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Jesus Our PriestA Christian Approach to the Priesthood of Christ$
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Gerald O'Collins, SJ and Michael Keenan Jones

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199576456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576456.001.0001

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Aquinas on Christ's Priesthood

Aquinas on Christ's Priesthood

(p.105) 6 Aquinas on Christ's Priesthood
Jesus Our Priest

Gerald O'Collins (Contributor Webpage)

Michael Keenan Jones

Oxford University Press

In his version of Christ's redeeming priesthood, Aquinas adopted and modified Anselm's theory of redemption as ‘satisfaction’. Unlike Anselm, Aquinas saw Christ's function as mediator between God and human beings being exercised as priest, prophet, and king. The meritorious sacrifice of Christ was accepted by God as being inspired by love. Like Origen, Chrysostom, Luther, and Calvin, Aquinas wrote a work on the Letter to the Hebrews; in that commentary he remarked: ‘only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers’ (8. 4). In his Summa Theologiae Aquinas dedicates one ‘question’ of six ‘articles’ to ‘the principal act of priestly office’, the sacrifice in which Christ was both priest and victim and efficaciously expiated human sin. Aquinas's account of Christ's priesthood is filled out by what he wrote about Christ as mediator (one question of two articles), about the sacraments, and about the ascension, as well as in the liturgical texts that he composed for the Feast of Corpus Christi (instituted in 1264). For Aquinas the sacramental life of believers derives from Christ's priesthood and passion. In the celebration of the Eucharist and administration of the other sacraments, Christ the priest is always the principal, albeit invisible, agent.

Keywords:   Anselm, Eucharist, mediator, passion, priesthood, sacraments, sacrifice, satisfaction

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