On June 19, Pope Benedict opened the Year of the Priest, for the purpose of encouraging “spiritual perfection” in the priests of the Catholic Church.    During this year, St. John Vianney will be named the patron of the world’s priests, which expands on his title of patron of parish priests.

It is no secret that priests have had a rough go of it over the last 15 years due to the scandal.  However, that scandal, so blown up by the media, did not take into account the huge percentage of priests who were not involved.  It took the few who were and used them as an example to blacken the name of the holy priesthood.  I know seminarians who have been spat upon and called all manner of names because people think they are somehow connected to the misdeeds of those priests.  Not mitigating the sins of those priests involved, we still have to remember that most priests were not involved.

So this Year of the Priest will give priests a new focus and also call attention to the necessity of priests for our Catholic life.  What can the laity do in this special year?  Is this year just for priests, or can we somehow lend them support?  Read what James has to say about positive things we the faithful can do.