Holy priests

Some journalists, especially in the West, love to gloat over the immoral behavior, especially in sexual matters, of some Catholic priests. Without denying that there are modern versions of Fr. Salvi in Jose Rizal's novels, my reaction to these lurid reports on priestly immorality is actually to be even more convinced that the Catholic Church is divine and was instituted by God Himself. With all these scoundrels who call themselves faithful children of the Catholic Church throughout the last 21 centuries (starting with Judas himself), any other purely human institution would have been long destroyed. The very fact that the Catholic Church continues to stand strong and firm, producing countless holy men and women in varied nations and cultures, is a sign that there is divine intervention, that the promise of itsFounder guarantees forever that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

Any really believing Catholic will not question his faith just because of the moral failings of a few Catholic priests. He knows that priests are also wounded by original sin like the rest of us. Like the rest of us, they can fall into grave errors. Our reaction when we hear of priestly scandals is to multiply our daily prayers for the holiness of priests, as the Catholics in the Cebu Archdiocese pray every day in their respective parishes. Like many other bishops from all over the world, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu is strongly convinced of the indispensable role of holy priests in nurturing the faith among the laity. I have personal knowledge of his experiences in his former diocese of Palo, Leyte, where the exemplary behavior of priests strengthened the faith of our Waray sisters and brothers. It goes without saying that it is an important duty of all of us lay people to pray constantly for the holiness of priests.

Backed up by our constant prayers, the priests themselves have an obligation to strive for personal sanctity more than any one else in the Church. A holy priest can bring thousands of souls with him to heaven. Without being presumptuous, I would like to quote here some passages from the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests of the Second Vatican Council. In this Year of Faith, it is fitting that all of us review what our Holy Mother the Church has told us about how priests can foster their own personal sanctity. Let me quote from Section 3 the said document. "In order that, in all conditions of life, they may be able to grow in union with Christ, priests besides the exercise of their conscious ministry, enjoy the common and particular means, old and new, which the Spirit never ceases to arouse in the People of God and which the Church commends and sometimes commands, for the sanctification of her members. Outstanding among all these spiritual aids are those acts by which the faithful are nourished in the Word of God at the double table of the Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist. The importance of frequent use of these for the sanctification of priests is obvious to all. The ministers of sacramental grace are intimately united to Christ, our Savior and Pastor, through the fruitful reception of the sacraments, especially sacramental Penance, in which, prepared by the daily examination of conscience, the necessary conversion of heart and love for the Father of Mercy is greatly deepened. Nourished by spiritual reading under the light of faith, they can more diligently seek signs of God's will and impulses of his grace in the various events of life, and so from day to day become more docile to the mission they have assumed in the Holy Spirit. They will always find a wonderful example of such docility in the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was led by the Holy Spirit to dedicate herself totally to the mystery of man's redemption. Let priests love and venerate with filial devotion and veneration this mother of the Eternal High Priest, Queen of Apostles and Protector of their own ministry."

In the fulfillment of their ministry with fidelity to the daily colloquy with Christ, a visit to and veneration of the Most Holy Eucharist, spiritual retreats and spiritual direction are of great worth. In many ways, but especially through mental prayer and the vocal prayers which they freely choose, priests seek and fervently pray that God will grant them the spirit of true adoration whereby they themselves, along with the people committed to them, may intimately unite themselves with Christ the Mediator to the New Testament, and so as adopted children of God may be able to call out "Abba, Father" (Rom 8: 15). In these exhortations found in a document of the Second Vatican Council, every priest has a "map of life" to holiness. He only has to have the will to carry them out, supported by the prayers of the laity and the motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They can also have recourse to St. John Mary Vianney, Patron of Priests.Inspired by the Cure of Ars, they will not hesitate to spend hours and hours every day inside the Confessional for the spiritual welfare of their parishioners. For comments, my e-mail address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options