On Priestly Life
|His Holiness Pope Pius XII|
The following is a quote from Menti Nostrae, an apostolic exhortation of Pope Pius XII on the sanctity of priestly life, given in Rome at St. Peter's on September 23, 1950, in the 12th year of his pontificate. Some may find it instructive, interesting, apposite or even a source of encouragement.
20. The priest has as the proper field of his activity everything that pertains to the supernatural life, since it is he who promotes the increase of this supernatural life and communicates it to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Consequently, it is necessary that he renounce "the things of the world," in order to have care only for "the things of the Lord". And it is precisely because he should be free from preoccupation with worldly things to dedicate himself entirely to the divine service, that the Church has established the law of celibacy, thus making it ever more manifest to all peoples that the priest is a minister of God and the father of souls. By his law of celibacy, the priest, so far from losing the gift and duties of fatherhood, rather increases them immeasurably, for, although he does not beget progeny for this passing life of earth, he begets children for that life which is heavenly and eternal.
21. The more resplendent priestly chastity is, so much the more does the sacred minister become, together with Christ, "a pure victim, a holy victim, an immaculate victim".
22. In order carefully to preserve unstained this inestimable treasure of our chastity, it is suitable and necessary to be obedient to that exhortation of the Prince of Apostles, which we daily repeat in the Divine Office, "Be ye sober, and watch".
Vigilance and Prayer the Safeguards of Chastity
23. Yes, watch, beloved sons, because priestly chastity is exposed to so many dangers, whether by reason of laxity in public morals, or because of the allurements of vice which you find so easily seductive in these days, or, finally, because of that excessive liberty in relations between the sexes which at times dares to insinuate itself even into the exercise of the sacred ministry. "Watch and pray", mindful that your hands touch those things which are most holy, that you have been consecrated to God and are to serve Him alone. The very habit which you wear, reminds you that you should live not to the world, but to God. Therefore, trusting in the protection of the Virgin Mother of God, generously make every effort to preserve yourselves "clean, unstained, pure and chaste, as becomes the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God."
Avoidance of Familiarity
24. To this end We deem it opportune to address to you a special exhortation as regards your direction of associations and sodalities of women, that you show yourselves as becomes a priest; avoid every familiarity; when you must give your services, give them in a way that is befitting sacred ministers. Moreover, in directing these associations, let your interest be confined to the demands of the sacred ministry.