Christ, the archetypal priest, raised the ancient priesthood to a new level. As the Good Shepherd, He spent His life doing good (cf. Acts 10:38); as the Bread of Angels, He gave His own flesh in Communion; as the Immaculate Lamb, He offered Himself on the Altar of the Cross for corrupt humanity; as the restorer of Levites, He drove the peddlers from the Temple. Persecuted particularly by the chief priests, He erected a new priestly order according to Melchizedek. His Passion was a supremely exorcistic act against the enraged mob; His life was the ruin of the wicked.
“As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). In order to perpetuate His work, Jesus first of all sent the Apostles, those who are, by their very etymology, the ones sent. To them, the God-Man conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders, so that they would not only follow His example, but would act in His Person – in Persona Christi. They were ordained, therefore, to oppose all that is “antichristic”.
There are three nouns which, in current vocabulary, designate ordained ministers: priest, father and presbyter.
Priest means one who gives sacred things – (sacerdos in Latin – sacra dans.) In fact, his ministry is “to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb 5:1). This sacralization can be summarized in the role of mediator between God and man, either by raising oblations to the Most High, or by receiving blessings from Him to transmit to the faithful.
In contrary fashion, the ministers of the Antichrist propagate the profane. They are “false Christs” (Mk 13:22), simoniacs disguised as humble men, who despise the decorum of the Liturgy and are allergic to the Sacraments.
Father, in turn, comes originally from the Latin pater. The priest is a father because he generates the children of God through Baptism and educates them in the ways of the Divine Master, as well as welcoming many “prodigal sons” in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
On the other extreme is “the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son” (1 Jn 2:22). As their “father [is] the devil” (Jn 8:44), his ministers despise the family and what is traditional in it; as nepotists they protect their own, while with scandals they turn the little ones away from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Finally, the Greek word presbyteros means elder, not in the chronological sense, but in that of maturity. The presbyter must be mature, that is to say, serene, firm, prudent and courageous. He must tend towards perfection – to the per–fect –, that is, done thoroughly, which is nothing other than sanctity, the perfection of charity.
Satan’s hierophants, in turn, are eternal adolescents. Histrionic, they translate life as an endless game. Emasculated, they flee from combat like the devil from the cross. Trepidatious, they live on impulses and not on convictions. They are worse than cowards because they do not fear the dark like children, but rather the light…
In conclusion, Christ’s priests are ordained ministers, not only because they belong to the order of clerics, but also because they tend towards the restoration of the sacral, paternal and presbyteral order of society. Therefore, if “the Revolution is disorder, the Counter-Revolution is the restoration of order” – as Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira defined it – the priests of Christ are also archetypes of the Counter-Revolution: they are ordained to establish order. ◊