Trent and the French School on Christ's Priesthood

Gerald O'Collins and Michael Keenan Jones

in Jesus Our Priest

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199576456
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723032 | DOI:
Trent and the French School on Christ's Priesthood

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The Council of Trent (1545–63) promulgated four decrees that concerned priesthood, but explicitly mentioned the priesthood of Christ himself only in the 1562 decree on ‘the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’. It did not expound in any document: (1) the triple office of Christ as priest, prophet, and king; (2) the priesthood of Christ as exercised during his public ministry; and (3) the common priesthood (and prophetic kingship) of all the baptized—a theme developed four centuries later by the Second Vatican Council. Disputes with the Reformers had moved the Eucharist, the cultic function of the ordained priesthood, and its connection with Christ's priesthood to the forefront. This resulted in a stress on the priesthood as cultic and hierarchical, with the preaching of the Word as a priestly function left out of the picture. The seventeenth‐century ‘French School’, led by Bérulle, Condren, Eudes, Olier, and Vincent de Paul, dedicated themselves to the reform of the clergy. In doing so, they had much to say about the priesthood of Christ. As well as respecting the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ministry of preaching, they showed a keen interest in the self‐sacrificing nature of Christ's own priesthood, which made him victim as well as priest—a self‐sacrificing dedication to be followed by those who share his priesthood.

Keywords: Eucharist; ordained priesthood; preaching; priesthood of the faithful; sacrifice; victim

Chapter.  16557 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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