The Need for Priests
The Second Vatican Council was a disaster. Never before in the history of the Church has there been such a need for priests. And yet the Church's seminaries stand half-empty. How can it be that so many calls to the priesthood go unanswered?
The enemies of the Catholic Church found their dreams answered by Vatican II. Their goal all along had been to replace the Catholic Faith with a dogma-free religion centered on Man rather than God. They wanted to bring all faiths together into a one-world Church that would be without form and void, unrecognizable as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by the Son of God himself. After centuries of attacking the Church head-on, the diabolical influences that sought her overthrow realized finally that it was better to attack from within. They infiltrated the Church by means of what Pope Pius X called the "Synthesis of all Heresies," Modernism.
Since the modernist takeover of the Church
at Vatican II, we have seen profound internal changes in all our
Catholic institutions. Though they kept some of the same
external appearances, and the same names, we find today that these
insitutions belong an entirely different religion than before the
Council. The same cathedrals, churches, seminaries,
universities and religious congregations still exist for the most
part, but their faith is totally different.
The Modernist Heresy
This new religion is the heresy of modernism, condemned in the strongest possible terms by Pope St. Pius X in 1907. He warned us then that modernists had already intoduced their poison into the Church, and were even then bringing about changes in the way we approached the liturgy and other elements of the faith. St. Pius X went so far as to caution us that if the modernists ever succeeded in their intention to change the Catholic faith according to their plans, they could indeed be the cause of its ultimate destruction, were such a thing ever possible.
That destruction was accomplished less than sixty years later by John XXIII. As soon as he was elected, the modernists wasted no time in promoting destructive and heretical ideas within the Church, especially once the Second Vatican Council opened. The destruction was continued by John's successor Paul VI, and the Church has been deteriorating ever since. It is to the point where the Catholic Faith taught by all the Popes from Peter to Pius XII is now forbidden in the institutions created to promulgate it.
Restoring the Faith
God's usual modus operandi is to
work through men, allowing them to act as his free-will instruments
in the pursuit of his plan. The Church must therefore defeat
modernism with the help of both God's grace and man's cooperation.
In other words, the Church needs men to devote their lives to
restoring her faith, men who can perform the necessary sacramental
acts to prevent the total loss of faith in the world. In
short, the Church needs priests.
The priests of the Church have always been a vital force in repelling the attacks of her enemies. Always ready to do battle in the service of the Church, the priesthood is God's first line of defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Their weapons are Catholic doctrine, the Catholic sacraments, the Catholic Mass, and Catholic discipline. Their strength lies in the truth received from God, a truth at once supernatural and infallible.
It is thanks to the sacrifice of such men as
these that the Church managed to overcome the terrible persecutions
of her early years. The Church's response to the bloodthirsty
edicts of pagan emperors was the blood of the martyrs testifying to
the truth. The Church fought for three centuries, even when
the battle seemed lost, her priests inspiring and encouraging the
faithful to embrace the faith of Christ, even at the peril of their
lives. Today's martyrs are those same Catholic priests, always
willing to forego the pleasures of life and the opportunities the
world offers them, in order to give themselves to God and his holy
Church, that souls may be saved.
St. Anselm's Seminary has been founded to form such men for the holy priesthood.
Signs of a Vocation
God calls many men to the Catholic priesthood. Not all of them answer his call. Many of those called don't even know they're being called. It is very important, however, that you should know God's plans for you and your future life. A vocation is usually not characterized by revelations or internal voices, but rather signs. Not the kind of signs you might imagine, but signs of your character, devotion, conviction that the Holy Ghost is calling you to life of service. Here are some of the normal signs of a vocation...
The constant desire to serve God as a priest
If you are attracted to the priestly life and church affairs, if you are interested in the liturgy, moral and doctrinal issues, canon law, church history, or missionary work, these are all signs of a calling to the priesthood.
The sincere desire for the promotion of God's glory and the salvation of souls
This is the actual work of a priest, and it requires great sacrifice. It is the only true motive for becoming a priest. Beware the many false motives for desiring the priesthood--the desire for human respect, for being the center of attention, for any false notions that it is an easy and carefree life.
A blameless moral life
This is a recognizable sign of a vocation. The reverse is also true, and one of the almost infallible signs of a lack of vocation is the inability to live for long periods without falling into mortal sin. This requirement, however, does not mean that you must be a saint to consider entering the path to the priesthood. It does mean that you must treat your spiritual life seriously, that you frequent the sacraments, avoid the occasions of sin, and lead a righteous life.
The priest's life is a life of prayer. Part of the vocation to the priesthood must always be a sound prayer life, whether liturgical or private.
The priest must be a father to all, and must be able to bear the problems of all kinds of people. Therefore, he cannot himself be burdened with emotional or psychological problems
At least average intelligence
The priest must faithfully convey the Catholic doctrine to the faithful and accurately diagnose their sins in the confessional. The candidate for the priesthood must therefore have the appropriate intellectual skills to pass all the subjects taught in the seminary.
Good physical health
The priest must have good physical health in order to cope with the demands of his work. The disabled or those suffering from chronic illness cannot be considered for the heavy strain of the priestly life.
Doubts about your vocation
If you cannot make up your mind whether or not you have a vocation, you should go to a priest who knows you and ask him for advice on this matter. Ask him to be your constant confessor and spiritual director, and be honest with him concerning your weaknesses and temptations as well as your strengths and talents. Trust his advice. Above all, pray fervently and persistently that God would enlighten you on this matter.
Is a College Degree required?
Many young men wonder if they should complete their college studies before entering the seminary. Again, listen to the advice of your confessor. This advice will be based on the priest's knowledge of the candidate's circumstances and character. Vocations are often lost through unnecessary delay, and many young men would do well to avoid the distractions and temptations of college life. Others, on the other hand, may profit considerably from a thorough training in the classics, the liberal arts, modern or ancient languages, and so on.
Is admission to the seminary an infallible sign of a vocation?
No. Entering the seminary is always an
experiment. The first purpose of the seminary is not to train
priests but to discern which of its seminarians are truly called by
God, and which are not. The faculty of St. Anselm's have the
experience and judgment necessary to determine if you have a
vocation, and will let you know their findings before you commit to
the celibate life of the priest at your admission to major orders.
Once you become a subdeacon, you may consider your calling
confirmed, and that it is the will of God that you continue your
studies for the priesthood.