Beyond the dramatic drop in seminarians and the declining numbers of priests, beyond the sexual misconduct scandals shaking the confidence and trust once readily given to priests, a spiritual deepening and maturing is renewing the spirit and confidence of the diocesan priest. In this collection of essays, twelve priests (including four bishops) reflect on the spirituality of the diocesan priest from their personal and pastoral experience.
Have diocesan priests finally transcended the monastic and religious order spiritualities that have shaped their prayer and interior lives for centuries? Is a spirituality particular to the diocesan priest emerging precisely at a time when the priesthood is under such close scrutiny? The contributors—pastors, theologians, poets, and bishops—grapple with the maturing of the diocesan priest's soul, touch the mystery of the priesthood, and unveil personal, often moving, dramas of grace.
Contributors and their articles include "Tenders of the Word" by Donald B. Cozzens, "Personal Symbol of Communion" by Denis Edwards, "Confessions of a Pilgrim Pastor" by William Hammer, "A Kindled Heart" by Frank McNulty, "A Glorious and Transcendent Place" by Robert F. Morneau, "The Conciliar Documents and the 1983 Code" by Edward G. Pfnausch, "Ruminations of a Canonist" by James H. Provost, "Heralds of the Gospel and Experts in Humanity" by Sylvester D. Ryan, "Servant of the Servants of God" by Robert Schwartz, "Speaking Out for the Inside" by William H. Shannon, "Paul of Tarsus: A Model for Diocesan Priesthood" by Richard J. Sklba, and "Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest: Using the Wrong Measure?" by Kenneth Untener.
Donald Cozzens, PhD, (1939–2021) a priest and an award-winning writer, was author of a number of best-selling books published by Liturgical Press including The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church, Faith That Dares to Speak, Freeing Celibacy, and The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest. He was writer in residence at John Carroll University where he taught in the religious studies department.