Book: Priests Need Priests
Author: Fr. Emile Briere
Madonna House, Combermere, ON Canada
Excerpt from Book:
In his talk to Pastors and Lenten preachers in Rome in 1956, Pius XII said: "There are occasions when, without timely and fraternal intervention by one of you, a priest's mind may become confused, his zeal may be lessened, and his apostolic ardor seriously dampened. Accordingly, we bless, with all our hearts, those priests who spend themselves generously to the advantage of their fellow-priests; even more if they give encouragement with paternal tenderness to young priests, those tender plants, compelled by the urgency of the apostolate to face too son the violence of the winds and the tempests of the world. Only in heaven can such a work of salvation and sanctification be fittingly rewarded."
Spiritual direction to be effective must take in the whole man. Directors who limit their contacts with their penitents, particularly priestly penitents, to moralizing, preaching and reprimands, may be doing them a grave injustice. A penitent needs most of all to be understood, at times to blow off steam without being told or made to feel that he is a bad boy for so doing. He needs less direction and more understanding. For he has emotions as well as intellect and will.
Bottled up emotions will produce "temptations," doubts, even despair, and all manner of sickness. He has to express these immature, unhealthy, miserable feelings to some one who really cares, who loves with the Caritas of the Lord. And the first degree of love is warm understanding.
"To whom shall we go?" may be the confused cry in the night of priests who turn to sex, to liquor, to pills for helps. What they need is an energizing contact with another priest who cares, who has made some study of mental health and realized that so often, advice is the worse thing you can give to a fellow human being who already knows only too well what he should do but is more or less unable to do it for reasons beyond his present control.
Chances are — only too often verified by bitter experience — that he will seek help somewhere else, from someone who is gentle and understanding. If she is a dedicated Catholic, she may serve to quiet his fears for a time but at what price of anxiety for both of them!
Priests need priests. Priests need priests who respect them and love them as they are. Priests need priests who will give them the strong Caritas which divinve Caritas seldom penetrates into the heart even of another Christ.
Table of Contents:
Problem Priest or Sick Priest?
Anger, Guilt, Depression
Hostility. Resentment. Insecurity
Humility and Poverty
Christian Community of Work
Balanced Activity and Prayer
Victimhood. Spiritual Direction
Priests Need Priests