For far too many decades since the Council, these functions of the ordained Priests, which the Pope recalls are "inseparable" from his Sacrificial duties, have been usurped by laymen - this is seen every single day also on this medium, as laymen, fattened by a sense of self-importance, see fit to teach and give counsel on specific matters, of declaring who is a saint or who is not, of giving authoritative answers on matters of Catholic teaching and counseling.And the Holy Father writes:
It is very obvious that for the priest celebrating Holy Mass every day does not mean carrying out a ritual function but rather fulfilling a mission that involves his life entirely and profoundly in communion with the Risen Christ who continues to realize the redeeming sacrifice in his Church.Read Pope Benedict XVI's entire homily here.
This Eucharistic and sacrificial dimension is inseparable from the pastoral dimension and constitutes the nucleus of truth and of the saving power on which the effectiveness of every activity depends. Of course, we are not speaking of effectiveness solely at the psychological or social level, but rather of the vital fruitfulness of God’s presence at the profound human level. Preaching itself, good works and the actions of various kinds that the Church carries out with her multiple initiatives would lose their salvific fruitfulness were the celebration of Christ’s Sacrifice to be lacking. And this is entrusted to ordained priests. Indeed, the priest is called to live in himself what Jesus experienced personally, that is, to give himself without reserve to preaching and to healing man of every evil of body and of spirit, and then, lastly, to sum up everything in the supreme gesture of “laying down his life”, for human beings, which finds its sacramental expression in the Eucharist, the perpetual memorial of Jesus’ Passover. It is only through this “door” of the Paschal Sacrifice that the men and women of all time can enter eternal life; it is through this “holy way” that they can undertake the exodus that leads them to the “promised land” of true freedom, to the “green pastures” of never ending peace and joy (cf. Jn 10:7,9; Ps 77:14, 20-21; Ps 23:2). [emphasis New Catholic's]