The Apostolic Priesthood

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It is very critical that Jesus specially commissioned His Apostles to become shepherds to the people, instructing them to not only spread the good news, but to teach, heal and exorcise (c.f. Mk 6:7-8). What we’re seeing here is something wonderful: the birth of the Apostolic Priesthood (see Jer 23:4).

I once had a conversation with a good friend, where I remembered telling her that it is not the individual ‘priests’ that I adore, but the ‘priesthood’. It is the Sacred Office bestowed by Jesus that has survived through the ages which gives me the assurance that the Catholic Church is Apostolic and authentic. I do not go to Church just because a particular priest is charismatic, I go to Church because that’s the way God said we should worship Him; through listening to His Word (c.f. Jn 20:21-23, Mt 16:18-19) and by eating His flesh (c.f. Jn 6:53-58).

Priests can certainly fall into sin like any of us. Sadly, some priests in other parts of the world fall into very grave sins like sexual abuse.

But the Church has always condemned such actions. Sinners can’t escape God’s Justice, but judging is not our business. In fact, the Bible says that teachers of the Faith will be judged with greater strictness (Jas 3:1).

Even the Apostles fell. All of them apart from John, hid in fear during our Lord’s death. Peter denied Jesus and Paul was a murderer. Does that diminish their authority? No. A priest’s individual sins has nothing to do with the authority of their sacred office; that much is truly biblical, as seen from even David’s time; where he did not kill evil King Saul out of respect for God’s appointment of Saul’s kingship. Till now, I am sad that so many still do not understand this.

God chooses His priests, and God chooses sinners to build His church. Without our priests, we are nothing. We would have no Sacraments and no Magisterium to guide us. Let us thus be thankful for our priests!


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Noel Ethan Tan

Noel Ethan Tan

Noel is a Singaporean working as a rehabilitation counsellor at ACC(S) Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre. He is currently doing a part-time Masters Program in Counselling and Guidance at NTU, Singapore. In his church ministry, Noel is currently serving in a young adults' Catholic community called Anawim that does Bible Exegesis. Noel is also pursuing a Certificate in Theology at the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore. His favorite Bible verse is 1 Peter 3:15 — “In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it with gentleness and reverence.”

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