Haerent Animo: Excerpt on Priestly Chastity by Pope Pius X

“May chastity, the choicest ornament of our priesthood, flourish undimmed amongst you!

Through the splendor of this virtue, by which the priest is made like the angels, the priest wins greater veneration among the Christian flock, and, his ministry yields an even greater harvest of holiness.

Meditation in the life of the priest has a value.  The priest who underestimates the value of meditation, or has lost all taste for it, provides a sad confirmation of what we say:

Let your eyes dwell on the spectacle of men in whom the mind of Christ, that supremely precious gift, has grown weak.  Their thoughts are all on earthly things,  they are engaged in vain pursuits, their words are so much unimportant chatter and  in the performance of their sacred functions they are careless, cold, perhaps even unworthy.

Formerly these men, with the oil of priestly ordination still fresh upon them, diligently prepared themselves for the recitation of the Psalms, lest they should be like men who tempt God.   They sought a time and place free from disturbance.

They endeavored to grasp the Divine meaning.

In union with the Psalmist they poured forth their soul in songs of praise, sorrow and rejoicing.

But now!  What a change has taken place.

It is not irrelevant to note here that which Leo XIII in his wisdom made special mention of.  That is the virtue of abstinence, which we call self-denial, in the words of the Gospel.

He was quite right to do so, for it is from self denial chiefly that the strength and power and fruit of every priestly function derive;  it is when this virtue is neglected that there appears in the priest’s conduct whatever may be of a nature to cause offense to the eyes and hearts of the faithful.

If one acts for filthy lucre, or becomes involved in worldly affairs, or seeks for the highest places and despises others, or follows merely human counsel, or seeks to please men, or trusts in the persuasive words of human wisdom …..

This is the result of neglect of the command of Christ and of the refusal to accept the condition laid down by Him:

“If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself”


Excerpt from ‘Haurent Animo   Pope Pius X

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