An encouraging work on the status of the priesthood and the Church today, The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood: A Faith Perspective on the Reality and Mystery of Priesthood in the Church by Fr. Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., provides an authentic teaching on the important vocation of the priesthood.

Both the priest and layperson will find The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood an instructive text. Its chapters include:

  • The Unchanging Heart beneath the Changing Face
  • The Servant Heart of the Priest
  • The Human Heart in the Divine Plan
  • The Afflicted Priestly Heart: Sexual Misconduct and Homosexuality
  • The Unchanging Priestly Heart: Celibacy and Intimacy
  • The Ever-Expanding Priestly Heart: Priestly Spirituality and Renewal


About the Author

Fr. Thomas Acklin, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk, first professed vows in 1976 at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was ordained a priest in 1980 and studied theology and psychology of religion at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, where he earned a Doctorate of Sacred Theology. He undertook psychoanalytic training at the Belgian School of Psychoanalysis and graduated from the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute. Fr. Acklin then served as master of junior-professed monks for four years and as president-rector of St. Vincent Seminary for twelve years. Currently, Fr. Acklin is professor of theology and psychology at St. Vincent College and St. Vincent Seminary, where he has taught since 1976, and is a faculty member of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute and Foundation.


“Fr. Acklin dispels many of the great clouds of confusion that have gathered about the priesthood. And he does this in the most effective way: by revisiting the biblical foundations of Holy Orders, in both the Old and New Testaments.”

—Scott Hahn, Bestselling Author and Popular Speaker

“Fr. Acklin’ s timely analysis of the challenges to authentic priestly life and ministry is reflective of the great insights of Pope John Paul II. . . . A true understanding and appreciation of the unchanging heart of the priesthood will attract priestly vocations, help priestly renewal, and ultimately invigorate the Church.”

—Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana

“This candid, accurate, no-spin description of the priesthood is a must read for all priests seeking personal holiness and effectiveness in ministry, and for all others who are genuinely interested in understanding the great gift that the priesthood is to the Church.”

—Sr. Joyce Candidi, O.S.H.J., Director, Office of Vowed Religious, Youngstown, OH

“A positive, upbeat evaluation of current trends among seminarians and young priests. It is especially encouraging to discover that they . . . are seriously interested in prayer, self-denial, and the proven forms of asceticism that lead to personal holiness.”

—Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., Former Editor, Homiletic and Pastoral Review

“Immensely helpful to anyone trying to contextualize the abuse scandals within the Church, while at the same time holding a profound love and reverence for the priesthood.”

—Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, STD, Rector, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary

“Fr. Acklin makes his own statement—clear and solid—about ordained, ministerial priesthood. Any change in the face of the priesthood, however responsive it may seem to contemporary challenges, must be legitimated by a rooting in a clear appreciation of the unchanging heart of the priesthood.”

—Fr. George Aschenbrenner, S.J., Co-founder, Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University

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The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood: A Faith Perspective on the Reality and Mystery of Priesthood in the Church