A Fundamentalist Baptist friend wants to know how the Catholic Church views the curtain being torn in half as Christ expires. He says his church views it as proof that it is no longer necessary for God’s people to be under an institutional Church or clergy.
Then how to explain the fact that after the curtain was torn in half–after the Resurrection–Jesus proceeded to appoint clergy and establish a Church? Christ’s sacrifice and the tearing of the curtain symbolize several things:
1) The Jewish economy (the Law of Moses or the Old Covenant) has been done away with.
2) Our high priest (Jesus) has the right to enter the heavenly tabernacle.
3) We approach God through Jesus and the Christian economy rather than through the Jewish or Mosaic economy.
4) That heaven has now been opened to receive the saints, who were previously kept at Abraham’s bosom.
What it doesn’t imply is the demise of all rituals (or else we would not have baptism and the Eucharist) or that there will be no priests in the Law of Christ/New Covenant way of approaching God. It simply signifies the passing away of the Jewish economy.