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Chapter Summary

In the ecumenical conversation of the post World War II years the significance of the priestly character of the Church has received, and continues to receive, increasing accentuation. This is a logical consequence of the interdenominational dialogue which has concentrated upon the ecclesiological question the nature and function of the Church. In view of the host of recent literature which has appeared treating the question of the Church's priesthood under such various aspects as universal priesthood, priesthood and ministry, laity and hierarchy, and lay apostolate, it is not surprising that precisely this concern has been labeled "perhaps the major theological problem of the twentieth century". According to Luther, the function of the priesthood is precisely that of the ministry or Amt the proclamation and administration of the media gratiae. The ministerial office, according to Luther is responsible for the public exercise of this priestly task within the congregation.

Keywords: Catholic ecclesiology; Luther; ministerial office; priesthood



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