Ego dixi: dii estis, et filii Excelsi omnes.Ps. 81, 6 (Breviarium Romanum, Feria VI ad Tertiam)
A holy priest is a saviour and another Christ, taking the Master's place on earth, representing Him, clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgment on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock.
He is a god, living and walking on earth; a god by grace and by participation, clothed with the perfections and attributes of God, namely, His divine authority, power, justice, mercy, charity, benignity, purity and holiness. He is a god delegated to carry on God's noblest works, the priestly and pastoral duties, as great St. Dionysius says: Omnium divinorum divinissimum est cooperari Deo in salutem animarum - "The most divine of all divine things is to cooperate with God in the salvation of souls."
St. Gregory Nazianzen asserts that the priest is a "god who makes gods," deus deos efficiens, that is, Christians who are given the name of gods in Sacred Scripture.
Saint John Eudes
Le mémorial de la vie ecclésiastique [A Memorial of the Ecclesiastical Life]
The end and purpose of this heavenly office is to form Christ in the hearts of the faithful that He may reign there; to dispel the darkness of hell and illumine the light of heaven in men's souls; to destroy sin and open the floodgates of grace; to destroy the tyranny of Satan on earth and reestablish the Kingdom of God.
Preaching aims to reconcile men with their Maker, transforming them into His children, deifying them, as it were, according to the words of Sacred Scripture: "He called them gods, to whom the word of word of God was spoken" (St. John x, 35).
Saint John Eudes
Le prédicateur apostolique [The Apostolic Preacher]
In the Tribunal of Penance you are the living image of the power and majesty of the Son of God. There you are as it were little gods, vested with the powers of God, doing what belongs by right to Him alone, blotting out sin, communicating the grace of the Holy Ghost to souls. Consequently, in the Sacred Tribunal you should serve the interests of God, thinking only of Him, desiring only to establish His kingdom in thehearts of men.As a judge representing the Supreme Judge, yours is the power of bestowing or refusing absolution. God communicates to you His power of judge in a more excellent manner than He does to the judges of earthly courts. They judge bodies; you judge souls. They judge temporal affairs; you judge eternal ones. Their power is a passing one; yours reaches beyond to eternity. What you absolve or condemn on earth is absolved and condemned in heaven. Their judgments are recorded on paper; yours are written with the Blood of Christ in the eternal books of divine justice. ...
To be a priest is to be a visible god on earth. All Christians are called gods in Sacred Scripture: "I said you are gods" (St. John x, 34), but priests enjoy this prerogative in a much more eminent degree than the rest of the faithful.
Priests are gods in power and dignity, since they are clothed with the infinite power of God. If it were not through this divine power, how could they bring God down upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? How could they form Him in the hearts of the faithful and give the Holy Ghost to their souls? How could they forgive sin and communicate sanctifying grace?
God gives His divine power to priests in such an exalted degree that they may effectuate many marvels that He alone accomplishes. He created this world and can create others. To his priests He gave the power to produce Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, which is indeed greater than to create an infinite number of physical worlds.
Saint John Eudes
Le bon confesseur [The Good Confessor]