Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Source of Her Life

However, while the whole community offers Christ in the Echaristic sacrifice and themselves in union with him, according to the immemorial tradition of the Church only a bishop or presbyter can validly preside over the celebration. This is not a mere legal requirement which could be changed by the Church at least in emergency situations. The Eucharist is the sacrifice of Christ entrusted to his Church but remains his own sacrifice. Therefore only someone sent by Christ and representing Christ as the head of his Church can validly make Christ's own sacrifice present in the assembly so that the whole assembly may offer it as her own. In other words, only those who are in the line of apostolic succession, receiving their sacramental authority from Christ through the apostles and their successors can validly consecrate. The absolute need for the ministerial priest in the Eucharistic celebration then does not express the craving of power by the hierarchy but rather the absolute dependence of the Church on Christ in her central act of worship. The need for the ministerial priest expresses sacramentally the radical insufficiency of the Church: she does not possess the source of her life in herself, but receives it continuously from Christ in a tangible, sacramental way. - Roch Kereszty, Communio, Fall 1996

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