The faithless priest grows to he who surrenders himself to the spirit of wickedness and unhappily becomes his bondsman.
A priest of this character, a priest of vicious life and scandalous conduct, is the greatest enemy to God, the greatest enemy to the Church, aye, the greatest enemy to himself. He is an enemy to God, because, instead of glorifying Him, he dishonors Him ; he is an enemy to the Church, because, instead of edifying her, he lays her waste and destroys her; he is an enemy to himself, because, instead of the reward which awaited him, he is preparing for himself a life of dishonor, a death of terror, a tremendous judgment and an unspeakable eternity.
We had gone this far in drawing out this terrible picture when we ourselves were frightened at it, and we could not bring ourselves to go on and lay it in full before our readers. For who will read our book ? Good priests or those who wish to become such. Why should they be saddened by a picture which has no application to them ? Those to whom it would apply will not read the book : The wicked man when he is come into the depth of sins contemneth.
When a wicked priest, if there be such, becomes a scourge who destroys and a wolf who murders the souls of the flock whose salvation is entrusted to him, then is verified the saying, corruptio optimi pessima.
Such a priest, let us hope, is an exception. For the most part priests are good men, and even their enemies admit that in no age have they given less cause for censure than in the present.