Priests for Tomorrow - March 1973



Talk given at Paris, March 1973 - Extracts:

The Catholic Church has always been a source of hope, a source of great spiritual and moral values which have to some extent sustained the whole world in a hope and in a pattern of virtue, thus helping it to remain more human because more Christian, because more Catholic. That is why these questions are grave, and if I have come to be with you today, it is not to speak of a problem lacking importance, it is not to speak of a few trifling details concerning my seminary. No, it is to speak to you of the fundamental and final object of the institution that the seminary is within the Church, namely, the continuation of our Catholic Faith and of all the results that the application and living of this Catholic Faith can bring about in this world. It is a serious matter. As soon as one touches the Church one touches the priesthood. As soon as one touches the priesthood one touches Christian civilization. This has been evident for the past ten years. We see it everywhere. The efforts of the devil and all his instruments are aimed at the priesthood. They fully realize that the priesthood is the pillar which supports the civilizing virtues, and that if, tomorrow, it were possible to destroy the priesthood, it would mean the destruction of Christian civilization-that is why the training of priests seems to me of capital importance not for the Catholic Church alone, but for all civilization. That is why, today, I should like to try to tell you what Providence has allowed me to do and why I do it.

...We ask of our seminarians that they help the Church, that they love their Mother the Church. A priest exists for the Church, he is the Church’s son, her beloved son. He must therefore love his mother. But to love her he must know her. She must not be disfigured and distorted. Today the Catholic Church is being distorted! How is she being distorted? I will be brief (it is not my intention here to give you a long course of theology), but I think you have enough faith and enough knowledge of your faith to understand What I am about to say.

...It is the same with you, my dear Christians, here tonight. Your reason for being Christians is that you may offer yourselves as victims with the Victim present on the altar. You offer your trials, all your sufferings, all that you are. You are signed with the cross. You were signed with the cross on the day of your baptism and on the day of your Confirmation. You have been born again through the Blood of Jesus Christ. These things you do and say again every day at the altar, when you go to the altar of sacrifice. It is the sole reason for your being on this earth, your sole reason for being united with our Lord Jesus Christ and for offering your lives as victims with our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus you will understand the meaning of suffering when you are on a hospital bed, when you are at the point of death and must not he told fables. But if a priest comes to you and says, “My dear friend, think of our Lord Jesus Christ, look at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; remember that by the offering of your sufferings you are saving souls, souls you will see in heaven," then suffering is worth while, it is worth while to endure trials, is worth while to go through years of imprisonment to suffer with our Lord. Were it otherwise it would all be labor lost. There would be no sense in living.

You must understand that everything rests on this sacrifice of the Mass, which is the treasure bequeathed by our Lord dying on the Cross. He gave His treasure-His Body, His Soul, His Divinity. He gave it to the Catholic Church on the altar of sacrifice.