A resource for students, clergy and scholars, The Roman Catholic Church reflects on the past, present and future of the Church by examining the bond that exists between the origins of Christianity and the Jewish tradition of the priesthood. Author John O'Grady provides a comprehensive background for a study of these Christian origins and examines them from within the context of traditional theological understanding. He portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of the priesthood of Israel and sees the presence of his Spirit in modern Christian churches as the continuation of this tradition. The Church of the New Testament gradually developed structures to ensure the continuation of the ministry of Jesus and, in later centuries, added to these structures. The result is a Church that has always been one, holy, catholic and apostolic, with a mission to preach the word, administer the sacraments, celebrate faith in liturgy and serve the worldwide holy communion. Readers who may have been discouraged by the Church in the past will find a very positive view of the Catholic identity as clearly having new breadth, variety and an outward-bound ecumenical approach.