Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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The Church, in view of accomplishing her divine mission of guiding souls to heaven, has, through the centuries, established rules, defined norms, threatened punishments also to priests. Little experience he may have in life, one must admit that between avoiding canonical punishments to being holy priests and good pastors of souls, there runs a great difference. It could very well happen that a parish priest may be within the confines of rules before his ecclesiastical superiors and before Canon Law and yet, in a short period of a few years, he could see his church empty, let people stop going to the Most Holy Sacraments, let the youth turn ignorant of their religion, let immorality spread, and let the life of the people stop being Christian. Liturgical, canonical, homiletic techniques, etc., when they lack soul, that is the spirit of fervent zeal of the priest, shall always have very little effect... they shall be like a cadaver... Also the books that deal with the qualities and the duties of church persons very often lose themselves in dealing at length with study and piety, too little instead
of zeal. And yet zeal is the most essential part of the priest; it is the purpose for which knowledge and piety must serve; it is like as if the distinguishing mark of the apostle.
Training in zeal is most necessary. Zeal is born of a great spirit of piety that makes one intensely desire God's honor and the salvation of souls: it makes use, as an indispensable means, of the knowledgeability of the priest; while in its exercise, it is expected that the priest has the necessary material means of livelihood in order to entirely or almost entirely his time for souls.
Hence, I shall therefore speak of priestly piety and study: I shall then let to follow, as if an appendix, some pieces of advice regarding the administration of material goods.