Saint Paul was a rabbi, an evangelist, a preacher, a missionary, a minister, and an apostle—but was he a priest? First, we must examine how a priest is different than a minister or preacher. Certainly, priests preach and teach, but they do more. Priests also mediate and sacrifice on behalf of others.
Since the New Testament describes Christ as the great high priest of the New Covenant, many Christians have supposed that there are no more priests in the New Testament, or that all Christians are “priests” because each believer has direct access to Christ. Following this argument, there could not be any priests mediating between believers and Christ since Christ is the “one mediator between God and man” (1 Tim 2:5). Moreover, Christ offered His sacrifice “once and for all” on the wood of the cross and so it would be inconceivable for any Christian to offer sacrifice. And yet, the Catholic Church believes that there are ministerial priests who are distinct from the laity and distinct from Christ. Why does the Catholic Church believe this?
Saint Paul taught it.
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Was Paul a Catholic priest? Yes, he refers to his “priestly ministry” in Romans 15:15-16. He administered the sacraments, called himself a “steward of the mysteries”, and he was even celibate! Join us as we look at the priestly language of Paul’s Epistles.