I still think here Marx meant not faith but exactly the organized religion as social force with its temples, priests, hierarchy, and so on. Of course, this organized religion reflects the "basis" of society and serve for someone's class interests (explanation and justification of inequality).
That is a very interesting way to look at the subject. It has prompted me to review a little of the history of religion.
Priests were actually quite common in Judaism centuries before the birth of Christ.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the term priest (kōhēn) is commonly used to refer to an official who was set apart from the rest of the community in order to carry out certain duties associated with worship and sacrifice. As "ministers of the LORD" (Joel 1:9; 2:17), priests functioned as mediators of God's presence and were responsible for the day-to-day operation of cultic sites, whether the tabernacle, local shrines, or the Temple in Jerusalem
Priests continued to have a role and authority in Christian times
The Old Testament describes how God made his people "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation," and within the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi was chosen to be set apart for the liturgical service of offering sacrifice as priests. The priest was understood as a mediator between God and human beings who offers sacrifices and intercedes for the people.
The New Testament depicts Jesus as the "great high priest" of the New Covenant who, instead of offering the ritual animal sacrifices prescribed by the Jewish Law, offers himself on the cross as the true and perfect sacrifice. The Catholic priesthood is a participation in this priesthood of Christ, and therefore traces its origins to Jesus Christ himself. Thus, the New Testament says that as high priest, Jesus has made the Church "a kingdom of priests for his God and Father." All who are baptized are given a share in the priesthood of Christ; that is, they are conformed to Christ and made capable of offering true worship and praise to God as Christians. "The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly."
The ministerial priesthood of Catholic priests and bishops — what most people think of as "the Catholic priesthood" — has a distinct history. This ministerial priesthood is at the service of the priesthood of all believers and involves the direct consecration of a man to Christ through the sacrament of orders, so that he can act in the person of Christ for the sake of the Christian faithful, above all in dispensing the sacraments. It is understood to have begun at the Last Supper, when Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist in the presence of the Twelve Apostles, commanding them to "do this in memory of me."
The Catholic priesthood, therefore, is a share in the priesthood of Christ and traces its historical origins to the Twelve Apostles appointed by Christ. Those apostles in turn selected other men to succeed them as the bishops (episkopoi, Greek for "overseers") of the Christian communities, with whom were associated presbyters (presbyteroi, Greek for "elders") and deacons (diakonoi, Greek for "servants"). As communities multiplied and grew in size, the bishops appointed more and more presbyters to preside at the Eucharist in place of the bishop in the multiple communities in each region. The diaconate evolved as the liturgical assistants of the bishop and his delegate for the administration of Church funds and programmes for the poor. Today, the rank of "presbyter" is typically what one thinks of as a priest, although technically both a bishop and a presbyter are "priests" in the sense that they share in Christ's ministerial priesthood and offer sacrifice to God in the person of Christ.
The institution of the Pope also traces its history to the apostles.
The pope (Latin: papa from Greek: πάππας pappas, a child's word for "father"), also known as the pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome, and therefore ex officio the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The primacy of the Roman bishop is largely derived from his role as the traditional successor to Saint Peter, to whom Jesus is supposed to have given the keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.
The office of the pope is the Papacy. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Diocese of Rome, is often called "the Holy See" or "the Apostolic See", the latter name being based upon the belief that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter the Apostle. The pope is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his diplomatic and cultural influence. He is also head of state of Vatican City, a sovereign city-state entirely enclaved within the Italian capital city of Rome.
The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. The popes in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of human rights.
Popes, who originally had no temporal powers, in some periods of history accrued wide powers similar to those of temporal rulers. In recent centuries, popes were gradually forced give up temporal power, and papal authority is now once again almost exclusively restricted to matters of religion.
As I mentioned in another thread, I have just recently completed a reading of The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The origins of the text are explained as follows:
The book is written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon.
…After Moron completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
In due course the plates were delivered to Jospeh Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God.
As far as I know, the plates are now nowhere to be found. In this way, The Book of Mormon is claimed to a book of revelation.
In The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ is this discussion related to the role of priests.
The manner which the disciples, who were called the elders of the church, ordained priests and teachers –
After they had prayed unto the Father in the Name of Christ, they laid their hands upon them, and said:
In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest, (or, if he be a teacher) I ordain you to be a teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.
And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of god unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them. (Moroni 3:1 - 3:4).
In other Christian sects, priests are ordained involving a ceremony that entails the laying of hands.
In another thread, a question was posed regarding kings:
“In the Trew Law, King James I of Great Britain mentioned the divine right of kings. He explained that for biblical reasons kings are higher than other men. The document proposes an absolutist theory which states that a king may impose new laws by royal prerogative but must also pay heed to tradition and to God.
King James I reigned from 1603 to 1625. He told Parliament in 1610: 'The state of monarchy is the supremest thing on earth.'
Are kings higher than other men?
My response was as follows: “No. However, elevating certain individuals to be kings did have a philosophical foundation championed by Thomas Hobbes. He reasoned that since all men were of roughly equal strength, intelligence, and ambition, society would be in a perpetual war of all against all unless somebody were given the authority of a king. This assignment of authority could be arbitrary. The point was to assure peace and stability. The monarch had this goal as his responsibility. However, his subjects would have no say as to whether he had faithfully discharged his authority. They were to obey the king even if he failed in his responsibilities.
Over time, the king's subjects did gain authority over the monarch. This revolved around power struggles between the king and parliament. This was the development of constitutional monarchy. The king shared power with the parliament as put forth in a constitution that all respected. At least all respected during times of relative stability. This was especially the case with revenue raising measures and appropriations, over which parliament gained the greatest control. So these were the two forms of government developed as a result of contract theory. Eventually the king was nominally replaced by a president or prime minister. We call this a democracy in that representatives in parliament (or congress) as well as the president were elected through democratic means. Prime ministers were selected by parliament.”
In this review of history, we can see the relationship between the church and sovereignty. Separate and apart and yet also often entangled with each other. Christian faith was something guided, but not absolutely controlled, by the church.