His Church: (g.) In Unction of the Sick, she heals the body, when God so wills, cleanses the soul from the effects of sin, and imparts grace to bear physical pain and the agony of death.

1 Hall's Historical Position of the Episcopal Church, 53, 67-71: Liddon's Univ. Sermons, 2nd Series, X: Carter on the Doc. of the Priesthood: Notes and Questions from Pusey, 184-191: Dix's Authority of the Church, Lec. III.

2 Ephes. IV. 8

Posted by Trevor at September 17, 2005 02:17 PM