The Program of Priestly Formation, paragraph 75, states that, “the humanity of the priest is instrumental in mediating the redemptive gifts of Christ to people today.” As Father Angel Perez Lopez began his time as a formator for St. John Vianney Seminary in 2014, he searched how best he could aid the seminarians precisely in this area of human formation. Not having found a systematic approach to each virtue within priestly human formation and having been asked by the rector to develop conferences on the virtues for the seminary, Father began to compile his own research. In the midst of his studies, TAN books heard about Father’s endeavor and approached him to do a series of books on the four cardinal virtues and priestly formation. Coming spring of 2017, two books of a four part series will be published: The Priest as a Man of Justice and The Priest as a Man of Temperance.
Geared toward seminarians and priests who are serious about on-going formation, these books will offer a concrete program for human formation in the virtues. Father Angel heavily bases his writings on the virtues as presented by St. Thomas Aquinas while also dialoging with figures such as Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, Romano Guardini and Dietrich von Hildebrand. These books can be seen as a synthesis of Father’s expertise as a scholar, spiritual director and formator that will hopefully be a service to other seminaries and priests.
Framing his mindset from the perspective of charity, Father Angel shows that virtues cannot be approached without faith, but require supernatural grace in order for men to be formed as true spiritual fathers. Father uses the analogy of a personal trainer in order to articulate the efficiency required in virtue training. One can simply show up to a gym, but it requires the skills of a personal trainer in order to effectively develop the skills necessary to achieve. His books articulate both what virtues are necessary for priestly formation and what concrete spiritual exercises aid in the development of these virtues. As a result, it is hoped that the education received from these books aid both seminarians and priests alike in conforming themselves to the sublime example of our Lord Jesus Christ.