Review: The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest

The Spirituality of the Diocesan PriestThe Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest by Donald B. Cozzens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although now twenty years old, this collection of essays still has much to offer to those priests who are ‘secular’ or ‘diocesan’ rather than members of a religious order or clerical institute. For the latter priests, a charism or spirituality can be a very significant part of their identity as priest as well as a member of the order or institute that they belong to. It is one of the benefits of belonging to such organisations; membership provides the basis for their ministry.

For ‘secular’ or ‘diocesan’ clergy, the basis for ministry can be a little harder to find, though the contributions in this volume significantly assist the member of the clergy to grapple with their priestly and ministerial identity. Each of the contributors brings their own experience and expertise to the question, and while they provide no definite answers, they certainly provide the right questions.

A very highly recommended edition.

From the back cover:

Behind the drop in seminarians and the declining numbers of priests, behind the sexual misconduct scandals shaking the confidence and trust once readily given to priests, a spiritual deepening and maturing is quietly renewing the spirit and confidence of the diocesan priest. In this collection, twelve priests and bishops reflect on the spirituality of the diocesan priest from the 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 proper 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.

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