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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Duties)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Reflections: 

Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Duties / Responsibilities

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Duties & Responsibilities of Priests

Duties & Responsibilities of the Faithful Towards Priests

 

Category
Quotation

Duties & Responsibilities of Priests

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

Reminder: Items Herein Are Not Comprehensive

"And taking bread, [Jesus] gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me." (Lk. 22:19) [DR Trans.]

"[Jesus] said to them, 'Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" (Mk. 16:15-16) [Note: It should be noted that belief may be considered the 'first step'. As Scripture makes clear, one must also obey, and not just believe.]

"[T]he principal act of a priest is to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]t is the office of the priest to spend every effort to obtain the salvation of souls" (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Nothing is more befitting the priestly office than the protection of the poor and the weak." (Pope St. Gelasius I, c. 494 A.D.)

"[P]riests must be solicitous for the sick and the dying, visiting them and strengthening them in the Lord." (Second Vatican Council)

"[I]t is a grave offence not to work for the extermination of heresy when this monstrous infection requires action" (Council of Vienne)

"Can. 1018 The pastor shall not fail prudently to educate the people about the sacrament of marriage and its impediments." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[Priests] should help men to see what is required and what is God's will in the important and unimportant events of life." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 770 Infants should be baptized as soon as possible; pastors and preachers should frequently stress with the faithful the gravity of their obligation." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[T]he first duty of all those who are entrusted in any way with the government of the Church is to instruct the faithful in the things of God." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"[T]he cleric is reminded that one who is the portion of the Lord, or who has the Lord as his portion, must show himself to be such a one as possesses the Lord and is possessed by him." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 743 The pastor shall take care that the faithful, especially obstetricians, doctors, and surgeons, are carefully taught the correct manner of baptizing in case of necessity." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The priest must also strive to see that the faithful have a correct understanding of the doctrine of the 'Communion of Saints,' and that they feel and live it." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Whether your immediate task be to assist, to protect, to heal, to make peace, let your one aim and most ardent desire be to win or to secure souls for Christ." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Can. 1405 § 2 Local Ordinaries and others having care of souls shall opportunely advise the faithful about the danger and harm of reading depraved books, especially prohibited ones." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Finally, to leave nothing unsaid that may be calculated to induce the faithful to an observance of the law, the pastor should point out how abundant and sweet are its fruits." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Remember that your duty is not the extension of a human realm, but of Christ's; and remember too that your goal is the acquisition of citizens for a heavenly fatherland, and not for an earthly one." (Pope Benedict XV)

"Finally it is proper for a good pastor not only to safeguard and nourish his sheep, but also to seek and recall to the sheepfold those who have gone to a distant place." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Inter Praecipuas", 1844 A.D.)

"No one, surely, of sound mind is ignorant that it belongs to our office to reprove any Christian for mortal sin, and if he disregards our punishment, to compel him by ecclesiastical censure." (Pope Innocent III, 13th century A.D.)

"[P]riests have a special obligation to the poor and weak entrusted to them, for Our Lord Himself showed that He was united to them, and their evangelization is mentioned as a sign of messianic activity." (Second Vatican Council)

"Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"Can. 469 The pastor shall be diligently vigilant lest anything that is contrary to faith or morals be given in his parish, especially in public and private schools, and he shall foster or start works of charity, faith, and piety." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"A priest has two acts: one is the principal, namely to consecrate the body of Christ; the other is secondary, namely to prepare God's people for the reception of this sacrament" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But above all kindle in the minds of everyone that love for one another which Christ the Lord so often and so specifically praised. For this is the one sign of Christians and the bond of perfection." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"The hierarchy should promote the apostolate of the laity, provide it with spiritual principles and support, direct the conduct of this apostolate to the common good of the Church, and attend to the preservation of doctrine and order." (Second Vatican Council)

"[S]ince you will have to render to God and to His Church an account of the manner in which you feed your flock, allow no one to creep unbidden into the sheepfold and to feed the sheep of Christ according to his fancy." (Pope Benedict XV, "Humani Generis Redemptionem", 1917 A.D.)

"Can. 761 Pastors should take care that a Christian name is given to those whom they baptize; but if they are not able to bring this about, they will add to the name given by the parents the name of some Saint and record both names in the book of baptisms." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"These, then, are the duties of a shepherd: to place himself as leader at the head of his flock, to provide proper food for it, to ward off dangers, to guard against insidious foes, to defend it against violence: in a word to rule and govern it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species." (Pope John Paul II, 2003 A.D.)

"Can. 1034 The pastor shall gravely exhort children yet in families not to enter into weddings if the parents are unaware of it or [if they] are reasonably opposed to it; but if they are going to marry, he should not assist without first consulting the local Ordinary." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The first striving of a priestly soul should be the closest union with the divine Redeemer by accepting humbly and entirely the Christian doctrine and by diligently applying it in every moment of his life so that his faith illumines his conduct and his conduct is the reflection of his faith." (Pope Pius XII)

"Simply to make known those things which pertain to salvation should not be deemed a full discharge of the duty of pastors; their zeal and industry should be exerted to persuade the people to adopt these truths as their rule of conduct and as the governing principle of their actions." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Since no one can be saved who does not first believe, priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all. In this way they fulfill the command of the Lord: 'Going therefore into the whole world preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15)" (Second Vatican Council)

"It is your duty, Venerable Brothers, to in spire enthusiasm and love of penance in the faithful by word and example. Thus, they will approach the fast more quickly, observe it according to the laws prescribed by the Catholic Church, and sanctify it through almsgiving and prayer." (Pope Clement XIII, "Appetente Sacro", 1759 A.D.)

"For whatever is proposed by the pastor, whether it be the exercise of faith, of hope, or of some moral virtue, the love of our Lord should at the same time be so strongly insisted upon as to show clearly that all the works of perfect Christian virtue can have no other origin, no other end than divine love." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[H]e is a traitor if he first lets the enemy enter the citadel, and then, but only then, gives the alarm and risks his person and his life. The obligation of laying down his life for the flock begins to be in force at the enemy's first attack upon the very outposts of the City, which is only safe when they are strongly guarded." (Dom Gueranger)

"If a parish priest doesn't want to be damned, and if there is any loose living in his parish, he must spurn the very thought of public opinion and the fear of being despised or hated by his parishioners. Even if he were certain of being lynched when he came down from the pulpit, that must not stop him from speaking out against it." (St. John Vianney)

"Can. 794 §1 The duty and right of educating belongs in a special way to the Church, to which has been divinely entrusted the mission of assisting persons so that they are able to reach the fullness of the Christian life. §2 Pastors of souls have the duty of making all possible arrangements so that all the faithful may avail themselves of a Catholic education." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1033 A pastor shall not omit, according to the varying conditions of persons, to instruct spouses on the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and on the mutual obligations of spouses and of parents toward children; likewise he shall strongly exhort them to confess their sins diligently before the celebration of marriage and to receive piously the most Holy Eucharist." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"For we think that this, according to the circumstances of your various regions, should be the principal task of priests, to exhort the faithful, in season and out, to love one another; they should warn them constantly that he is not worthy of the name of Christian who does not fulfill in spirit and action the new command given by Christ that we love one another as He has loved us." (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901 A.D.)

"The priest, according to the magnificent definition given by St. Paul is indeed a man Ex hominibus assumptus, 'taken from amongst men,' yet pro hominibus constituitur in his quae sunt ad Deum, 'ordained for men in the things that appertain to God': his office is not for human things, and things that pass away, however lofty and valuable these may seem; but for things divine and enduring." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"We have fallen upon times when a violent and well-nigh daily battle is being fought about matters of highest moment, a battle in which it is hard not to be sometimes deceived, not to go astray and, for many, not to lose heart. It behooves us, venerable brethren, to warn, instruct, and exhort each of the faithful with an earnestness befitting the occasion: that none may abandon the way of truth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"Can. 275 §1 Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They are to seek to cooperate with one another, in accordance with the provisions of particular law. §2 Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercises in the Church and in the world." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"To inflame the minds of the faithful, however, with a zeal for true piety, pastors will find no means more efficacious than an accurate exposition of the effects of Baptism. The effects of Baptism should be frequently explained, in order that the faithful may be rendered more sensible of the high dignity to which they have been raised, and may never suffer themselves to be cast down therefrom by the snares or assaults of Satan." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Furthermore, aided by divine grace, We trust that you will proceed with every constancy, zeal, and prudence to set up a wall for the house of Israel, to keep the flock entrusted to your care away from poisoned pastures, and to lead them to good ones. We expect to see you bringing the miserably lost back to the paths of truth and justice and attempting everything by which all may grow in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Pope Pius IX, "Nemo Certe Ignorat", 1852 A.D.)

"Quite fittingly, therefore, and quite in accordance with the defined norm of Christian sentiment, do those pastors of souls act who, to prevent married people from failing in the observance of God's law, urge them to perform their duty and exercise their religion so that they should give themselves to God, continually ask for His divine assistance, frequent the sacraments, and always nourish and preserve a loyal and thoroughly sincere devotion to God." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"Our great predecessor Gregory, in instructing the heads of the churches, said with his usual excellence: 'Often imprudent guides in their fear of losing human favor are afraid to speak the right freely. As the word of truth has it, they guard their flock not with a shepherd's zeal but as hirelings do, since they flee when the wolf approaches by hiding themselves in silence... A shepherd fearing to speak the right is simply a man retreating by keeping silent.'" (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"Hostile men in these lamentable times never stop planting thorns in the Lord's field, first with destructive and ephemeral books and then with monstrous and depraved suppositions plainly opposed to Catholic faith and dogma. Consequently, you rightly understand how you must labor and ever be on your guard to keep the faithful from those poisonous pastures, to urge them on to eternal salvation, and to imbue them in greater measure with the teachings of the Catholic Church." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862 A.D.)

"Can. 529 §2 A pastor is to recognize and promote the proper part which the lay members of the Christian faithful have in the mission of the Church, by fostering their associations for the purposes of religion. He is to cooperate with his own bishop and the presbyterium of the diocese, also working so that the faithful have concern for parochial communion, consider themselves members of the diocese and of the universal Church, and participate in and sustain efforts to promote this same communion." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 771 §1 Pastors of souls, especially Bishops and parish priests, are to be solicitous that the word of God is preached to those also of the faithful who, because of the circumstances of their lives, cannot sufficiently avail themselves of the ordinary pastoral care or are even totally deprived of it. §2 They are also to take care that the good news of the Gospel reaches those living in their territory who are non-believers, since these too, no less than the faithful, must be included in the care of souls." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"All the strength of the Pontiffs and Pastors of the Church consists in their imitation of Jesus. It is not enough that hey have in them the character of his Priesthood; they must also be ready, like him, to lay down their lives for their sheep. The shepherd who thinks more of his own life than of the salvation of his flock is a hireling, not a shepherd: he loves himself and not his sheep. His flock has a claim upon his shedding his blood for them; and if he will not he is no longer an image of the Good Shepherd, Jesus." (Dom Gueranger)

"The pastor, therefore, should encourage the faithful to be willing and anxious to assist those who have to depend on charity, and should make them realize the great necessity of giving alms and of being really and practically liberal to the poor, by reminding them that on the last day God will condemn and consign to eternal fires those who have omitted and neglected the duty of almsgiving, while on the contrary He will praise and introduce into His heavenly country those who have exercised mercy towards the poor." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[H]ow assiduous the pastor should be in stirring up the minds of the faithful the frequent recollection of our Lord's Passion, we learn from the Apostle when he says that he knows nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). The pastor, therefore, should exercise the greatest care and pains in giving a thorough explanation of this subject, in order that the faithful, being moved by the remembrance of so great a benefit, may give themselves entirely to the contemplation of the goodness and love of God towards us." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Along with Us, you detest the great number of pestilential books, pamphlets, magazines, and posters which the virulent enemy of God and man incessantly spews forth to corrupt morals, attack the foundations of faith, and weaken the most sacred dogmas of our religion. Therefore, never cease to lead the flock entrusted to your care away from these poison pastures. Never cease to instruct, defend, and confirm them against the deluge of so many errors; use salutary and opportune admonitions and publications to do this." (Pope Pius IX, "Inter Multiplices", 1853 A.D.)

"Our Lord saw the multitudes 'lying like sheep that have no shepherd.' Such multitudes are to be seen today not only in the far distant lands of the missions, but also, alas! in countries which have been Christian for centuries. How can a priest see such multitudes and not feel deeply within himself an echo of that divine pity which so often moved the Heart of the Son of God? - a priest, we say, who is conscious of possessing the words of life and of having in his hands the God-given means of regeneration and salvation?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"Parish priests should warn their flocks that they are forbidden by divine law to listen to radio programs which are dangerous to their Faith or morals, and they should exhort those engaged in the training of youth, to be on the watch and to instill religious principles with regard to the use of radio sets installed in the home. Moreover, it is the duty of the Bishops to call on the faithful to refrain from listening to stations which are known to broadcast a defense of matter formally opposed to the Catholic Faith." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957 A.D.) 

"But as there is nothing greater, nothing more exalted, as we have already said, than to serve God and live in obedience to His law and Commandments, what more desirably to a Christian than to walk in the ways of the Lord, to think nothing, to undertake nothing, at variance with His will? In order that the faithful may adopt this rule of life, and adhere to it with greater fidelity, (the pastor) should borrow from Scripture examples of individuals, who, by not referring their views to the will of God, have failed in all their undertakings." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Jesus Christ, our Divine King, has chosen priests as the first-line ministers and messengers of His gospel. Theirs is the duty, assigned to them by a special vocation, under the direction of their Bishops and in filial obedience to the Vicar of Christ on earth, of keeping alight in the world the torch of Faith, and of filling the hearts of the Faithful with that supernatural trust which has aided the Church to fight and win so many other battles in the name of Christ: 'This is the victory which overcometh the world, our Faith.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937 A.D.)

"In this work, your influence, Venerable Brethren, and the zeal and earnestness of the entire Clergy, can do wonders. You must look upon it as a chief part of your duty to engrave upon the minds of your people the true knowledge, the very likeness of Jesus Christ; to illustrate His charity, His mercies, His teaching, by your writings and your words, in schools, in Universities, from the pulpit; wherever opportunity is offered you. The world has heard enough of the so-called 'rights of man.' Let it hear something of the rights of God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"Can. 562 The rector of a church, under the authority of the local ordinary and observing the legitimate statutes and acquired rights, is obliged to see to it that sacred functions are celebrated worthily in the church according to the liturgical norms and prescripts of the canons, that obligations are fulfilled faithfully, that property is carefully administered, that the maintenance and beauty of sacred furnishings and buildings are provided for, and that nothing whatever occurs which is in any way unfitting to the holiness of the place and the reverence due to the house of God." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It should be your duty to encourage sound doctrine through this whole affair and to make known the craftiness of the innovators. Watch more keenly over the care of the Christian flock, so that zeal for religion, piety of actions, and public peace might happily flourish and increase. We wait for this, trusting in your faith and commitment to the common good so that, with the help of God who is the Father of lights, We might give thanks (with St. Cyprian) that the error has been understood and weakened and then laid low, because it was recognized and discovered." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Singulari Nos", 1834 A.D.)

"We know the great anxieties and difficulties, especially in these evil times, that the episcopal ministry is exposed to; We also know how you must constantly labor and keep watch to fulfill the duties of your vital ministry. But no labor or difficulty must ever keep you from the duty of your proper office. Relying on divine help, act manfully for the glory of God, for the cause of His most holy Church, and for the eternal salvation of men; keep before your eyes the incorruptible crown of glory promised by the eternal Prince of Pastors to those who persevere." (Pope Pius IX, "Probe Noscitis Venerabiles", 1852 A.D.)

"It is the priest's task to clear away from men's minds the mass of prejudices and misunderstandings which hostile adversaries have piled up; the modern mind is eager for the truth, and the priest should be able to point it out with serene frankness; there are souls still hesitating, distressed by doubts, and the priest should inspire courage and trust, and guide them with calm security to the safe port of faith, faith accepted by both head and heart; error makes its onslaughts, arrogant and persistent, and the priest should know how to meet them with a defense vigorous and active, yet solid and unruffled." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"Nor is it in the Lord's Prayer alone that He has commanded us to beg of God not to suffer us to be led into temptation. In His address to the holy Apostles also, on the very eve of His death, after He had declared them clean, He admonished them of this duty in these words: Pray that ye enter not into temptation. This admonition, reiterated by Christ the Lord, imposes on the pastor the weighty obligation of exciting the faithful to a frequent use of this prayer, so that, beset as men constantly are by the great dangers which the devil prepares, they may ever address to God, who alone can repel those dangers, the prayer, Lead us not into temptation." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Therefore it is Our duty to help men and nations who are in distress, and to eliminate all present and threatening evils. For 'Christ has given pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up of Christ's Body, until we all come together to the unity of faith and knowledge of God's son.' If ever anything deters, prevents, or delays any one of us from performing this task, what a disgraceful sin he will commit! Therefore, omit no watchfulness, diligence, care, and effort, in order to 'guard the deposit' of Christ's teaching whose destruction has been planned, as you know, by a great conspiracy." (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800 A.D.)

"Watch earnestly lest deceitful men and the promoters of novelties continue to spread erroneous doctrines and false dogmas in your flock. Using the pretext of the common good, as is their custom, they take advantage of the credulity of those who are naive and rash, so that they may have them as blind servants and supporters in disturbing the peace of the kingdom and in overturning the order of society. Surely the fraud of these would-be teachers must be uncovered in clear words for the good and the instruction of the faithful. The fallacy of their thought must be refuted courageously everywhere with the words of divine scripture and the testimony of Church tradition." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Cum Primum", 1832 A.D.)

"Moreover, you must be especially watchful that young people of both sexes be educated in fear of the Lord and His law and that they be trained in moral integrity. Accordingly, diligently inspect both private and public schools; see that your young people are free from all danger and that they receive a sound and completely Catholic education. Stretch, therefore, every fiber of your pastoral zeal to obtain this goal, since you know that the prosperity of the spiritual and civil communities depends greatly on the proper education of the youth. You know also the manifold evils by which, in these iniquitous times, the enemies of God and man attempt to pervert and corrupt the innocence of youth." (Pope Pius IX, "Cum Nuper", 1858 A.D.)

"Finally priests have been placed in the midst of the laity to lead them to the unity of charity, 'loving one another with fraternal love, eager to give one another precedence' (Rom. 12:10). It is their task, therefore, to reconcile differences of mentality in such a way that no one need feel himself a stranger in the community of the faithful. They are defenders of the common good, with which they are charged in the name of the bishop. At the same time, they are strenuous assertors of the truth, lest the faithful be carried about by every wind of doctrine. They are united by a special solicitude with those who have fallen away from the use of the sacraments, or perhaps even from the faith. Indeed, as good shepherds, they should not cease from going out to them." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 529 §1 In order to fulfill his office diligently, a pastor is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. Therefore he is to visit families, sharing especially in the cares, anxieties, and griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord, and prudently correcting them if they are failing in certain areas. He is to help the sick and especially the dying in great charity, solicitously restoring them with the sacraments and commending their souls to God. He is to be especially diligent in seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those who are exiled from their homeland, and those burdened with special difficulties. He is to strive also to ensure that spouses and parents are sustained in the fulfillment of their proper duties, and to foster the growth of Christian life in the family." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It is your duty, venerable brothers, sedulously to strive that the seed of heavenly doctrine be sown broadcast in the field of God, and that the teachings of the Catholic faith may be implanted early in the souls of the faithful, may strike deep root in them, and be kept free from the ruinous blight of error. The more the enemies of religion exert themselves to offer the uninformed, especially the young, such instruction as darkens the mind and corrupts morals, the more actively should we endeavor that not only a suitable and solid method of education may flourish but above all that this education be wholly in harmony with the Catholic faith in its literature and system of training, and chiefly in philosophy, upon which the direction of other sciences in great measure depends." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878 A.D.)

"Since, then, the Decalogue is a summary of the whole Law, the pastor should give his days and nights to its consideration, that he may be able not only to regulate his own life by its precepts, but also to instruct in the law of God the people committed to his care. The lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth, because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts (Mal. ii. 7.). To the priests of the New Law this injunction applies in a special manner; they are nearer to God, and should be transformed from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. iii.18.) Since Christ our Lord has called them light, it is their special duty to be a light to them that are in darkness, the instructors of the foolish, the teachers of infants; and if a man be overtaken in any fault, they who are spiritual should instruct such a one (Gal. vi. I.)" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"If ever there was a time more demanding the diligence of pastors in explaining the Sacrament of Confirmation, in these days certainly it requires special attention, when there are found in the holy Church of God many by whom this Sacrament is altogether omitted; while very few seek to obtain from it the fruit of divine grace which they should derive from its participation. Lest, therefore, this divine blessing may seem, through their fault, and to their most serious injury, to have been conferred on them in vain, the faithful are to be instructed both on Whitsunday, on which day it is principally administered, and also on such other days as pastors shall deem convenient. Their instructions should so treat the nature, power, and dignity of this Sacrament, that the faithful may understand not only that it is not to be neglected, but that it is to be received with the greatest piety and devotion." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

"Beloved sons, on the very day that you were raised to the sacerdotal dignity, the Bishop, in the name of God, solemnly pointed out to you your fundamental duty in the following words: 'Understand what you do, imitate the things you deal with; and celebrating the mystery of the death of the Lord, strive to mortify in your members all vice and concupiscence. May your doctrine be the spiritual medicine for the people of God; let the fragrance of your life of virtue be an ornament of the Church of Christ; and by your preaching and example may you build the house, that is the family of God'. Your life, which should be completely immune from sin, should be even more hidden with Christ in God than the lives of Christian layfolk. Advance then, thus adorned with that high virtue which your dignity demands, to the work of completing the redemption of man for which your priestly ordination has destined you." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"But it may happen that these warnings and admonitions go unheeded and that some Catholic man or woman is unwilling to give up his perverse intention of entering upon a mixed marriage. If a dispensation is not requested or not obtained from the Church or if the necessary conditions or a certain one of them is not fulfilled, then it will be the duty of the priest to abstain not only from honoring the marriage itself with his presence, but also from announcing the marriage and from granting dimissory letters. You must admonish the priests and demand that they abstain from every such act. For one who has the care of souls and who acts differently, especially in the circumstances prevalent in Bavaria, would seem in some way to approve these illicit marriages by his actions. His works would encourage the liberty of those souls, a liberty which is pernicious to their salvation and even to the cause of faith." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Summo Iugiter Studio", 1832 A.D.)

"Finally, the priest, in another way, follows the example of Christ. Of Him it is written that He 'passed the whole night in the prayer of God' and 'ever lives to make intercession for us'; and like Him, the priest, is public and official intercessor of humanity before God; he has the duty and commission of offering to God in the name of the Church, over and above sacrifice strictly so-called, the 'sacrifice of praise,' in public and official prayer; for several times each day with psalms, prayers and hymns taken in great part from the inspired books, he pays to God this dutiful tribute of adoration and thus performs his necessary office of interceding for humanity. And never did humanity, in its afflictions, stand more in need of intercession and of the divine help which it brings. Who can tell how many chastisements priestly prayer wards off from sinful mankind, how many blessings it brings down and secures?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"It will therefore be the duty of the pastor frequently to admonish the faithful that, as they deem it necessary to afford daily nutriment to the body, they should also feel solicitous to feed and nourish the soul every day with this heavenly food. It is clear that the soul stands not less in need of spiritual, than the body of corporeal food. Here it will be found most useful to recall the inestimable and divine advantages which, as we have already shown, flow from sacramental Communion. It will be well also to refer to the manna, which was a figure (of this Sacrament), and which refreshed the bodily powers every day. The Fathers who earnestly recommended the frequent reception of this Sacrament may also be cited. The words of St. Augustine, Thou sinnest daily, receive daily, expresses not his opinion only, but that of all the Fathers who have written on the subject, as anyone may easily discover who will carefully read them." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The priest thus becomes a sharer in many different life choices, sufferings and joys, disappointments and hopes. In every situation, his task is to show God to man as the final end of his personal existence. The priest becomes the one to whom people confide the things most dear to them and their secrets, which are sometimes very painful. He becomes the one whom the sick, the elderly and the dying wait for, aware as they are that only he, a sharer in the priesthood of Christ, can help them in the final journey which is to lead them to God. As a witness to Christ, the priest is the messenger of man's supreme vocation to eternal life in God. And while he accompanies his brothers and sisters, he prepares himself: the exercise of the ministry enables him to deepen his own vocation to give glory to God in order to have a share in eternal life. He thus moves forward towards the day when Christ will say to him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant,...enter into the joy of your master' (Mt 25:21)." (Pope John Paul II)

"It is principally your duty to stand as a wall so that no foundation can be laid other than the one that is already laid. Watch over the most holy deposit of faith to whose protection you committed yourselves on oath at your solemn consecration. Reveal to the faithful the wolves which are demolishing the Lord's vineyard. They should be warned not to allow themselves to be ensnared by the splendid writing of certain authors in order to halt the diffusion of error by cunning and wicked men. In a word, they should detest books which contain elements shocking to the reader; which are contrary to faith, religion, and good morals; and which lack an atmosphere of Christian virtue. We manifest to you Our great happiness in this matter that most of you, following the apostolic customs and energetically defending the laws of the Church, have shown yourselves zealous and watchful in order to avert this pestilence and have not allowed the simple people to sleep soundly with serpents." (Pope Clement XIII, "Christianae Reipublicae", 1766 A.D.)

"What more striking example can there be of human infirmity than the holy band of the Apostles, who, though they had just before felt very courageous, at the first sight of danger, abandoned the Savior and fled. A still more conspicuous example is the conduct of the Prince of the Apostles. He who a short time before loudly protested his courage and special loyalty to Christ the Lord, he who had been so confident in himself as to say, Though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee, became so affrighted at the voice of a poor maid-servant that he declared at once with an oath that he knew not the Lord. Doubtless his courage was not equal to his goodwill. But if, by the frailty of human nature in which they confided, even the Saints have sinned grievously, what have not others to fear, who are so far below them in holiness?... Wherefore let the pastor remind the faithful of the conflicts and dangers in which we are continually engaged, as long as the soul is in this mortal body, assailed as it were on all sides by the world, the flesh and the devil." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"With similar diligence instruct the faithful in the doctrines of Catholic religion by word and by writing. Defend the people from the contagion of so many diabolic errors. Warn them to stand firm and unmovable in the profession of our most holy faith and to observe most diligently the laws of God and His holy Church, never allowing themselves to be deceived and led into error by the followers of perverse doctrine. However, unwholesome books emerge everywhere; in them the most skillful fabricators of lies attempt to mislead everyone by corrupt and evil opinions of all sorts and to confuse things human and divine in order to cause the foundations of Christian and civil society to collapse. Strive to avert and repel this deadly pestilence of books from your flock. And, that you may the more easily and readily protect sound doctrine and good morals and close even avenues of approach to error and corruption, do not fail to inspect accurately all books, especially those which treat of philosophy, theology, and sacred matters and also those which deal with canon and civil law." (Pope Pius IX, "Cum Nuper", 1858 A.D.)

"But those who desire to receive the Sacrament of Orders, should aim not only at seeking the glory of God in all things - an obligation admittedly common to all men, and particularly to the faithful - but also to serve Him in holiness and justice in whatever sphere of His ministry they may be placed. Just as in the army all the soldiers obey the general's orders, though they all have not the same functions to discharge, one being a centurion, another a prefect, so in like manner, though all the faithful should diligently practice piety and innocence, which are the chief means of honoring God, yet they who are in Holy Orders have certain special duties and functions to discharge in the Church. Thus they offer [the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass] for themselves and for all the people; they explain God's law and exhort and form the faithful to observe it promptly and cheerfully; they administer the Sacraments of Christ our Lord by means of which all grace is conferred and increased; and, in a word, the are separated from the rest of the people to fill by far the greatest and noblest of all ministries." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"We must arouse your devotion. We exhort you to fight for the cause of God and the Church with greater zeal as the attacks of the enemy become more severe. It is your duty to stand as a wall so that no other foundation can be placed other than the one which has already been laid. It is also your duty to keep the faith undefiled. There is another sacred trust which you should firmly defend, namely, the holy laws by which the Church establishes its discipline, and the rights of this Apostolic See. Therefore, act according to the position which you hold, according to the dignity with which you are vested, according to the authority which you received, according to the sacrament by which you bound yourselves in solemn consecration. Unsheathe the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Denounce, beseech, rebuke in all patience and teaching. Labor and struggle for the Catholic religion, for the divine authority and laws of the Church, for the See of Peter and its dignity and rights 'so that not only those who are upright may remain safe but also so that those who were deceived by seduction may be called back from error.'" (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

"These prescriptions of the Council of Trent have been summarized and still more clearly defined by Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, in his Constitution Esti minime. 'Two chief obligations,' he wrote, 'have been imposed by the Council of Trent on those who have the care of souls: first, that of preaching the things of God to the people on the feast days; and second, that of teaching the rudiments of faith and of the divine law to the youth and others who need such instruction.' Here the wise Pontiff rightly distinguishes between these two duties: one is what is commonly known as the explanation of the Gospel and the other is the teaching of Christian doctrine. Perhaps there are some who, wishing to lessen their labors, would believe that the homily on the Gospel can take the place of catechetical instruction. But for one who reflects a moment, such is obviously impossible. The sermon on the holy Gospel is addressed to those who should have already received knowledge of the elements of faith. It is, so to speak, bread broken for adults. Catechetical instruction, on the other hand, is that milk which the Apostle Peter wished the faithful to desire in all simplicity like newborn babes." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"Every pastor, no matter what may be his rank in the Church, is bound, in virtue of his office to lay down his life for his sheep, if called upon to do it. The sacrifice is not even counted as an act of heroism; it is a strict duty. Shame and curse upon the pastor who flees through cowardice! The Redeemer stigmatizes such a one with the name of hireling. Hence it is, that during these last eighteen hundred years, there have been so many thousands of pastors who have given their lives for their flocks. One or other of their names are to be found in every page of the Church's history. The list is headed by St. Peter, who was crucified like his divine Master; it continues down to the Bishops of Cochin-China, Tonkin, and Corea, whose recent martyrdoms attest that the pastor has not ceased to consider himself as a victim for his flock. Thus, before confiding his lambs and sheep to Peter, Jesus asks him if he have greater love than the rest. If Peter love his Master, he will love his Master's lambs and sheep; he will love them even to laying down his life for them. For this reason, after entrusting him with the care of the whole flock, our Savior tells Peter that he is to die a martyr. Happy is that people whose rulers only exercise their authority on condition of being ready to die for these their Master's sheep!" (Gueranger, 19th Century A.D.)

"And if the possession of a spacious and magnificent mansion contributes to human happiness, what more spacious, what more magnificent, can be conceived than heaven itself, which is illuminated through with the brightness of God? Hence the Prophet, contemplating the beauty of this dwelling place, and burning with the desire of reaching those mansions of bliss, exclaims: How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. That the faithful may be all filled with the same sentiments and utter the same language should be the object of the pastor's most earnest desires, as it should also be of his zealous labors. For in my Father's house, says our Lord, there are many mansions, in which shall be distributed rewards of greater and of less value according to each one's deserts. He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings... The pastor, therefore, should not only encourage the faithful to seek this happiness, but should frequently remind them that the sure way of obtaining it is to possess the virtues of faith and charity, to persevere in prayer and the use of the Sacraments, and to discharge all the duties of kindness towards their neighbor." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Those, therefore, on whom injuries have been inflicted, should be ready and willing to pardon, urged to it as they are by this form of prayer, and by the command of God in St. Luke: If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him; and if he repent, forgive him; and if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read: Love your enemies; and the Apostle, and before him Solomon wrote: If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink; and finally we read in the Gospel of St. Mark: When you shall stand to pray, forgive if you have anything against any man; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your sins... But since, on account of the corruption of nature, there is nothing to which man brings himself more reluctantly than to the pardon of injuries, let pastors exert all the powers and resources of their minds to change and bend the dispositions of the faithful to this mildness and mercy so necessary to a Christian. Let them dwell on those passages of Scripture in which we hear God commanding to pardon enemies. Let them also insist on this certain truth, that one of the surest signs that men are the children of God is their willingness to forgive injuries and sincerely love their enemies; for in loving our enemies there shines forth in us some kind of likeness to God our Father, who, by the death of His Son, ransomed from everlasting perdition and reconciled to Himself the human race, which before was most unfriendly and hostile to Him." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

"Devote your constant thoughts and efforts to those who have dedicated themselves to the sacred ministry. See that they remain mindful of their vocation and direct their manner of life according to the standards of the sacred canons and ecclesiastical discipline. They should glow in the gravity of their character, the sanctity of their life, and the praise of their wholesome doctrine. They should also give an example of all the virtues to the Christian people; perform the duties of their ministry fully, skillfully, and religiously; and labor zealously for the salvation of souls. The young clergy, even from their earliest years, should be guided opportunely toward piety, virtue, and an ecclesiastical spirit. See that they are diligently taught literature, especially the sacred disciplines, untouched by the danger of any error. The faithful entrusted to you should be nourished daily with the words of faith and strengthened by the spiritual gifts of grace so that they can grow in the knowledge of God and walk in the ways of the Lord; they must never permit themselves to be deceived and led into error by the manufacturers of lies and the followers of perverse dogmas. Since, however, as each one of you well understands, nothing contributes more to the preservation of sacred and public affairs than the proper education of youth. Therefore, watch carefully that in all the public and private schools a doctrine entirely Catholic is taught and that the young people are trained scrupulously according to the precepts of our holy religion." (Pope Pius IX, "Probe Noscitis Venerabiles", 1852 A.D.)

"[St. Augustine's] charity and courage shone with brightest muster amid the wreck of civilization, when the Vandals laid waste Africa, sparing neither priestly rank nor sacred temple. Some Bishops and priests were at a loss what course to pursue in the midst of so many crushing disasters. One of them asked Augustine his opinion, and the holy old man frankly wrote back, that it was not permissible for any priest, whose ministry was necessary to the Faithful, to leave his people, no matter what threatened... Surely we know...that when such perils reach their crest and no escape is possible, people of both sexes and of all ages are wont to flock to the Church. Some beg for Baptism, some for reconciliation, some for the performance of penance, all for consolation and for the Sacraments to be made available and administered. In such a crisis, if ministers be lacking, utter ruin is the lot of those who leave this world unregenerated or unshriven... Consider what the fear of temporal evils does, and the eternal evils it entails. Whereas, if ministers be present, with the strength and means God gives them, succor is ready for all. Some are baptized, others are reconciled, none are robbed of Communion of the Body of the Lord; all are consoled, are edified, are exhorted to invoke the aid of God, who can avert whatever misfortune is feared. All are ready for either issue, so that, if that chalice may not pass from them, His will may be done who cannot will anything that is evil... 'If, however, anyone flees, so that the flock of Christ is deprived of the food by which it is nourished spiritually, that man is a hireling, who sees the wolf coming and flies, since he has no care for the sheep.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"The holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, and others who sustain the office and charge of teaching, that, agreeably to the usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive times of the Christian religion, and agreeably to the consent of the holy Fathers, and to the decrees of sacred Councils, they especially instruct the faithful diligently concerning the intercession and invocation of saints; the honor (paid) to relics; and the legitimate use of images: teaching them, that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their own prayers to God for men; that it is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, (and) help for obtaining benefits from God, through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our alone Redeemer and Savior; but that they think impiously, who deny that the saints, who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, are to be invocated; or who assert either that they do not pray for men; or, that the invocation of them to pray for each of us even in particular, is idolatry; or, that it is repugnant to the word of God; and is opposed to the honor of the one mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus; or, that it is foolish to supplicate, vocally, or mentally, those who reign in heaven. Also, that the holy bodies of holy martyrs, and of others now living with Christ - which bodies were the living members of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost, and which are by Him to be raised unto eternal life, and to be glorified - are to be venerated by the faithful; through which (bodies) many benefits are bestowed by God on men; so that they who affirm that veneration and honor are not due to the relics of saints; or, that these, and other sacred monuments, are uselessly honored by the faithful; and that the places dedicated to the memories of the saints are in vain visited with the view of obtaining their aid; are wholly to be condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned, and now also condemns them." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Priests / Priesthood [Pg.] | Priests & The Sacraments | Priests & The Holy Eucharist / Mass | Priests & The Sacrament of Penance | Holiness / Good Example [Pg.] | Knowledge / Learning | Priests & Prayer / Meditation / Contemplation | Preachers / Preaching | Exhortations | Proper Dress / Comportment [Pg.] | Catechetical Instruction | The Divine Office | Obedience | Novelty & The Clergy | Pastors Should Remain at Their Post | Those Too Indulgent Betray Their Ministry | Those Who Govern Souls Must Render an Account | Good / Bad Priests [Pg.] | Laity's Right to Assistance | Duties & Responsibilities of the Faithful Towards Priests | Exhortations | Sacraments Section | Sacraments Section (Reflections) | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section | Misc. Priests / Vocations Facts | Why Priestly Celibacy?

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Duties & Responsibilities of the Faithful Towards Priests

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

Reminder: Items Herein Are Not Comprehensive

Note: Obedience is necessarily limited to appropriate commands of lawful authorities. Obedience is not accorded to commands which violate faith or morals.

"With all your soul, fear God, revere his priests. With all your strength, love your Creator, forsake not his ministers." (Sirach 7:29-30)

"Honor God and respect the priest" (Sirach 7:31)

"Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves." (Rom. 13:1-2)

"We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work." (1 Thes. 5:12-13)

"Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you." (Heb. 13:17) [DR Trans.]

"For in no way are we able to understand how they can be faithful to us, who have shown themselves unfaithful to God and disobedient to their priests." ['Charles the Great' (Charlemagne)]

"Can. 119. All the faithful owe reverence to the clergy according to their various grades and offices; and they stain themselves with the sin of sacrilege if they do the clergy a real injury." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The Christian faithful, for their part, should realize their obligations to their priests, and with filial love they should follow them as their pastors and fathers. In like manner, sharing their cares, they should help their priests by prayer and work insofar as possible so that their priests might more readily overcome difficulties and be able to fulfill their duties more fruitfully." (Second Vatican Council)

"The spirit of humility, illumined by faith, disposes the soul to the immolation of the will by means of obedience. Christ Himself established in the society He founded a legitimate authority which is a continuation of His own. Hence he who obeys the authorities of the church is obeying the Redeemer Himself." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Let Us remind all that they must generously and faithfully obey their holy pastors who possess the right and duty of regulating the whole life, especially the spiritual life, of the Church. 'Obey your prelates and be subject to them. For they keep watch over you and will have to give an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy and not with grief.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"[N]o private person may arrogate to himself the office of judge which Christ our Lord has bestowed on that one alone whom He placed in charge of His lambs and of His sheep. Let every one bear in mind that most wise teaching of Gregory the Great: 'Subjects should be admonished not rashly to judge their prelates, even if they chance to see them acting in a blameworthy manner, lest, justly reproving what is wrong, they be led by pride into greater wrong. They are to be warned against the danger of setting themselves up in audacious opposition to the superiors whose shortcomings they may notice.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"Can. 212 §1 Christ's faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church. §2 Christ's faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church. §3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Priestly virtue is a treasure that belongs to the whole Church. It is an enrichment and a splendor above the ordinary, which redounds to the building up and the profit of the entire [Church]. We wish therefore to address to all the faithful, Our children in Christ, an affectionate and urgent exhortation. We wish that they too feel responsible for the virtue of those brothers of theirs who have undertaken the mission of serving them in the priesthood for the salvation of their souls. They should pray and work for priestly vocations; they should help priests wholeheartedly, with filial love and ready collaboration; they should have the firm intention of offering them the consolation of a joyous response to their pastoral labors... In a spirit of faith and Christian love, they should foster a deep respect and a delicate reserve in their dealings with priests, on account of their condition as men entirely consecrated to Christ and to the Church." (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)

Also See: The Laity & The Clergy | Against Judging the Clergy | Fraternal Correction | Fostering Vocations [Pg.] | Laity's Right to Assistance | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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