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Emilie Greubel wrote:

Hi, guys —

My name is Emilie and I am doing a project on the documents from Vatican II.

Mine is on the Decree on the Ministry and the Life of Priests. I wanted to ask my priest a few questions but didn't have the chance. Here are a few of my questions:

  • What do you believe is the most important role of priests?
  • How do you think Vatican II affected the Priesthood?
  • Why do you think we need priests?
  • How would you explain what vocations of a priest are?
  • Do you believe the life of a priest is the life of perfection?

Any response would be great.

Thanks.

Emilie Greubel

  { Can you answer some questions on the priesthood for my project on this Vatican II document? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Emilie,

Here are some answers for you:

You said:

  • What do you believe is the most important role of priests?

Consecrating the Eucharist and sharing it with others is the most important role of priests. However, all of the Sacraments are of utmost importance.

You said:

  • How do you think Vatican II affected the Priesthood?

The essence of the priesthood is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; however, one very significant thing that Vatican II did was to change the Mass so that the priest speaks in the language of the people and he now faces the people at Mass.

  1. Prior to Vatican II the priest spoke Latin at every Mass and he faced the altar during the consecration facing the same direction as the people at Mass. The Mass changed from a very private personal prayer with the Church to a community praying together.

  2. Second, Vatican II placed the Bible in a far more prominent place in the life of Catholics and the priests. Homilies now are always based on the Bible being proclaimed. There were many other changes but these are two.

You said:

  • Why do you think we need priests?

Only priests are able to celebrate the Eucharist by consecrating the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. That is the biggest reason. You also need priests and religious sisters to be people completely dedicated to God and available to God's People. The other Sacraments such as Confession are also very important. The priest is given the gift to hear people's sins and absolve them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. If you have ever experienced a powerful Confession where you know God loves you and forgives you then you needed a priest.

You said:

  • How would you explain what vocations of a priest are?

Vocations to the priesthood come in all shapes and sizes but usually it is just a feeling that God wants more from the person. God wants them to be 100% committed to being a priest for the rest of their life.

It is similar to a man or a woman that want to get married to someone. They know in their heart that this one person is the only one they will commit to for the rest of their lives and because the other person fulfills them and makes them happy they can say Yes — this is what God is calling me to.

The priest feels the same thing — he feels this is what I am supposed to do, this is why I was created by God. Then the person goes to a Seminary for training and the Church decides whether or not his call is an authentic one. When both sides agree:

  1. the person and
  2. the Church

they are ordained a priest.

You said:

  • Do you believe the life of a priest is the life of perfection?

Lived right, the priesthood is a perfect path to Heaven but everyone is offered a path to Heaven.

Priests should hold themselves to a very high standard and strive to live the life that God wants them to. Some priests fail terribly in this and all of us have faults but God gives us the Grace to live this life and do the best we can.

Good luck with your report.

Fr. Jonathan

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