"For as bishops and priests are as certain interpreters and heralds of God, who in His name teach men the divine law and the precepts of life, and are the representatives on earth of God Himself, it is clear that their function is such, that none greater can be conceived; wherefore they are justly called not only "angels" (Mal. Ii, 7), but also "gods" (Ps. Lxxxi, 6) holding as they do amongst us the power and authority of the immortal God. But although they at all times held a most exalted dignity, yet the priests of the new testament far excel all the others in honor; for the power of consecrating and offering the body and blood of our Lord, and of remitting sins, which has been conferred on them, transcends human reason and intelligence, still less can there be found on earth anything equal and like to it".
What Great Integrity of Life and Morals is Required in the Person to be Ordained?
First, therefore, he who is to be ordained priest, should be highly commended for integrity of life and morals, not only because, if, while conscious of mortal sin, he procures, or even permits his ordination, he involves himself in a new and most grievous crime, but also, because it is his duty to enlighten others by the lustre of his virtue and innocence.
From the Catechism of the Council of Trent
"A most precious treasure of the Catholic priesthood is chastity. So great is the obligation in them of perfect and total observance of chastity that the transgression of that obligation involves the added guilt of sacrilege ...And the law of priestly celibacy makes only obligatory what might be termed a moral exigency founded in the Gospel and the Apostolic teachings: priests consecrating themselves completely to the service and the worship of God, and freely, of their own spontaneous choice, renouncing the joys and pleasures which might rightfully be theirs in another walk of life ...And even the falling away of a few unworthy ones cannot dim the splendor of so lofty a dignity in the many others."
"Those who have been singled out and adorned by the priestly character have the commission to be, in our Lord's own words, 'the salt of the earth and the light of the world.' "
From POPE PIUS XI'S ENCYCLICAL
AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTII
- ON THE CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD
As quoted in Quote-Unquote April/May 1992