On the Catholic Priesthood
When He had rested on the seventh day after the stupendous achievement of the natural creation, God made man to be its priest. When He rose on the third day after resting from the labors of His Passion, Incarnated God set the crown on his work of redemption by instituting the Christian priesthood. It was a fresh act of creation, no less amazing in its results than that other; for the powers which the Christian priesthood enjoys exceed the natural powers of man no less significantly than man's natural powers exceed those of the brute beasts. The world, fallen and redeemed, was to be reconciled to God by the ministry of the priest, a representative man, chosen out among his fellows to be their spokesman and God's ambassador. Sanctified by his office, he was to intercede for his sinful brethren, to come between them and God's anger, offering sacrifice in their name.
True, there was nothing unheard of in that. For centuries before our Lord came, priests had been offering sacrifice to God; among the Jews, in obedience to the light of an imperfect revelation, among the Gentiles, from a sort of blind instinct which warned them that atonement for sin, could it only be achieved, was the first step towards communion with God, But all those old sacrifices were no better than a frantic appeal, a despairing gesture. The blood of bulls and goats could not take ways sin; and the priests who offered them were themselves encompassed with infirmities; sinful men themselves, they could not bear the petitions of the people into God's presence as having the right to enter it. Our Lord came, to be at once a sinless Victim and a sinless Priest. Priest and Victim, he offered his own death to be the sufficient atonement for a world's transgressions. When the first Adam received the breath of life, this material universe was elevated into a fresh state of communion with God. When the second Adam gave back that same breath of life into his Father's hands, our guilty race was restored to the divine favor. Ruined long since by Adam's fault, the word could cry once more, HABEMUS PONTIFICEM.
Source: The Divine Sacrifice, (Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons, Fr. Ronald Knox. 1940)