On the Catholic Priesthood
The Priest is a Father
The priest is a man of the people, a father, a friend, a guide, a defender. It is his duty to commend good, to denounce evil, to lead the people into virtue, to keep them from vice, to guard the fold from the ravening wolves, to feed the sheep with life-giving food, to train them in the ways that lead to strength and beauty of goodness.
What a work the Christian priesthood had done in the history of the world! It preached the Gospel to pagan Rome and Jewish Palestine, it converted Constantine and his empire; and evangelized the barbarians; it brought the Gospel of Christ to every nation; it built the Christian altar by the running brook, on the hillside and in the mountain fastness, that everywhere the people might have salvation; near the altar; it built the Christian school; it preserved letters and science, and civilized the world.
The saints of old, who taught men morality, established Christianity and ruled the Christian Church, were priests. The missionaries, who gave up life and its ambitions to consecrate themselves to the service of God, were saintly priests of the Christian Church. They built the Church of God into the life of every nation; they have brought the Church to this land and to our day. We are the successors to that same priesthood, and upon us falls the same responsibility.
The priest of today must be prepared to meet the exigencies of the times; he must have the spirit of his vocation and courage of his convictions, manfully and fearlessly standing for the truth. He is called to be a leader.
By Rt. Rev. Thomas. J. Conaty, D.D.
Source: Our Church, Her Children and Institutions, 1908