Did St. Peter Dismiss the Idea of Church Hierarchy? (Father Simon Says)

Why do we need priests, bishops, and the Holy Father? Maybe a non-Catholic has asked you this before.

Fr. Rich Simon tackled a question from Tricia of Modesto. She was suggesting that St. Peter, the first Pope, dismissed the need for a hierarchical clergy in the Catholic Church. Tricia’s argument hinged on 1 Peter 2:9 and a reference to Exodus 19:6, implying that all Christians are essentially priests, thus negating the need for a structured clergy.

Father clarified that “priest” translates two distinct words in Greek and Hebrew: one meaning ‘sacrificer’ and the other ‘elder’. Here’s the kicker: We’re all called to be sacrificers, living lives of sacrifice, especially in the Eucharist. However, the governance of the Church involves ‘elders’ or ‘presbyters’, which morphed into the English ‘priest’.

Father dismantles Tricia’s argument by invoking Ignatius of Antioch and Hippolytus, early Christian writers who described a Church already structured with bishops, priests, and deacons. So much for the idea that hierarchy was a 4th-century invention!

Fr. Simon illustrated the chaos of a leaderless group with the golden calf incident from Exodus. His message? Hierarchy doesn’t just mean a chain of command; it’s about sacred leadership, crucial for guiding a sinful, grace-saved people.

Father recounted a face-off with Bible-thumpers at a Bible study, where he defended the Catholic Church’s role in preserving the Bible through centuries.

His message? Without the Church’s structure, we’d be lost in a sea of confusion, lacking the very Bible we cherish.

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.