On the Catholic Priesthood
The priesthood is a supernatural institution, charged, from the time He was promised to the world, with representing Christ: with figuring Him and prophesying Him before His coming, with continuing Him, serving as His instrument and organ since His advent; and as human paternity reminds us of the Divine paternity; as the regal office among men shadows forth the sovereignty of God; as the idea of sacrifice is explained by that of sin and expiation, so does the priesthood presuppose and show forth not Christ only, but the whole of Christianity which is summed up therein.
Source: Catholic Doctrine as defined by the Council of Trent by the Rev. A. Nampon, S.J.
Absence of Vocations to the Priesthood
To what shall we attribute the absence of vocations to the priesthood, of which we are compelled to make complaint?
It the cause in the absence of vigorous Catholic faith - a faith grasping in its narrow range of vision the fullness of the
responsibilities that a plenary loyalty to the Savior imposes upon His followers - a faith prompt to the call of those
responsibilities, ready in generosity of soul and willingness of sacrifice to obey their every behest?
At first sight, this, I confess, would seem to be the cause. Where Catholic faith reigns supreme, youths not the few
there should be to rise in aspiration and self-consecration to the mountain-tops where the rays of the supernatural
shine the brightest and unfold in clearest light the splendors of divine life. Youths not the few there should be to
instantly answer the call from on high: "Speak, O Lord, for Thy servant heareth Thee. " The call from on high is surely
spoken, since it is His will that the Church be supplied with priests, and His call it to the whole Church. To every land,
in every diocese, to every parish the word is said, once said to Simon and Andrew - "Come follow me." Now, where
this call is the voice crying in the wilderness, should we not be tempted to believe that there something is awry, that
their Catholic faith is somewhat weak and timid? In an army of soldiers the general level is low, where all clamor to
be led, where none are willing to lead, where none spring to battle, so soon as the commander speaks, and rush to
the heights of valor and sacrifice.
Given the community of Catholics, which seldom or never makes offering of a candidate to the priesthood - given the
diocese, unable to supply itself out of its own bosom with a full legion of priest - what the verdict it at once suggests!
Is it not this - that faith there is weak, unable to do more than hold its life, without ever bursting forth into luxuriant leaf
or blossom? Is it not this - that the soil, into which the divine word is cast, is wanting in native nutriment, or is without
that art of cultivation which not only begets the common crop of plant and shrub, but, now and then, here and there,
bids upward the tall tree, the fragrant rose-bush, where with to adorn the landscape and cause the passerby to pause
and be gladdened?
The cause is this - people and priests have not been asked to advert to the problem confronting us, have not been
made to understand its bearings and the obligations it imposes. A trumpet sound is in order to re-echo far and wide,
proclaiming needs and duties, summoning priests and people to the charge to the work, which once seen will surely be done.
Source: The Maine Catholic Historical Magazine
We become so accustomed to rejoicing in the many accessions daily coming into the Church from
among the well disposed who are ever seeking that peace and contentment, that tranquility of life
which the possession of the true faith alone can give, that we not un-frequently lose sight of the losses
incurred by the Church through the negligence of those who once claimed the honor of membership in
her fold. Nothing is perhaps sadder than to unravel the history of a Catholic who has been unfaithful to
his great trust, for it is then that the results which might have been, dawn on us, and we see how utterly
impossible it is to repair the loss.
Just to illustrate: A few years ago, a lady well along in years came to see a priest about being received
into the Catholic church which her mother had left on the occasion of her marriage. She told the priest
that she was one of seven children, four of whom had married and had become the parents of twenty-four children.
"Your mother, then," rejoined the priest, "was responsible for the loss of her own seven and in all probability
of her twenty-four grandchildren, making in all a known loss of 31 members suffered by the church, through
Like many another weak and careless mortal, she had gone on through life, unconscious of the havoc her
defection had wrought in the Lord's fold, or unmindful of the awful responsibility laid upon her, and the great,
untold, immeasurable damage for which she would one day have to answer. The fact is real: it is only one
of the many which almost constantly come to the experience of a priest on the missions: and while from his
heart he may deplore and pray for the wandering member of the House of Israel, he must leave to the
recording angel the sad task of summing up the souls thereby lost to God's eternal kingdom.
Source: Maine Catholic Historical Magazine, 1916