Thursday, August 21, 2014
"It is with great fear that one must approach this high dignity, and care must be taken that those chosen for it are recommended by heavenly wisdom, blameless life and sustained observance of justice . . . Let the fragrance of your life be a joy to the Church of Christ, so that by your preaching and example you may build up the house, that is, the family of God." Above all the Church stresses the solemn words: Imitate that which you handle, an injunction which fully agrees with the command of St. Paul: That we may present every man perfect in Jesus Christ.
Since this is the mind of the Church on the life of a priest, one cannot be surprised at the complete unanimity of the Fathers and Doctors on this matter; it might indeed be thought that they are guilty of exaggeration, but a careful examination will lead to the conclusion that they taught nothing that was not entirely true and correct. Their teaching can be summarized thus: there should be as much difference between the priest and any other upright man as there is between heaven and earth; consequently, the priest must see to it that his life is free not merely from grave faults but even from the slightest faults. The Council of Trent made the teaching of these venerable men its own when it warned clerics to avoid" even venial faults which in their case would be very grave."These faults are grave, not in themselves, but in relation to the one who commits them; for to him, even more than to the sacred edifice, are applicable the words: Holiness becometh thy house.
Saint Pius X
Exhortation Haerent Animo
August 4, 1908