This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Universal Message: Within the Church hierarchy, Priests are the lowest in rank, and with even greater reason, Bishops are inferior to the laity.
There are secrets of holiness that, although they may have been revealed more than 2,000 years ago by Christ himself, we haven’t looked at closely, nor do we even care to pay attention. Nowadays, the Church focuses on a myriad of material things, but teachings of asceticism and holiness are imparted at a turtle’s pace.
One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made in Catholicism is that, for centuries, it’s been taught that the hierarchy of the Church goes from the bottom to the top, that is to say, from inferior to superior. This erroneous interpretation of holiness in the Church has come to hurt the entirety of its flock, because in reality, the Church’s hierarchy goes from top to bottom. And we shall prove this here, so that the entire world may know that the “Apocalyptic Wolf” speaks the very truth instituted by Christ Himself. The wolf is not deaf and well knows that he’s heard the voice of his Celestial Father, the Almighty.
We shall prove here, that those who are the superiors and have higher rank in the Church here on earth are the laity or laymen, and those who are of lower rank are the priests or priesthood, in general.
We’ll give some ordinary, everyday examples. If a priest, for example, arrives at a community, having been solicited through the Diocese in order to help, nourish, and feed the existing community, the first thing a new priest does is to do whatever he well pleases in his new parish. It’s basically as if he were the new boss, expressing his brilliant ideas before his new employees.
A new priest always has the tendency of listening to the long-established leaders of the new parish; these normally, and just about always, are the most unfaithful to Christ, but they are the ones who give the commands.
This is what Church hierarchy is going from bottom to top, that is to say, the leaders and priest always command. We laymen are always the inferior ones, and leadership is superior.
A new priest usually arrives with an aggressive attitude. Immediately, he gives the order that the community choir is not allowed to sing a certain hymn or that he doesn’t want them there, and they must come dressed according to his way. Some priests give extremely long and tiresome sermons. Other priests extend Mass so much—to the point of causing inconveniences in Church— thinking that by doing this they are doing a magnificent and Heavenly job, but these sermons are quite the contrary.
The ministers of Communion must use a cassock or an alb in order to perform their duties, according the orders given by the new parish priest. The English-speaking ministers of Communion are able to assist during Mass dressed however they please; they don’t need to use the cassock. In the English Masses, choir members and others are able to receive Communion at the altar, just the same as the ministers of Communion, but in the Spanish Masses, this is not possible. And thus, one can easily see how favoritism is shown towards a culture that’s more economically powerful; that is, precisely in the preferential treatment, one can see the differences as compared with the disappointing treatment of those who are poorer.
The Church has its origins in the apostles and in Christ, who formed it; but it’s been more than 2,000 years since then, and it becomes more and more something of the past. It’s something belonging only to the origins and birth of the Church. Within the Church’s hierarchy, the ranking of a priest is greater than that of the laity; this is proof that the hierarchy in the Church is taught from bottom to top, that is to say, from inferior to superior.
The Church nowadays maintains an order of ranking similar to that of the military service in any given country. Generals, captains, and elite politicians who command the armed forces of that powerful country are the prominent ones. The Church, an organization that’s supposedly divine, defines those who are preeminent and virtuous in this very same way.
Here now, we have a very simple example: In our country Mexico, the name of an acolyte is one given to a young boy who normally helps the priest with moving the altar utensils to and fro. However, in the English language, the term would be “altar boy,” which not only signifies a typical acolyte of the regular Spanish Mass, but in English, it also has a meaning more likened to a “sheriff,” that is, a meaning signifying one who has a commanding authority at the altar, and this makes a member of the Church very special; the “altar boy” is basically someone who’s a bossy boots at the altar, an unyielding taskmaster.
Altar boys are persons who are very recognized in English Masses, and they feel that they are superior people; they even show it with the very typical conduct characteristic of a “super acolyte-altar boy.” Note: Some altar boys or altar girls (i.e. girl acolytes) know how to talk back and assume an aggressive control in their responses.
This is just a small sample showing that the Church hierarchy goes from bottom to top, and this means that a mere acolyte is superior to any laymen, according to the hierarchy in the Church.
Here we have another example: the name given to a minister of Communion. During Mass, the minister of Communion helps the priest impart the consecrated Host or Wine to the faithful. It so happens that in the Church, this name is labelled and called something very different.
The Church calls them “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion;” that is to say, ministers of Communion are essentially being called “Holy and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion.” Ministers of Communion are named the way they are and exalted by the Church in order to define or indicate the ministry’s elevated degree of holiness and the superiority held over the rest of the laity, in conformity to the hierarchy of the Church.
The Church views ministers of Communion as being superior to the rest of the laity, including acolytes. Ministers of Communion, thus, view laymen as being beneath them somehow. Once again, we see the hierarchy of the Church going from inferior to superior; that is, the inferior ones are the laymen, and the superior ones are those who serve at the altar. With regards to this topic, the “Apocalyptic Wolf” shall prove to you, however, that the opposite is true, and the inferior ones are actually the superior ones.
One of the clearest examples of illustrious holiness is found at the highest echelon of the Church. For example, we all know what a Bishop is; a Bishop is one who’s in charge of guiding and shepherding God’s people in a particular region. The region may have anywhere from five to twenty parishes in it, just to give an example.
However, when a Bishop has jurisdiction beyond the typical amount of parishes, that Bishop is then recognized as an “Archbishop.”
The majority of us in the Church know that our Bishops, on many occasions, are the ones who demonstrate less loyalty to Christ, who is poor and humble. Nevertheless, the archbishopric has its origins in the feudal era from 325 A.D. onwards, the only purpose of which was to have power over more bishops.
This is a clear example that testifies to the fact that Church hierarchy goes from bottom to top, that is, from the inferior layman up to the Bishop, who is superior.
However, Christ Himself wishes to show you and the multitudes that this, which has been fostered for centuries, has been completely wrong from the start because Christ never taught His Church arrogance but rather the humility and poverty of His Gospel. This means therefore that a bishop, who is of highest rank in the Church, is most inferior to everyone and a layman is above him because Christ—Lord and owner of his Church or Holy People—has instituted it in this way.
You may be saying to yourself that Jesé Retoño has definitely lost some screws here, but no, you’ll soon see that what I’m saying here is right. I don’t wish to offend anyone with this; rather, I want to underscore our obligation of humility that we must have in the Church, especially when we hold a position of greater responsibility.
Dear audience, please note that not just anyone in the Church can speak in this manner and with such certainty, even less so is this true of laypersons or the laity in the Church; since we don’t have enough liberty to evangelize before others and even less so during the homily. In past centuries, no one before has been characterized by this same evangelistic personality or capability or evangelical bravery for saying truths that are not of this world, but rather it’s God himself who reveals them to whomever He wants.
Even though what’s being said here is closely tied to the Holy Catholic Church’s constitution, no one before has had this character of asserting such specifics with utmost affiliation to Christ’s plans.
It has been few, very few people who’ve decided to take up and bear Christ’s cross. A few and scarce amount of people have decided to listen to Christ and God our Father, and few are the persons who’ve decided, throughout the world, not only to listen but to obey Him.
What’s least expected is that Christ would take notice of some miserable, vile layman and give him this evangelistic courage, but the Most High is gracious to those to whom He is gracious. And God’s strength is ever more present in that which is weak, in those who are shunned away, forgotten or alienated by the world and, many times, by the Church. Thus, the lowliest of everyone in the Church will be the one whom God has chosen to reprehend and to sanctify all those who seek the one true God with an upright heart.
Jesus Christ is the one who gives the only teaching regarding Church hierarchy, and it’s He himself who determines who’s the highest and most powerful in his Church or Kingdom. And in this same way, it’s He who determines who’s worth is the least within his kingdom.
Let’s take a look at this following example coming from Christ’s very lips. Jesus replies to those sent by John the Baptist in this manner:
Matthew 11, 10-11. “He is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you. ‘In truth I tell you, of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.’” The Church always commemorates St. John Baptist for being the greatest of the prophets and for being the only one who was able to see the Messiah.
Today, if we were to ask a priest or any leader in the Church: What does “the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he” mean? Surely, they’d answer by saying that they don’t know but that all Jesus wants to tell us here is that we all shall be with Him.
Even at present, the priesthood and many throughout the Church have been interpreting Scripture in a literal sense, and thus, normally they lead us down a path of misunderstanding. In this part of Scripture, when Jesus Christ says that the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he, Jesus is clearly and openly telling us that within the hierarchical ranking amongst His people here on earth, He (i.e. Jesus Christ himself) is the least; however, over there in Heaven, the one who is least here on earth (in other words, Jesus Christ himself) is the one who comes to being the greatest over there in Heaven.
We must be relatively very close to Christ, and we must live contiguous to Him every day of our life and every second of our time in order to understand his parabolically-given messages; since Jesus doesn’t like pretending that he’s on good terms with anyone for the sake of pleasing them or making a good impression on them, as many of us do within our societies.
Jesus is teaching us that here in this world, those who are great among His people here on earth are the least, or the littlest ones, and those who are the least among His people here on earth are the greatest among His people over there in Heaven. Jesus is categorically telling us that the layman is greater than the acolyte, greater than the presbyter or Bishop. However, he’s also telling us categorically that if the bishops and priests here on earth feel that they are greatest, then over there in Heaven they shall be the least.
This is the very reason for which the Church calls the priesthood “Sacrament of Service.” The Church has called the priesthood: ministry of service; however, Christ has called it: ministry of sanctification and humiliation. Jesus Christ has called this ministry: “sacrifice and ministry of total poverty.” The relinquishment or circumcision of this body or this life, that is, and its pleasures are, in fact, the poverty and the sacrifice or the disposing of the foreskin that is needed in order to possess the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus has made himself a slave to everyone and has lived with the poor and has suffered with the poor and has been martyred as a thief for the sake of being with the poor, and He has wanted the poor here on Earth to be respected and loved as the greatest and most important in the world.
This is why the Apostle Paul says the following in his letter to the Corinthians (I Co. 4, 9-13):
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on show right at the end, like men condemned to death: we have been exhibited as a spectacle to the whole universe, both angelic and human. Here we are, fools for Christ’s sake, while you are the clever ones in Christ; we are weak, while you are strong; you are honored, while we are disgraced. To this day, we go short of food and drink and clothes, we are beaten up and we have no homes; we earn our living by laboring with our own hands; when we are cursed, we answer with a blessing; when we are hounded, we endure it passively; when we are insulted, we give a courteous answer. We are treated even now as the dregs of the world, the very lowest scum.
The Apostle Paul gives personal testimony that laymen are God’s people, and in this world, they are the elect, the exalted ones here on earth, while priests and Bishops are at the lowest rung or most inferior part of the Church’s hierarchy here in the world.
However, many of our priests nowadays are not even in the same league or even come close to being like the Apostle Paul and even less so in being like Christ, since many of our priests, without knowing it, have been offending Christ; they’ve been humiliating Him and corrupting all of Christ’s Church.
Jesus Christ has both taught and proved that the priesthood isn’t the Church’s highest rank, but rather, it’s the most inferior. And the laity participates directly in Christ’s priesthood because He deemed it so. The priesthood, or priests, is the ministry that must set the example of poverty and holiness towards others.
When I, Jesé Retoño, say that the laity participates directly of Christ’s priesthood, I’m not lying. I know that there are many highly educated priests, highly qualified by the dioceses, who emphasize with all pride, certificates, and degrees in theology that Christ’s priesthood is only shared by the laity. (We know that there are many other priests of whom Christ and many others of us are very happy with for their holiness.)
Nonetheless, this priesthood of which many priests speak of is the priesthood that they received by the Sacrament of Holy Orders; thus, they consider themselves to be some super-Christs.
The mentality among many priests and evangelists is that laymen participate or share the priesthood of Christ via priests or the ministerial priesthood, which is why they emphasize that it’s only because of them—and through them—that laymen are able to participate in Christ. In keeping with this hierarchical structure, thus, is how the Church is formed. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this way of thinking, being as how this is the customary way of proceeding in both politics and throughout the world!
But it so happens that the words “participation” or “sharing” with Christ are not inherent functions of God because within human parameters, we are able to share some bread, a drink, an orange, etc., etc…
In human terms, whenever someone shares something, it inevitably has to run out; the result of which is that nothing remains—either to be shared or consumed. This comparison, therefore, with respect to the gift of God, is completely catastrophic.
When Christ says that He gives the life, He doesn’t say that He shares it. When He says that streams of living water spring forth from Him, He doesn’t say that He shares his living water. When He says that He gives his life for His sheep, He doesn’t say that he shares His life, but rather, He says, with all certainty, that He gives His very life to those who love Him with an upright heart. Therefore, whoever dedicates himself/herself entirely to Christ will directly form a part of Christ; they don’t share Christ but rather become an intimate part of the very Christ and one true God. Consequently, the priesthood has mistakenly been communicating their superiority, feeling as though they themselves are practically gods, and some even teach that because of them, the priesthood of the laity is able to be shared.
Nonetheless, however, God has certainly given those in the ecclesiastic hierarchy their place and their inheritance, but by acting and thinking in this way, the priesthood will always have a door open to vanity and pride—a slippery slope, if you will, to feeling that they are some super-Christs or super-men, or super-gods.
Yet I am saying that by the priesthood of Christ, we are all sanctified, even if priests feel as though they were “super saints,” and nevertheless, without the priesthood of priests, there wouldn’t be holiness in the laity. When a priest feels pride because of his priesthood, Christ inevitably disqualifies him, since Christ is above all priests. The moment a priest thinks or considers himself to be the certified super saint and super theologian among everyone, Christ and my celestial Father have already repudiated and even vomited him out.
This is why the Lord Almighty says in Exodus 19, 5-6: So now, if you are really prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine. For me you shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
(Is 61, 1-2 & 6):
The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me, for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favor from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn.
But you will be called “priests of Yahweh” and be addressed as ministers of our God.
When God says that all laymen (men- and women-members of his people or church) shall be a kingdom of priests, He’s not lying; and if He has said so, it’s because that’s the way it is, whether we like it or not. God is the owner of his Church. The magisterium, tradition, and Scripture are not above Christ, nor above God my Celestial Father.
That is why our Lord Jesus Christ clearly told everyone in the Church, without exceptions, including the clergy or ecclesial magisterium that “anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave.”
Jesus Christ has called all of us—in general— to a universal ministry of poverty and humility, and in his Kingdom, there are no favorites, only humble beings committed to the good of others and to being servants of one another. But all those who sacrifice themselves more, will be recompensed in proportion to their works, and Christ will be the just and merciful judge.
As long as a priest shows his humility by knocking on doors—taking the gospel to the poor, as long as he demonstrates his meekness by celebrating the holy sacrifice on the altar with austerity, with sacrifice, with humility, with poverty and by leading a life of holiness, Christ will then recompense him immensely for his sacrifice. God loves priests and blesses them, bestowing upon them an eternal name to all those priests who give up their life for sake of the gospel and bear evangelic testimony with their own lives.
This “Wolf” has been called by Christ and by our Celestial Father, and his purpose is not that of destroying but of correcting and calling serious attention to all of the Church’s vast oversights. Wisdom comes from God, and his gifts bear fruit in all those who pay attention to Christ. That’s why Isaiah is bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I showed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
When God calls upon someone, either man or woman, and they open up their heart, God proves his loyalty to his children; and his children shine according to the light and Grace of the Almighty.
The priesthood’s greatest problem is that it doesn’t listen to Christ, nor does it want to. The clergy has a stubborn head and a hardened heart; they refuse to be cured by God. This is why Christ and our celestial Father are very much offended. The Church’s mother, nonetheless, is deeply worried and is a great intercessor. Her wings are still protecting us, but her concern is immense and doesn’t want the worst for us in the world.
God willing, may his Church and the entire world heed Jonah’s message.
It says in the written Law: In strange tongues and in a foreign language I will talk to this nation, and even so they will refuse to listen, says the Lord.
May the peace of Christ be with everyone.
Best regards from your lowly brother,
Jesé “My Messenger” Retoño—An Apocalyptic Wolf
Yours Sincerely: Editorial Piedrecita.
Translation by León Jesuita.
Image art by Javier Calvo.
See also: Virtues of St. John the Baptist
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)