Catholic Church

Presbyterorum Ordinis

Full text of Presbyterorum Ordinis.


While all the faithful participate in the priesthood of Christ, the ministry of Priests is distinct from this. Priests, by their very office, are able to “offer sacrifice and to forgive sins, and they perform their priestly office publicly for men in the name of Christ.” (PO, 2) It is through their ministry that the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is perfectly united with the sacrifice of Christ. (PO, 2) They are shepherds of the flock and are called to draw all into the one fold of Christ.

Priests have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel for the sake of both the faithful and the unbeliever for “no one can be saved who does not first believe.” (PO, 4) Priests exhort all men to “conversion and holiness” (PO, 4), and their ministry is tied to the Eucharist and all they do is directed toward it. (PO, 5) Priests should lead their flock to be filled with a missionary zeal for souls and should “prepare also the way to Christ for all men.” (PO, 6) Priests must be “defenders of the common good…[and] strenuous assertors of the truth, lest the faithful be carried about by every wind of doctrine.” (PO, 9) Those entrusted to priests are not just the faithful, but all even if they do not “recognize Christ as their Savior.” (PO, 9)

Priests must “give themselves entirely to the service of men” (PO, 12) and are like Christ in-so-much as they do this. Their burdens are great and should follow Christ by immersing themselves in a desire for holiness through the study of Sacred Scripture, daily celebration of the Mass (which “is still an act of Christ and of the Church” even if there are no faithful present (PO, 13)), and by venerating the Mother of God who is the “mother of the Eternal Highpriest, Queen of Apostles and Protector of their own ministry.” (PO, 18)

“Priests should remember that in performing their office they are never alone, but strengthened by the power of Almighty God, and believing in Christ who called them to share in his Priesthood, they should devote themselves to their ministry with complete trust, knowing that God can cause charity to grow in them.” (PO, 22)

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