success stories

Priesthood Imperiled: A Critical Examination of Ministry in the Catholic Church
Bernard Haring
Triumph Books, Liguori, Missouri, 1996

Opening paragraph:

All of my priestly life I have reflected, taught, and written on the question: What kind of morality and moral theology are needed for the Church? My view of the moral quest was always influenced by, and understood within, the larger framework of another fundamental question: What kind of Church is needed in our present and future world? Inseparable from these two fundamental questions was a third question: What kind of minister is needed for our Church and world?

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 Personal Experiences on the Road
Discovering My Vocation — My First Mass — In the Medical Service — "Is it Possible that God Sends a Priest to Me?" — Among the Refugees — Awakening Vocations — Side by Side with te Sick — "Heal the Sick!" — The Healing Task of Moral Theology and Moral Teaching — Pastoral Concern for the Divorced.

Chapter 2 The Glaring Light of Scripture
A Decisive Key to Understanding: Christ’s Baptism — Zechariah, Priest and Prophet — John the Baptist , Son of a Priest and Great Prophet — The Contrast: Priests of Kings — The Story of the Sacrifice of Abraham — The Nonviolent, Suffering, Liberating Servant of God — Nonviolence and the Forgiveness of Sin — The Priesthood of the Faithful and the Ministerial Priesthood.

Chapter 3 Reaching for the Deeper Meaning and Purpose of the Priestly Vocation
The Calling of Levi and the Messianic Meal — The Washing of Feet at the Last Supper — The Folly of Disputes Over Preeminence — Jesus the Carpenter — Witness to the Resurrection — A Grateful Memory — "They Were All Filled with the Holy Spirit"

Chapter 4 The Historical Beginnings of the Priesthood
The Meal Communities of Jerusalem — The Multiplicity and Diversity of Charism — Elders (Presbyteroi) of the Early Church and Priests Today

Chapter 5 The Historical Development of the Priestly Image
Bishops and Priests as Martyrs — Princes of the Church in the Constantinian Era — The Nonviolent Revolution of the Monastic Movement — Nonviolent Protest of the Mendicant Orders — Imported and Exported Priests

Chapter 6 The Tridentine Model of Priesthood and Seminary Life
Undeniable Efforts at Reform — The Basic Problem: Separation and Alienation — A Timeless Philosophy and Theology — A Word of Caution: Avoid Generalizations! — Mature Priestly Vocations — Saint Alphonse de Liguori, Exemplar of "One of Us" — Strange Disputes over the Validity of Ordination — For the Sake of Humor — What Kind of Moral Theology for the Church: — Overextending the Role of Priests

Chapter 7 Questions Surrounding the Issue of Celibacy
Critical Considerations — Good Luck — In Spite of Difficulties — Celibacy Compared with an Invalid Marriage — Two Different Approaches — Celibacy in Its Historical Context — Priestly Celibacy as a Signpost — Celibacy and Population Problems — Looking for Solutions — A Community-Building Spirituality

Chapter 8 The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Image of the Priest
Initial Efforts — Was the Council Responsible for the Serious Crisis Facing the Priesthood? — Focusing on Encouraging Examples

Chapter 9 Prognosis for the Future of Priestly Vocations
A Thoroughly New Vision — Should the Church Acknowledge the Sacramentality of Diverse Ministerial Vocations? — The Ultimate Christian Vocation: Witnessing to Nonviolence — What About Women and the Priesthood? — Requisites for Presiding at the Eucharistic Celebration — A Heartfelt Thanks to Worker Priests — Physically Challenged and Developmentally Disabled Priests

Chapter 10 The More or Less Lovely Animals in the Ark
Noah’s Ark: Inspiration for the Priesthood — The Rooster: A Combination of Pride and Vanity — The Nightingale — The Stern Moralist — The Sentinel — The Ritualist — The Timid One — The Pessimist — The Clown — The Musician — The Healer — The Prophet — The Saintly Penitent

Chapter 11 Behold the Handmaid of the Lord
Mary: Servant of God and Model for the Priesthood.

Return to sources page