In preparation for the Year of Priests which is to begin this Friday, here are a couple of links to Pope John XXIII's Encyclical on St. John Vianney on the 100th anniversary of the saint's death, and Pope Pius XI's Encyclical on the Catholic Priesthood.
Here is Section 26 from Pope John XXIII's Encyclical on St. Jean Vianney:
"The ascetic way of life, by which priestly chastity is preserved, does not enclose the priest's soul within the sterile confines of his own interests, but rather it makes him more eager and ready to relieve the needs of his brethren. St. John Mary Vianney has this pertinent comment to make in this regard: 'A soul adorned with the virtue of chastity cannot help loving others; for it has discovered the source and font of love—God.' What great benefits are conferred on human society by men like this who are free of the cares of the world and totally dedicated to the divine ministry so that they can employ their lives, thoughts, powers in the interest of their brethren! How valuable to the Church are priests who are anxious to preserve perfect chastity! For We agree with Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, in regarding this as the outstanding adornment of the Catholic priesthood and as something 'that seems to Us to correspond better to the counsels and wishes of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, so far as the souls of priests are concerned.' Was not the mind of John Mary Vianney soaring to reach the counsels of this same divine charity when he wrote this lofty sentence: 'Is the priesthood love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus?'"
Picture: Statue of St. Jean Vianney in the Cathedral in Lyon, France (Primatiale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon). Photo by me.