HOLY PRIESTS NEED OUR HELPThe following is a slightly edited excerpt from a talk given by Fr John Hardon. Most emphasis mine.
As we have said, without the priesthood we would not have the Holy Eucharist, we would not have forgiveness of sins, and we would have no authority in the Catholic Church. What are some of the implications?
We should pray for priests.
I cannot begin to tell you, how and I use the word advisedly, how desperately priests need our prayers.
We should sacrifice for priests.
In other words, ask our Lord, by prayer and sacrifice to give priests the grace to be faithful to their priesthood.
However, that is not all.
Priests need encouragement.
And the more faithful a priest wants to be to his vowed commitment, and especially if he is not living as a member of a community, the more encouragement he will need. Ask our Lord to enlighten you on how you, in your own way, can help priests to be of service to others.
And never for a moment forget that a priest, no matter how he may talk or behave as a priest, still needs respect for his priesthood from the faithful.
In fact, there is nothing he needs more.
How are we to assist priests in this area? By using their services. I cannot begin to tell you how important it is for a priest, what shall I say, to be needed. And a priest’s priesthood must be recognized especially by him because his services are needed. When I say that, I am implying as you can estimate, you should not hesitate to make demands on priests.
In other words, give them an opportunity to exercise their priesthood.
And this is especially to exercise their priesthood in giving counsel.
There is one more large area that I want to share with you regarding the priesthood. There is now as you know in the Church, and this is a safe term, a crisis. And the crisis, especially, is a crisis in the priesthood. I know. As I have said before in all my years in working for the Holy See, especially for the Congregation for the Clergy, I have come to believe that we might say and we should say, that the priest is one who’s to give us the guidance and direction we need. And pray that priests will give you that kind of guidance and direction. And I know what I am talking about. We must know our own faith, especially the Church’s moral teaching so well that, when necessary, we can help priests so that they will give us the right direction. I have seen much more than you can imagine.
Finally, the more we can use the Sacrament of Confession, the more God will bless the priest through you. What priests need, I have taught so many priests, I know them, what priests need is to hear confessions of people who have only venial sins to confess, because, as a priest I can assure you, a priest’s ministry depends on the people to whom he ministers.
Only in heaven will you know how you have helped priests to live a holy, obedient, humble and chaste life, by your own lives of humility, obedience, and chastity.
Stabat Mater, Ora Pro Nobis!