Catholic Church Priesthood Sociology

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Today many older Christians often talk much of aura of dignity that used to surround the priests of old known to them and as well lament that such glamour was gone. When such remarks are made, the obvious reaction is to begin to compare the priests of old with the priests of today. Running up and down in large number and almost on daily basis in search of special priests for divine favours and miracles has become a phenomenon in the African society. This has heightened the fact of religion being a big factor in the social and economic life of the masses. It is also an indication that in the judgment of the people, there is some lack in the priesthood of many priests today. Obviously the high standard of priestly dignity claimed to have been…show more content…
As theological understanding of priesthood has, according to Rausch (1992) , changed since the last century, the task of locating priestly dignity is no longer an easy one. For Rausch, modern biblical and historical studies have challenged the concept of priesthood, which has been dominant in the Catholic Church for almost a millennium. Today, obviously in the Catholic Church, the emphasis is no longer on the “sacred power” which the priest was said to have possessed, setting him apart from others and giving him a unique authority. For Dulles (1990) , the official theology of the priesthood has been enlarged considerably by the Second Vatican Council. He thinks the council moved beyond the emphasis on the sacred functions of prayer, worship and sacrifice, which had characterized catholic theology to declaring that ordination confers the threefold functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing, thus adding the royal and prophetic functions to the traditional cultic understanding of priesthood. Theologians today differ as to what should be stressed in the priesthood: priests as preachers of the word of God, the cultic or sacramental ministry of the priests, and priests as leaders of the community of the believers. For many priests today, questions remain about their identity precisely as priests. The expectations of the laity regarding their priests have today become varied (Dulles,…show more content…
The priesthood identified by Sharkey (1985) as the legal office in which the occupants in humility accept speaking with an authority that is not their own and administering a service which transcends the limitation of this world.
2. A religious mentality as identified by Obiagwu (2006) , which church and religion would mostly be a search for security, a means for getting immediate positive response from God to take away misfortunes and problems of life, to deliver from series of attack from the devils that fill the world and a source of obtaining healings from God. On the side of the priests this reconciliation further consists in their taking care to ensure that their priesthood does not rely on such religious mentality and play on the faith of the people entrusted to them by God.

Doing otherwise has many implications among which are:
- an apparent approval of the erroneous religious mentality as well as according a formal encouragement to it.
- a projection of a heightened leadership position of the priests in a way that presents them as being up there and the people of God, the church faithful, down here.
- a creation of an impression of fundamentalism on the part of the priests as such will be a reflection of their interpretation of the scripture’s apostolic mandate that they are concerned

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