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Joel Calvin wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What order(s) are Catholic priests?
The priests of the Old Testament were the order of Aaron (Levitical).
(Deuteronomy 18:1, Deuteronomy 24:8, Deuteronomy 27:9)
In the New Testament, Christ is a priest forever "in the order of Melchizedek".
(Hebrews 7)
  • Is there a different order for Catholic priests?

Forgive me if this has already been asked. I searched the database before asking.

Joel C.

  { What order(s) are Catholic priests and are they any different than those of the Old Testament? }

Eric replied:

Dear Joel,

Catholic priests are considered to be priests in the order of Melchizedek. This is distinct from what we call religious orders (Trappist, Carmelite, Dominican, etc.).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:

Article 6: The Sacrament of Holy Orders.

The one priesthood of Christ

1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." (2 Timothy 2:5) The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; (Hebrews 5:10; cf. Hebrews 6:20; Genesis 14:18) "holy, blameless, unstained," (Hebrews 7:26) "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," (Hebrews 10:14) that is, by the unique sacrifice of the Cross.

Priesthood Of Christ: The unique high priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. Christ fulfilled everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured. (cf. Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 6:20). He offered himself once and for all (Hebrews 10:14), in a perfect sacrifice upon the cross. His priesthood is made present in a special way in the Church through the ministerial priesthood, conferred through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (CCC 1539, 1544, 1547, 1554


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