IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to medical reasons, please expect sporadic delays in all correspondence & services (including processing of posts) over the next few months. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for any prayers.

Please Bookmark This Site, Link To Us & Tell Your Friends!

My Catholic Christ the King of All Nations My Catholic My Catholic

My Catholic Home


Join E-Mail List

Support This Site

Bookmark Site

Tell a Friend

Link to Us



By Using This Site, You Agree To All Terms



Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Holiness)

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

Return to Priests & Vctns. Reflctns. | Priests & Vctns. Sctn.


Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Holiness / Good Example

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

Important Notice: We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. Use of site is subject to our terms of use. By using this site you indicate agreement to all terms. For more terms information, see below and click here.

Click link below or scroll down to view all...

Holiness / Virtue / Purity

Example of Priests / Good Example



Holiness / Virtue / Purity

"[I]t is becoming that he who accepts the priesthood be as pure as if he were in heaven." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Imitate that which you handle" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Can. 124. The clergy must lead a more holy life both interiorly and exteriorly than laymen, and must excel them in giving an example of virtue and good deeds." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"A priest ought to be in no place where his Master would not go, nor employ in anything which his Master would not do." (Cardinal Manning)

"The priest must be so pure that, if he were to be lifted up and placed in the heavens themselves, he might take a place in the midst of the Angels." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"[H]e that is the Lord's portion or who has the Lord for his portion must so conduct himself that he both possesses the Lord and is possessed by the Lord" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 394 A.D.)

"[A]ll around us we see the multiplication of evil example which is a menace to priestly virtue itself every day calls for even greater vigilance and fresh endeavor." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"On behalf of your admirable religion, never forsake all goodness, patience, learning, gentleness and mildness as you try to gain for Christ the pitiful errant: lead them back into his one sheepfold and restore them to the hope of their eternal inheritance." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862 A.D.)

"Your sanctification has, indeed, first place in our thoughts and in our cares; therefore, with our eyes raised to heaven, we frequently pray for the whole clergy, repeating the words of Christ, our Lord: Holy Father...sanctify them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"The priest should be adorned with all the virtues, and give an example to others of a righteous life. Let his conversation be not according to the common and vulgar ways of men, but with the angels and with men that are perfect." (Thomas a Kempis)

"A great dignity, 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." (St. Lawrence Justinian)

"We cannot abstain from expressing our preoccupation and our anxiety for those who on account of the special circumstances of the moment have become so engulfed in the vortex of external activity that they neglect the chief duty of the priest, his own sanctification." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Particularly the excellent advice of Chrysostom which was intended especially for priests. Every night before going to sleep, 'make your conscience appear in judgment; demand of it an account, and having thoroughly probed and analyzed whatever evil purposes you formed during the day, repent for them.'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"But the priesthood cannot in any way procure the full effects which are demanded by the needs of the present time unless the priests shine forth among the people with the marks of sanctity, as worthy 'ministers of Christ,' faithful 'dispensers of the mysteries of God', 'God's helpers,' and ready for every noble work." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"This we are also taught by those exhortations which the Bishop, in the Church's name, addresses to priests on the day of their ordination, 'Understand what you do, imitate what you handle, and since you celebrate the mystery of the Lord's death, take good care to mortify your members with their vices and concupiscences.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"As a searching investigator of the integrity of your own conduct, submit your life to a daily examination. Consider carefully what progress you have made or what ground you have lost... Strive to know yourself... Place all your faults before your eyes. Come face to face with yourself, as though you were another person, and then weep for your faults." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"In the Conferences of the Fathers (Collatationes i,7) abbot Moses speaking of religious says: 'We must recognize that we have to undertake the hunger of fasting, watchings, bodily toil, privation, reading, and other acts of virtue, in order by these degrees to mount to the perfection of charity.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Indeed, the Gospel, the kingdom of God, the Christian life, is not an affair of mere words. Nothing is less speculative than the science of salvation. Nothing makes it penetrate so deeply into the souls of men as the holy life of him that teaches it. It is for this reason that the Christian world counts him alone as apostle or teacher who, in his one person, holds the double teaching of doctrine and works." (Liturgical Year)

"Moreover, the priest must teach the truths of faith; but the truths of religion are never so worthily and effectively taught as when taught by virtue; because in the common saying: 'Deeds speak louder than words.' The priest must preach the law of the Gospel; but for that preaching to be effective, the most obvious and, by the Grace of God, the most persuasive argument, is to see the actual practice of the law in him who preaches it." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"For science truly deserving of the name and piety, the companion of all the virtues, are related in a marvelous bond of affinity, and, as God is very Truth and very Goodness, it would assuredly not be sufficient to procure the glory of God by the salvation of souls - the chief task and peculiar mission of the Church - if ministers of religion were well disciplined in knowledge and not also abundantly provided at the same time with the appropriate virtues." (Pope Pius XI, "Studiorum Ducem", 1923 A.D.)

"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.)

"[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.)

"Preserve the purity of your lives in unspotted holiness. Bear in mind what you do. Let your conduct be in conformity with the action you perform, so that celebrating the mystery of the Lord's death, you take heed to mortify your members from all vices and lusts. Let your doctrine be spiritual medicine for the people of God; let the odor of your life be the delight of the Church of Christ, so that by your preaching and example you may build up the house, that is, the family of God." (Roman Pontifical, c. 10th century A.D.)

"Sanctity alone makes us what our divine vocation demands, men crucified to the world and to whom the world has been crucified, men walking in newness of life who, in the words of St. Paul, show themselves as ministers of God in labors, in vigils, in fasting, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere charity, in the word of truth; men who seek only heavenly things and strive by every means to lead others to them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"But it is particularly as the ministers of Jesus Christ in the great Sacrifice which is constantly renewed with abiding power for the salvation of the world, that we have the duty of conforming our minds to that spirit in which he offered himself as an unspotted victim to God on the altar of the Cross. In the Old Law... sanctity of a high degree was demanded of the priest; what then of us, now that...Christ himself [is sacrificed]? 'How pure should not he be who shares in this Sacrifice! More resplendent than the sun must be the hand that divides [Christ's] Flesh, the mouth that is filled with spiritual fire, the tongue that is reddened by [Christ's] Blood!'" (Pope St. Pius X, 1908 A.D.)

"It would be a grave error fraught with many dangers should the priest, carried away by false zeal, neglect his own sanctification, and become over immersed in the external works, however holy, of the priestly ministry. Thereby, he would run a double risk. In the first place he endangers his own salvation, as the great Apostle of the Gentiles feared for himself: 'But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.' In the second place he might lose, if not divine grace, certainly that unction of the Holy Spirit which gives such a marvelous force and efficacy to the external apostolate." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"We have lauded this affectionate solicitude for the people and declared it to be the special duty of both the secular and regular clergy. But in the fulfillment of this obligation let there be the greatest caution and prudence exerted, and let it be done after the fashion of the saints. Francis, who was poor and humble, Vincent of Paul, the father of the afflicted classes, and very many others whom the Church keeps ever in her memory were wont to lavish their care upon the people, but in such wise as not to be engrossed overmuch or to be unmindful of themselves or to let it prevent them from laboring with the same assiduity in the perfection of their own soul and the cultivation of virtue." (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901 A.D.)

"For the preacher two things are especially necessary: namely that his words should be rich in [spiritual] wisdom, and that his life should be conspicuous for the luster of its piety. But if a priest is unequal to being both holy in life and rich in learning, holiness of life is, without question, to be preferred to mere learning. For the example of a saintly life is more powerful than eloquence and a studied delivery... The priest who discharges the office of preaching should cause showers of heavenly wisdom to fall from his lips, and from his life rays of piety to shine out, just as the angel in telling the shepherds of Our Lord's birth, both shone with great splendor and expressed in words the tidings he had come to announce." (St. Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church)

"If...your work is to be blessed by God and produce abundant fruit, it must be rooted in holiness of life. Sanctity, as We said above, is the chief and most important endowment of the Catholic priest. Without it other gifts will not go far; with it, even supposing other gifts be meager, the priest can work marvels. We have the example of St. Joseph of Cupertino, and in times nearer to our own of that humble Cure d'Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, of whom We have already spoken; whom We have willed to set up before all parish priests as their model and heavenly Patron. Therefore with the Apostle of the Gentiles, We say to you: 'Behold your vocation'; and beholding it, you cannot fail to value ever more highly the grace given to you in ordination and to strive to 'walk worthily of the vocation in which you are called.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"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?" (St. Charles Borromeo)

"Now to all Christians in general it has been said: 'Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect'; how much more then should the priest consider these words of the Divine Master as spoken to himself, called as he is by a special vocation to follow Christ more closely. Hence the Church publicly urges on all her clerics this most grave duty, placing it in the code of her laws: 'Clerics must lead a life, both interior and exterior, more holy than the laity, and be an example to them by excelling in virtue and good works.' And since the priest is an ambassador for Christ, he should so live as to be able with truth to make his own the words of the Apostle: 'Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ'; he ought to live as another Christ who by the splendor of His virtue enlightened and still enlightens the world." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"The first striving of a priestly soul should be towards the closest union with the Divine Redeemer, towards the complete and humble acceptance of the precepts of Christian doctrine, and towards such a diligent application of those precepts at every moment of his life that his faith will illumine his conduct and his conduct will be a reflection of his faith. Led by the light of this virtue, let him keep his eyes fixed on Christ. Let him follow closely His Teaching, His actions and His example, convincing himself that it is not sufficient for him to accomplish the duties enjoined on the ordinary faithful. He must strive with ever increasing efforts to tend to perfection of life in keeping with the high dignity of the priesthood according to the warning of the Church: 'Clerics must live both interiorly and exteriorly a holier life than lay people, and must excel them in giving an example of virtue and good deeds'." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Since this is the mind of the Church on the life of a priest, one cannot be surprised at the complete unanimity of the Fathers and Doctors on this matter; it might indeed be thought that they are guilty of exaggeration, but a careful examination will lead to the conclusion that they taught nothing that was not entirely true and correct. Their teaching can be summarized thus: there should be as much difference between the priest and any other upright man as there is between heaven and earth; consequently, the priest must see to it that his life is free not merely from grave faults but even from the slightest faults. The Council of Trent made the teaching of these venerable men its own when it warned clerics to avoid 'even venial faults which in their case would be very grave.' These faults are grave, not in themselves, but in relation to the one who commits them; for to him, even more than to the sacred edifice, are applicable the words: Holiness becometh thy house." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"You all know very well, wherever you may be, the difficult period through which, in the mysterious design of God, the Church is now passing. Consider likewise and ponder on the sacred duty which is yours to stand by and to assist in her struggles the Church which has bestowed upon you an office of such exalted dignity. Now more than ever the clergy need to be men of more than ordinary virtue, virtue that is a shining example, eager, active, ever ready to do great things for Christ and to suffer much. There is nothing that we more ardently ask from God and desire for each and everyone of you. May chastity, the choicest ornament of our priesthood, flourish undimmed amongst you; through the splendor of this virtue, by which the priest is made like the angels, the priest wins greater veneration among the Christian flock, and his ministry yields an even greater harvest of holiness." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Priests and beloved sons, we hold in our hands a great treasure, a precious pearl, the inexhaustible riches of the Blood of Jesus Christ; let us use them even to prodigality, so that, by the complete sacrifice of ourselves offered with Christ to the Eternal Father, we may become, in truth, mediators of justice, 'in the things which appertain to God', and that we may deserve to have our prayers accepted and obtain a super-abundance of graces which may refresh and make more fruitful the Church and the souls of all men. Only when we have become one with Christ through His oblation and ours and when we have raised our voice with the choir of the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, as we read, 'We join ourselves in song with them, our hopes in Holy Sion,' only then, strengthened by the virtue of our Savior, shall we be able to descend in safety from the heights of sanctity to which we have attained, to bring to all men the life and the light of God by means of our priestly ministry." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Holy things, it cannot be too often repeated, should be treated holily and with due reverence. To the sinner, says the Prophet, God has said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing that thou hast hated discipline? If then, for him who is defiled by sin it is unlawful to speak on divine things, how enormous the guilt of that man, who, conscious of many crimes, dreads not to accomplish with polluted lips the holy mysteries, to take them into his befouled hands, to touch them, and to present and to administer them to others? All the more since St. Denis says that the wicked may not even touch the symbols, as he calls the Sacraments. It therefore becomes the first duty of the minister of holy things to follow holiness of life, to approach with purity the administration of the Sacraments, and so to exercise himself in piety, that, from their frequent administration and use, he may every day receive, with the divine assistance, more abundant grace." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"'For it would certainly be better,' as Benedict XIV, Our Predecessor of undying memory very wisely advises, 'to have fewer ministers if they be upright, suitable and useful, than many who are likely to accomplish nothing at all for the building up of the body of Christ, which is the Church.' You must examine with greater diligence the morals and the knowledge of men who are entrusted with the care and guidance of souls, that they may be eager to continuously feed and assist the people entrusted to them by the administration of the sacraments, the preaching of God's word and the example of good works. They should be zealous in molding them to the whole plan and pattern of a religious way of life, and in leading them on to the path of salvation. 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 quite true that so holy an office demands holiness in him who holds it. A priest should have a loftiness of spirit, a purity of heart and a sanctity of life befitting the solemnity and holiness of the office he holds. For this, as We have said, makes the priest a mediator between God and man; a mediator in the place, and by the command of Him who is 'the one mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ.' The priest must, therefore, approach as close as possible to the perfection of Him whose vicar he is, and render himself ever more and more pleasing to God, by the sanctity of his life and of his deeds; because more than the scent of incense, or the beauty of churches and altars, God loves and accepts holiness. 'They who are the intermediaries between God and His people,' says St. Thomas, 'must bear a good conscience before God, and a good name among men.' On the contrary, whosoever handles and administers holy things, while blameworthy in his life, profanes them and is guilty of sacrilege: 'They who are not holy ought not to handle holy things.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"It is plain, then, that all Christian virtues should flourish in the soul of the priest. Yet there are some virtues which in a very particular manner attach themselves to the priest as most befitting and necessary to him. Of these the first is piety, or godliness... Without piety the holiest practices, the most solemn rites of the sacred ministry, will be performed mechanically and out of habit; they will be devoid of spirit, unction and life. But remark, Venerable Brethren, the piety of which We speak is not that shallow and superficial piety which attracts but does not nourish, is busy but does not sanctify. We mean that solid piety which is not dependent upon changing mood or feeling. It is based upon principles of sound doctrine; it is ruled by staunch convictions; and so it resists the assaults and the illusions of temptation. This piety should primarily be directed towards God our Father in Heaven; yet it should be extended also to the Mother of God. The priest even more than the faithful should have devotion to Our Lady, for the relation of the priest to Christ is more deeply and truly like that which Mary bears to her Divine Son." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"Nor should you cease encouraging the priests of your dioceses to be outstanding in moral integrity, dignity, innocence of life, and sanctity. Those who alone are given the privilege of consecrating the divine Host and accomplishing so holy and awesome a Sacrifice should display these qualities. Therefore, frequently exhort all who are initiated into the most holy priesthood to give serious consideration to the ministry which they have received in the Lord. They should fulfill their ministry, being always mindful of the dignity and heavenly power with which they are endowed; they should shine forth with the splendor of all kinds of virtue; they should occupy themselves with divine worship, divine things, and the salvation of souls. Then, offering themselves as a living and holy host to the Lord, and always carrying about in their bodies the mortification of Jesus, they may duly offer with pure minds and clean heart to God the propitiatory Host for their own salvation and that of all the world." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimi Redemptoris", 1858 A.D.)

"And surely every reason We have urged in showing the dignity of the Catholic priesthood does but reinforce its obligation of singular holiness; for as the Angelic Doctor teaches: 'To fulfill the duties of Holy Orders, common goodness does not suffice; but excelling goodness is required; that they who receive Orders and are thereby higher in rank than the people, may also be higher in holiness.' The Eucharistic Sacrifice in which the Immaculate Victim [Christ] who taketh away the sins of the world is immolated, requires in a special way that the priest, by a holy and spotless life, should make himself as far as he can, less unworthy of God, to whom he daily offers that adorable Victim, the very Word of God incarnate for love of us. Agnoscite quod agitis, imitamini quod tractatis, 'realize what you are doing, and imitate what you handle,' says the Church through the Bishop to the deacons as they are about to be consecrated priests. The priest is also the almoner of God's graces of which the Sacraments are the channels; how grave a reproach would it be, for one who dispenses these most precious graces were he himself without them, or were he even to esteem them lightly and guard them with little care." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"Can. 276 §1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people. §2 In order that they can pursue this perfection: 1° they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfil the obligations of their pastoral ministry; 2° they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering; 3° priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with the proper and approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal Conference; 4° they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law; 5° they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honor the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The priest should, therefore, study to reproduce in his own soul the things that are effected upon the Altar. As Jesus Christ immolates Himself, so His minister should be immolated with Him; as Jesus expiates the sins of men, so he, by following the hard road of Christian asceticism, should labor at the purification of himself and of others. Hence the admonition of St. Peter Chrysologus: 'Be you the priest and the sacrifice of God; do not lose that which has been given to you by the authority of God. Clothe yourself with the garment of sanctity, gird yourself with the cincture of chastity; let Christ be the covering for your head; let the cross of Christ be the protection before your face; instill in your breast the sacrament of divine wisdom; constantly burn the incense of prayer; grasp the sword of the Spirit; let your heart be, as it were, an altar on which you may safely offer your body as a victim to God... Offer Him your faith, for the chastisement of perfidy; offer Him your fasting, that gluttony may cease; offer your chastity as a sacrifice that passion may die; place on the Altar your piety, that impiety be put away; call upon mercy, that avarice may be overcome; and that folly may disappear, the immolation of sanctity is called for. In this way shall your body be also your victim, if it has not been wounded by any dart of sin'." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"These truths are all the more evident inasmuch as we exercise the priestly ministry not in our own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ. The Apostle said: Let man so consider us as the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God; for Christ, therefore, we are ambassadors. This is the reason that Christ has numbered us not among his servants but as his friends. I will not now call you servants...but I have called you friends, because all things whatsoever I have heard from my Father I have made known to you...I have chosen you and appointed you that you should go and bring forth fruit. We have, therefore, to take the place of Christ: the mission which he has given to us we must fulfill with that same purpose that he intended. True friendship consists in unity of mind and will, identity of likes and dislikes; therefore, as friends of Jesus Christ, we are bound to have that mind in us which was in Jesus Christ who is holy, innocent, undefiled. As his envoys, we must win the minds of men for his doctrine and his law by first observing them ourselves; sharing as we do in his power to deliver souls from the bondage of sin, we must strive by every means to avoid becoming entangled in these toils of sin." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"But even if I somehow managed to control my fears, and turn to study my episcopal work in a more cheerful frame of mind, I lose heart again when I consider its magnitude. For I am acutely aware of the watchfulness demanded of a prelate: He must be pure in thought, exemplary in conduct, discreet in holding his tongue, edifying in speech, in compassion a friend to all, in contemplation exalted above all, a lowly companion of the well-doer, a tower of zeal for justice against the vices of the evildoer. As I has said elsewhere, one who governs must take the greatest care to keep his own thoughts pure; no defilement should pollute the man who has undertake the specific task of cleansing the stains of sin from the hearts of others as well as his own. It is necessary that the hand whose work is to wash filth away should itself be spotless; otherwise its touch will contaminate everything it handles with the dirt clinging to its own surface, and so leave it worse then before. Be ye clean, the Scriptures tell us, you that carry the vessels of the Lord (Is. 52:11). Those who carry the vessels of the Lord are the men who undertake by the example of their own mode of life to attract their neighbors' souls to the holiness of inner sanctity. Deep self-examination then should lead the pastor to realize the need for his own cleansing if, in the bosom of his own personal conduct, he is to carry living vessels to the eternal temple." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"As to the means to be employed in attaining this great end, it seems superfluous to name them, for they are obvious of themselves. Let your first care be to form Christ in those who are destined from the duty of their vocation to form Him in others. We speak of the priests, Venerable Brethren. For all who bear the seal of the priesthood must know that they have the same mission to the people in the midst of whom they live as that which Paul proclaimed that he received in these tender words: 'My little children, of whom I am in labor again until Christ be formed in you' (Gal. iv., 19). But how will they be able to perform this duty if they be not first clothed with Christ themselves? And so clothed with Christ as to be able to say with the Apostle: 'I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me' (Ibid. ii., 20). 'For me to live is Christ' (Phlipp. i., 21). Hence although all are included in the exhortation 'to advance towards the perfect man, in the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ' (Ephes. iv., 3), it is addressed before all others to those who exercise the sacerdotal ministry; thus these are called another Christ, not merely by the communication of power but by reason of the imitation of His works, and they should therefore bear stamped upon themselves the image of Christ." (Pope Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"There are some who think, and even declare openly, that the true measure of the merits of a priest is his dedication to the service of others; consequently, with an almost complete disregard for the cultivation of the virtues which lead to the personal sanctification of the priest (these they describe as passive virtues), they assert that all his energies and fervor should be directed to the development and practice of what they call the active virtues. One can only be astonished by this gravely erroneous and pernicious teaching. Our predecessor of happy memory in his wisdom spoke as follows of this teaching: 'To maintain that some Christian virtues are more suited to one period than to another is to forget the words of the Apostle: Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Christ is the teacher and the model of all sanctity; all who desire to take their place in the abode of the blessed must adapt their conduct to the standard which he has laid down. Now Christ does not change with the passing of the centuries: He is the same yesterday and today and forever. The words: Learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart, apply to men of every age; at all times Christ reveals himself obedient unto death; true for every age are the words of the Apostle: They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.' These passages apply, no doubt, to all the faithful, but they apply more especially to priests." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"It is not irrelevant to note here that Leo XIII in his wisdom made special mention of the virtue of abstinence, which we call self-denial, in the words of the Gospel. He was quite right to do so, for it 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. If one acts for the sake of filthy lucre, or becomes involved in worldly affairs, or seeks for the highest places and despises others, or follows merely human counsel, or seeks to please men, or trusts in the persuasive words of human wisdom, this is the result of neglect of the command of Christ and of the refusal to accept the condition laid down by him: If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself. While insisting on these truths, we would likewise admonish the priest that in the last analysis, it is not for himself alone that he has to sanctify himself, for he is the workman whom Christ went hire into his vineyard. Therefore, it is his duty to uproot unfruitful plants and to sow useful ones, to water the crop and to guard lest the enemy sow cockle among it. Consequently, the priest must be careful not to allow an unbalanced concern for personal perfection to lead him to overlook any part of the duties of his office which are conducive to the welfare of others. These duties include the preaching of the word of God, the hearing of confessions, assisting the sick, especially the dying, the instruction of those who are ignorant of the faith, the consolation of the sorrowing, leading back the erring, in a word, the imitation in every respect of Christ who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"In the midst of all these duties, the priest shall have ever present to his mind the striking admonition given by St. Paul: Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. It may be that we go and sow the seed with tears; it may be that we tend its growth at the cost of heavy labor; but to make it germinate and yield the hoped for fruit, that depends on God alone and his powerful assistance. This further point also is worthy of profound consideration, namely that men are but the instruments whom God employs for the salvation of souls; they must, therefore, be instruments fit to be employed by God. And how is this to be achieved? Do we imagine that God is influenced by any inborn or acquired excellence of ours, to make use of our help for the extension of his glory? By no means; for it is written: God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world God has chosen to confound the strong, and the humble and contemptible things of the world God has chosen, the things that are not, in order to bring to nought the things that are. There is, indeed, only one thing that unites man to God, one thing that makes him pleasing to God and a not unworthy dispenser of his mercy; and that one thing is holiness of life and conduct. If this holiness, which is the true supereminent knowledge of Jesus Christ, is wanting in the priest, then everything is wanting. Without this, even the resources of profound learning (which we strive to promote among the clergy), or exceptional competence in practical affairs, though they may bring some benefit to the Church or to individuals, are not infrequently the cause of deplorable damage to them. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence from every age that even the humblest priest, provided his life has the adornment of overflowing sanctity, can undertake and accomplish marvelous works for the spiritual welfare of the people of God; an outstanding example in recent times is John Baptist Vianney, a model pastor of souls, to whom we are happy to have decreed the honors of the Blessed in heaven." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

Also See: Good Priests | Example of Priests / Good Example | Praise / Rewards / Benefits | Priests & The Sacraments | Alter Christus / In Persona Christi | Priests & The Holy Eucharist / Mass | Religious / Religious Life / Religious Institutes | Vows | Celibacy / Chastity | Priests & Prayer / Meditation / Contemplation | Proper Dress / Comportment [Pg.] | Better a Few Good Priests Than Many That Are Not Good | People Tend to Be of Same Quality as Their Priests | Increase Holiness Section | Increase Holiness Section (Reflections) | Holiness (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

Example of Priests / Good Example

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

"In whatever manner the priests behave, the majority of the people will behave in the same way." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"[E]very priest must make an effort to be and to show himself an example of the priestly life which for the young men whom he approaches and among whom he looks for signs of the divine call can constitute an ideal for imitation." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"[N]ot only should bishops, priests, and deacons take very great care to be examples of speech and conduct to those over whom they are placed, but also the lower grades, and without exception all who serve the household of God, since it is most disastrous to the Church if the laity be better than the clergy." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"The priest is above all constituted master, physician and shepherd of souls, and a guide to an end not enclosed within the bounds of this present life. Now he can never fully correspond if he is not well versed in the science of divine and sacred things, if he is not furnished with that piety which makes a man of God; and if he does not take every care to render his teachings valuable by the efficacy of his example, conformable to the admonition given to the sacred pastor by the Prince of the Apostles" (Pope Leo XIII, "Fin Dal Principio", 1902 A.D.)

"Anyone who exercises the priestly ministry exercises it not for himself alone, but for others. For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in the things that pertain to God. Christ himself taught that lesson when he compared the priest to salt and to light, in order to show the nature of the priestly ministry. The priest then is the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Everyone knows that he fulfills this function chiefly by the teaching of Christian truth; and who can be unaware that this ministry of teaching is practically useless if the priest fails to confirm by the example of his life the truths which he teaches? Those who hear him might say, insultingly it is true, but not without justification: They profess that they know God but in their works they deny him; they will refuse to accept his teaching and will derive no benefit from the light of the priest. Christ himself, the model of priests, taught first by the example of his deeds and then by his words: Jesus began to do and then to teach." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Now, however, as you know, nothing instructs others more in piety and the service of God than the lives and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry. Therefore labor so that all who are called to the vineyard of the Lord, mindful of their proper vocation and office, abstain entirely from things forbidden to clerics and from things that are not proper for them. Then they may be an example for the faithful in word, in their dealings with others, in love, in faith, and in chastity. They must wear a clerical habit appropriate to their order and dignity, and they must perform their ministry piously and reverently. Further they must administer to the faithful, with fitting piety and reverence, the holy sacrament of the Eucharist. With it all true justice begins; or if already begun, is increased; or if already lost, is recovered. They should be devoted to prayer and study, especially sacred studies, and under your guidance let them zealously serve the salvation of souls." (Pope Pius IX, "Nemo Certe Ignorat", 1852 A.D.)

"But the most efficacious means of apostolate among the poor and lowly is the priest's example, the practice of all those sacerdotal virtues which We have described in Our Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii. Especially needful, however, for the present situation is the shining example of a life which is humble, poor and disinterested, in imitation of a Divine Master Who could say to the world with divine simplicity: 'The foxes have holes and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.' A priest who is really poor and disinterested in the Gospel sense may work among his flock marvels recalling a Saint Vincent de Paul, a Cure of Ars, a Cottolengo, a Don Bosco and so many others; while an avaricious and selfish priest, as We have noted in the above mentioned Encyclical, even though he should not plunge with Judas to the abyss of treason, will never be more than empty 'sounding brass' and useless 'tinkling cymbal.' Too often, indeed, he will be a hindrance rather than an instrument of grace in the midst of his people. Furthermore, where a secular priest or religious is obliged by his office to administer temporal property, let him remember that he is not only to observe scrupulously all that charity and justice prescribe, but that he has a special obligation to conduct himself in very truth as a father of the poor." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937 A.D.)

"There is nothing that continually instructs others unto piety, and the service of God, more than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry. For as they are seen to be raised to a higher position, above the things of this world, others fix their eyes upon them as upon a mirror, and derive from them what they are to imitate. Wherefore clerics called to have the Lord for their portion, ought by all means so to regulate their whole life and conversation, as that in their dress, comportment, gait, discourse, and all things else, nothing appear but what is grave, regulated, and replete with religiousness; avoiding even slight faults, which in them would be most grievous; that so their actions may impress all with veneration. Whereas, therefore, the more useful and decorous these things are for the Church of God, the more carefully also are they to be attended to; the holy Synod ordains, that those things which have been heretofore copiously and wholesomely enacted by sovereign pontiffs and sacred councils, - relative to the life, propriety of conduct, dress, and learning of clerics, and also touching the luxuriousness, feastings, dances, gambling, sports, and all sorts of crime whatever, as also the secular employments, to be by them shunned, - the same shall be henceforth observed, under the same penalties, or greater, to be imposed at the discretion of the Ordinary; nor shall any appeal suspend the execution hereof, as relating to the correction of manners. But if anything of the above shall be found to have fallen into desuetude, they shall make it their care that it be brought again into use as soon as possible, and be accurately observed by all; any customs to the contrary notwithstanding; lest they themselves may have, God being the avenger, to pay the penalty deserved by their neglect of the correction of those subject to them." (Council of Trent) 

"There is nothing which induces others more effectively to piety and the worship of God, than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry: for, since they are separated from the world and placed in a higher sphere, others look on them as though on a mirror, to take examples from them.' (Conc. Trid. Sess. xxii, c. 1, de Ref.) Therefore if all men must watchfully heed against the allurements of sin, and against seeking too eagerly fleeting pleasures, it is clear how much more faithful and steadfast ought priests to be. The sacredness of their dignity, moreover - as well as the fact that it is not sufficient to restrain their passions - demands in them the habit of stringent self restraint, and also a guard over the powers of the soul, particularly the intellect and will, which hold the supreme place in man. 'Thou who hast the mind to leave all (says St. Bernard), remember to reckon thyself among what thou wouldst abandon nay, deny thyself first and before everything.' Not before the soul is unshackled and free from every desire, will men have a generous zeal for the salvation of others, without which they cannot properly secure their own everlasting welfare. 'There will be one thing only sought (says St. Bernard) by His subjects, one glory, one pleasure - to make ready for the Lord a perfect people. For this they will give everything with much exertion of mind and body, with toil and suffering, with hunger and thirst, with cold and nakedness.' The frequent meditation upon the things of heaven wonderfully nourishes and strengthens virtue of this kind, and makes it always fearless of the greatest difficulties for the good of others. The more pains they take to meditate well, the more clearly will they understand the greatness and holiness of the priestly office. They will understand how sad it is that so many men, redeemed by Jesus Christ, are running headlong to eternal ruin; and by meditation upon God they will be themselves encouraged, and will more effectually excite others to the love of God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888 A.D.)

Also See: Holiness / Virtue / Purity | Knowledge / Learning | Obedience | Celibacy / Chastity | Praise / Rewards / Benefits | Good Priests | Proper Dress / Comportment [Pg.] | Priests & Prayer / Meditation / Contemplation | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Preachers / Preaching | Bad / Fallen 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.

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

Important Notice: Items herein are not comprehensive. Items herein are categorized subjectively and may overlap. We make no guarantees concerning any item herein. We may change punctuation, capitalization, shorten items, etc. and we caution that items herein may be out of context. We recommend reading items in full context in appropriate Catholic materials. Users are reminded that even saints and popes (when not speaking ex cathedra) are not infallible. Inclusion of any item does not necessarily imply our endorsement or agreement.  Consult appropriate, competent Church authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying items herein. Interpretation and application of items herein should not be contrary to the perennial, official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Do not take items out of context. Do not inflict harm on yourself or others, break laws, take unsuitable / incautious or inappropriate / drastic actions, or take figurative items literally. We are not responsible for any interpretation / misinterpretation, application / misapplication, use / misuse, etc. of any item. Use of site is at your own risk and is subject to our terms of use. Click here for more important terms/information

We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. By using this site you agree to all terms. For terms information, see "Important Notice" above and click here.

Help | Terms of UseOther FAQs



Also See...

* Priests (Topic Page)

* Vocations (Topic Page)

* Sacraments (Topic Page)


MCS Directory

(click here)

"Your Source For All Things Catholic!"

Click for Listings from 'Advertising' to 'Wholesalers'

List Your Catholic Product or Catholic Service FREE! Other listings just $24.95/yr.!+

List Your Business+

Sales & Specials

(click here)

'Click to Save on Catholic & Non-Catholic Products and Services'

Place Your Ad+

Catholic Community Center 

Completely Free!


Answered Prayers

Catholic Basics

Catholic Book Review & Exchange

Catholic Events

Catholic Fun & Activities

Catholic Life

Catholic Links

Catholic News Links / Current Issues

Catholic Seniors

Church Talk

Coming Home

Feed Your Faith

Give & Take

Good News

Increase Holiness

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition

Mary Our Mother


Notable Catholic Laity

Our Father's Love

Personal Stories of Inspiration

Prayer Requests

Prayers & Devotions

Priests & Vocations





Scripture Exchange

St. Francis Page for Pets

Vatican View

Volunteers' Corner

Why I Love Being Catholic

Support Your Community Center

'Pin it'

'Tweet This Site'

Notice: Clicking links above

leaves this site

More Information

Problem With Link?

Click to Support Quality Catholic Content - FREE!

Click for Vatican Gifts Starting Under $5.00

Our Pledge To Donors

What Your Donation Might Do

About Us


(click here)

Place Your Ad Today For Just $9.95!+


Catholic Buddies

Catholic Organizations / Groups

Catholic Products

Catholic Services

Employment / Occupational

For Sale

Professional Services / Trades


Other Products

Other Services










MCS Daily Digest

Quick Guide to This Site

What's New

Reception Desk


Coming Soon

Featured Sections

URL Shortcuts


Goals / Purpose

This site is really free?

How can I add a "post" here?

Mission Statement

Privacy Statement

Imprimatur Information

Terms of Use

by using this site, you agree to all terms

MCS Directory

Community Center

Commercial Areas


About Us


Tell a Friend

Invite a Business

Link to Us

My Catholic Blog & RSS Feed Info.

Third Party Programs



Contact Us


This site powered by

 Powered by

Try Here For Great Catholic Apps!

Catholic Bible References (Click For More Information)

Catholic Bible References - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Catholic Bible References for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Catholic Bible References for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

iStations / Stations of the Cross (Click For More Information)

iStations - Available on the App Store (click to download)

iStations for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

iStations for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

Saints4U (Click For More Information)

Saints4U - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Saints4U for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Saints4U for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

And Other Great Apps...

Speedy Dial! (Click For More Information)

Speedy Dial! - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Speedy Dial! for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Speedy Dial! for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)

Just Checkin' In (Click For More Information)

Just Checkin' In - Available on the App Store (click to download)

Just Checkin' In for Android - Available on Google Play (click to download)

Just Checkin' In for Android - Available at Amazon Appstore for Android (click to download)



Click to shop at in support of

Click to shop at in support of [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic statues'] Click to shop at in support of [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic jewelry medals'] Click to shop at in support of [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Crucifix'] Click to shop at in support of [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Rosary beads'] Click to shop at in support of [Click this image for Amazon Search - 'Catholic artwork'] Click to shop at in support of

Notice: Clicking image/links above leaves this site. We do not recommend any website/product/service/seller/etc.

Reminder: Available items may differ from those pictured above.

More Information | Problem With Link?

iStations / Stations of the Cross (Click For More Information)       Catholic Bible References (Click For More Information)       Saints4U (Click For More Information)       Speedy Dial! (Click For More Information)       Just Checkin' In (Click For More Information)

Try Here For Great Catholic Apps!

Click For Android Versions

Sign Up Now For Rosary Week!

Click for more information on Rosary Week

Please bookmark this site and visit often! 

| Home | Help | Quick Guide | Reception Desk | About Us | Terms of Use | Our MissionWhat's New |

| FAQs | Notices | MCS Calendar | MCS Daily Digest | Topic Pages | Featured Sections | Site Update |

| Check System Date/Time | URL Shortcuts | Question? | Code of Conduct | Privacy Statement |

| Section Info. | Your Posts | Timetables | Where to Post | Where to Find Posts | Submission Tips |

| Contribution Maximums | Support This Site | Tell a Friend | Invite a Business | Link to Us |

| Bookmark This Site | Guest BookDid You Know? | Site Benefits | Awards | Commercial Sections |

| Blog & RSS Feed Info. | Third Party Programs | Acknowledgements |

 | Search Site | Join Mailing List | Technical Assistance | Report Technical Problem |

| Post/User Problems | Contact Us | Feedback | Copyright Notice / Permissions |

| Make Your Default Home Page |

Thank you for being part of over 4,000,000 visitors to since 2009!  *

Click Here To Help Keep Us Online

Experiencing technical problems with this site? Please click "Report Technical Problem" link above

* Number of visits is based on raw, unfiltered access logs

+All ads subject to our terms. Price indicated may be base price for non-refundable processing fee, excluding tax, optional ad enhancements, etc. "Place your ad" / "list your business" / "list your Catholic product or service free" / etc. is not a guarantee that any ad will appear on this site. Payment of processing fee does not assure appearance of ad on site. References to target cycles (e.g. "just $##.##/yr.") are not guarantees [ads that appear on the site may appear for a longer or shorter time than the indicated target cycles (e.g. from 0 days to multiples of a target cycle)] and are subject to change at any time without notice (either retroactively or on a go-forward basis, either individually / selectively / grouped / or in total).


Reminders: You may not copy / distribute (including via e-mail, website, etc.) / sell / etc. information contained on this site (or any images) or use them for any commercial purpose whatsoever. All applicable content is owned by us and is protected by copyright laws. Any unauthorized reproduction / distribution / use of such content is prohibited by law and may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Note that we reserve the right to prosecute violators to the maximum extent possible. Also note that views of others do not necessarily reflect our views. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein and we not responsible/liable for any consequences which may occur as a - direct or indirect - result of use of this site. By using this site (or associated materials), you agree to hold us harmless for all damages in connection with use of this site (or other materials), regardless of their nature. Remember that we are not a party to others' transactions / activities (including posting, browsing of posts/ads, transfers, contacts / correspondence, etc.) even if information regarding the transactions / activities appears on this site or other materials of ours, and that we do not mediate disputes. You are solely responsible for all consequences of your transactions / activities. Use of this site is at your own risk, with no liability whatsoever to us. By using this site, you agree to all terms. For more terms information, click here.


Copyright © 2001-2016, B.F.S. All rights reserved. & BFSApps are divisions of B.F.S. | DR10.28.12 11:23:33 -0600LUP