9 - Ordained Priesthood
Updated: Mar 18, 2022
From a strictly theological point of view, few things are more challenging than striking the right balance when thinking about ordained priesthood. Most of what the New Testament says about priests applies to all Christians and it is difficult to avoid being conditioned by unconscious romanticised visions of priesthood. One thing is certain: in one form or another, alternatively idealised or vilified, ordained priesthood has been there since the beginning of Christianity and throughout its history. Even just from the historical viewpoint, it is clear that it is an essential dimension of Christianity.
In his classical and inspiring presentation of ordained priesthood, the former archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey describes priests as
the people of the Gospel,
of the Eucharist,
of reconciliation and
Michael Ramsey, The Christian Priest Today. Of all Michael Ramsey's many books, The Christian Priest Today is perhaps the best loved and most enduring. The main part of the volume is composed of charges to ordination candidates, with an emphasis on the intellectual and devotional life of the minister in an increasingly self-sufficient world. Later chapters reflect on the ministry of the laity, the theology of priesthood and the roles of bishop and presbyter in the context of the practical meaning of divine vocation. Michael Ramsey was the one hundredth Archbishop of Canterbury, and held office from 1961 to 1974. He died in 1988.