On the Catholic Priesthood
The Priest is a Man of God.
He, of all men, must be a man of faith, a man of sacrifice.
He must be a lover of God, a lover of God's people, the example of God's love for men. He bears faith to men, for he is the instrument through whom God works.
His faith should be full, it should be clearly defined, intelligently appreciated, and intelligently made known. He should be a man of faith, who believes in God in the full meaning of belief; who believes in his Church, in the teachings of the Fathers and Councils, who is loyal to his Bishop and the Holy See, who trusts implicitly in Providence.
His life should be above reproach, for he deals with sacred things, he handles holiness; he must be as Timothy, “Blameless, sober, prudent.”
Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas have said that no greater power or dignity than the power and dignity of consecrating the body of Christ was ever bestowed on man; and no greater sanctity or perfection can be conceived than the sanctity and perfection required for so divine an action, in the priest. To him, above all men, is said the word of Christ, “Be perfect, imitate Me, be My disciple.”
Woe to him, if by him any scandal comes.
To him is given power over the body of Christ, At his word, Christ the Lord comes in the sacrament of the Eucharist and dwells upon our altars to be the food and nourishment of our souls. By his acts, in conjunction with man's repentance, sins are remitted. In his hands, according to the scheme of salvation, are the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
Oh, indeed he should be a man of faith!
Rt. Rev. T.J. Conaty, D.D.
Source: Our Church, Her Children and Institutions, 1908