Bookshelf suggestions from the diocesan vocation director
Father Joseph S. Corel, diocesan vocation director for the Jefferson City diocese, suggests the following books and documents on various aspects of discerning a priestly vocation.
Why are all priests men?
Apostolic Letter of John Paul II: Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), Paulist Press, Aug. 15, 1988. It would take about one hour to read this document. It can also be downloaded from the Vatican website (www. vatican.va).
M. Hauke, Women in the Priesthood? A Systematic Analysis in the Light of the Order of Creation and Redemption, Ignatius Press, 1988. This 487-page book explains the role of the priesthood through Scripture and tradition and why men have always been called to ordained priesthood. "The author cites copiously from American as well as European sources and presents the feminist authors. For the first time, the whole question is placed in the comprehensive context of anthropology, biology, psychology, philosophy and theology."
The promise of celibacy and chastity:
B. Groeschel, The Courage to Be Chaste, Paulist Press, 1985. This book is not just for priests and sisters. It is for anyone who is single and plans to remain single for some time. Anyone who plans on living a celibate chaste life or period in life must know the current culture, the reason they plan on living this way, and what to do about the fact that God made us sexual beings with a body. Groeschel covers all of these topics in his short, easy-to-read 108-page book.
B. Groeschel, From Scandal to Hope, Our Sunday Visitor, 2002. In the midst of the sexual abuse crisis hitting our Church, many were quick to blame celibacy for the problem. Fr. Groeschel hears the argument and addresses the concerns but does not take the position that celibacy should be removed from ordained priesthood.
T. McGovern, Priestly Celibacy Today. Scepter Publishers, 1998. Pope John Paul II asked for a comprehensive presentation and explanation of the biblical, theological and spiritual richness of celibacy when he wrote Pastores Dabo Vobis. This is that presentation looking at the historical development of both the Eastern and Western traditions.
A. Stickler, The Case for Clerical Celibacy: Its Historical and Theological Foundations, Ignatius Press, 1995. This easy, quick 106-page book explains the Scriptural and theological foundations for clerical celibacy. He shows that celibacy is necessarily connected to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
USCCB: Program of Priestly Formation, Fifth Edition. These guidelines and plan for seminary formation took to heart the ideas and concerns raised in Pastores Dabo Vobis. If you want to know the ideals about seminary candidates, seminarians and seminaries, read these two documents.
Books for people who want to know about priests:
L. Boadt and M. Hunt, Why I am a Priest: Thirty Success Stories, Paulist Press, 1999.
T. Kane, Priests and People Too!, Thomas More Publishing, 2002.
Sister P. Proctor, 101 Inspirational Stories of the Priesthood, Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 2005.
M. Rose, Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today, Sophia Institute Press, 2003.
Secretariat for Priestly Life and Ministry, Priests for a New Millennium: A Series of Essays on the Ministerial Priesthood by the Catholic Bishops of the United States, USCCB, 2000.
Answers to questions and concerns anyone may have about seminary/priestly life:
A. Bannon, Vocations Questions and Answers, Circle Press. Questions and answers he has with people who visit him at his website. (questions @vocations.com)
T. Dolan, Priests for a Third Millennium, Our Sunday Visitor, 2000. Conferences then-Rector Timothy Dolan gave to the seminarians at The North American College in Rome. Archbishop Dolan is now the Archbishop of New York.
National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, Is Jesus Calling You to be a Priest: A Helpful Guide. (Call the diocesan Vocation Office.)
A. Wisdom, Why Should I Encourage My Son to be a Priest, Liguori Press, 2007. $1 pamphlet that will take 20 minutes to read.