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The priests’ responsibility

"O dearest  daughter!  Those miserable persons about whom I spoke to you have no consideration for themselves. If they had, they wouldn’t fall into so many vices, but would live like virtuous persons, who prefer death rather than offend Me, staining their soul or belittling the dignity to which I have raised them, but on the contrary, they increase their souls’ dignity and beauty. The dignity itself of the priest is not increased by virtue nor diminished by any sin, as I have told you. But virtues are an embellishment and give added dignity to the soul beyond what it possesses from the beginning, when I created it in my image and likeness. Those who live thus, know the truth of my goodness, their beauty and dignity, because pride and self-love have not blinded them nor taken away the light of reason. Not having this self-love, they love Me and desire the salvation of souls. But these spoiled persons, completely deprived of light, calmly pass from vice to vice, until they fall into the pit.

They have turned the temple of their soul and the holy Church, which is a garden, into a stable for animals. O dearest daughter!  How abominable for Me that their dwellings which ought to be lodging for those who serve Me and for the poor, a place to have as a wife their breviary, and as children the books of Sacred Scripture, to delight in them in order to exhort their neighbour to lead a holy life, but quite to the contrary have turned them into a den of unchaste and wicked persons!

Their spouse is not the breviary. They rather treat this breviary-spouse like an adulterous wife. A devil in the form of a woman’s body unchastely lives with him. His herd of children make up his books, and he shamelessly takes delight in these offspring begotten so indecently and wickedly.

At Easter and solemn Days when he should give glory and praise to My Name with the divine Office and offer Me the incense of humble and devout actions, he spends at gaming and entertainment with these creatures of the devil and has a good time with the laity hunting, as if he were just another lay person or courtier.

O wretched man, to what a level you have dropped! What you ought to hunt are souls for the glory and praise of My Name and be in the garden of the Holy Church, and not to go hunting through the woods. But you have become a beast; within you have the beasts of many mortal sins. For that reason, you are a hunter of beasts and the orchard of your soul is full of weeds and thorns, since you have acquired a liking for barren land seeking wild beasts. Be ashamed and consider your sins. You have cause to be ashamed wherever you turn. But you are not ashamed, because you have lost the holy and true fear of Me. Like the prostitute, who has lost shame, you will brag about your worldly position, your numerous family and your numerous children.

And if you do not have them, you try to have them so to be your heirs. You are a highwayman and a thief, because you know perfectly well you cannot bequeath your wealth to them; your heirs are the poor and the Holy Church.

O incarnate devil, spirit without light! You seek what you ought not seek. You boast and brag about what ought to be for you motive of confusion and shame before Me, who see the innermost of your heart, and before creatures. You are truly blind and the horns of your pride do not permit you to recognize your own blindness.

O dearest daughter!  I have placed you on the bridge of the doctrine of my truth so that he might serve you, o pilgrims, and administer you the sacraments of the holy Church, but he stays in the miserable river below the bridge immersed in the pleasures and miseries of the world. There he exercises his ministry, without noticing the wave that drags him to death and he goes with the devils, his masters, whom he has served and by whom he has been openly guided, along the river. If he does not amend his life, he will be eternally condemned with great reprimand and reproach, that your tongue would be incapable of referring. And he, due to his priestly office, much more than any other lay person. For this reason the same sin is punished more in him than in one who would have stayed in the world. At the moment of death his enemies will accuse him more terribly, as I have told you."

St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church: The Dialogue, 130.

Prayer:

O God, You choose the frail and ignorant to confound the wise and mighty. We beseech You to raise up in our times men and women, who following St. Catherine’s example, are full of ardent love for the Church and the Pope. Let them persevere in prayer so that the shepherds of Christ’s flock may be true guardians and not hirelings. We ask you this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

 

By Ateneo Pontificio "Regina Apostolorum"

 

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