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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Good/Bad Priests)

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

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Good Priests

Bad / Fallen Priests

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Good Priests

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

"A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 10:11)

"[H]e is to be accounted exceedingly fortunate whose lot it is to rule one church well and fruitfully, and unto the salvation of the souls committed to him." (Council of Trent)

"For the priest cannot be good or bad for himself alone; his conduct and way of life have far-reaching consequences for the people. A truly good priest is an immense gift wherever he may be." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)  

"One ought to pray earnestly, especially at the Ember Seasons, that God will give us good priests. If they are saints, what good they are able to do! But, whatever they are, never speak against them." (St. John Vianney)

"We recognize in the letter of your holiness the vigilance of the good shepherd. You faithfully watch over the gate entrusted to you, and with pious solicitude you guard Christ's sheepfold, you that are worthy to have the Lord's sheep hear and follow you. Since you know the sheep of Christ you will easily catch the wolves and confront them like a wary shepherd, lest they disperse the Lord's flock by their constant lack of faith and their bestial howling." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 389 A.D.)

"No matter how we seek, says the lovable Saint of charity, Vincent de Paul, 'we shall always discover ourselves unable to contribute to anything more great than to the making of good priests.' In truth nothing is more acceptable to God, of more honor to the Church, and more profitable to souls than the precious gift of a holy priest. If he who offers even a cup of water to one of the least of the disciples of Christ 'shall not lose his reward,' what reward will he receive who places, so to speak, into the pure hands of a young priest the sacred chalice, in which is contained the Blood of Redemption; who helps him to lift it up to heaven, a pledge of peace and of blessing for mankind?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

Also See: Holiness / Good Example [Pg.] | Praise / Rewards / Benefits | Bad / Fallen Priests

Note: While we cannot guarantee any particular priest is a 'good priest', you may also wish to consider the 'Special Priest' user posts in this section (click here)

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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Bad / Fallen Priests

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

"A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 10:11-13)

"When the shepherd becomes a wolf, the first duty of the flock is to defend itself." (Gueranger)

"For the priest cannot be good or bad for himself alone; his conduct and way of life have far-reaching consequences for the people." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.) 

"God tolerates no example of conduct more from others than from priests when He sees those, whom He ordains for the improvement of others, give example of their own depravity." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[A] priest is a blasphemer and a cheat if he exercises his Order unworthily, and thus he sins mortally: and in like manner any other person in Orders." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The sacred text speaks of the false shepherd, who flees at the first sight of the wolf; but the homily which explains it...brands equally with the title of hireling the keeper who, though he does not flee, suffers the enemy unresisted to work havoc in the fold." (Liturgical Year)

"When ministers are ignorant or neglectful of their duty, then the morals of the people also immediately decline, Christian discipline grows slack, the practice of religion is dislodged and cast aside, and every vice and corruption is easily introduced into the Church." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

"[I]t is from self-denial chiefly that the strength and power and fruit of every priestly function derive; it is when this virtue is neglected that there appears in the priest's conduct whatever may be of a nature to cause offense to the eyes and hearts of the faithful." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"'A great dignity,' exclaims St. Lawrence Justinian, 'but great too is the responsibility; placed high in the eyes of men they must also be lifted up to the peak of virtue before the eye of Him who seeth all; otherwise their elevation will be not to their merit but to their damnation.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"Likewise, a priest who neglects his own sanctification can never be the salt of the earth; what is corrupt and contaminated is utterly incapable of preserving from corruption; where sanctity is lacking, there corruption will inevitably find its way. Hence Christ, continuing this comparison, calls such priests salt that has lost its savor, which is good for nothing any more, but to be cast out and to be trodden on by men." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Woe to the priest who fails to respect his high dignity, and defiles by his infidelities the name of the holy God for whom he is bound to be holy. Corruptio optimi pessima. 'Sublime is the dignity of the priest, but great is his fall, if he is guilty of sin; let us rejoice for the high honor, but let us fear for them lest they fall; great is the joy that they have scaled the heights, but it is insignificant compared with the sorrow of their fall from on high.'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Most sublime, then, Venerable Brethren, is the dignity of the priesthood. Even the falling away of the few unworthy in the priesthood, however deplorable and distressing it may be, cannot dim the splendor of so lofty a dignity. Much less can the unworthiness of a few cause the worth and merit of so many to be overlooked; and how many have been, and are, in the priesthood, preeminent in holiness, in learning, in works of zeal, nay, even in martyrdom." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"'I assert [he writes] and we all assert, that the ministers of so great a Judge should be just men. Let the ministers be just, if they will. If, however, they who sit on the chair of Moses refuse to be just I find my warrant of security in my Master, of whom His Spirit said: He it is who baptizes'. Would that the words of Augustine had been accepted formerly and were accepted today by all those who, like the Donatists, allege the fall of a priest as a reason for rending the seamless garment of Christ and for unhappily abandoning the way of salvation!" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"Above all, it is the ministers of the Church who must be vigilant, because Satan does entice them and succeeds in leading them astray. Woe to them if they do not know how to present a pure and authentic religion to their faithful. A hypocritical pastor cannot guide the flock in the way of sanctity. A preacher who is unfaithful in doctrinal matters offers poisonous food to his flock. A minister who does not believe in God murders souls. If the evil one seduces the pastor, the consequence for [those under his charge] are terrible. Woe to those communities that have a mercenary instead of a pastor (Jn. 10:12) and in consequence are exposed to the ferocity of the rapacious wolves." (Fr. Fanzaga)

"The minister of God is a father of souls; and he knows that his toils and his cares cannot adequately be repaid with wealth and honors of earth... a priest must expect no other recompense than that promised by Christ to His Apostles: 'Your reward is very great in Heaven.' Woe to the priest who, forgetful of these divine promises should become 'greedy of filthy lucre.' Woe if he join the herd of the worldly over whom the Church like the Apostle grieves: 'All seek the things that are their own: not the things that are Jesus Christ's.' Such a priest, besides failing in his vocation, would earn the contempt even of his own people. They would perceive in him the deplorable contradiction between his conduct and the doctrine so clearly expounded by Christ, which the priest is bound to teach: 'Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven.' Judas, an Apostle of Christ, 'one of the twelve,' as the Evangelists sadly observe, was led down to the abyss of iniquity precisely through the spirit of greed for earthly things. Remembering him, it is easy to grasp how this same spirit could have brought such harm upon the Church throughout the centuries: greed, called by the Holy Spirit the 'root of all evil,' can incite to any crime; and a priest who is poisoned by this vice, even though he stop short of crime, will nevertheless, consciously or unconsciously, make common cause with the enemies of God and of the Church, and cooperate in their evil designs." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

Also See: Sins of Religious | Novelty & The Clergy | Those Too Indulgent Betray Their Ministry | Those Who Govern Souls Must Render an Account | Misc. (Good / Bad Priests) | Against Judging the Clergy | Fraternal Correction | Good 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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Sins of Religious

Also See: Sin (Topic Page)

Error CONDEMNED by the Council of Constance: "Nobody is a civil lord, a prelate or a bishop while he is in mortal sin." (Council of Constance, Condemned articles of John Hus)

"Every sin committed by a sacred person is a sacrilege materially and accidentally as it were. Hence [it is said] that 'a trifle on a priest's lips is a sacrilege or a blasphemy.' But formally and properly speaking a sin committed by a sacred person is a sacrilege only when it is committed against his holiness, for instance if a virgin consecrated to God be guilty of fornication: and the same is to be said of other instances." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Error CONDEMNED by the Council of Constance: "Just as a prince or a lord does not keep the title of his office while he is in mortal sin, except in name and equivocally, so it is with a pope, bishop or priest while he has fallen into mortal sin." [Council of Constance, Sentence condemning 260 articles of Wyclif: "This holy synod, therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, repudiates and condemns, by this perpetual decree, the aforesaid articles and each one of them in particular; and it forbids each and every Catholic henceforth, under pain of anathema, to preach, teach, or hold the said articles or any one of them."]

"The just sin not easily out of contempt; but sometimes they fall into a sin through ignorance or weakness from which they easily arise. If, however, they go so far as to sin out of contempt, they become most wicked and incorrigible, according to the word of Jeremiah 2:20: 'Thou hast broken My yoke, thou hast burst My bands, and thou hast said: I will not serve. For on every high hill and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself.' Hence Augustine says (Ep. 78 ad Pleb. Hippon.): 'From the time I began to serve God, even as I scarcely found better men than those who made progress in monasteries, so have I not found worse than those who in the monastery have fallen.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When any man performs an action as a minister of the Church while in a state of mortal sin, he sins mortally, and as often as he performs that action, since, as Dionysius says (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia i), 'it is wrong for the unclean even to touch the symbols,' i.e. the sacramental signs. Hence when they touch sacred things in the exercise of their office they sin mortally. It would be otherwise if they were to touch some sacred thing or perform some sacred duty in a case of necessity, when it would be allowable even to a layman, for instance if they were to baptize in a case of urgency, or gather up the Lord's body should it be cast to the ground." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Saint Charles Borromeo gave apt expression to this thought when, in his discourses to the clergy, he declared: 'If we would only bear in mind, dearly beloved brethren, the exalted character of the things that the Lord God has placed in our hands, what unbounded influence would not this have in impelling us to lead lives worthy of ecclesiastics! Has not the Lord placed everything in my hand, when He put there His only-begotten Son, coeternal and coequal with Himself? In my hand He has placed all His treasures, His sacraments, His graces; He has placed there souls, than whom nothing can be dearer to Him; in His love He has preferred them to Himself, and redeemed them by His Blood; He has placed heaven in my hand, and it is in my power to open and close it to others... How, then, can I be so ungrateful for such condescension and love as to sin against Him, to offend his honor, to pollute this body which is His? How can I come to defile this high dignity, this life consecrated to His service?'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"It is also shown by experience that one who refuses to appear before the tribunal where justice sits in judgment, and conscience appears at once as the accused and the accuser, usually suffers grave loss and disadvantage thereby. Vainly too will one seek in the conduct of such a person for that circumspection, so highly prized in the Christian, that tries to avoid even venial faults, or that sense of reverence, so becoming in a priest, which shudders at even the slightest offense to God. This carelessness and indifference to one's own welfare sometimes goes so far as to lead to neglect even of the sacrament of Penance, which Christ, in his great mercy, has given us as a most timely aid to human weakness. It cannot be denied, and it is bitterly to be deplored, that not infrequently one finds priests who use the thunders of their eloquence to frighten others from sin, but seem to have no such fear for themselves and become hardened in their faults; a priest who exhorts and arouses others to wash away without delay the stains from their souls by due religious acts, is himself so sluggish in doing this that he delays even for months; he who knows how to pour the health-giving oil and wine into the wounds of others is himself content to lie wounded by the wayside, and lacks the prudence to call for the saving hand of a brother which is almost within his grasp. In the past and even today, in different places, what great evils have resulted from this, bringing dishonor to God and the Church, injuring the Christian flock and disgracing the priesthood!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"A sin committed by a religious may be in three ways more grievous than a like sin committed by a secular. First, if it be against his religious vow; for instance if he be guilty of fornication or theft, because by fornication he acts against the vow of continence, and by theft against the vow of poverty; and not merely against a precept of the divine law. Secondly, if he sin out of contempt, because thereby he would seem to be the more ungrateful for the divine favors which have raised him to the state of perfection. Thus the Apostle says (Hebrews 10:29) that the believer 'deserveth worse punishments' who through contempt tramples under foot the Son of God. Hence the Lord complains (Jeremiah 11:15): 'What is the meaning that My beloved hath wrought much wickedness in My house?' Thirdly, the sin of a religious may be greater on account of scandal, because many take note of his manner of life: wherefore it is written (Jeremiah 23:14): 'I have seen the likeness of adulterers, and the way of lying in the Prophets of Jerusalem; and they strengthened the hands of the wicked, that no man should return from his evil doings.' On the other hand, if a religious, not out of contempt, but out of weakness or ignorance, commit a sin that is not against the vow of his profession, without giving scandal (for instance if he commit it in secret) he sins less grievously in the same kind of sin than a secular, because his sin if slight is absorbed as it were by his many good works, and if it be mortal, he more easily recovers from it. First, because he has a right intention towards God, and though it be intercepted for the moment, it is easily restored to its former object. Hence Origen commenting on Psalm 37:24, 'When he shall fall he shall not be bruised,' says (Hom. 4 in Psalmos 36): 'The wicked man, if he sin, repents not, and fails to make amends for his sin. But the just man knows how to make amends and recover himself; even as he who had said: I know not the man, shortly afterwards when the Lord had looked on him, knew to shed most bitter tears, and he who from the roof had seen a woman and desired her knew to say: I have sinned and done evil before Thee.' Secondly, he is assisted by his fellow-religious to rise again, according to Ecclesiastes 4:10, 'If one fall he shall be supported by the other: woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth he hath none to lift him up.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Bad / Fallen Priests | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Proper Dress / Comportment [Pg.] | Holiness / Good Example [Pg.] | Against Judging the Clergy | Fraternal Correction | Those Who Govern Souls Must Render an Account | Misc. (Good / Bad Priests) | Tough Love in the New Testament | Sin (Topical Scripture)

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.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Categ. | Scripture: A-Z | Categ. | Help

Misc.

"If the faithful be but well penetrated with true principles, they will never see waning in them that respect due to God in his representatives, whosoever or whatsoever they may be; and no scandal, no matter whence it come, will be powerless to trammel their faith." (Liturgical Year)

"[I]f everywhere grace required worthiness, there could neither then be Baptism nor Body of Christ nor the sacrifice priests offer. But as it is, God is accustomed to operate even through the unworthy, and the grace of Baptism is in no way hindered by the priest's [way of] life." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 392 A.D.)

"Even if their conduct be in opposition to their teaching, it is nowise interferes with the authority of the sacred chair, from which, for the Church and in her name, they dispense the bread of doctrine to her children. Moreover, whatever unworthiness may happen to be in the soul of a priest, it does not in the least lessen the power of the keys which have been put into his hands to open heaven and to shut hell. For it is the Son of Man, Jesus, who, by the priest, be he a saint, or be he a sinner, rids of their sins His brethren and His creatures, whose miseries He has taken upon Himself, and whose crimes He has atoned for by His Blood." (Liturgical Year)

"They who feed Christ's sheep, as if they were their own, not Christ's, show plainly that they love themselves, not Christ; that they are moved by lust of glory, power, gain, not by the love of obeying, ministering, pleasing God. Let us love therefore, not ourselves, but Him, and in feeding His sheep, seek not our own, but the things which are His. For whoso loves himself, not God, loves not himself: man that cannot live of himself, must die by loving himself; and he cannot love himself, who loves himself to his own destruction. Whereas when He by Whom we live is loved, we love ourselves the more, because we do not love ourselves; because we do not love ourselves in order that we may love Him by Whom we live" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Woe then to the priest who so far forgets himself that he abandons the practice of prayer, rejects the nourishment of spiritual reading and never turns his attention inwards upon himself to hear the accusing voice of conscience. Neither the festering wounds on his conscience, nor even the tearful pleas of his mother the Church, will move such an unfortunate priest until those fearsome threats come upon him: Blind the heart of this people, make dull their ears, and close their eyes, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and be converted and I should heal them. May God in his bounteous mercy grant that these ominous words may never be true of any of you, beloved sons; he knows what is in our heart, he sees that it is free from rancor towards anyone, and that it is inflamed with pastoral zeal and paternal love for all: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glory? Is it not you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

Also See: Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Holiness / Good Example [Pg.] | Those Who Govern Souls Must Render an Account | Good Priests | Bad / Fallen Priests | Sins of Religious

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.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Categ. | Scripture: A-Z | Categ. | Help


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