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NFPC-QUINN Apr-19-2010 (520 words) xxxn

Jesus' words to troubled disciples can guide us today, archbishop says

By Catholic News Service

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Jesus' words to his "very troubled and confused disciples" before his passion and death offer guidance today at "a perilous and critical point in the life of the church," Archbishop John R. Quinn told participants in the National Federation of Priests' Councils convention April 13.

The retired archbishop of San Francisco spoke about "Christ present in the darkness" during the annual NFPC meeting April 12-15 in Houston.

Saying that "the great works of God have been accomplished in darkness," Archbishop Quinn cited chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of John as containing the words that should guide priests and the church today.

Jesus "begins by giving them a forthright commandment: 'You are not to let your hearts be troubled,'" the archbishop said. "This is not an exhortation. It is a command."

Jesus tells his disciples that "in the trouble and the crisis they confront, where disaster seems inevitable and there is no solution, with the Father and the Spirit he will be with them," Archbishop Quinn said. "This is how the Bible teaches us to persevere in darkness and in trial."

He acknowledged that priests are "the ones who meet the angry or confused or troubled people at the Sunday Masses in your parishes and missions" and the ones "whose hearts break at the anguish of our people over the robbed innocence of their children."

He called U.S. priests today "a body of men who do not seek praise or acclaim and who walk faithfully with the Lord in a time of searing and seismic testing."

Archbishop Quinn also offered the example of a number of priests whose lives were worthy of emulation, including Father Emil Kapaun, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kan., who died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War; Divine Word Father Joseph Guetzloe, who went voluntarily with his Japanese-American parishioners when they were relocated to internment camps during World War II; and Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who returned to Guatemala despite death threats and was killed there.

Like those priests, "there are humble, faithful priests expending their talents and energies in serving Christ and his people everywhere in the United States," he said. "I have seen them."

But he said upheaval in the church might make priests today ask the question broached by Father Karl Rahner years ago: "Why would a modern man want to become or to remain a priest today?"

"The deepest and most enduring reason why a modern man would want to become and to remain a priest is the person of Jesus Christ," Archbishop Quinn said. "If our love for Jesus Christ is truly genuine, then there must stir within us the desire to be like him."

The archbishop also recalled the words of St. John of the Cross during "a similar time of disaster for the church": "The Lord in every age has always revealed the treasures of his wisdom and his Spirit. But in these times when the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more."

END


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