Qualities of a Good Priest

A priest plays a role in some of the most important points in the lives of those he serves through the celebration of the seven sacraments. But more than that, priests play a role in the everyday lives of many of his parishioners, through the saying of daily mass, hearing confession, providing priestly counsel, and offering comfort in times of grief or heartache. 

It is no surprise then, that there are specific qualities that make a man a good priest,  allowing him to portray Christ for everyone through the beauty and faithfulness of his daily life. In his weekly general audience in November, 2014, Pope Francis outlined some of these qualities that make one a good priest, noting “those who are ordained should never be authoritative, but rather humble and merciful.”

In his pastoral letters, St. Paul lists those traits that allow a priest to minister in a way that is genuine and fruitful. With this guidance from St. Paul, over the years many people have identified those traits that create a foundation for one to be a good priest, who is able to witness the Gospel in a joyful and credible way.

  • A personal relationship with Jesus and a love for the eucharist
  • Love for the Catholic Church and its teachings
  • A strong prayer life with a desire to go deeper
  • Compassion and empathy, with an interest in serving people
  • Ability to collaborate and work with others
  • Kindness and respect for all people, including those of different races, ethnic groups and cultures
  • Good social skills and the ability to communicate well 
  • A capacity and desire to engage in lifelong learning 
  • The ability to spend time along, and a healthy self image 
  • A generous capacity for friendship
  • Courage and refusing to be swayed by others

Check out our infographic on the Steps to Becoming a Catholic Priest.