A priest (or more generically a cleric) is a person having the authority or power to perform and administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. A female priest is called a priestess. Their office is called priesthood.
Priests and priestesses have been known since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies. They exist in some branches of Christianity, Shintoism, Hinduism, and many other religions. Besides being responsible for rites, they are also often considered to act as a mediator between a deity and man.
In Christianity, a cleric is a clergyman of a church; in Catholic churches clerics are called priests, but in Protestant churches, clerics are also called pastor or minister. The term the Reverend may be used as a prefix, though it is not strictly speaking a title or mode of address. In Judaism, priests are called Rabbi.
In Roman Catholicism, only males can become priests, and catholic priests are obliged (with rare exceptions) to live celibate for the rest of their lives. A married man can not become a Catholic priest. A man (after having studied theology etc.) becomes a priest through the sacrament of ordination. Catholic priests have the right and duty to administer two sacraments: the celebration of the mass and the sacrament of penance (the forgiving of sins, see also confession).
Priests who are are a member of a religious order and are not under the authority of a bishop but of an abbot are often titled and addressed Father (or Latin Pater).
Priests and spanking
In most societies and particularly in traditional society, priests are among the people with the highest authority and they are paid great respect by all laypersons. Due to this high-status role as a religious authority figure, priests are encountered in the role of the disciplinarian in spanking art and spanking fiction. Spankophiles may also play the role of a priest in roleplay.
In past centuries, priests would indeed sometimes administer penance in the form of corporal punishment to people after the confession of their sins. An example that became (in)famous due to the excessive and probably lustful flagellation of his subordinates is the 16th century Franciscan priest Cornelius Adriaensen.
Illustration from À la baguette by Victor du Cheynier (1909).
- Der Pfaffenspiegel
- Priest on Wikipedia
- Priesthood (Catholic Church) on Wikipedia
- Pastor on Wikipedia
- Minister (Christianity) on Wikipedia
- Reverend on Wikipedia
- Clerical clothing on Wikipedia
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