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Priesthood Index


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The Catholic Church exists only where there are priests whose priesthood goes back to Christ's words to His Apostles at the Last Supper, "Do this in commemoration of Me."
Priesthood
Before dealing at length with the meaning of the priesthood in the Catholic Church, there is value in first looking at the priesthood in general, as revealed to us by God in the Sacred Scriptures, because today in so many circles there is such widespread confusion. People are being told that priests are really no different from the rest of the faithful. They are being told that at most priests are only ministers of the Gospel. Yet they have learned over the years that the priesthood is the sublimest dignity that God can confer on a human being.
Christ in the Eucharist - Presence and Reality
I would like to address myself to another aspect of the priesthood, namely, the priest's faith in the Eucharist, directing our attention to the specific aspect of the subject by reflecting prayerfully on "Christ in the Eucharist - Presence and Reality." It is perhaps remarkable that we should consider what must seem like a strange title, because most Catholics, including priests, are not accustomed to separate the two words "presence" and "reality" when they speak of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Priesthood and the Sacrifice of the Mass
By now, there must be as many definitions of the priesthood as there are dictionaries in print. But in the Catholic Church, the priest exists for one main purpose: to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass. So true is this that, without the priesthood, there would not only be no Sacrifice of the Mass. There would be no Catholic Church. This may sound strange, even exotic. But the fact of life is that God became man in order to sacrifice Himself on the Cross by dying for the salvation of the world. Having died once on Calvary, He continues offering Himself in every Mass so totally that He would be willing to die every time that Mass is offered.
The Priest and the Ministry of the Word
My purpose then in this conference is to do two things but treat them more or less together. To spell out in some detail the Church's teaching on the duty of priests to proclaim the message of salvation and then as we go along to identify what responsibility this places on priests if they are to live up to the Church's, which means Christ's, high expectations.
Humility and Obedience in the Priest
"…I will take up each virtue separately and try to show why it is so important for priests, if they wish to be priestly priests, to be humble and obedient, and how they can grow in humility and obedience."
The Priest and the Sacrament of Penance
In this conference, Fr. Hardon asks and answers what the Church's official doctrine is on the role of the priest and faithful in the sacrament of Penance, why there is a drop in confessions, and what the Church expects of her priests as administrators of this sacrament.
Priests Must Live a Martyr's Life
No words of mine, nothing I could say, if I spoke for fifty years, would be too clear, that we are living in the age of martyrs. Only one mistake we can make is to think this is exaggeration or some kind of pious fancy. I wish to concentrate, for the reasons we already have said, on the priesthood — it is a living martyrdom today — and on the fact that we have lost so many thousands of priests…What are some of the forces at work?
Fifty Years in the Priesthood
On the occasion of celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, there is literally an ocean of thoughts that come to mind, on which I could speak and you could patiently listen. But I thought I would address myself to just three subjects, expressed in three words, gratitude, concern, and confidence.
The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood
I wish to address myself to the subject of the ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood. My reason for making the subject so specific is to cut through so much of the ambiguity that surrounds the question.
Celibacy and the Catholic Priest
Some people may be surprised at the pressure and propaganda that have arisen in our day against the celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church. But it should not be surprising, as the history of the Church, from the beginning, amply testifies. It was, in fact, the unwillingness of so many priests to remain celibate that tilted the pressure in favor of Protestantism in the sixteenth century. There were many other factors — doctrinal, theological, political — that cost so many millions to Catholic unity. But in my estimation, the center of the issue was priestly celibacy.
No Eucharist Without the Priesthood
Among the maxims of Pope John XXIII was the exclamation of St. Augustine, "O wonderful the dignity of priests; in whose hands the Son of God is made flesh as in the womb of the Virgin."
Introduction to the Priesthood Book
There is nothing in Catholic Christianity that is either more distinctive or more important than the priesthood. When Christ ordained the Apostles on Holy Thursday night, He promised them that they would continue in their priestly work until the end of time. While the word "priest" is widely used, in the Catholic Church the priest is the one who carries on the work that God became man to establish.
A True Priest Must Love Christ Crucified
I would like to share with you the single most important lesson I have learned in my half-century in the priesthood. What is that lesson? In one sentence, I have learned with St. Paul that there is nothing in life worth living for except to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Blessed Virgin in the Life of a Priest
Jesus Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper when He told the Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of me." He was, of course, referring to what He Himself had just done by changing bread and wine into His own living body and blood. God became man in order to die for us on the Cross. But He also became man to live among us in the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice, Communion and Real Presence. But there would not be a Eucharist without the Blessed Virgin Mary. God, as God, had been present in the world from the moment He created the world. He had to be, otherwise the world would not exist.
The Holy Eucharist and Holiness in Priests
It would be unrealistic to expect the Church to remain unaffected by present day secularism. Catholics are too much a part of the culture in which they live and too exposed to the ideas of their day not to be influenced by what they experience. Add to this secularism the rise of the communications media in the twentieth century and we get some idea of how inevitably the Church has suffered by contact with the unbelieving world in which she lives.
The Holy Eucharist and a Holy Priesthood
It must sound pious to associate the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood. But this is not piety. It is necessity. Without the priest there would not be a Eucharist and without the Eucharist, the priesthood would not be holy. Our present focus, however, is on the necessity of the Eucharist to produce and provide for living out the supernatural, and therefore humanly impossible demands that Christ places on those who enter the priesthood in His name.
Respect for the Priesthood
Christ instituted the sacrament of the priesthood for three reasons, three fundamental reasons. The first reason is so that the Holy Eucharist would be possible. We need the Priesthood in order to have the Holy Eucharist: the Sacrifice sacrament of the Mass; the Communion sacrament of Holy Communion; and the Presence sacrament of Christ’s Real Presence. No priesthood, no Eucharist.
The Catholic Priest in the Modern World: A Living Martyr for His Faith in the Priesthood
Be assured that there are two kinds of martyrdoms, the red martyrdom of blood, and the white martyrdom of professing one’s faith with heroic courage in the face of virulent opposition from hostile forces in a society that militates against the Catholic priesthood.
What is a Catholic Priest?
What is a Catholic priest? He is a man ordained by Christ to continue the Savior’s work of Redemption until the end of time. He is therefore a person specially chosen to proclaim the Gospel of salvation and lead the faithful to their final destiny. But he is mainly a person who receives unique powers at ordination to consecrate and sacrifice, and to reconcile a sinful people with their God.
What is the Catholic Priesthood?
Not too many years ago it would have been less important to ask the question what is the Catholic Priesthood. It would have been less important because anyone familiar with the Catholic Church not even though not personally a Catholic would have had a fair idea of what a priest, is. The description might have been crude but at least there was no great doubt in anyone's mind as to who or what a priest was supposed to be.
The Necessity of the Catholic Priesthood
Our present conference is on the necessity of the Catholic priesthood…Necessary to carry on the work of Christ's redemption, necessary not just for the well-being but for the continued existence of the Catholic Church, necessary for the corresponding existence of and well-being of Christianity. And in what we may miss, most surprising, necessary for the moral survival of the human race.
Deacon
Deacon, from the Greek διάκονος; diakonos (servant), is a member of a lower branch of the Christian ministry, below the priest (or presbyter) and bishop. The institution of the diaconate is traced to the laying on of hands described in the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-6). Answering to complaints about partiality in the care of the poor, the Apostles ordained seven men, including Stephen, the first martyr, to serve under the presbyter-bishops. In St. Paul's pastoral letters, deacons are a separate class of officers who were mainly charged with the material cares of the apostolate.
The Eucharist and the Priesthood
The priesthood in the Catholic Church is identified with many things. The priest can be pastor, teacher, counselor, writer, administrator, or social worker; but the main reason he has been ordained is because of the Eucharist.
Monsignor Sawher, A Great Soul
The sudden death of Monsignor Sawher was a great grace to the Archdiocese of Detroit. Monsignor Sawher was a close friend whom I came to know very personally since I came to live in Detroit about nine years ago. My simplest description of Monsignor Sawher is to say that he was a great priest. He was a holy priest, a dedicated priest, a priest whose death is a great loss to the archdiocese.
Observations on the Reflections on American Catholicism and Priesthood Today
The following observations are made after a careful reading of Reflections on American Catholicism and Priesthood Today. The author of these reflections has been president of the National Federation of Priests' Council, founded in 1968. The purpose of the federation is, "to give priests' councils a representative voice in matters of presbyteral, pastoral and ministerial concern to the United States and the universal Church."
The Priesthood
Over the centuries volumes have been written about the dignity of the priesthood. Saints and scholars have published literally hundreds of volumes on the subject. But this much I can say. There is no human dignity more exalted. There is no heavenly vocation more sublime than to be called to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. What makes this state of life so exalted is its share, literally in the life and death of the Son of God.
Vatican II Priestly Spirituality
In order to do justice to this library of knowledge given to us by the present Vicar of Christ, it will be wise to divide our subject into at least two principal areas. We must first see the priesthood as instituted by Jesus Christ on the night before He died. But then we must look at the trials which face the faithful priest in our day.
Priesthood in Christian Unity
One of the most heartening features of the ecumenical movement among Christians separated from Rome is their re-examination of the status of the priesthood in the full concept of the Church, and their sincere desire to restore something of that priestly heritage which they lost at the time of the Reformation.
An Interview / Easylin
How do media portrayals of priests color the publics perception of them - considering both the news media and fictional portrayals on television and in the films? Media portrayals of priests are consciously biased against the Catholic priesthood. With rare exception, the secular media portray the Catholic priest as: unhappy in his priesthood, dissatisfied with the Church’s law requiring celibacy, and critical of the Pope and the Vatican. Those who leave the active priesthood are given wide coverage and almost unlimited opportunity to ventilate their criticism of the Catholic Church’s antiquated authoritarianism. Catholic priests who are in the active priesthood but hostile to the Church’s teaching are canonized by the secular media. They are especially given free rein to tear down the Church’s unchangeable teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.
Retreat on the Priesthood - The Priesthood
Before dealing at length with the meaning of the priesthood in the Catholic Church, there is value in first looking at the priesthood in general, as revealed to us by God in the Sacred Scriptures, because today in so many circles there is such widespread confusion.
Retreat on the Priesthood - What Is The Catholic Priesthood?
As a fundamental question it needs to be answered if we are to say anything else significant about those persons whose office the Church still believes is not of human invention but of divine origin. The priesthood is simultaneously four things. It is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ. It is a state of life to which some men are called by a special vocation from God. It is an institution without which there would be no Christianity on earth today. And it is a ministry of the Catholic Church by which Christ continues His own priestly work of saving and sanctifying the souls for whom He shed His blood on Calvary.
Retreat on the Priesthood - The Priesthood of the Faithful
There is more than passing value in looking at the meaning and implications of the priesthood of the faithful. There is much confusion these days in some quarters about who and what is a priest; there is an overwhelming amount of what they call identity crisis in many priests. So many writers are saying that ordination makes no difference, that every Christian is equally a priest, and that priests (as they are properly called) are merely functionaries; long, learned disquisitions on this subject say priests are not really different from the faithful.
Retreat on the Priesthood - The Priesthood and the Sacrament of Penance
When the so-called "reformers" of the sixteenth century attacked all the Sacraments, but with special virulence this one, the Church at the Council of Trent took stock of her God-given faith and for all future ages told the faithful, including bishops and priests, what the sacraments are. The Council Fathers gave no less than fifteen detailed definitions on the sacrament of penance; all would be useful to recall in these days when there is so much that is odd being said and done in the name of compassion, that is sometimes in contradiction to the expressed teaching of the Church’s infallible Magisterium.
Retreat on the Priesthood - The Priesthood and the Eucharist
So true is this that if we would specify the heart of the priesthood we would have to say it is the Eucharist, the Eucharist as presence and the Eucharist as sacrifice. Each of these levels of the Holy Eucharist is totally dependent on the priesthood. Without the priesthood there is no Real Presence, nor Eucharistic Sacrifice. But what may be less obvious is that if the Real Presence and the Mass depend on the priest, the priest also depends on them. And I am not sure which dependence is more absolute.
Retreat on the Priesthood - Priests and the Ministry of the Word
Since the life of a priest is to be modeled on the life of his Master, even as Christ went about preaching and teaching the Word of God, so the primary duty of a priest after the offering of the Mass and the administration of the sacraments is to proclaim God’s revelation to a world that needs nothing more than to hear the message of salvation. The term "primary duty" may seem too strong; the Latin expression is "Primarium manus" and that is the terminology used by the Second Vatican Council in its Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests. "Since nobody can be saved who has not first believed, it is the first duty of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men."
Retreat on the Priesthood - Humility and Obedience in the Priest
It may seem a bit strange that all the major exhortations of the modern Popes to priests stress the importance of the virtues of humility and obedience, with no exception. On second thought, however, it is not unexpected. You would expect priests to be reminded to practice especially the two virtues on which so much depends in their lives and ministry. Why? In answering this question I will take up each virtue separately and try to show why it is so important for priests, if they wish to be priestly priests, to be humble and obedient, and how they can grow in humility and obedience.
Retreat on the Priesthood - Christ the High Priest on Earth
As we begin our meditation on the priesthood of Christ, we should immediately distinguish the two stages of its existence: namely, His life on earth and His life in heaven. We carefully note that while the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, had no beginning since He was from all eternity, yet Jesus Christ had a beginning. He began at the moment of the Incarnation when Mary told the angel: "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me."
Retreat on the Priesthood - Christ the High Priest in Heaven
But Christ not only was a priest; He is a priest. He is our priest and He is a priest on our behalf now that He is in heaven. I dare say not too many Catholics realize this. In order to better understand this large panorama of our faith, we will look at a few questions and, while answering them, apply the fruits of our reflection to our lives.
Retreat on the Priesthood - Celibacy in the Catholic Priesthood
Some people may be surprised at the pressure and propaganda that have arisen in our day against the celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church. But it should not be surprising, as the history of the Church from the beginning amply testifies. It was, in fact, the unwillingness of so many priests to remain celibate that tilted the pressure in favor of Protestantism in the sixteenth century. There were many other factors; doctrinal, theological, political, that cost so many millions to Catholic unity, but the center of the issue was priestly celibacy. The first thing the so-called reformers did on breaking with the Roman Catholic Church was to remove celibacy.





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