Priests, Prophets, and Kings/Shepherds

Gerald O?Collins SJ

In the last of a series on the spiritual treasures found in Vatican II, Gerald O?Collins SJ looks at the theme of priestly, prophetic and kingly fellowship. The author is adjunct professor of Australian Catholic University.

Prefigured in the first document of the Second Vatican Council, the 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), the theme of sharing in Christ?s function as priest, prophet, and king/shepherd was deployed in six further documents of the Council.1 This theme of the priestly, prophetic, and kingly fellowship that constitutes the Church should be counted as the most significant doctrine that Vatican II rediscovered in the Scriptures and unfolded in a sequence of texts from 1963 to 1965, including two promulgated on the last working day of the Council, the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes, and the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis.

Vatican II took as its starting point what 1 Peter 2.9 proclaimed about the whole Christian people becoming through baptism a ?royal priesthood?.

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