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Hence ordinarily the priest was not isolated, but was regularly attached to a definite church or connected with a cathedral. The nature of this service depends especially on the nature of the benefice, office, or function assigned to the priest; the Council in particular desires (cap.xiv) priests to celebrate Mass at least on Sundays and holydays, while those who are charged with the care of souls are to celebrate as often as their office demands.to celebrate the Eucharist), to forgive sins, to bless, to preach, to sanctify, and in a word to fulfil the non-reserved liturgical duties or priestly functions.
Consequently, it is not easy to say in a way applicable to all cases what are the duties and rights of a priest; both vary considerably in individual cases.
By his ordination a priest is invested with powers rather than with rights, the exercise of these powers (to celebrate Mass, remit sins, preach, administer the sacraments, direct and minister to the Christian people) being regulated by the common laws of the church, the jurisdiction of the bishop, and the office or charge of each priest. Except in the matter of the care of souls the sacerdotal functions are likewise obligatory in the case of priests having any benefice or office in a church (e.g.
In this sense, every religion has its priests, exercising more or less exalted sacerdotal functions as intermediaries between man and the Divinity (cf.
Heb., v, 1: "for every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins ").
It is this name presbyter (elder) which has passed into the Christian speech to signify the minister of Divine service, the priest.
The Christian law also has necessarily its priesthood to carry out the Divine service, the principal act of which is the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the figure and renewal of that of Calvary.Omitting further discussion of the general idea of the priesthood, and neglecting all reference to pagan worship, we may call attention to the organization among the people of God of a Divine service with ministers properly so-called: the priests, the inferior clergy, the Levites, and at their head the high-priest.We know the detailed regulations contained in Leviticus as to the different sacrifices offered to God in the Temple at Jerusalem, and the character and duty of the priests and Levites.Moreover, certain acts of the sacerdotal power, affecting the society of which the bishop is the head, are reserved to the latter -- e.g.confirmation, the final rite of Christian initiation, ordination, by which the ranks of the clergy are recruited, and the solemn consecration of new temples to God.The exercise of the sacerdotal powers is both a duty and a right for priests having the care of souls, either in their own name (e.g. canons); otherwise they are optional, and their exercise depends upon the favour of the bishop (e.g.