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Royal Priesthood of Laity

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The dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium of the Second Vatican Council specifically highlights the priesthood of all believers. It teaches that the Church’s relationship with God is independent of whatever ordination people have received, as evidenced by the guidelines and rubrics for personal prayer when no priest is present. Such Churches have always taught implicitly that a Christian’s personal relationship with God is independent of whatever ordination they have received.

The Catholic Church accepts the ‘priesthood of all believers’ doctrine – it is not the exclusive domain of Protestantism. This is exemplified in ‘chaplet of divine mercy’ prayer, in which the individual Christian declares: “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins…” The primary difference between the teachings of the Catholic Church and those of the (non-Anglican) Protestant churches that reject the ordained priesthood is that the Catholic Church believes in three different types of priests:

1. the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5–9)
2. the ordained priesthood (Acts 14:23, Romans 15:16, 1 Timothy 5:17, Titus 1:5, James 5:14–15); and
3. the high priesthood of Jesus (Hebrews 3:1).

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