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Sacerdotalism (from the Latin sacerdos - priest) is the teaching that that priests have special power given to them by God and that people cannot approach God on their own, but must go through the priests.  It means that salvation is mediated through the priesthood. Furthermore, a priest's ordination imparts special abilities/powers necessary for the operation of the ministry.

  • "Sacerdotal powers are conferred on priests by priestly ordination"1

Also, sacerdotalism teaches that grace is administered through the one so ordained. Sacerdotalism is taught in Roman Catholicism and the Easter Orthdox.

The Reformers rejected sacerdotalism along with the mass, transubstantiation, and sacramentalism (sacraments impart grace and are efficacious).  They affirmed the biblical declaration of one mediator between man and God man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5) and the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5).


  • "religious belief emphasizing the powers of priests as essential mediators between God and humankind" (
  • "The belief that priests act as mediators between God and humans." (
  • "Sacerdotalism is the belief that propitiatory sacrifices for sin require the intervention of a priest." (




  • 1. Charles G. Herbermann. The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church (Kindle Locations 535153-535154). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.