Rorate Caeli

A reminder for priests to become pure and holy

Fr. Paul Gunter OSB is a Consultant to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. Zenit recently published his essay on the "Priest in the Communion Rites", from which the following excerpt is taken.

The priest in the Communion Rites of the extraordinary form performs more complicated gestures that no less indicate priestly identity and function in preparing for Holy Communion...


After the Agnus Dei, there are three prayers the priest says before Holy Communion with his eyes fixed on the Sacred Host and whose content is largely found in the Communion Rite of the ordinary form. Then holding the Host he says the Domine, non sum dignus three times when simultaneously striking his breast. As he purifies the paten into the chalice prior to consuming the Precious Blood he quotes from Psalm 115, "What return can I make to the Lord for all he has given to me. I will take the chalice of salvation and call on the name of the Lord but adds "praising, I will call on the Lord for I will have been saved from my enemies." During the purifying of the chalice, after the Quod ore sumpsimus, the priest prays that there remain in him no stain from his misdeeds and that the Body and Blood of Christ which he has received transform his entire being.

It can be seen that any emphasis placed on priestly character and on the priest's liturgical actions in the Communion rites are overwhelmingly encouraging. While they do not hide a priest's awareness of his unworthiness, they highlight his unique dignity and remind him of how he must strive to become pure and holy like Christ. Then they are inviting; that is, immediately inviting to the sacrificing priest to enter into a closer union with Jesus Christ The High Priest and Victim, and inviting to the faithful that they may recognize with joy the ministry of the priesthood whose mystery is essential for the Eucharist, the 'Source and Summit of the life and mission of the Church'. In those different aspects of that invitation, the Church glimpses at the wonder of the love of God who humbled himself to share in our humanity, renewing his invitation each time his Covenant of Love is made present on the altar when Christ draws our human existence ever more deeply into his Risen Life. As the author of the Book of the Apocalypse testifies: "Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him."


  1. Anonymous6:21 AM

    There are a disproportionate amount of homosexually inclined men in the priesthood. What heterosexually inclined man would feel at ease in an environment suffused in homosexuality be it a seminary or any other house of formation. This problem is endemic in traditional orders as well. We need a clear headed solution.

  2. "This problem is endemic in traditional orders as well. We need a clear headed solution."

    If this is true, then something is drastically wrong in the Roman Catholic Church. As a Catholic, this is disturbing.

  3. "This problem is endemic in traditional orders as well. We need a clear headed solution."

    A blanket statement like this borders on calumny. If you're talking about the SSJ, that's one thing but applying it to other traditional orders is uncalled for.

  4. Mr. Haley,

    Are you seriously suggesting traditionalist orders do not have some members who have same-sex attraction to varying degrees?


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!