132 – “And you, priest in the confessional, you are there in the place of the Father who does justice with his mercy”

The Gospel shows us clearly that Christ chose the twelve Apostles and gave them special powers with regards to the Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins and the administration of the other Sacraments. To ensure that these gifts be conserved in the Church until the end of time, besides instituting the Eucharist during the Last Supper with his Apostles, Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders, with the words: ‘Do this in memory of me’.

Christ himself also ordered them to transmit this Sacrament with its powers to their successors, in order to govern and sanctify the people, as well as to safeguard the deposit of his doctrine. And so they have done, by the imposition of hands, from that time until the present.

In this way they constitute the lineage of the ministers of the Lord, and do not act for themselves, but rather in the name and the person of Christ: in persona Christi Capitis.

At the request of a subscriber of The Denzinger-Bergoglio, in this study we will clarify a doubt that Francis raised for many people by an affirmation he made in the Audience of February 3, 2016: Does the priest in the confessional represent the Father, or Jesus?

And we take the opportunity to ask: Where in Francis’ affirmations is the theological accuracy that is necessary for anyone who teaches the faith? Why such lack of seriousness in transmitting the truths of the faith?



Quote A

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study


Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

The priest holds the place of the Saviour himself

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

Priests are the vicars of Jesus Christ when they pronounce the sentence of remission or retention of sins
Even priests who are bound by mortal sin exercise as ministers of Christ the office of forgiving sins

Pius X

We exercise the priestly ministry not in our own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ

Pius XII

The priest ‘lends his tongue, and gives his hand’ to Christ

Benedict XVI

The priest acts and speaks ‘in persona Christi’
Christ brings about what the priest would be incapable of: the absolution of sins

John Paul II

When the priest raises his hand in blessing, he acts ‘in persona Christi’
Within the human reality of the priest, it is the Lord himself who hides and acts

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

For the community, the priest is the image and symbol of Christ himself who forgives

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Priests act especially in the person of Christ; and are united with the intention and love of Christ when they administer the sacraments, especially the sacrament of Penance

Catechism of the Catholic Church

By virtue of his divine authority, Christ gives this power to men to exercise in his name

Catechism of the Council of Trent

Priests are the instruments of Christ our Lord. It is He who remits sin by virtue of His own authority, delegated to His ministers

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Christ is the Head of the Church by His own power and authority; while others are called heads, as taking Christ’s place

Saint Catherine of Siena

‘They are My anointed ones: I call them My Christs’
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