Why would any man want to be a priest today?

That was the provocative question retired San Francisco Archbishop John R. Quinn put to priests at the recent meeting of the National Federation of Priests Councils in Houston.

“The cataclysmic avalanche of the sex abuse scandal is a profoundly troubling experience for every priest,” he noted. “It touches not only the perpetrators and those so gravely hurt by them. But it is now engulfing the papacy itself and eroding the credibility of the bishops in the church. …

“How can an American priest persevere in the midst of such a shattering trial? How do we priests and how do the church persevere in time of severe trial?”

Archbishop Quinn praised today’s American priests as “a body of men who do not seek praise or acclaim and who walk faithfully with the Lord in a time of searing and seismic testing.”

The deepest and most enduring reason a man would want to be a priest today, the archbishop said, is “the person of Jesus Christ. … If our love for Jesus Christ is truly genuine, then there must stir within us the desire to be like him.”

Despite this “moment of humiliation and some degree of helplessness”  for priests and the church, “I firmly believe that this one of the best times to be a priest,” the archbishop said.

“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 bind us together as priests in a uniquely difficult period our our history.”

We liked the archbishop’s talk so much that we put it in this week’s issue of  the CNS documentary service, Origins (www.originsonline.com).

But if you are not an Origins subscriber, you can read the archbishop’s complete text on America magazine’s blog, In All Things, or on Commonweal’s dotcommonweal.

But Origins subscribers can also access Msgr. Stephen Rossetti’s NFPC presentation, based on data from two studies he conducted of 4,000 priests between 2002 and 2010 that show “priests like being priests; they find great satisfaction with their lives.” Rather than “dispirited, discouraged and disintegrating,” today’s priests are becoming stronger, he believes.

Msgr. Rossetti, now a professor at The Catholic University of America, is a licensed psychologist who spent 17 years at the head of the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Md., a residential treatment center for priests and religious with addictions or psychological disorders.

“As the public negativity rises and the chorus of naysayers crescendos, I believe our priests and church are actually the better for it,” he said.

People in a hurry can access CNS stories about the Quinn and Rossetti speeches here and here.

But wait, there’s more! Origins subscribers also have complete coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Malta. And all of it in 16 pages!

Easy-to-read encyclical

Don’t want to spend hours scrolling through a Web site in order to read the pope’s new encyclical? Then order a copy of Origins, the CNS Documentary Service, where you can get it in an easy-to-read format. Call (202) 541-3290.

New Vatican bioethics document available in Origins

Admit it: Sometimes you want a hard-copy text of a major document rather than bookmarking it on your computer (where it can get lost) or printing a dozen or more pages off the Internet that you have to staple together and file.

Well, you’re in luck, because copies of the Vatican’s new bioethics document, “Dignitas Personae,” are rolling off the press in the latest edition of Origins, the CNS documentary service that has been providing full texts of church statements and speeches for 38 years.

The single-copy price of this edition of Origins (Vol. 38, No. 28) is $8. Multiple-copy rates are also available. Call us at (202) 541-3290 to place your order.

(Subscribers to the online version of Origins can click here for that version of “Dignitas Personae.”)

Vatican document on use of psychological testing in seminaries available in Origins

A week ago the Vatican released the long-awaited document called “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood.” (We had coverage of it here and here.)

The full text was difficult to find at first, but now we have it available in the latest edition of Origins, our documentary service. Origins’ subscribers can read the document by clicking here. (It’s in Vol. 38, No. 23, dated Nov. 13, 2008.)

We also offer single-copy sales of this edition of Origins for just $5. To order, call (202) 541-3290 and we’ll mail one out to you.

All the pope’s U.S. texts in one place

If you don’t mind some CNS shameless self-promotion, we think we’ve got a winner here — and it’s in an old-fashioned print publication.

I’m talking of course about Origins, our documentary service, which has been selling like, well, hotcakes at a K of C pancake breakfast for the past month since we published an Origins special edition with all the texts of Pope Benedict’s U.S. trip.

Sure, you can get them all for free off the Internet, but then what? Print them yourself? Leave them on your hard drive? Copy them to a flash drive (even though you’ll still need a device to view them)?

Or, for a mere $5, you can purchase this one issue of Origins, then keep it in your briefcase, on your bookshelf or on your desk for ready reference or for small chunks of inspiration, much like you might take 10 minutes to read a particular chapter from the Bible and reflect on its meaning for your life.

Bulk rates are also available: $4.00 each for 2-9 copies; $3.50 each for 10-25 copies; $3.00 each for 26-49 copies; $2.50 each for 50-99 copies; and $2.00 each plus shipping for 100-plus copies (perfect for schools or parish study groups).

This special 36-page edition of Origins includes the full texts of everything on the pope’s itinerary: the welcome ceremony with President Bush; the speeches to the bishops and educators; the address to the U.N.; the homilies of the papal Masses; and much more. (Origins‘ online subscribers can click here for the full contents.)

Copies of this edition of Origins (Vol. 37, No. 46; May 1, 2008) can be purchased online at http://www.originsonline.com/ (look for the blurb on the right and click there or here), or by calling (202) 541-3290.

The Internet is great, and so are old-fashioned print products, but neither is perfect and this is an example where the latter is preferable to the former.

The Internet is nice, but …

Yes, you can get all the texts from Pope Benedict’s historic visit to the United States from various locations on the Internet, but wouldn’t you (or your parish study group) rather have them in one easy-to-read, magazine-style format? If so, you’re in luck. Origins, the CNS documentary service which has been chronicling the history of the church for the past 37 years, has all the full texts in its latest edition.

In this expanded issue are all of the papal texts — the homilies at Nationals Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Yankee Stadium and every speech or message, such as to the bishops, to educators, to other Christians and to young people — plus the texts of President Bush, Cardinal George, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Vice President Cheney.

The single-copy price of this extra-large edition is the same as any other single issue: $5. But the real bargain is in the bulk rates: $4.00 each for 2-9 copies; $3.50 each for 10-25 copies; $3.00 each for 26-49 copies; $2.50 each for 50-99 copies; and $2.00 each plus shipping for 100-plus copies.

To order, go to www.originsonline.com and click on the order form or call (202) 541-3290. And if you’re already an Origins online subscriber, you can click here for easy access to this edition with your username and password.

This week in Origins

Here’s the rundown for the latest edition of Origins: CNS Documentary Service dated Dec. 13:

  • To come to know God — the true God — means to receive hope, says Pope Benedict XVI in “Spe Salvi,” his second encyclical. Today many people seek redemption through science and politics rather than through religion, he notes. But technology and political programs ultimately disappoint and can sometimes harm, he says. “Man needs God,” he says, for that trustworthy hope that allows us to face our present. “The present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads toward a goal, if we can be sure of this goal and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.” (Subscribers: Click here)