Sally Quinn, Gary Wills and the Washington Post: Looking for God’s truth in all the wrong places.

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Garry Wills, a devout Catholic and religion scholar, in his new book, “Why Priests? A Failed Tradition” argues that as we have seen in Vatican II, the church can and does change. And it should if it wants to stay relevant.

Wills’s book takes the reader back to Christ’s time and walks through the creation of the church.

Priests, he points out, were man-made, not prescribed by God. There were no priests in the New Testament and certainly no one held the title “pope.” (Many Christians agree, see: the Protestant Reformation.) The idea of priestly celibacy is relatively new, too, as is the sacrament of confession. Wills points out that even the central facet of the Mass, a belief that an ordained priest can literally turn bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood, is not universally held.

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Editor’s note: “Devout” Catholics don’t deny historically proven, fundamental truths of the Catholic faith, based merely on semantics.

As for priests: God had long ago instituted the Old Testament priesthood through Moses’ brother Aaron, which  served as a prophetic “type” of the coming New Testament priesthood, in virtually every respect.

The key differences between the new and the old was emphasis on grace, rather than law … and on the perfect, divinely acceptable, salvific sacrifice of Jesus Christ … rather than the purely ceremonial sacrifices of dumb animals, which never saved a soul.

As for the Catholic ministerial priesthood, we have Christ, our Heavenly High Priest, at the Last Supper, in anticipation of his saving death on the cross, giving us his body and blood as the definitive sacrifice of the New Covenant, personally instructing the men he had earlier hand-picked and personally trained, to “Do this in remembrance of me.”

As both the High Priest and the Perfect Sacrifice of the New Covenant, Jesus succintly fulfilled the Old Law, superseding and transcending the old Temple Worship System through the institution of an all new, grace empowered, divinely salvific system that would endure until the end of time.

That new “system” shortly became known as the Catholic Church, the supreme arbiter of the New Covenant, which came into existence on the first Christian Pentecost, powerfully and divinely constituted, courtesy of the Holy Spirit.

The primary definition of the Catholic ministerial priesthood is to offer sacrifice to God, for the people, so that they might receive and retain the divine grace that is essential for their salvation.

From the earliest days of the Church, the Mass and the sacraments have always been known as the primary channels of God’s saving grace, while popes, bishops and priests (perhaps not then described in those particular terms) had already been charged by Jesus Christ to be, according to his grace, the primary teachers, governors and sanctifiers of the faithful.

The factual existence of a “High Priest” in Christ Jesus would in itself indicate the presence of a priesthood of a lower stature. And that is true, indeed. We have both the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood and the Royal Priesthood of all believers. Complementary yet different, in their particular missions … but all led by Jesus Christ and all nourished by his body, blood, soul and divinity … in the Holy Eucharist.

Since the word “catholic” means “universal” … Mr. Will’s comment about the true nature of the Catholic priesthood and the Eucharistic sacrifice is imprecise,  at best. But according to the definitive and holy words of Jesus Christ, the divine founder and head of the Catholic Church … Wills is totally wrong.

This is what happens when someone shows up thousands of years after the fact and then tries to reinterpret multiple generations of divine providence, in direct opposition to the Catholic Church. 

In their Bibles, Protestants like to mistranslate the word “priest” as “elder”. But that … other than being dishonest … is just more semantics. 

As for the sacrament of penance … the very first act of the risen Christ was to personally empower the apostles to forgive sins, in his name. While the specific form and rubrics have evolved somewhat through the years, the essential process, purpose and spiritual benefits of the sacrament of reconciliation have never changed.

Ms. Quinn and Mr. Wills … this is all in the Bible, clearly understandable in the light of Christ, according to authentic Catholic Tradition, as well as history. I suggest you look it up!