From a reader:
Is it permissible to portray a priest as a reenactor? I have been
asked to portray a Catholic chaplain of the 69th New York in 1862. I
know a few poeple who have done so, but none are Catholic. Provided
that I do not attempt to offer Mass or hear real confessions, is it
permissible? I believe that it could offer a fascinating glimpse into
a facet of life in the Irish Brigade that is seldom seen. Thank you,
Yes. As a matter of fact I impersonate a priest all the time. Of course it is easier for me, because I actually am one. Come to think of it, because of ordination I also im-person-ate the High Priest, too, since I act in persona Christi.
For the sake of a dramatic presentation a lay man may impersonate a priest. Never do anything which would confuse people into thinking that you are a priest and don’t go about in priestly garb. Don’t pretend to say Mass or hear confessions outside of the specific dramatic presentation you are in. That would be a grave involving a serious censure.
Remember: there is a qualitative difference between the priesthood of lay people which comes from baptism and the priesthood of priests which comes from sacred ordination. Because the priesthood, with the sacraments only priests can administer or confect, are so central to the life of the Church as a Church, it is important that they never be simulated in a way that might confuse people.