A pastor is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He risks his life, his reputation, losing his comforts, his status, even lose his ecclesiastical career as well. He cannot be content, keeping to himself. It is so easy to condemn others, but it is not Christian!

To pardon and show mercy are characteristic attitudes of every good Christian. However, it happens that at times we do not know what, or who, to pardon. Contemplating Jesus Christ, we find the most extraordinary example: mercy toward those who were on the path of evil, the repentant sinners. Nonetheless, others who were taken for saints, such as the Pharisees, often received the severest reproaches from Jesus. So how can it be said that whoever condemns an error does not live according to the wise commandments of the Lord, if he is actually following Jesus’ example? Furthermore, the good shepherd should go after the lost sheep. But, to save them, should he get his hands ‘dirty’? What does this term mean? Once again we encounter incomplete expressions that bring up doubts. Of course the shepherd must be ready to face sufferings and difficulties for the good of his flock, but this does not mean that he should put his own salvation, or that of others, at risk. Along this line, is it licit for clrergy members to risk their reputation and their vocation with the supposed intention of saving souls? Once again, pronouncements of uncertain meaning fill us with perplexity, and each is left to his own devices to interpret at will… So then, let us cling resolutely to the teachings that Church has always given to the faithful.

Francis

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Being a half-way shepherd is a defeat. A shepherd must have the heart of God, go to the very limit because he does not want anyone to be lost. The true shepherd, the true Christian has this zeal within: no one should be lost. And this is why he is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is not afraid. He goes where he needs to go. He risks his life, he risks his reputation, he risks losing his comforts, his status, even lose his ecclesiastical career as well, but he is the Good Shepherd. Even Christians have to be this way. It is so easy to condemn others, as they [the Pharisees] did – the tax collectors and sinners – its so easy, but it is not Christian! It is not [the attitude of] the children of God. The Son of God goes to the very limit, the giver of life, as Jesus gave his for others. He cannot be content, keeping to himself: his comfort, his reputation, his peace of mind. Remember this: no half-way shepherds, never! No half-way Christians, never! That’s what Jesus did. (Homily in Domus Sanctae Marta, November 6, 2014English: ‘Condemning others is not Christian)

I ask the Lord for the grace that our hearts might be simple, luminous with the truth that He gives us, and thus we might be able to be lovable, forgiving, understanding of others, [to have] a large heart with the people, to be merciful. Never to condemn, never to condemn. (Homily in Domus Sanctae Marta, December 15, 2014)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Table of contents

I – Does being like Jesus mean never condemning anyone?
II – One should not put his own soul at risk to save others
III – Purity of life and vigilance are virtues necessary for missionaries
IV – A true description of a good shepherd
V – The desire to save souls should not undermine the truth


I – Does being like Jesus mean never condemning anyone?


Sacred Scripture
– Jesus did not let Himself be ‘dirtied’ by sin
– Judge justly
– ‘My judgment is valid’
– Capernaum will go down to the netherworld
– ‘The queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it’
– On the Day of Judgment all will render an account
-‘Condemnation of the Pharisees
– ‘Because I speak the truth, you do not believe me’
-The Lord knows how to punish the unrighteous at the Day of Judgment


II – One should not put his own soul at risk to save others


Sacred Scripture
– What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose himself?

Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus
– Our principle obligation is to care for our own soul

Saint John Chrysostom
– While taking care of others, do not neglect yourself

Pius X
– The necessity of the cultivation of the virtues which lead to personal sanctification

Innocent XI
– It is a condemned error to seek a proximate occasion for sinning for our good or that of a neighbor

Pius IX
– Do not be contaminated by false doctrines that lose all things under the pretext of saving all

Pius VI
– Spiritual or apostolic pretexts may in fact be dangerous inclinations of the heart


III – Purity of life and vigilance are virtues necessary for missionaries


Vatican Council II
– The Lord Jesus preached holiness of life to each and every one of His disciples f every condition

Pius XII
– Clerics must live both interiorly and exteriorly a holier life than lay people

Saint John Chrysostom
– Order our own life with strictness, for thus we shall also guide the lives of those in darkness

Benedict XV
– Preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words

John Paul II
Nothing speaks more eloquently than the example of a holy priestly life

Pius IX
– It is better to have fewer upright ministers than many who accomplish nothing for the Church

Saint Augustine
– The shepherd who lives a wicked life is a murderer of the sheep entrusted to his care

Benedict XV
– Sanctity of life is of highest importance for apostolic work – whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin

Saint John Chrysostom
– When the teacher is bad, the disciples are worse

Benedict XV
– To be endowed with intelligence and culture is of no use without innocence of life

John XXIII
– It is necessary to warn against imprudent actions

Pius XII
– Avoid every familiarity – let your interest be confined to the demands of the sacred ministry


IV – A true description of a good pastor


Sacred Scripture
– Set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity

Gregory I, the Great
– Pastors who are hirelings, fearing to lose human favor, shrink from speaking freely the things that are right
– The priest does not differ from the people when he does not surpass the people by the merits of his life

Saint Benedict of Nursia
– A monk should hate vice, but correct with prudence

Gregory I, the Great
– Keep watch lest you seek that they love you more than truth

Saint Boniface
– Let us not be dumb dogs, sleeping sentinels, hirelings that fly from the wolf


V – The desire to save souls should not undermine the truth


Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)
– They should not seek to please men, but act in accord with the demands of Christian doctrine

Pius X
– Produce fruit for the salvation of souls without liberal concessions

John Paul II
– Train them to remain clear and consistent in their faith
– Seeking free adherence to the faith does not imply promoting indifference


I – Does being like Jesus mean never condemning anyone?


Sacred Scripture

  • Jesus did not let Himself be ‘dirtied’ by sin

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)

  • Judge justly

Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly. (Jn 7:24)

  • ‘My judgment is valid’

You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. (Jn 8:15-16)

  • Capernaum will go down to the netherworld

And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Mt 11:23)

  • ‘The queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it’

At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. (Mt 12:42)

  • On the Day of Judgment all will render an account

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Mt 12:36-37)

  • Condemnation of the Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated. Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated. You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead mens bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets blood. Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out! serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Mt 23:13-36)

  • ‘Because I speak the truth, you do not believe me’                                                            

You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. (Jn 8:44-45)

  • The Lord knows how to punish the unrighteous at the Day of Judgment

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but condemned them to the chains of Tartarus and handed them over to be kept for judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, together with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the godless world; and if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (to destruction), reducing them to ashes, making them an example for the godless (people) of what is coming; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man oppressed by the licentious conduct of unprincipled people (for day after day that righteous man living among them was tormented in his righteous soul at the lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the devout from trial and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who follow the flesh with its depraved desire and show contempt for lordship. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to revile glorious beings. (2Pet 2:4 – 10)


II – One should not put his own soul at risk to save others


Sacred Scripture

  • What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose himself?

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Lk 9:25-26)

Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus

  • Our principle obligation is to care for our own soul

For what else could be supposed to be so proper to the soul? Or what could be so worthy of it, as to exercise a care over itself, not gazing outwards, or busying itself with alien matters, or, to peak shortly, doing the worst injustice to itself, but turning its attention inwardly upon itself, rendering its own due to itself, and acting thereby righteously? (Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus. Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen. Argument 11)

Saint John Chrysostom

  • While taking care of others, do not neglect yourself

Now thus I bid you reason with regard to your soul also; or rather even much more with regard to the soul; and do thou, forsaking all besides, spend all your care upon it. Do not then while taking thought about the things of others, neglect yourself and your own things; which now all men do, resembling them that work in the mines. For neither do these receive any profit from this labor, nor from the wealth; but rather great harm, both because they incur fruitless peril, and incur it for other men, reaping no benefit from such their toils and deaths. (Saint John Chrysostom. Homilies on Saint Matthew, Homily 55)

Pius X

  • The necessity of the cultivation of the virtues which lead to personal sanctification

We must now consider what is the nature of this sanctity, which the priest cannot lack without being culpable; ignorance or misunderstanding of it leaves one exposed to grave peril. There are some who think, and even declare openly, that the true measure of the merits of a priest is his dedication to the service of others; consequently, with an almost complete disregard for the cultivation of the virtues which lead to the personal sanctification of the priest (these they describe as passive virtues), they assert that all his energies and fervor should be directed to the development and practice of what they call the active virtues. One can only be astonished by this gravely erroneous and pernicious teaching. Our predecessor of happy memory in his wisdom spoke as follows of this teaching: (Letter Testem Benevolentiae to the Archbishop of Baltimore (January 22, 1899). To maintain that some christian virtues are more suited to one period than to another is to forget the words of the Apostle: Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Rom 8:29) Christ is the teacher and the model of all sanctity; all who desire to take their place in the abode of the blessed must adapt their conduct to the standard which he has laid down. (Pius X. Apostolic exhortation Haerent animo, no. 11, August 4, 1908)

Innocent XI

  • It is a condemned error to seek a proximate occasion for sinning for our good or that of a neighbor

[Condemned error] It is permitted to seek directly the proximate occasion for sinning for a spiritual or temporal good of our own or of a neighbor. […] All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed, at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious. (Denzinger-Hünermann 2163. Innocent XI, Various errors on moral subjects II, condemned in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679)

Pius IX

  • Do not be contaminated by false doctrines that lose all things under the pretext of saving all

We live in a corrupt and pestilent atmosphere; we must know how to preserve ourselves from it. Let us not allow ourselves to be contaminated by false doctrines, which lose all things under the pretext of saving all. (Pius IX. Speech in the Church of Aracoeli, September 17, 1861)

Pius VI

  • Spiritual or apostolic pretexts may in fact be dangerous inclinations of the heart

The priest should apply himself above all else to developing, with all the love grace inspires in him, his close relationship with Christ, and exploring this inexhaustible and enriching mystery; he should also acquire an ever deeper sense of the mystery of the Church. There would be the risk of his state of life seeming unreasonable and unfounded if it is viewed apart from this mystery. […] Rightly jealous of his full self-giving to the Lord, the priest should know how to guard against emotional tendencies which give rise to desires not sufficiently enlightened or guided by the Spirit. He should beware of seeing spiritual or apostolic pretexts for what are in fact dangerous inclinations of the heart. (Paul VI. Encyclical Sacerdotalis caelibatus, no. 75.77, June 4, 1967)


III – Purity of life and vigilance are virtues necessary for missionaries


Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

  • The Lord Jesus preached holiness of life to each and every one of His disciples of every condition

The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and everyone of His disciples of every condition. He Himself stands as the author and consumator of this holiness of life: Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Indeed He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might move them inwardly to love God with their whole heart and their whole soul, with all their mind and all their strength and that they might love each other as Christ loves them. The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to His own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way they are really made holy. (Vatican Council II. Dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, no. 40, November 21, 1964)

Pius XII

  • Clerics must live both interiorly and exteriorly a holier life than lay people

Led by the light of this virtue, let him keep his eyes fixed on Christ. Let him follow closely His Teaching, His actions and His example, convincing himself that it is not sufficient for him to accomplish the duties enjoined on the ordinary faithful. He must strive with ever increasing efforts to tend to perfection of life in keeping with the high dignity of the priesthood according to the warning of the Church: Clerics must live both interiorly and exteriorly a holier life than lay people, and must excel them in giving an example of virtue and good deeds[C.I.C., can. 124]. (Pius XII. Apostolic exhortation Menti nostrae, no. 14, September 3, 1950)

Saint John Chrysostom

  • Order our own life with strictness, for thus we shall also guide the lives of those in darkness

For it cannot, it cannot be, that one careful of virtue, should not have many enemies. However, this is nothing to the virtuous man. For by such means his brightness will increase the more abundantly. Let us then, bearing these things in mind, look to one object only; how to order our own life with strictness. For thus we shall also guide to the life that is there, such as are now sitting in darkness. (Saint John Chrysostom. Homilies on Saint Matthew, Homily 15)

Benedict XV

  • Preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words

It is chiefly among the Gentiles, who are led by sense more than by reason, that preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, no. 9, November 30, 1919)

John Paul II

  • Nothing speaks more eloquently than the example of a holy priestly life

I also urge you to staff your seminaries with exemplary priests, even if this means sacrifices in other areas: for in the task of forming candidates to the priesthood nothing speaks more eloquently than the example of a holy and committed priestly life. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Ghana on their ad limina visit, February 20, 1999)

Pius IX

  • It is better to have fewer upright ministers than many who accomplish nothing for the Church

However, priests are the best examples of piety and Gods worship (Council of Trent, session 22, Ch. 1), and people tend generally to be of the same quality as their priests. Therefore devote the greatest care and zeal to making the clergy resplendent for the earnestness of their morals, the integrity, holiness and wisdom of their lives. Let the ecclesiastical training be zealously preserved in compliance with the sacred canons, and whenever it has been neglected, let it be restored to its former splendor. Therefore, as you are well aware, you must take the utmost care, as the Apostle commands, not to impose hands on anyone in haste. Consecrate with holy orders and promote to the performance of the sacred mysteries only those who have been carefully examined and who are virtuous and wise. They can consequently benefit and ornament your dioceses. These are men who avoid everything which is forbidden to clerics, devoting their time instead to reading, exhorting and teaching, an example to the faithful in word, manner of life, in charity, in faith, in chastity (Tim 4:12). They win the highest respect from all men, and fashion, summon forth and inspire the people with the Christian way of life. For it would certainly be better, as Benedict XIV, Our Predecessor of undying memory very wisely advises, to have fewer ministers if they be upright, suitable and useful, than many who are likely to accomplish nothing at all for the building up of the body of Christ, which is the Church (Benedict XIV, Encyclical Ubi primum). (Pius IX. Encyclical Qui pluribus, no. 23 – 24, November 9, 1846)

Saint Augustine

  • The shepherd who lives a wicked life is a murderer of the sheep entrusted to his care

But the wicked shepherds do not spare such sheep. It is not enough that they neglect those that are ill and weak, those that go stray and are lost. They even try, so far as it is in their power, to kill the strong and healthy. Yet such sheep live; yes, by God’s mercy they live. As for the wicked shepherds themselves, they kill the sheep. “How do they kill them?” you ask. By their wicked lives and by giving bad example. Or was God’s servant, who was high among the members of the chief shepherd, told this in vain: Show yourself as an example of good works toward all men, and, Be an example to the faithful? Even the strong sheep, if he turns his eyes from the Lord’s laws and looks at the man set over him, notices when his shepherd is living wickedly and begins to say in his heart: “If my pastor lives like that, why should I not live like him?” The wicked shepherd kills the strong sheep. But if he kills the strong one what does he do to the rest? After all, by his wicked life he kills even the sheep he had not strengthened but had found strong and hardy. I appeal to your love, and again I say, even if the sheep have life and if they are strong in the word of the Lord, and if they hold fast to what they have heard from their Lord, Do what they say but not what they do. Still, as far as he himself is concerned, the shepherd who lives a wicked life before the people kills the sheep under his care. Let such a shepherd not deceive himself because the sheep is not dead, for though it still lives, he is a murderer. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 46 on Pastors, Ez 34:1-16, no. 4, 9English)

Benedict XV

  • Sanctity of life is of highest importance for apostolic work – whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin

But to one who wishes to qualify himself for apostolic work, there is one thing that he must acquire before everything else, as being of the highest importance: it is, as We have said, sanctity of life. For whoever preaches God must be a man of God; whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, November 30, 1919)

Saint John Chrysostom

  • When the teacher is bad, the disciples are worse

After this, again another charge: compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves […]and need much toil in order to win over even one […] or rather that they were not only careless, but even traitors, by their wickedness in their life corrupting him, and making him worse. For when the disciple sees his teachers to be such as these, he becomes worse than they. For he stops not at his teachers wickedness; but as when his teacher is virtuous, he imitates him, so when he is bad, he even goes beyond him, by reason of our proneness to what is evil. And He calls him a child of hell, that is, a very hell. (Saint John Chrysostom. Homilies on Saint Matthew, Homily 72)

Benedict XV

  • To be endowed with intelligence and culture is of no use without innocence of life

Granted, therefore, that the missionary be endowed with every quality of head and heart, versed in sciences, accomplished in every department of culture; if his accomplishments are not supported by innocence of life, they will be powerless instruments for the conversion of the people – nay more, they may become harmful to himself and to others. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, November 30, 1919)

John XXIII

  • It is necessary to warn against imprudent actions

The priests of our time who – as is unfortunately the case in many regions – are often forced by the office they have assumed to live in the midst of a human society that is infected by a general looseness in morals and a spirit of unbridled lust. How often this phrase of Saint Thomas Aquinas is proved true: It is harder to lead a good life in the work of caring for souls, because of the external dangers involved (STh II-II, q. 184, a. 8) To this We might add the fact that they often feel themselves cut off from the society of others and that even the faithful to whose salvation they are dedicated do not understand them and offer them little help or support in their undertakings. We want to use this letter, Venerable Brethren, to exhort, again and again, all of them, and especially those who are working alone and in the midst of very serious dangers of this kind, to let their whole life, so to say, resound with the splendor of holy chastity; Saint Pius X had good reason to call this virtue the choicest adornment of our order (Exhortation Haerent animo, IV). Venerable Brethren, do all you can and spare no effort to see to it that the clergy entrusted to your care may enjoy living and working conditions that will best foster and be of service to their ardent zeal. This means that every effort should be exerted to eliminate the dangers that arise from too great an isolation, to issue timely warnings against unwise or imprudent actions, and last of all to check the dangers of idleness or of too much external activity. (John XXIII. Encyclical Sacerdotii nostri primordia, August 1, 1959)

Pius XII

  • Avoid every familiarity – let your interest be confined to the demands of the sacred ministry

To this end We deem it opportune to address to you a special exhortation as regards your direction of associations and sodalities of women, that you show yourselves as becomes a priest; avoid every familiarity; when you must give your services, give them in a way that is befitting sacred ministers. Moreover, in directing these associations, let your interest be confined to the demands of the sacred ministry. (Pius XII. Apostolic exhortation Menti nostrae, no. 24, September 3, 1950)


IV – A true description of a good shepherd


Sacred Scripture

  • Set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate. Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you. (1Tim 4:12-16)

Gregory I, the Great

  • Pastors who are hirelings, fearing to lose human favor, shrink from speaking freely the things that are right

For often improvident pastors, fearing to lose human favour, shrink timidly from speaking freely the things that are right; and, according to the voice of the Truth (Joh. x. 12), serve unto the custody of the flock by no means with the zeal of shepherds, but in the way of hirelings; since they fly when the wolf cometh if they hide themselves under silence. (Gregory I, the Great. Pastoral Rule, II, IV)

  • The priest does not differ from the people when he does not surpass the people by the merits of his life

Consider, then, what is the fate of the flock when the pastors become wolves. For there are men who undertake the care of souls, and yet they are not afraid to lay snares for the flock of the Lord, which needs to be protected against them. We seek not the good of souls, we are intent on our own interests; we covet earthly things, we strive to obtain the praise of men. And since our rank above others gives us greater liberty to act as we please, we make the ministry of blessing a means to further our ambition. We abandon the interests of God, and give ourselves up to worldly business; we occupy a position which is holy, and we entangle ourselves in the affairs of the world. Truly the words of Scripture are fulfilled in us, ‘There shall be like people, like priest’ (Hos 4: 9). For the priest does not differ from the people when he does not surpass the people by the merits of his life. (Gregory I, the Great. Homily on the Pastoral Office)

Saint Benedict of Nursia

  • A monk should hate vice, but correct with prudence

Let him be chaste, sober, and merciful, and let him always exalt mercy above judgment (Jas 2:13), that he also may obtain mercy. Let him hate vice, but love the brethren. And even in his corrections, let him act with prudence and not go to extremes, lest, while he aimeth to remove the rust too thoroughly, the vessel be broken. Let him always keep his own frailty in mind, and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken (Is 42:3). In this we are not saying that he should allow evils to take root. (Saint Benedict of Nursia. The Rule of Saint Benedict, Ch. 64)

Gregory I, the Great

  • Keep watch lest you seek that they love you more than truth

Meanwhile it is also necessary for the pastor to keep wary watch, lest the lust of pleasing men assail him; lest, when he studiously penetrates the things that are within, and providently supplies the things that are without, he seek to be beloved of those that are under him more than truth; lest, while, supported by his good deeds, he seems not to belong to the world, self-love estrange him from his Maker. For he is the Redeemers enemy who through the good works which he does covets being loved by the Church instead of Him. (Gregory I, the Great. Pastoral Rule, Book 2, Ch. 8)

Saint Boniface

  • Let us not be dumb dogs, sleeping sentinels, hirelings that fly from the wolf

Let us not be dumb dogs, sleeping sentinels, hirelings that fly at the sight of the wolf: but watchful and diligent pastors; preaching to the great and small, to the rich and poor, to every age and condition, being instant in season and out of season. (Saint Boniface. Letter to Cuthbert (Epistle 105): PL 89, 765-768)


V – The desire to save souls should not undermine the truth


Vatican Council II

  • They should not seek to please men, but act in accord with the demands of Christian doctrine

In building up of the Church, priests must treat all with exceptional kindness in imitation of the Lord. They should act toward men, not as seeking to please them, but in accord with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. They should teach them and admonish them as beloved sons, according to the words of the Apostle: Be urgent in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine (2Tim 4:2). (Vatican Council II. Decree Presbyterorum ordinis, no. 6, December 7, 1965)

Pius X

  • Produce fruit for the salvation of souls without liberal concessions

Now since all this springs necessarily both from the nature of the principles of Christian revelation, and from the intrinsic properties which Our Apostolate should have, you see clearly, Venerable Brethren, how mistaken are those who think they are doing service to the Church, and producing fruit for the salvation of souls, when by a kind of prudence of the flesh they show themselves liberal in concessions to science falsely so called, under the fatal illusion that they are thus able more easily to win over those in error, but really with the continual danger of being themselves lost. The truth is one, and it cannot be halved; it lasts for ever, and is not subject to the vicissitudes of the times. Jesus Christ, today and yesterday, and the same for ever (Heb 13:8). (Pius X. Encyclical Iucunda sane, no. 25, March 12, 1904)

John Paul II

  • Train them to remain clear and consistent in their faith

To hold on in this world, to offer to all a dialogue of salvation in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity, the dignity of one who is seeking God, we need a catechesis which trains the young people and adults of our communities to remain clear and consistent in their faith, to affirm serenely their Christian and Catholic identity, to see him who is invisible and to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae, no. 57, October 16, 1979)

  • Seeking free adherence to the faith does not imply promoting indifference

Precisely because of this freedom, faith – which we express by the word credo – possesses its own human authenticity and originality, besides the divine. It expresses conviction and certainty about the truth of revelation, by virtue of an act of free will. This structural voluntariness of faith in no way implies that faith is optional and that an attitude of fundamental indifference would be justified. It only means that man is called to respond with the free adherence of his entire being to the invitation and gift of God. (John Paul II. General audience, April 17, 1985)


Discover another innovation:

To see Christ in the marginalized means leaving them where they are or raising them up to Christ?

 

3 thoughts on “A pastor is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He risks his life, his reputation, losing his comforts, his status, even lose his ecclesiastical career as well. He cannot be content, keeping to himself. It is so easy to condemn others, but it is not Christian!

  1. What a tremendous grace! It is available to all who ask. We have at least 4 abandoned spouses in our own prayer groups and a widow living chaste lives in complete happiness. If only all would ask what Our Lord desires of them. And we do continue to pray, love and lead by example. If it were not for people like you, we would have ‘no example’ but even in the lives of the Saints, sometimes in terrible suffering during marriage, there are those beacons of light, showing us that faithfulness and charity are not an ideal but all is possible by God’s grace.

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  2. to condemn is not Christian! Hate the sin, love the sinner. Admonish the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. After my divorce after 6 years of marriage now 40 years ago I was confused. My priest was giving communion to remarried, my friends remarried, my ex-husband had a steady girlfriend. I heard so many voices but I also heard JPII preaching contradicting what I had heard in my parish. I went before the Lord and cried out to him WHAT IS THE TRUTH. Wow, the Lord answered, it was like a fall off your horse into the light experience. And I knew, I can not remarry and I raised the children and God’s grace embraced me and he blessed the marriages of my children. What tremendous divine gifts would remarried couples bring to the church if they take that penance of not receiving Holy Communion and if they would offer up their longing to the Divine Bridegroom. This papacy will confuse many people. GO TO JESUS. We follow our Savior, the Crucified, to glorify him and then we will share in his glory.

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  3. The information gathered here is truly an amazing work of charity and so very helpful and encouraging. Immediately when I read that ‘to condemn was not Christian’, I thought of St Paul and all the condemning he did, of behaviours, attitudes, even people- the church member sleeping with his father’s wife, who he implored be cast out. So by Jorge Bergoglio’s standards, St Paul would not be a Christian and that part of scripture would somehow be “wrong”. And these words and attitude may make a person (even if just one) falter and refrain from correcting a brother clearly…

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