On the Catholic Priesthood
If the Church...
Truly, if the Church is the Spouse of Jesus Christ, the Popes, bishops and priests are her guardians. If the Church is an army ranged in battle, the Popes, the bishops and priests are her generals. if the Church is a vessel steering across the storms of persecutions, the Popes, the bishops, and priests are her pilots. If the Church is the Mystic Body of Christ, and if the faithful are its members, the Popes, the bishops, and priests are the principal members of this Body; by their eyes, Jesus Christ watches over His flock; by their feet, He carries to every nation the Gospel of peace; by their hearts, He diffuses everywhere the life of that divine charity without which all is dead. If the Church is the people of acquisition, bought at a great price, the Popes, the bishops, and priests are the leaders, the teachers, the princes of that chose generation. If the Church is that sacred edifice built up by the Divine Wisdom Itself for the children of God, the Popes, the bishops, and priests are the administrators of this palace; they are the columns of the Church upon which the whole world rests.
God the Father has created the world without the Popes, the bishops and priests, but it is only through them that he saves it. God the Son redeemed the world without the Popes, the bishops and priests, but it is only by them that He applies His Blood to the souls of men, and secures the fruits of His copious Redemption.
And you can hardly name a single blessing of the Holy Ghost, without beholding by the side of that blessing the priest as the instrument through which that Divine Spirit communicates His blessing.
Yes, if St. Bernard is right in saying that all comes to us through Mary, we are also right in saying that all comes to the people through the Popes, the bishops and the priest: yes, all happiness, every grace, every heavenly gift.
All the other gifts of God would avail us nothing without the Popes, the bishops and priest. What would be the use of a house full of golf, if there were no one to open the door for you?
Now the Popes, the bishops and priests have the key of all the treasures of heaven; it is they who open the door. They are the stewards of the Lord, the administrators of His goods. Without them, the Passion of our Lord would profit us nothing. Look at the poor heathen - of what benefit is our Lord's death tho them? Alas! they can have no share in the Redemption, so long as they have no priests to apply His blood to their souls.
No on understands this better than the devil, and his associates in this world. When they wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the Popes, the bishops, and priests: for where there is no priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no sacrifice there is no religion. What should we do in the Church? the people would say; there is no Mass now, our Lord is no longer there; we may as well pray at home.
Source: The Catholic Priest, Rev. Michael Muller C.S.S.R