Father James Martin was at the Convention of the National Federation of Priests' Councils where he heard a remarkable address by the Archbishop emeritus of San Francisco, John Quinn. He immediately asked the Archbishop for permission to print the address in "America." Here is part of what the Archbishop said:
And so, I come back again to the question, Why would a modern man want to become or to remain a priest today? The deepest and most enduring reason why a modern man would want to become and to remain a priest is the person of Jesus Christ. In the depths of every authentic priest echoes the word, Do you love me more than these? These times and our situation lead us in a powerful way to confront that question. In some ways, it is the only question that really matters. If our love for Jesus Christ is truly genuine, then there must stir within us the desire to be like him. We see this in Paul, My one desire is to know Christ Jesus and the power of his resurrection, and to share his sufferings in growing conformity with his death. (Phil. 3:10) St. Augustine said that the essence of religion is to imitate him whom we adore. To love is to be like.We priests and the Catholic Church are in a moment of humiliation and some degree of helplessness. We are that man in Psalm 63: O GodI seek you, my soul thirsts for youas in a dry, weary land where there is no water. This is why I firmly believe that this is one of the best times to be a priest. It is a time for us, like the Apostles in Acts, to give thanks that we are counted worthy to suffer something for Christ. It is not a time for us to be the martyr-victim but the martyr-witness. If anything is emphatic in the Gospel of John it is that the Lord Jesus freely, knowingly and willingly invested himself in the Mystery of the Cross. This is surely a time when every true priest is invited to freely and humbly embrace what Christ Our Lord freely accepted. We priests and the whole church are being called to evangelical humility and to a purer faith. It is time for us to embrace this providential call with robust generosity and with a solidarity that binds us together as priests in a uniquely difficult period of our history.
With deep thanks to Archbishop Quinn and Father Martin: the rest is here.