3.42 What is the common priesthood of all believers?
Everyone who is baptised shares in the priesthood of Jesus. That means that we are all called to make God present in the world. We can do this simply by the way we live our lives, so that people can recognise God in the way we interact with others.
We call this the ‘common priesthood’ of the people of God. Every Christian is a member of the people of God, which makes up the Church. The vast majority of our Church consists of lay faithful. Their vocation is to live as Christians in their own place in society, and thus to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus.
With what authority is the priestly ministry exercised?
Ordained priests in the exercise of their sacred ministry speak and act not on their own authority, nor even by mandate or delegation of the community, but rather in the Person of Christ the Head and in the name of the Church. Therefore, the ministerial priesthood differs essentially and not just in degree from the priesthood common to all the faithful for whose service Christ instituted it. [CCCC 336]
Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ... [The] the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity. [Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, n. 10]