Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Priesthood in Modern Age


The motivation behind choosing this theme of my major essay: “Priesthood in Modern Age” is to deepen my understanding on the theology of Priesthood. It has helped me to focus on my own vocation and I believe it will strengthen me in my journey to priesthood.

I extend my profound gratitude to Rev. Fr. Deepak Tauro who undertook the tedious job of going through the entire essay. I am indebted to him for his availability, for his timely corrections, guidance and encouragements. 

I express my sincere thanks to my companions Bro. Pradeep Tirkey, Bro. Paul Raju Tirkey, Bro. Ranjit Kujur and all those who helped me to find books and showed me some articles regarding priesthood.

I also express my heartfelt thanks to librarian Mr. Blacius Kujur, who helped me to find out books in the library. 


Priesthood in the church is surrounded by many problems. Some of them affect the very nature and understanding of the priesthood itself and other concern its relation to the church and the world that is its ministerial aspects. Today everyone is aware of the global phenomenon of the crisis among priest and death of priestly and religious vocation. World is changing and so also changes are found in the Church also. There have been changes in ecclesiastical thinking and organization, liturgical matters, participation of the faithful and in numerous other areas.

Seeing all this reality in the church today I have chosen my topic for major essay is “Priesthood in Modern Age.” I have divided my topic into three different chapters. In chapter one I have dealt with origin and meaning of priesthood according to the scripture.  In the second chapter I have given a short view of Vatican II and Code of Canon Law on priesthood. And in the last chapter I have mentioned about the challenges of modern priest.  An ideal priesthood is a real challenge precisely because it is based on Jesus the Icon of priestly calling. Against this background of deepened understanding of the priesthood, I have dealt with some actual challenges of priesthood in the modern world.



Scriptural Image of Priesthood

1.     The meaning of Priest hood

The word “Priest” comes from the Greek word Presbyter. The Greek word referred to an office in the early Christian church. The word priest and priesthood were used to translate sacerdotal terminology of pre- Christian religion. The Greek word presbyters means an elderly man. In a more technical sense it is used to describe a person holding position of trust and respect. “The priesthood is not, as those outside the fold maintain, a human usurpation of divine authority. Neither is its authority derived from the corporate will of the congregation. It is of divine institution.”[1] The priestly office, however, was vested primarily in Bishops, but the priest shared in the priestly functions in the absence of the Bishops. As the Christianity spread and the establishment of churches took place, the parish priest became the principal celebrant of the Eucharist. With the privilege of hearing confession and granting absolution, the priest eventually assumed the role to the representative of God to the people rather than people’s representative to God.”[2]

The dictionary of the Bible says that Jesus applies the title Priest neither to himself nor to his disciples, and the idea of a Christian priesthood is implicit in the New Testament. The title of priest is first applied to the Christian community in 1 Pt 2: 5. This passage is an application of the title of Israel which means a kingdom of priest to the Church.[3]

2. Priesthood in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament there are two forms of the reality of the priesthood. They are (a) Non-specialized exercise of priestly functions: such as performed by heads of families and clans. (b) Specialized priestly functions: such as ritual sacrifices connected with the tribes of Levi. This was hereditary. Levites and priests under the supreme authority of the high priest.

 There is also reference to universal priesthood in Israel. (Ex.19:16) “You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedck.”(Ps.110:4)

2.1.  Babylonian Exile

“The exile to Babylonian in 587 B.C. spelled of which the monarchy and so of the ministerial priesthood of which it had become the sole expression.”[4] The Babylonian captivity definitely abundant catholism and out line, a new theory about the nature of church and this sacramental’s; on those days temple were ruined, monarchy destroyed  this put on end to royal tutelage over priesthood. “The priest gave authority over people, Prophets disappeared and with this prophets disappearing uncontested monopoly over people. They established sacerdotal hierarchy.”[5] And the priest worked under him. They were sons of Aron, the high priest was consecrated and anointed. (Lev.8:12)

2.2.  Mosaic Covenant Religion

Israel is unique in her extension of notion of priesthood to the whole people. It is because of the covenantal relationship with Yahweh. They were called a holy nation and priestly kingdom. (Exo.19:6) With Moses Levite tribes became priestly class with hereditary title and with especial functions. (Exo.32:25-29) thus the single monolithic Leviticus priests were chosen and consecrated by God himself. (Exo.32:27). So there were professional priests and after sacrifice the offering was left to the hands of the families, in this way both familial and professional priestly ministry developed side by side.

2.3.  During the Patriarchal Period

In the first place, there is the non-specialized exercise of priestly functions. During the age of the patriarchs, these functions are carried out by the heads of families or clans.[6] In this period there were no religious, institution, no temple, no priestly class, but there was a kind of natural or familial priesthood. We see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exercising what are priestly functions, (Gen.13:18, 18:22) they do as heads of the families and they do it in places and on occasions where God has manifested himself in some way, If there were priest at all and they were only strangers e.g. Melchizedek (Gen.14:18) priests of pharaoh in Egypt. (Gen.41:55) in this period the Levitical tribe was not consecrated.

2.4. Monarchial Period

During the age of the monarchy, the kings, David and Solomon in particular, exercise priestly activites of king-priest variety in accord with the pattern that appears in many monarchies.[7] The kings were invested with the priestly function as Yahweh’s representative before Israel. A kind of mediator between God and Israel, this is called the priestly king David. (2 Sam: 13) offered sacrifice, Jeroboam too offered the golden calf. (1king 12:28) Ahaz offered sacrifice. (1king16:10-13) They are supporters rather than priests and members of the priestly class. Functional priesthood becomes an organized institution in Jerusalem.

“During this period of time groups of professional priests belonging to hereditary families, ministered at the various sanctuaries such as Shiloh, Gilgal, Dan, Beersheba and bethel. They were primarily with the proclaiming of oracles and not with scarifies.”[8]

3. Priesthood in the New Testament

“The priesthood of Jesus is secular, man-oriented, and world-confined.”[9]Jesus of Nazareth was not a priest in the Jewish society in which he lived. Yet the New Testament speaks of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ that is of the risen Lord.[10] The priesthood of Christ is different from that of Aron, it is in the order of Melchizedek. “The priest is the minister of Christ, an instrument, that is to say, in the hands of the divine redeemer. He continues the work of the redemption in all its world-embracing universality and divine efficacy, the work that shaped to marvelous a transformation in the world.”[11] Thus the priest is said to be another Christ who continues the work of Jesus.

3.1. In Hebrews

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet with our sin.” (Heb. 4:14-15) The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews undertakes a coherent presentation of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ in order to show that the Christian religion ranks above Judaism.[12] The Epistle regards Christ as the one who “brings a new convenat, as a mediator” (Heb 9:15 Hebrews give more importance to Jesus’s priesthood. According to Hebrews, Jesus priesthood is greater than Levitical priesthood because, for the forgiveness of sinners He offered himself.

3.2.  Jesus the high Priest

The most frequent title applied to Jesus in the epistle to Hebrews is “High Priest”. Nowhere else in New Testament Jesus is called our high priest. The doctrine of Jesus’s high priestly ministry is directly bound up with the reality of his humanity. This is so because it is the essence of the priesthood to form a link between humanity and God: “they are selected from among human beings to function on their behalf in inward matters (Heb 5: 1). Because Jesus is at the same time both man and God, he is God himself the perfect idea of which every form of priesthood is a symbol.[13]

3.3.  Jesus the High Priest According to the Order of Melchizedek

It is really daring from the part of the author to present Jesus as the high priest of the Order of Melchizedek because Jesus “has offered one single sacrifice for sins and then he has taken his place for ever at the right hand of God” (Heb.10:12). There was not anything external tin the life of Jesus, like a birth in a priestly tribe that could have made the task easy for the author. His aim was to underscore the essential dimension of the priesthood form the exterior and qualitative point of view and thus prove the superiority. [14] Jesus the High Priest According to the Order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:11). He does not belong to Levitical priesthood. His Priesthood is not Jewish. “Jesus claimed by his allusion to Psalm 110 both the dignity of the royal Messiah and the quality of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.”[15]

4. Conclusion

            In today’s world we see in every religion we have some kind of priests e.g. Mullah, Sadhu, Panda, etc. In the same way in Christian religion too have the priest, whose work is to offer sacrifice to the Lord for the people.When we analyze the meaning and origin of priesthood we find that priesthood existed before Christ came into this world. But the life of Jesus Christ gave new meaning to the priesthood. His priesthood surpasses the priest hood of Old Testament. In the Old Testament priests offered blood sacrifice which was not their own where as in the New Testament Jesus is both sacrifice and sacrifice. He sacrificed himself for the forgiveness of the sin of human being.



Priesthood according to Vatican II and Canon Law

1. Priesthood in Vatican II

The Second Vatican council presents a dynamic view of the Christian priesthood based on the mystery of Christ and his priesthood. According to the Council, Jesus Christ instituted the Christian priesthood as a sharing in his consecration and mission, and so the ministerial priest through the sacrament of the holy orders is configured to the Christ a priest. The priest is consecrated “after the image of Christ”, in order to continue the redemptive mission of Christ in a specific manner.[16]

1.1. Origin of the priesthood

“Priesthood in the catholic church is the second of three orders of the ordination ministry namely: Diakonoi, presbyterorum and episcopoi.”[17] The Vatican II presbyterorum Ordinis No.4 determines with greater clarity: “the people of God are formed into one in the first place but the word of the living God, which is quite rightly sought from the mouth of priests.”[18] It is the first task of priests as co- workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all. Vatican II gives more important to the ministry of priest.

1.2. The Purpose of Priesthood     

            The priest is the servant of Christ who offers sacrifices to God on behalf of the community. He is the man set apart from the faithful, gifted by God with transcendent powers and marked with consecratory character, which makes as the head of the community.[19]          By the sacrament of the holy orders he is set apart to offer sacrifice. He is primarily for the common welfare of the faithful. He is the symbol and cause of the unity of the church.[20]

1.2.1. The Essential Purpose of Priest Eucharist

            “…specially by the celebration on the Mass they (priests) offer Christ’s sacrifice sacramentally.”[21]The Eucharist is the principle and centre root of the whole priestly life. Priests derive the meaning for their lives and exist for it. Eucharist is like a life-giving current that links our ministerial or hierarchical priesthood to the common priesthood of the faithful.[22] In the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice priests fulfil their principal function and the work of our redemption is continually carried out. For this reason the daily celebration of Eucharist is recommended.[23]

            When the priest celebrates Eucharistic sacrifice he carries out his principal mission and expresses himself in all his fullness. Late Pope John Paul II said to a group of priests from United States on 1982, ‘the essential mission of priesthood is found in the Eucharist, what the people want from us is that the mystery of redemption should be made accessible to them, and it is through the Eucharist that Christ's redemption touches the human hearts and transforms human history. It is in our faithful ministry that we are fully effective ministers of the Gospel and the servants of Jesus Christ and his people.[24] Sanctifying the people of God especially by the celebration of Eucharist transmission of the word of God and governing the people of God is the mission of the priesthood. Evanzalization

Priests are sent to all and their mission begins from preaching of God’s word.  They have as their duty to spread the gospel of Christ to all.  Through the saving word the spark of faith is struck in the hearts of those who are away for Christ and fed in the hearts of the faithful.[25]

The priests are sent to all and their mission begins form the preaching of God’s word. They have as their duty to spread the Gospel of Christ to all. The goal of evangelization is to make all sing God’s praise and to enable all to lead a trust worthy and grace filled life. The ministry of the word rightly understood, leads to Sacraments and to the Christian life, as it is practiced in the church, the visible body of Christ and in the world.  Through the sacraments the word is brought to fuller effect that is the communion in the mystery of Christ.[26] “Priests then owe it to everybody to share with them the truth of the Gospel in which they rejoice in the Lord” (Gal. 2:5). Preaching the Word of God is our daily ministry, in the complication of life, we should not reduce it to a boring ‘routine’ but should be renewed everyday anew and in this way the novelty of salvation is announced every way anew.   The salvific plan of God, performed by Jesus Christ once and for all is therefore the same throughout the ages, passes through the priest’s ministry.  In this ministry of priest, both the pastor and faithful are same and sanctified together.  The priestly service should be full and unconditional dedication open to all, so that no one feels excluded.[27] The priest has a ministerial power to bring salvation

            Jesus considered every man as a person and respected and loved him/her. He wanted every man to be fully alive and fully human. Jesus wanted to save humankind from all forms of bondage.  It is to save humankind from the clutches of evil that God sent him on earth. Jesus sent his disciples to continue this mission. Every priest shares in Jesus’ mission. Hence a priest should conduct himself after the example of the Master, who came amongst men “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28).

An ideal shepherd is concerned about the wellbeing of the sheep. The shepherd unlike hired servant loves the sheep and calls the sheep by name. The sheep hears his voice. The priest tends the sheep belonging to God. The priest is always at the disposal of his parishners. Like the good shepherd he takes care of his people. He has a special concern for the sick and the wounded. This model calls the priests to self-emptying sacrifice and a preferential option for the sick, the suffering the last and the least. Man of reconciliation

Today we live in a disturbed world where there is disharmony, various forms of discrimination, violence, terrorism, hatred etc.   Human heart is the place where its ultimate roots are found.  Yet there is desire among many expressed in many ways to restore harmony and peace.  The sincere longing for peace reflects the presence of God’s grace.[28]

            The message of reconciliation forms the very heart of church’s mission.  Vat. II says, “Church is the sign and sacrament of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind.[29]   If the Church has experienced in herself deep reconciliation than it can become a reconciliation force in the world, so also the priest.  He also must experience the solace and the joy of the sacrament of reconciliation.  He should be a man reconciled in himself.  What he gives is what he passed through himself.  When we minister reconciliation we have to let pass through ourselves and be men reconciled to God and to our fellow men.  We have to be spiritually and emotionally balanced.  The message of what God wishes to do must first of all be done and be seen in us.[30]

1.3. The Code of Canon Law on Priesthood

Priesthood in the church is surrounded by many problems, some of which affect the very nature and understanding of the priesthood itself.  Everyone is aware of the global phenomenon of challenges among the priest immediately after the Second Vatican Council.  It is in this context of the changing world the code of Canon Law offers valuable indications considering what the church retains useful and necessary for the priest in the modern world and reflects on what may be required to be priest in the world.

1.3.1. Admission

            No one is admitted to priesthood unless he has first undergone the formation according to the norm of the Church. The code of canon law No.1027 clearly says on admission to priesthood: “Aspirants to the diaconate and the priesthood are to be formed by careful preparation in accordance with the Law.”[31]

1.3.2. Formation

            A priestly formation and maturation are not to be identified only with academic studies but also taken into consideration of the spiritual formation. The code of the canon law no. 1028 states, “the diocesan Bishops or the competent superior must ensure that before they are promoted to any order, candidates are properly instructed concerning the order itself and its obligations.”[32]

1.3.3. Requirements for the priesthood

Certain requirements are necessary for the candidate to be promoted to the priesthood. He should have integral faith, the right intention, required knowledge other physical and psychological qualities.

1.4. Christian Priesthood in India

Priest is not a Pujari, who has been consecrated to preside over the Eucharist or administer the sacraments. He is a pastor who has been officially charged with the building of the Christian community. Pastoral function which the Christian priest exercises as ‘ministry’ is an act of service and not manifestation of skill, of status or of power.[33]

            The priest in India is seen as a ‘sacred person’ (sacerdos) whose primary identity derives from this cultic function. He has a sacred character, which sets him apart from the lay Christians and empowers him to officiate at cultic celebration in a way in which the lay person is not able to do. Because he is sacred person he is set apart from the world and belongs to the sacred realm and must be distinguished from ‘lay’, non-priestly contemporaries by special form of life-style and dress, which reinforces the distinction between the sacred and the profane. Even though Jesus sought to overcome this distinction all through his life, in the catholic priesthood this distinction has taken a visible form in priestly celibacy, not taking part in trade and not being allowed to enter into politics, etc.[34]

            It is also important to see that there are problems within the Church, because most of the studies done have been primarily oriented to the improvement of the training of priests. As preparation for a Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops in October 1971, in Rome, on the theme of ministerial priesthood, the clergy commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India conducted among catholic priests in India. The important areas of enquiry were: the challenges of priests in India, the theological understanding of priesthood, the desirability of priestly celibacy and the relationship between bishops and priests. The survey brings out that the cultic images of the priest in his sociological distance from laity, the prophetic mission, and the vocation to serve this are often not seen sufficiently.[35]

            In India today, the priest must be a community builder whose concern reach beyond the minuscule Christian community to which he belongs. His concern must be as large as the concern of Jesus himself. Jesus came into this world not to save a few individuals, nor to give sight to a pair of blind people or heal a few sick. He came to destroy the rule of Satan and to establish the reign of God. This is the true meaning of priesthood.[36]  

1.5. Priests in Chotanagpur

Central India (the Chota Nagpur) was then opening up to missionary work and Constant Lievens was sent to the area in 1885. Lievens settled in a hut at Torpa, a large village 60 km south of Ranchi. Torpa became the centre of his activities. He freed the land of Mundas from land lords. He was looked like savior for them.  Many asked and received baptism. A large conversion movement was set into motion. In the year 1886 the number of Christians was 2700 and successively increased to 40,000. He was then helped by other missionaries who came to support him in his task. he shifted residence to Ranchi (1888-1892), the district headquarter, from where coordination of missionary activities (justice and social work, education and evangelization) was easily done.[37] And in this way missionaries came to Chotanagpure and priests involeved themselves in continuing the mission.

1.6. Spirituality of Priest

“Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial”. (Mt 26:41). This is how Jesus exhorted his disciples Peter, John and James when he prayed to his heavenly Father before his arrest. The same exhortation is applicable to priests today.

“The first thing a priest must do to lead a priestly life is to realize that he is a priest …the efficacy of the priesthood lies first of all in its spirituality.”[38] It is necessary in all ages, a priestly spirituality is especially needed in modern society. Spirituality is that which determines and directs one’s life. It is immediately clear that spirituality neither is nor restricted to any particular religion as such. In its widest sense, spirituality refers to any religious or ethical value that is concretized as an attitude or spirit from which one’s actions flow. Again this concept of spirituality is not restricted to any particular religion; it applies to any person who believes in the divine or the transcendent, and fashions a lifestyle according to one’s religious conventions. In this context, one can speak of Zen, Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim spirituality as well as Christian spirituality.[39]       

1.7. Conclusion

Priesthood was instituted by Jesus Christ Himself before his death. It is known to us through the Gospels and same thing is repeated in the document of the church; Vatican II. Being Christian we all accept the teaching of the Church. It also describes clearly the origin and purpose of priesthood, their functions and mission. Whereas Canon Law gives some order for a candidate to be admitted into clerical order.

Today in order to be a effective priest either in Chotanagpur or any parts of the world, it is very much demanding form the people that priest be a spiritual man, a man of prayer. In India priest are seem as sacred persons, so they have to be holy as Jesus was holy in thought, words and deeds.


         Challenges of the Priesthood

1. The Challenges

Human life is cluttered with glitches and inconsistencies. This is true in the priestly like too. He is not only struggling to remain holy and grow in it, but also facing a lot of challenges to actualize his priestly ministry both internally and externally. He is questioned by his very self as well as by outsiders in proclaiming the good news.  Here are some challenges a priest faces in his life.

1.      Spiritual challenge

2.      Social challenge

3.      Sexual challenge

4.      Psychological challenge

1.1. Spiritual challenge

This fast developing world poses a lot of challenges for a priest. It is a world of technology, globalization and consumerism. Hence, the relevance of prayer and spirituality has gone down. Priests too tend to be swayed by the current tide of the time. It is difficult to be unaffected by this drastic change of the time one may be tempted to spend a lot of time in front of the internet, television and to use mobile phone. Then, there is very little time left for prayer and even if there is time, he may find it boring and dry, because his life gets oriented towards such kind of time- table.[40] According to the demand of time priest involve themselves in various ministries like social developments of the people, education, running the big institution etc., and at the end of they have no time to focus on their spiritual life. They give much importance to duties. Though a priest may be very intelligent, educated, efficient and effective without prayer he will be devoid of spiritual glow. Mother Teresa says, “The Lord does not ask us to be successful; he asks us to be faithful.”

            Priests have to be faithful to their prayer lives. “Priests who do not pray gradually lose their credibility, because people seek guidance and support from those who are prayerful and spiritual. When prayer has been abandoned a priest will be surrounded by temptations from all around like bees he will crave for power and position. He will accumulate money. Alcohol will be his constant companion and there will be crisis in his chastity this is the low ebb of priestly life. The sad aspect of priestly life of today is that modern life style has choked the beautiful creeper of prayer life. It needs revival and resurgence. It is the need of the hour to strike a balance between things of comfort and spiritual life.”[41]

1.2. Social Challenge

Gone are the days when people used to come to the priest or consult a priest for all matters. A priest was the most educated man in the society. A priest was considered the beacon of the society. Now people are more educated. Therefore the role of the priest today is more challenging. Challenges to the priestly vocation were historically perceived as those coming out of a negative concept of the world. Nothing was expected good or holy form the world and therefore traditions, cultures, mores, behaviors, songs, dances, thoughts, writings and all proved as challenges to be overcome by a priest.[42]

Now he is not only a religious leader or a spiritual guide but he has to play multiple roles like social worker, counselor adviser and healer. Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth) comments “Globalization may make us neighbors but not brothers/ sisters.” The world has become a small family. Often his mission is comprises people of different religions, languages, races and regions. Each one fights for his own identity. There is disrespect for others. A priest stands for unity. He has to cultivate harmony and peace in the society and bring every member of the parish in front of the same alter of the Lord. Whether rich or poor, he has to treat everybody with the same dignity. This is a challenge for modern priest.

1.3. Sexual challenge

The catholic priest is known for his celibate life. The gift of celibacy is foundation stone for a pries. The obligatory celibacy is requirement for priesthood is a challenge. Sexual misconducts of priests have very much tarnished the image of the church. It has also led to the deterioration of the confidence of the people in priests. Sexual misconducts like homosexuality, paedophilia, molestations, etc. create a negative attitude towards priesthood both among Christians and non-Christians alike.[43]

To live the celibate life, he needs to be mature emotionally. Thus emotional maturity is the bedrock for an authentic spiritually and intellectual life. Meaningful relationships with both the laity and priests friends will help the priest to grow more and more in his life. Integration of sexuality and the proper understanding of celibacy also help him. Acceptance and good relation with the presbyterium may prevent loneliness and help him live out the gospel values. Otherwise, loneliness may lead a priest to pornography, masturbation, pedophilia, and homosexuality and so on. Even some may leave the priesthood. Today’s world is centered on fashions and sex. Thus the priest is challenged.

1.4. The Psychological challenge

Very often the term “wholeness” is associated with Psychological maturity. The psychological maturity is the proper way of behavior and attitude expected form a normal person. The term “Holiness” is associated with Spiritual or Religious maturity. Second Vatican council emphasizes the need for wholeness in our Holiness. One cannot divide human functioning into various dimensions because various aspects of a human person, namely spiritual, psychological, intellectual, physical, social etc are inseparable part of a single unit. Maturity or immaturity in one dimension will affect the other dimension will affect the other dimensions of the human person. Immaturity in psychological life of an individual will affect both the physical and spiritual aspects of the human person.[44]

Since priests are dealing with human persons in their ministry their psychological maturity are very important. It is said if a distressed person finds a psychologically mature priest then he is likely to live a better life, on the other hand if a distressed person finds a psychologically immature priest, then his problem may become worse.[45] A solid psychological maturity goes hand in hand with a solid spiritual maturity. Hence priest’s psychological maturity is very important to be a spiritually mature person. Psychologically mature person is a relational person. Holiness is relationship; spirituality is relationship so also Psychological maturity is also relationship. If a priest wants to be effective in his ministry first and foremost he should become relational person. [46]


In recent days, the priest is challenged intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To face these challenges is not easy. Therefore the priest should know the true understanding of discipleship, which includes concern and care for the poor and the needy and the selfless service to humanity. For this he needs a conversion in his way of living to face the challenges and to witness to Christ. He can attain this only through the integration of his body, mind and soul and a deep personal relationship with God. Furthermore, the up to date knowledge about the world through good reading and select television programme and attending seminars may help him to grow more in his priestly life. Thus he can challenge the world.


Priesthood in the Catholic Church has its origin and foundation in the priesthood of Christ, the High priest.  A priest is ordained to the prophetic, priestly and kingly ministry of Christ. Jesus’ priesthood was not a cultic one; he did not belong to the priestly order of his days. He did not offer his sacrifice in a liturgical solemnity or in the temple, but offered himself on the cross to build the kingdom of God.

            In the same way priests engaged in struggle for human rights, and in spreading education, legal awareness and in promoting various forms of solidarity among people. In our situation, it is important that the priest views his role as builder of the wider community, beyond his barrier of religion, cast, language or ethnic group. Like Christ the priest is anointed with the Holy Spirit so that in this society he may bring Good News to the humble, bind the brokenhearted, announce liberation to those in captivity, and comfort those who mourn.

            Priesthood is a precious gift and a vocation that the world looks up to. Leaving aside those struggling and trying to find the meaning of this vocation, there are so many dedicated and happy priests who are mediating God’s love to the poor and abandoned.  Vocation of a priest is carrying ones cross daily with a joyful heart. 

In recent days, the priest is challenged intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To face these challenges is not easy. Therefore the presets should know the true understanding of discipleship, which includes concern and care for the poor and the needy and the selfless service to humanity. For this he needs conversion in his way of living to face the challenges and to witness to Christ. He can attain this only through the integration of his body, mind and soul and a deep personal relationship with God. Furthermore, the up to date knowledge about the world through good reading and select television programme and attending seminars may help him to grow more in his priestly life. Thus he can challenge the world.

[1] John A. O’Brien, the priesthood in a changing world, (St. Anthony Guild press Paterson, New Jwrsey 1943), p. 3.

[2] Encyclopedia Britanica, Vol-8 (Chicago: Helen Homingway Benton, 1973-74), p. 207.

[3] John L Mckenizie, Presbyter, in Dictionary of Bible (London: Collier Macmillian Publishers, 1965), p. 691.

[4]Raymond, Barown E Fitzmyer, A Joseph, eds; The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, (Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 2004), p. 1237.

[5] Stephen Pampackal, Class Note on Church History, (Ranchi: St. Albert’s College, 17-9-2010), p. 27.

[6] Jen Galot, “The Priesthood of Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews” Theology of the Priesthood, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p.21.

[7] Jen Galot, Sj “The Priesthood of Christ In the Epistle to the Hebrews” Theology of The Priesthood, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p. 55.

[8] Thomas Koonam, SDB, Priest and Society, (Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti Publication, 2005), p.45.

[9] X.D. Selvaraj, “ Priesthood and its challenges,” New Leader 123 (April 16-30), p.12.

[10] Oxtoly Williard, “Priesthoo” the Encyclopedia of Religion, ed., Mireea Eliade, Vol. 2, (New York: Mc Millan Publishiog Company,1987), p. 533.

[11] Dr. Sebastian Kizhakkeyil, The Priest, (India: Asian Trading Corporation, 2010),  p. 15.

[12] Jen Galot, Theology of the Priesthood, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p.55.

[13] Ibid, p. 21.

[14] Ibid, p. 64.

[15] Ibid, p. 55.

[16] Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium- “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church”, 28, ed., Austin Flannery, Bombay: St. Paul Press, 1997, p.349.

[17] Austne Flanner, O.p.ed; Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium Dogmatic Constitution on the church, No.28,

[18] Ibid.,

[19] Raymond Brown, Peter in the New Testament, (New York: Paulist Press, 1973), p.185.

[20] Emmanuel Suhard, Priest among Men, Notre Dame: Indiana, 1960, p.20.

[21] Vatican II, p.665

[22] Max Thurian, Priesthood and Ministry: Ecumenical Research, (trans., Paula Clifford, London: Mowbray, 1983), p.115.

[23] Thomas Pazhyampallil, Pastoral Guide, vol.II, (Bangalore: K J C Publication, 1984), p.322.

[24] Ibid., p.313.

[25] Max Thurian, Priesthood and Ministry: Ecumenical Research, (Paula Clifford, London: Mowbray, 1983), p. 35.

[26] Vatican II, p.764

[27] Lumen Gentium, No. 21,

[28] Richard H. Guerrette, A New Identity for the Priest: Towards an Ecumenical Ministry, (New York: Paulist Press, 1973), p.59.

[29] Bifet J, Esquerda, Priestly Spirituality: Sign of Christ, (Calcutta: Printex Industrial Co., 1975), p.20.

[30] Ibid., p.22.

[31] The Code of the Canon Law No.1027, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in Indea,2007), p. 230

[32] Ibid.

[33] Donald B. Cozzens, The Changing Face Of The Priesthood, (U.S.A: The liturgical press,2000), p.85.

[34] Scoria Kuthirakkottet, “ The Radicality of Jesus’ Priesthood”, Bible Bhashyam, vol. 25, no.2, June 1999, p.241.

[35] Karl Rahner, The Priesthood, (New York: Seabury press, 1973), p.165.

[36] Matthew Vallaipalam, Priestly Formation in the changing society of India, (Bombay: St. Paul Press, 1989), p.255.

[37] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constant_Lievens

[38] Emmanuel. C.S., Priests Among Men, (New York 16, 1949), p. 75.

[39] Abraham K. The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest,(Mumbai, St. Pauls Press,2004), p.15.

[40] Fabian Kullu, “ Importance of Prayer in the life of a priest”, Darpan, eds. Linus Pingal, (St. Albert’s College, Ranchi, 2010), p.1.

[41] Fabian Kullu, “ Importance of Prayer in the life of a priest”, Darpan, eds. Linus Pingal, (St. Albert’s College, Ranchi, 2010), p.2.

[42] Livinus K., “Challenges of Priests’ Ministry and life in India Today” Revisioning Catholic Priesthood, theology and pastoral response to tsday’s challenges, ed., John Kulandai, (CCBI Centre Bangalore,2009),  p. 34.

[43] Joseph Cheriampanatt, “Challenges to Catholic Priesthood” ed. Sebastian K., The Priest Theological Reflections on Priesthood and Priestly Spirituality in the Light of Church Teachings,(Asian Trading Corporation, Bangalore, India,2010), p.509.

[44] Peter Fernando, “Psycho-Spiritual Maturity of Priests” Revisioning Catholic Priesthood, ed. E. John Kulandai, (Bengaluru,2004), p. 190.

[45] Ibid, p. 191.

[46]Ibid, p. 191.


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