Volume VII: The Ordained Priesthood


This Volume VII in the series of Magisterial Summaries is dedicated to examining “The Ordained Priesthood,” as it is presented and developed in Papal teaching documents of this century, starting with “Haerent Animo” of Pope Pius X up to the Apostolic Exhortation “Pastores Dabo Vobis” of Pope John Paul II, is an example of getting authentic and guaranteed light in our search for truth in matters that are a combination of the divine and human.

Jose T. Cardinal Sanchez.  Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy (1991–1996)

Called by God

The Catholic priesthood was instituted by the Lord with a definite nature and mission, hence any question connected with it can be understood and developed only in the supernatural light of faith in the mystery of our redemption in Christ. Taken out of this divine design of our redemption in Christ, and of the expressed will of our Lord as contained in Scripture and in Tradition, the nature and mission of the priesthood cannot be adequately understood. Priests are no mere representatives of men and chosen by them for religious functions and moral leadership. They are men chosen by God through the Church who “in virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament.” (LG 28)

Table of Contents

  • Harent Animo, Encyclical Letter to the Catholic Clergy on Priestly Sanctity, Pope St. Pius X, August 4, 1908
  • Ad Catholici Sacerdotii, Encyclical Letter on the Catholic Priesthood, Pope Pius XI, December 20, 1935 
  • Menti Nostrae, Apostolic Exhortation o the Development of Holiness in Priestly Life, Pope Pius XII, September 23, 1950
  • Sacra Virginitas, Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII, March 25, 1954 
  • Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia, Encyclical of Pope John XXIII on St. John Vianney, August 1, 1959 
  • Address to The Roman Synod, Pope John XXIII, January 26, 1960 
  • Otpatam Totius, Decree of the Second Vatican Council, on the Training of Priests, October 28, 1965 
  • Presbyterorum Ordinis, Vatican Council II, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, December 7, 1965 
  • Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, Encyclical Letter on Priestly Celibacy, Pope Paul VI, June 24, 1967 
  • Message for the Fifth World Day of Prayer for Priestly Vocation, Pope Paul VI, April 19, 1968 
  • Circular Letter on Formatio Permanens, Congregation for the clergy, November 4, 1969 
  • De Sacertotio Ministerali, Synod of Bishops 1971, December 9, 1971 
  • Inter Insigniores, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on the Ordination of Women for the Ministerial Priesthood, October 15, 1976 
  • Discourse to the Clergy of Rome, Pope John Paul II, November 9, 1978 
  • Letter to All Priests, Pope John Paul II, Holy Thursday, April 6, 1979 
  • Spiritual Formation in Seminaries, A Circular Letter of the Congregation for Catholic Education, January 6, 1980 
  • Homily to 5000 Priests from the Whole World, Pope John Paul II, October 9, 1984 
  • Pastores Dabo Vobis, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy, and Faithful on the Formation of Priests in the Circumstances of the Present Day, Mary 25, 1992 
  • Directives Concerning the Preparation of Seminary Educators, Congregation for Catholic Education, November 4, 1993

Lectio Divina Cordis

Divine Reading of the Heart


HEAR the words as you inwardly read  or speak

– Read –


ENTER  the silence to reflect on a core precept

– Meditate –


ANSWER to the knock at the heart’s door

– Speak –


REST silently without words or thoughts

– Contemplate –


TRUST: “Do not let your HEART  be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”   (John 13:1)

 – Trust in the process –

Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living word.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ  as the key to their meaning.

Approaching the Magisterium Summaries from this perspective may lead to a deeper appreciation of its meaning and  an appreciation of how it may be applied to one’s life.

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