Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: The priest as Jesus
The priest as Jesus QUESTION from Patrick M on July 22, 2002 I'm actually asking this question for my mother, who goes to mass every day and has been told by a couple of different people that during the consecration, the priest actually becomes Christ. Neither of us had ever heard this before.
The catechism (1548) states that the priest by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis, and later that he possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself. What I would presume from this is that the priest is at all times representative of Christ and although Christ is present in the Eucharist at the moment of consecration, he's not actually present in the priest.
Am I right in this or am I missing something? Thanks.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on July 31, 2002 Dear Patrick,
I would consult a theologian for a more complete answer, but nonetheless here is my understanding. I don't think it is correct to say that the priest actually is Christ at Mass, but rather actually is in his place, or person. The key word here is actually, meaning in act. The priest is in act the person of Christ as he is offering the sacrifice that Christ himself offers, that is, himself. It is the same sacrifice. But I would not go so far to say that the human priest actually becomes Christ at this moment. Remember at least that Christ is not only the high priest of this sacrifice, He is also the victim.
Please feel welcome to discuss this further,
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