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In persona Christi - a Latin phrase meaning "in the person of Christ" - is an important theological concept in Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism which refers to the action of a bishop or priest while celebrating a sacrament. The priest acts in the person of Christ in the pronouncing of the words of the sacramental rite. Unlike Roman Catholics, however, Lutherans reject sacerdotalism. They also do not attempt to attach an exact moment or time to sacramental acts, as Roman Catholics.

In Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, there are essential moments in the rites where the priest's words and gestures confect the sacrament. These words are spoken in persona Christi capitis. Two examples include "This is my body" and "This is my blood" in the Eucharistic prayer and "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Related concepts

Male priesthood

The doctrine is used the justify the teaching of an all-male priesthood, as Jesus is held to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek and a perfect man.

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Clerical celibacy

The doctrine is also used the justify the teaching of clerical celibacy, as it is generally believed that Christ was a celibate all his life.


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