Priests must be holy to be effective – Vatican

May 28, 2012

Ten years after a historic papal response to clerical sex abuse, the Vatican urged priests to strive for greater holiness in their lives so they might effectively minister to others and reverse the tide of atheism.

In its annual letter to priests for 2012, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy gave a guideline for examining their consciences concerning everything from how they celebrate Mass to how well they are living a generous life detached from consumerism.

The letter marks the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, celebrated June 15 – the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"We cannot be sanctified without working on the holiness of our brothers, and we cannot work on the holiness of our brothers unless we have first worked on and continue to work on our own holiness," the letter said.