The Latin Mass holds to the ancient practice of the administration of the Holy Eucharist, and, in the Latin Mass, only the priest can accomplish this, as taught in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, (1976) McHugh, J. A. & Callan, C. J. (Translators) first published in 1566 by Pope St. Pius V.
“Only Priests Have Power to Consecrate and Administer the Eucharist
“It must be taught, then, that to priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist. That this has been the unvarying practice of the Church, that the faithful should receive the Sacrament from the priests, and that the officiating priests should communicate themselves, has been explained by the holy Council of Trent, which has also shown that this practice, as having proceeded from Apostolic tradition, is to be religiously retained, particularly as Christ the Lord has left us an illustrious example thereof, having consecrated His own most sacred Body, and given it to the Apostles with His own hands.” (p. 270)
A very nice reflection about a current priestly ordination from The Catholic Thing.
“The sacraments,” said Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “are a kind of contact with God himself. They show that this faith is not a purely spiritual thing, but one that involves community and creates community.” Of the seven sacraments, priestly ordination – and the subsequent first Mass – involves and creates community like no other. Faithful from far and wide across a diocese, some of whom never even having met the ordinandi, come together as contact with God is made: by God’s power individual men are made priests of Jesus Christ forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
“I experienced this moving spiritual dynamic recently when four men in my own diocese celebrated their “marriage” to their bride, the Church. Priestly ordination is the ultimate challenge to secularism’s myopic worldliness: the complete gift of self to an invisible reality that lies beyond the verification of empirical science. The hundreds of faithful who gather at the ordination liturgy and the first Mass come to support the new priests’ commitment to the Transcendent. In the celebration of this sacrament we see firsthand that the Church – contrary to media reports, condemnations by pundits, and even her own self-inflicted wounds – is still alive and committed to the Lord with authentic faith, hope, and love.
“The sheer number of Catholics who pack cathedrals and churches for ordination and first Mass proves that the priesthood is still esteemed, even after a decade of public scrutiny and controversy. The evident joy and approbation that gleam from the faces of the faithful as they lean over for closer views is matched by the smiles on the faces of the new priests, who are supported by dozens of concelebrating priests and fellow seminarians. This combined witness presents the priesthood as a great gift, one not given for the individual but for the good and salvation of all.
“The nature and mission of the priesthood is expressed in the ordination rite and prayers, but it is the following day, when the novus ordinatus offers his first Mass, that the priesthood appears as a gift to the whole Church. This year the first Mass I attended fell on Corpus Christi Sunday, the annual celebration of Christ’s real and continued presence with us in the Eucharist. Offering the Eucharistic sacrifice, according to the Second Vatican Council, is the “principal function” of priests because by it “the work of our redemption is continually carried out.” The Eucharist is the summit and source of the priest’s mission of preaching the Gospel because it brings about primary contact with Christ, the goal of all preaching.”