Revelation 1:6- “And hath made us kings and priests unto God”

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According to the Roman Catholic Church, a priest is “A man who is ordained by a Bishop in the sacrament of Holy Orders to perform the Sacrifice of the Mass, hear confessions and dispense the sacraments. (Catechism of the Catholic Church) The priesthood is the heart and soul of the Roman Catholic system. The Catholic priest is ordained to do the work of the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. A priest is required to forgive sins in the name of Jesus Christ and to change the elements into the literal body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. In the case of mortal sins, the faithful Catholic needs the priest’s office of confession, contrition and penance in order to be eligible to receive communion. These very important ministries can only be performed by a priest.

Peter as the chief of the apostles was given the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” as recorded in Matthew 16:19. Peter and the other apostles were also given the authority by Jesus to hear confession and either forgive or not forgive sins as recorded in Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:20-23. The apostles have passed this authority down through the ages by apostolic succession. Therefore, all priests who have been ordained by the bishop have the divine authority to perform the true duties associated with the office of priest.

In Session XXIII of The Council of Trent, issued July 15, 1563, the following doctrinal position is espoused concerning the priesthood:

The Institution Of The Priesthood Of The New Law

Sacrifice and priesthood are by the ordinance of God so united that both existed in every law. Since therefore in the New Testament the Catholic Church has received from the institution of Christ the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must also be confessed that there is in Christ a new, visible and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated. That this was instituted by the same Lord our Savior, and that to the Apostles and their successors in the priesthood was given the power of consecrating, offering and administering His body and blood, as also of forgiving and retaining sins, is shown by the Sacred Scriptures and has always been taught by the tradition of the Catholic Church.

The Seven Orders

But since the ministry of so holy a priesthood is something divine, that it might be exercised in a more worthy manner and with greater veneration, it was consistent that in the most well-ordered arrangement of the Church there should be several distinct orders of ministers, who by virtue of their office should minister to the priesthood, so distributed that those already having the clerical tonsure should ascend through the minor to the major orders. For the Sacred scriptures mention unmistakably not only the priests but also the deacons, and teach in the most definite words what is especially to be observed in their ordination; and from the very beginning of the Church the names of the following orders and the duties proper to each one are known to have been in use, namely those of sub-deacon, acolyte, exorcist, rector and porter, though these were not of equal rank; for the sub-diaconate is classed among the major orders by the Fathers and holy councils, [4] in which we also read very often of other inferior orders.

The Order Of The Priesthood Is Truly A Sacrament

Since from the testimony of Scripture, Apostolic tradition and the unanimous agreement of the Fathers it is clear that grace is conferred by sacred ordination, which is performed by words and outward signs, no one ought to doubt that order is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of holy Church. For the Apostle says: {I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sobriety.}

Canon 2.

“If anyone says that besides the priesthood there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both major and minor, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made to the priesthood, let him be anathema (cursed of damned to hell).

Canon 6

“If anyone says that in the Catholic Church there is not instituted a hierarchy by divine ordinance, which consists of bishops, priests and minister, let him be anathema.”

Canon 7

“If anyone says that bishops are not superior to priests, or that they have not the power to confirm and ordain, or that the power which they have is common to them and to priests, or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments, let him be anathema.”

Canon 8

“If anyone says that the bishops who are chosen by the authority of the Roman pontiff are not true and legitimate bishops, but merely human deception, let him be anathema.”


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Nowhere in the New Testament do we find any mention of a special order of priests. Certainly, none of the apostles ever acted as priests. None of the them ever said Mass, heard a confession or dispensed a sacrament. In fact, nothing is mentioned in the New Testament about any kind of sacraments. There are only two ordinances that I even find in the New Testaments; those being believers baptism and the Lord’s supper. For a fuller explanation of the Mass and Confession, see the links for The Mass and Confession under the Issues Section. The New Testament teaches us very clearly that all truly born again Bible believing Christians are priests. For instance in Revelation 1: 5,6, we read: “Unto him who loved us, and washed us from out sins in his own blood. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Again in 1 Peter 2:5,9 we are told of this priesthood of believers. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” At the very moment that we by grace through faith alone asked Christ to forgive us of our sins and to be our personal Savior; we were immediately cleansed of our sins and were no longer bound in our sin. All who were once bond slaves (Romans 6:20-22) have become kings and priests (actually a kingdom of priests). We will one day be seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Then according to 1 Peter 2:5, as a holy priesthood, we will be offering up spiritual gifts to God. Then according to Revelation 20, we will one day actually reign with Him. Actually, Presbyters (Pastors) were not referred to as priests by the church until the end of the second century and then first by Lucian. By this time many other false doctrines and heresies had crept into the church which ultimately provided the germ for the Roman Church that we know today.

Peter was never the chief of the apostles and hence was never given the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” in the sense of being able to bind or loose anyone’s sins. (See the link to Confession and Peter under the Issues Section) What are keys used for? Obviously to unlock and open a door. It is important first of all to note that the authority to bind or loose was given to all the apostles and not just to Peter. Secondly, Matthew 16:19 certainly does not prove any special power or authority on Peter’s part. It is also very interesting that the scribes and Pharisees had a similar power as recorded in Matthew 23: 2-4, 13- “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” These verses clearly tell us the the scribes and Pharisees had the Word of God in their hands and could have given it to the people; however, they chose to withhold the Word and therefore shut up the Kingdom of heaven to the Jews. We must conclude then that in Matthew 16:19, Jesus in giving the keys to the apostles gave them the authority to preach the Word of God. This is so very evident in the book of Acts. For instance, on the Day of Pentecost 3,000 were saved after hearing the Word of God preached. A few days later, 5,000 were saved. Likewise, we as Bible believing Christians have the keys today. When we present the Gospel to the lost, they have a choice to make. If they hear the Gospel message and repent, we can boldly declare that their sins have been forgiven and they are loosed from their sins. On the other hand, if a lost person rejects God’s Word, then we can say that they are still bound in their sins. Finally note that it was to be “things” and not “persons” that were to be bound or loosed– “whatsoever” and not “whomever.”

Actually the Catholic Church has not really received anything from Christ. Just as most of the other doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church are manmade, so is the teaching of a special priesthood. Notice that the sole authority for all the functions of the Catholic priesthood rest solely in the traditions of the Church. (See link to Tradition under the Issues Section) We have an order of priests in the Old Testament. However, this priesthood does not carry over into the New Testament era.

Nothing is taught in the New Testament about a special order or hierarchy of sub-deacons, acolytes, exorcists, rectors or porters. In Acts 6, we have recorded the first mention of the duties of deacons. Seven men were chosen by the apostles, who laid hands on them. These seven men were to take care of the daily business of the church and “serve tables”. Then in 1 Timothy chapter 3 we see the qualifications of a deacon. The following is especially noted in verses 11 and 12, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their houses well.” Nothing is mentioned concerning celibacy. Furthermore, in the same chapter of 1 Timothy, we have the qualifications for a bishop, not a priest. We read in verses 2 and 4, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” This is definitely not spiritual children as some Catholic apologists claim. Once again nothing is mentioned concerning celibacy.

There seems to be a contradiction of the value of the so called Sacraments. All seven Sacraments according to the Catholic Church are means of obtaining sanctifying grace. If the Sacrament of Marriage confers grace, why is it denied to those who are in “Holy Orders?” We do not dispute the fact that Paul laid hands on Timothy and prayed that he would receive the “gift of God” necessary for ministry (2 Timothy 1:6 and also 1 Timothy 4:14). How conveniently the word gift is falsely translated grace in the Catholic Bible. The Greek word is xarisma (charisma) and can only be translated gifts. On the other hand the Greek word for grace is xariti (chariti) and can only be translated grace. Catholic apologists claim that the Greek manuscripts used by the King James translators were corrupted and the word should have been grace. Quite the opposite is actually the truth. The Catholic Bible based on The Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) is actually the one that is corrupted. In fact, many of the false doctrines of Catholicism appear in the Vulgate which was a corrupted version of the Bible prepared by Jerome in the fourth century.

Nothing is mentioned anywhere in the entire New Testament about the wearing of any special clerical garb by any of the apostles, any of the deacons or any other ministers for that matter. There certainly is no mention of “Albs”, Maniples,” “Amice”, “Chasuble” or “white stoles.” There is no resemblance here with the white robes of the Redeemed in Revelation 19. The fact of the matter is that the distinctive traits of the doctrine of the Nicolaitane’s found in Revelation 2:15 are evident in the “Holy Orders” (a division between the leaders and the laity). [/column] [end_columns]

Rev. Robert J. Thomas – Ex-Catholic.Baptist.Org
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– John 8:32-“Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”