• Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size

ja_mageia

Mission Statement:


Challenging men to live extraordinary faith and leadership in everyday life.


Be Not Afraid
You are here: Home
Priesthood - Configuration to Christ
 

Configuration to Christ and the Priesthood in Pastores Dabo Vobis

And Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B.

A Seminar Paper for SS 1951 Doctrinal Foundations of Priestly Spirituality

 by Rev. David L. Ricken

December 1999


Configuration to Christ and the Priesthood according to Dom Columba Marmion (1858-1923) and Pastores Dabo Vobis.

Introduction

I. Dom Columba Marmion and Pastores Dabo Vobis on Jesus Christ as Priest

A. The Trinitarian Dimension and the Priesthood of Christ

B. Jesus Christ, the Mediator

C. Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim

II. The Priesthood of the Church according to Marmion and Pastores Dabo Vobis

A. Christocentric Nature of Priesthood

B. Sacramental Character

C. The Intrinsic Call to Holiness

III. Marmion and Pastores Dabo Vobis as possible answers to the exigencies of the times.

A. The Eclipse of the Eternal and Priestly Ministry

B. Functional Models of Priesthood

Conclusion

Rev. David L. Ricken


Introduction

Since the close of the Second Vatican Council, thousands of priests have exited the active ministry. There has been a great deal of research and writing about this huge hemorrhage of priests from the ranks of the priesthood, some insisting that it is only a cultural phenomenon, others attributing it to a lack of clear vision of the priesthood coming from Vatican II. There have been voluminous attempts to explain it from the point of view of the "unfair demands of mandatory celibacy" while others have tried to re-explain the priesthood according to other paradigms and models. In recent years more explanations appear in the form of priest as "leader" and "organizer" of the charisms of the local community etc. All of this has gone on in an effort to "rethink" the priesthood as an answer to what many call an "identity crisis" that is priests and others not understanding exactly what it is priests really are - especially now with the increased roles and responsibilities of the lay faithful.

Although it was not expressed in these same words, the notion of "configuration to Christ," written about in the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (1) of the Second Vatican Council and developed in the writings of Pope John Paul II, was very much a central theme in the writing of great spiritual thinkers and writers before Vatican II. One of those writers, very popular at the beginning of this century and again just before the Second Vatican Council, was Dom Columba Marmion, a Benedictine monk. Marmion had been born in Ireland in 1858, was ordained to the Diocesan priesthood for the Diocese of Dublin, and later entered the monastery in Maredsous, Belgium, where he eventually became Abbot.

He has passed on to succeeding generations a wealth of writings on the spiritual life which have been translated into many modern Western languages and provide a rich corpus of thought for the journey of the spiritual life from the point of view of the various states in life - from the life experience and vocation of the monk, to that of the priest, to religious life and to the spiritual journey of the members of the Christian faithful. (2)

This essay will be a short attempt to highlight those themes of Marmion in regard to the priesthood which amplify or explain or are equivalent to the notion of "configuration to Christ" by pointing out some of the similarities between texts of the Magisterium of John Paul II, especially the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, (3) and the writings on the priesthood by Marmion, especially Christ the Ideal of the Priest.(4)  Having outlined the major themes of Marmion which define the priesthood, first in terms of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and then in terms of the priesthood of the Church, this paper hopes to offer some reflections on the possibility of a contemporary "recovery" of these themes as one possible remedy to the crisis of priestly identity and spirituality.

The Priesthood of Jesus Christ

The Trinitarian Dimension of Priesthood

According to Marmion, who writes about the doctrine on the priesthood in his book Christ the Ideal of the Priest, the priesthood of the Church can only be viewed and understood in the light of the glory of God. "This is the splendid prerogative of the priesthood of Christ and His priests: to offer to the Holy Trinity in the name of man and the universe a homage of praise agreeable to God. It is the privilege of this priesthood to ensure the return of creation in its entirety to the Master of all things." (5)

From all eternity, God has been pouring Himself out in communicative love which "engenders" the Son. He communicates to His Son everything which He is except his own Fatherhood, which is proper to Him. The Son equally pours Himself out in response to the love of the Father, and the Holy Spirit who "...has His exclusive source of origin in the love of the Father and the Son." (6) The Trinity in and of Itself has no need of the exercise of the priesthood, but humanity and all of creation does need the priesthood on account of the original Fall. Therefore Jesus Christ, in his humanity, exercises the priesthood which is conferred upon his humanity by the Father.

Pope John Paul II comments on this Trinitarian mystery and the priesthood in paragraph 12 of Pastores Dabo Vobis:

It is within the church's mystery as a mystery of Trinitarian communion in missionary tension, that every Christian identity is revealed and likewise the specific identity of the priest and his ministry. Indeed the priest, by virtue of the consecration which he received in the sacrament of orders, is sent forth by the Father, through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ, to whom he is configured in a special way as head and shepherd of his people, in order to live and work by the power of the Holy Spirit in service of the church and for the salvation of the world. (7)

The priesthood of Jesus Christ, then, springs from and is expressive of the self communicative love which is ever present and happening in the Blessed Trinity, and it is in and out of this context that one can begin, according to Marmion and John Paul II, to understand the priesthood of Jesus Christ and the ministerial priesthood of the Church, whose task it is to return all to the Source, that is the Holy Trinity.

Jesus Christ as Mediator

The priesthood of Jesus Christ can be understood by exploring the Letter to the Hebrews, one of the great books of the New Testament filled with priestly imagery, especially as it pertains to Jesus Christ as the fulfillment and replacement for the priesthood of the Old Testament. Marmion, who was fond of referring to this letter of the New Testament wrote: "Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins" and God the Father established His Son as eternal priest. He said to him "Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. Tu es sacerdos in aeternum." (Hebrews 5:4-6) (8)

Jesus Christ was consecrated a priest in the very moment of his Incarnation, the one and eternal mediator between man and God. According to Marmion, at the very moment of the Annunciation, when Mary the Mother of Jesus responded with her fiat, ". . . the first priest was consecrated and voice of the Father resounds in heaven, ‘Thou art a priest forever, according to the Order of Melchisidech.' " (Ps cix. 4). (9) According to Marmion, Jesus became a priest at the very moment he took on human flesh. By His Incarnation, he has become mediator to God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The theme of Jesus as "mediator of the covenant" is a thorough-going "Letter to the Hebrews" theme. Jesus is the Divine Mediator who offers the once and for-all-time sacrifice which makes obsolete all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. No longer is the shedding of the blood of goats and animals necessary; now there is the shedding of the blood of Jesus which enables Him to enter into the heavenly sanctuary (as the Old Testament high priest entered into the "Holy of Holies") to become the "source of salvation for all of humanity" (Heb. 9:24-28). He is the mediator par excellence. (10)

John Paul II, writing of this central role of Jesus as Mediator writes in number 13: "Jesus brought his role as mediator to complete fulfillment when he offered himself on the cross, thereby opening to us once and for all access to the heavenly sanctuary to the Father's house..." (cf. Heb. 9:24-28).(11)   Jesus Christ is the true form of what other realities and other mediators in the Old Testament only prefigured symbolically.


The role of mediation for Marmion and for John Paul II is the very life and mission of Jesus Christ, who was to return all things to the Father by all of his actions of mediation and by his fullest act of redemption in pouring out his own life's blood on the wood of the cross.

Jesus Christ: Priest and Victim

Marmion, basing himself on the Letter to the Hebrews, draws out the notion of Jesus Christ as priest and victim in order to describe the events of our salvation. In the Old Testament, the priest was the one who offered the sacrifice. Something was offered that was precious to and necessary for their very lives and survival.

In the New Covenant, "Priest and victim are united in the one person and this sacrifice constitutes the perfect homage which gives glory to God, makes the Lord propitious to men and obtains for them all the graces of eternal life." (12)

The kenotic hymn of Philippians chapter 2 describes the action of the total self-surrendering love of Jesus Christ: "Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, death on a cross." (Phil. 2:5-11)

Pope John Paul accentuates this same theme in Pastores Dabo Vobis, number 21: "The authority of Jesus Christ coincides then with his service, with his gift, with his total, humble and loving dedication on behalf of the Church. All this he did in perfect obedience to the Father; he is the one true suffering Servant of God, both priest and victim." (13)

Marmion, as spiritual theologian is always searching deeper into the interior motivation of the subject to describe that person's attitude or disposition. He says that Jesus as priest had sown "perfect reverence and adoration" for the Father, because He knew the Father better than anyone and enjoyed the vision of His absolute sanctity. What was the attitude of Jesus as victim, he asks:

It was likewise adoration but here it finds expression in the acceptance of destruction and death. Jesus knew that He was destined to the Cross for the remission of sins of the world; before the divine justice He felt Himself burdened with the crushing weight of all the sins of the world. He gave His full consent to this role of victim... "Without the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ there is no remission of sin for us"; (Heb ix. 22)...So coming into the world, the Son of God assumed a ‘sacrificial body' suited for enduring suffering and death. (14)


There have been approaches among theologians since the Second Vatican Council which either ignore Jesus' role as victim or lead one to conclude that sacrificial language, "priest and victim" language, is too cultic, too much a language of the first dispensation which we simply do not use today. Yet for Hans Urs von Balthasar, it is the theology of the Cross "that unlocks the essence of Jesus' identity as priest...Jesus is the definitive priest precisely because in the very act of offering the sacrificial victim, he becomes himself the Victim that is offered."(15)  Dermot Power describes Von Balthasar's position on the priesthood of Christ by quoting the following selection from The Christian State of Life:

In his mission of reconciliation and mediation, Christ invests the gift of himself to the Father and the Father's acceptance of it with the modality that makes it the emptying of all that he is...when the Son stands before the Father in readiness to give himself...he thus abandons to the Father the disposal of what is his...he becomes potentially a victim to be sacrificed. (16)

As an expression of this priest-victimhood, Marmion refers to the sacrifice of the Cross and to these words of Jesus: "O Father, the sacrifices of the Mosaic law were in themselves unworthy of you ‘Here I am.' Ecce venio: accept Me as a victim. You have given me a body in which I can sacrifice Myself: grind it, break it, overwhelm it with sufferings, crucify it, I accept it all: ‘I come to do your will.'"(17)  Marmion begins his section on the notion of sacrifice and the priesthood of Jesus by offering the image of God as one of total self-offering.

His every sign, every drop of His blood, has sufficient expiatory value to compensate for the sins of the world. But according to the desires of eternal wisdom, the Father has willed that the Son should redeem us by the most noble of all acts of religion: sacrifice. That is why the apostle says, "He has delivered Himself for us an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness." (Eph. v. 2) (18)

He calls this act of sacrifice "propitiatory," because it was done as an act of total, loving, obedient, self-donation, an act of total "homage." It was this very love and obedience of Christ which added to his sacrifice since the giving of one's life is the supreme act of love for a human being.

For those who were educated in the seminary during Marmion's time, the notion of sacrifice was taken for granted when speaking of the priesthood of Christ. It formed part of the ambient of the whole Catholic culture certainly at the time of Marmion but also up to and including Pius the XII's famous encyclical Mediator Dei. He wrote, "As the whole life of the Saviour was ordained to the sacrifice of Himself, so the life of the priest which should reproduce in itself the image of Christ, ought also to be with Him and through Him and in Him, a pleasing sacrifice." (19)

Perhaps because it was so emphasized in his formation also, John Paul II does not give himself to writing great discourses on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in Pastores Dabo Vobis. However, he does call it the "one definitive sacrifice of the cross, (by which) Jesus communicated to all of his disciples the dignity and mission of priests of the new and eternal covenant." (20)

The Priesthood of the Church

Christocentric Nature of Priesthood

Marmion points out that the priesthood of the Church has a tremendous significance because of its connection to Christ, who is the priest's ideal of sanctity. God has a plan for the sanctification of the priest and it is to gather all things to Himself but. . . (first to see to it that the priest is). . . purified, sanctified, redeemed under Christ as a single head: instaurare omnia in Christo (Eph 1:10). Christ is the very center and "living source of the priest's sanctity." One is struck by the fact that Marmion is clear that Christ expects all priests to reach a level of holiness that is in effect supernatural. For it enables the Christian and especially the priest, by virtue of Baptism and Holy Orders, to participate in the very holiness of Christ: "Yes, our Lord is the model of all sanctity, but this exemplary cause is divine and divinely active. It is He who impresses on the soul his own resemblance." (21)

Configuration to Christ for the priest means that Christ makes a special "impression on the soul, an impression which is active, dynamic and transforms the soul into that which it signifies." Pastores Dabo Vobis describes priestly identity as a state of constantly striving for perfection:

Since they are consecrated to God in a new way by their ordination, they have become living instruments of Christ, the eternal priest so that through the ages they can accomplish his wonderful work of reuniting the whole human race with heavenly power. Therefore since every priest represents the person of Christ himself, he is endowed with a special grace. (22)

By serving the people with the help of grace, the priest is able to pursue this perfection in Christ in whose place and person he stands. By being conformed and configured to Christ is whose place he specifically lives, works and stands before the community, he is ushered into the opportunity for holiness by the high priest whom he serves.


Both Marmion and John Paul II agree that the special mark or impression that is left by sacramental consecration configures or "assimilates" the priest to Christ. This consecration gives "spiritual power" to exercise authority for the sake of drawing souls to the Kingdom of God. The priest is called to be the very image of Jesus Christ who stands before the Church and "nourishes and cherishes her" laying down his life in loving service. Therefore the essential notion of the priesthood is Christocentric and participates with Him in returning all to the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sacramental Character

Marmion does his part to speak clearly to the issue of sacramental character, the activity of Christ in conforming or assimilating the recipient of the sacrament to his own person.

For everyone "to put on Christ," is to become like Him in His quality of Son of God: for us priests it is in addition to be invested with His priesthood. This assimilation to Christ which is the effect of the sacraments is full of mystery. Sanctifying grace and the special characters of baptism, confirmation and holy orders cooperate, each in its own way to perfect in the soul of the priest this supernatural resemblance. (23)

This notion of sacramental character is a bit foreign to many people today and is not often written about or expressed in current, or at least popularized, theologies of the sacraments. Marmion defines sacramental character as: "...a sacred imprint a spiritual seal impressed on the soul to consecrate the recipient to Christ as a disciple, as a soldier or as a minister. It marks us forever with the sign of the Redeemer and thus makes us already in a certain manner life to Him." (24)

Just as Jesus Christ is the high priest who is a mediator, so through sacramental assimilation the priest becomes mediational. He "stands before" the community in persona Christi offering a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving with and for the People of God. The priest must therefore recognize the dignity of the priesthood: both the priesthood of the faithful who offer the sacrifice in their own way and from their own baptismal consecration and the ministerial priesthood in which he shares and is both representative of Christ and of the People of God. "The priest is associated with the whole work of the Cross, as the authorized dispenser of the treasures and the mercies of Christ." (25)

Although John Paul II does not use the term "sacramental character" in Pastores Dabo Vobis, he does in paragraph 21, speak of the notion:

By virtue of this consecration brought about by the outpouring of the Spirit, in the sacrament of holy orders, the spiritual life of the priest is marked, molded and characterized by the way of thinking and acting proper to Jesus Christ, head and shepherd of the church, which are summed up in his pastoral charity. (26)

The Intrinsic Call to Holiness

Because of this configuration to Christ through the nature and action of the sacrament, the priest is called to a transformation in Christ which is to have its efficacy in his growth in holiness. In Christ the Ideal of the Priest, Marmion concludes:

As a consequence of the dignity of your calling, there is a grave obligation of conscience and as it were, a constant invitation to tend toward the perfection of your state...From his seminary days, the priest must be convinced of the real sanctity to which he is called. .. .It is impossible to exaggerate the value of the grace received on one's ordination day. (27)

Because of the intimacy with Christ in which the priest shares on a daily basis, he ought to be moved to desire a greater holiness and worthiness and pour himself out in love of God and in his pastoral service of the faithful. Marmion says that priests must continuously renew in their hearts this desire for perfection. Using a quotation from the Roman Pontifical for ordinations used during his day, he quotes the phrase that is expressed in the ordination ritual for today in these words: "May God who has begun this good work in you bring it to completion." (28)

John Paul II, drawing on the teaching and insight of the Second Vatican Council ties the holiness of the priest more to his exercise of pastoral ministry:

Therefore, an intimate bond exists between the priest's spiritual life and the exercise of his ministry, a bond which the council expresses in this fashion: And so it is that they are grounded in the life of the Spirit while they exercise the ministry of the Spirit and of justice (cf.2 Cor. 3:8-9) as long as they are docile to Christ's Spirit, who gives them life and guidance. For by their everyday sacred actions, as by the entire ministry which they exercise in union with the bishop and their fellow priests, they are being directed toward perfection of life. Priestly holiness itself contributes very greatly to a fruitful fulfillment of the priestly ministry. (29)

The call to holiness for both authors then is intrinsically built into the very nature of priesthood and forms part of the very fabric of the priest's configuration to Christ and sacramental ordination.


Possible Answers to the Exigencies of the Times

The "Eclipse of the Eternal" and the Priesthood

What does this concept of "configuration to Christ" have to do with the priesthood of today? Can an Apostolic Exhortation of the early 1990's and a theologian's writing which is nearly ninety years old have any possible impact on priesthood at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first? We are living today in a world of huge cultural shifts and uncertainly - wherein the world, because of mass communications and travel, has become more of a global village and the very notion of the human person is in great question. Many of the former assumptions about the nature of life have come into confusion. When man becomes or thinks he is in control of much of his own destiny, there grows a greater sense of separation from ultimate realities and from God himself.

This over-assured stance toward reality affects even one's attitudes in daily life and so one notices a kind of lack of hope and general sense of malaise to which everyone, including Catholics who attend Mass regularly and even priests themselves, seems to be succumbing. There has been called by one pastoral theologian the "eclipse of the Eternal" (30) which is the result and the cause of practical paganism. It is very important for the priest of today to have his identity clearly established in his own mind and heart to be able to return to a reservoir of solid teaching on the essence of the priesthood in order not to lose his ministerial bearings.

Where does the priest fit in this post-modern world? By its very nature the priesthood is counter-cultural and if trends continue the way futurists seem to dream, the Church and the priesthood will have to be even more counter-cultural. A response to these bold challenges will require deep faith and strident commitment. In order to speak to a world where there is no sense of genuine Truth and of eternal verities, it takes a huge amount of commitment and creativity, but a creativity which is deeply rooted in a clear notion of priestly identity.

Pastores Dabo Vobis and Christ the Ideal of the Priest are two sources to which priests can turn to re-clarify their sense of priestly identity. With the confusion in roles in the Church and the increased responsibility of the lay faithful in traditionally priestly roles, a regular return of these sources can help to reinforce the priest in his own self understanding. It is one of the priest's roles to engender hope, a virtue and a gift so obviously lacking in a world where there has been an eclipse of the Eternal. Connecting again to the priesthood of Christ as "priest and victim," and to configuration to Christ as the source of his own holiness, can assist the priest in engendering hope in the people whom he serves and helping him to make the sacrifices that are so intrinsic to his very nature as priest. By growing in holiness and by being prepared for even great sacrifices should they be asked of him, he can help to restore the light and yearning for Eternity for which the world is so desperately searching.

Functional Models of the Priesthood

There have been numerous attempts to refashion the priesthood in recent years according to new models. After the Second Vatican Council, there were hundreds of articles and books written on the nature of priesthood, attempting to re-understand the priesthood based on concepts from Presbyterorum ordinis and Optatam totius, etc. (31)  These attempts hoped to revivify our understanding. There were articles on the ecclesial dimension of priesthood, the priest as "servant of the Word," the priesthood from a pastoral perspective, the priesthood as one of many "ecclesial ministries." In recent years there has been great interest in viewing the priest as "leader" 32 of the community at prayer and priest as "servant leader" (33) of the community, and priest as "conductor" of the "symphony of parish ministries." While these models are helpful up to a certain point, they often do not reconnect with the font of the priesthood in a way that inspires one to persevere, to rise to the challenge of the priesthood and to make the sometimes great sacrifices which priesthood requires.

By returning to the source of grace in and through sacramental configuration to Christ and to that intimacy with the Blessed Trinity out of which priesthood flows, one can be refreshed at the very fountain of his own priestly identity. Any attempt to define the priesthood only by what the priest ‘does' and not by who the priest ‘is in relationship to God' simply will not sustain anyone for very long.

The challenges facing the present generations of priests and those to come in the very near future are many, but then they always have been. The shortage of clergy in some parts of the world has caused some of this confusion. All one has to do is to read a newsletter of almost any Diocesan or certainly national priests' council (34) to see the struggle to navigate through a shortage of clergy. There is a great concern for being "professional" in our approach to ministry. Other challenges presenting themselves are that there is a new generation gap between the veteran clergy and the newcomers to the priesthood. There is sometimes a tenacious holding on to worn out ideologies and labels like "conservative" and "liberal" which no longer really apply. And there is the judgment placed upon the training of one generation by the other as insufficient or overly rigid. Many priests, for some reason, are reluctant to be generative in the sense of inviting young men to consider the priesthood as a worthwhile vocation.

Confusion between the roles of the lay faithful and the role of priests, prompted an Instruction (35) a ministerial collaboration signed by eight Dicasteries of the Holy See and approved in forma specifica by the Holy Father. There is posturing on the part of some Episcopal Conferences, which are even now tacitly supporting the training of women for the permanent diaconate, to push for the ordination of women to the Holy Order. There is a decline in some countries of the relationship between the Bishop and his priests in the wake of the curse of accusations and sometimes even criminal convictions of priests involved in pedophilia. To deal with all of these challenges, a functional explanation of the priesthood simply will not do.

Another challenge facing us is that the press often paints stories and events in the priesthood in a much more negative light than is true. Statistics are often overlooked if they are positive or blown out of proportion in comparison to other groups. According to recent unofficial statistical graphs (36) prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy, there is an increase in the numbers of priests in the world, which has been consistently taking place since 1983. Ordination of diocesan priests has increased since 1982 by more than 400. Defections from the priesthood have declined dramatically since 1972 where there were over 4000 priests who left the priesthood and 1997 when there were only 1000. The numbers of seminarians has increased since 1975 from 60,000 worldwide to around 110,000 in 1997. There still exists large problems as far as numbers go in the West, but we need to have a larger picture in order to understand trends in growth and societal and ecclesial changes. Often the positive news is never heard.

Conclusion

In a society that has lost touch with philosophical realities, there will be a greater and greater difficulty in understanding ontological realities. This makes it easier and easier to reduce the understanding of the priesthood as one among many functions in the Church and not a real transformative reality in Christ for the service of the Church. Where there is an eclipse of the Eternal and where there are so many secular and sometimes even Church biases against such a life, priests need an anchor not only for their spiritual development but for their very survival.

A priestly spirituality today that is deeply rooted in priestly identity is desperately needed. While the theologies presented in Pastores Dabo Vobis and Christ the Ideal of the Priest cannot possibly fill the entire gap, they go a long way in beginning to point priests in the right direction. Hopefully by returning to some of these resources from the treasure chest of priestly spirituality in the Church and by reinterpreting them in light of the challenges of today, one can bring a new spirit to one's own priesthood that is deeply rooted in our tradition. Perhaps by enlarging the icon of spiritual writers like Dom Columba Marmion on to the screen of our priestly consciousness and experience, we can help to do our little part to refashion the priesthood and pass on a legacy whether in writing, or in preaching or by example, for our own and for succeeding generations of priests. Perhaps we can one day pray along with Marmion:

I feel myself more and more drawn to lose myself; to hide myself in Jesus Christ, vivens Deo in Christo Jesu. HE becomes as it seems to me the eye of the soul and my will is merged with His. I feel myself drawn to desire nothing outside of Him to remain lost in Him. (37)


NOTES

1 SECOND VATICAL COUNCIL.., "Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priest," Presbytorurm Ordinis, AAS 58 (1966) 991-1024.

2 M.M. Philipon, O.P. The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Columba Marmion (Westminister, Maryland: Newmann Press, 1957) 25-85.

3 John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Formation of Priests in the Present Day. Vatican City 1992, Original in AAS 84 (1992) 657-804. Hereafter refereed to in notes a PDV.

4 Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B. Christ the Ideal of the Priest, trans. Matthew Dillon (London: Sands & Co. LTD., 1952) hereafter referred to as CIP.

5 CIP 17

6 CIP 18

7 PDV #12

8 CIP 19

9 CIP 20

10 Jean Galot, S.J. Theology of the Priesthood (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985) 58.

11 PDV #13

12 CIP 21

13 PDV #21

14 CIP 21-22

15 Dermot Power, A Spiritual Theology of the Priesthood: the Mystery of Christ and the Mission of the Priest (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998) 29

16 Hans Urs Yon Balthasar, Christlicher Stand (Einsedeln: Johannes Verlag, 1977); ET The Christian State of Life, trans. Sr. Mary Francis McCarthy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1983) 252.

17 CIP 23

18 CIP 26

19 Pius XII, Mediator Dei, Original AAS 39 (1947) 521-595, ET in The Authentic Image of the Priest, compiled by Placidus Kemp, O.S.B. (St. Meinrad Indiana: Abbey Press, 1970) 92.

2O PDV #13

21 CIP 42

22 PDV #20

23 CIP 47

24 CIP

25 CIP 51

26 PDV #21

27 CIP 53

28 Ordination Ritual for a Presbyter, Roman Pontifical

29 PDV #58 with quote from Proposition 8 of the Synod

30 Clifford J. Stevens, Priesthood: The Portion of my Cup, unpublished work with manuscript still in preparation

31 See Daniel Donovan, What are they Saying About Ministerial Priesthood for an understanding of major theologians reflections on the impact on Vatican II on the priesthood

32 Bartholomew Winters, Priest as Leader (Roma: Editrice Pontificia Gregoriana, 1997)

33 Robert M. Schwartz, The Priest as Servant Leader of the Faith Community (New York I Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989)

34 For example: Touchstones, the Newsletter of the National Federation of Priests Councils in the United States

35 See the Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997) authored by eight dicasteries of the Holy See and approved in forma specifica by John Paul II

36 See unofficial graphs from the Congregation for the Clergy provided as addenda to this essay

37 CIP 343 From his personal diary

 

Conference Testimonials

"Thanks for the opportunity for Confession."

"I now listen to Relevant Radio and have a deeper faith since going to these conferences."

"Just that this conference has me revisiting some long standing beliefs / opinions re: abortion and life in general.  In other words, to ask deep questions and take more seriously the problem of abortion."

"Attended all three, working on getting over porn and being a better Dad."

"The conference was great!"

 

Upcoming Events

Esto Vir – Green Bay
Monthly Mass & Talk
June 14, 2014   
7:35 AM - Rosary
8:00 AM - Mass
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
Green Bay, WI 
Click HERE for Information

Esto Vir – Oshkosh
Men's Spirituality Morning
June 21, 2014   
7:00 AM - Check-in, Rosary
7:45 AM - Mass
MBS - St. Josaphat Church Site
Mass Celebrant:  Bsp Morneau
Program Speaker: Bsp Morneau
Click HERE for Information