By instituting ordained ministers in his Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ inaugurated “the most elevated dignity among all of the hierarchies of the earth”, a new category of men called to actuate in persona Christi, in order to dispense the treasures of the redemption to sinful humanity, as authentic mediators between heaven and earth. These men chosen by Christ himself are participants of the authority with which He forms, sanctifies and rules his Mystical Body, and their dignity is even greater than the angels.
The Christian faithful have always had a profound admiration toward the priest, due to the simple fact of him being who he is, and for presenting to God their intentions and obtaining the necessary assistance from Him. No one fails to see that a priest, like any other human being, also has his defects; but this religious respect cannot be lacking in any well intentioned Christian.
The terms “clericalism” and “anticlericalism” used by Pope Francis to manifest his estimation of the priestly rank are not recent. They were regularly employed by the members of diverse movements that were, in their majority, convinced enemies of religion. Here we are using them in the most authentic way possible, without the blemishes that were later added by the old political conservative or liberals; the latter always disposed to deride the priestly class and publically take position against it. It is even more important to understand the priesthood in conformity with the teachings of the Holy Mother Church, who cannot approve of theories minimizing the grandeur of the ordained ministry, one of the greatest glories of Catholicism and a true honor for humankind.
Regarding Pope Francis’ intentions in declaring himself anticlerical and labeling Saint Paul in the same way — imagine the latter’s surprise in hearing about this in heaven! — It’s difficult to correctly describe, and moreover, interpret his words as being amiably clerical. What is certain is that it’s a little optimistic to think that those who had heard them could perceive a benevolent meaning in them. And if there was such an insinuation, we would appreciate more clarity. Denzinger-Bergoglio has more on this subject….
To assist our readers, we offer a study that might shed some light on the concerns that these declarations provoke among people of sincere faith: the most authorized Catholic doctrine which we may believe without fear or doubts, allowing us to
reaffirm our clericalism, as faithful followers of Christ, the true High Priest.