Who will win this battle? Clearly, a rhetorical question.
From the excellent Denzinger-Bergoglio, I attach their long list of ante litteram condemnations of Francis’ blasphemies, heresies and outright socialist bovine excreements from the very mouth of the last of the great Popes.
You notice here an extremely strident contrast not only between an intelligent and pious Catholic and a stupid and corrupted Socialist, but also the difference between coherent thought and off-the-cuff, self-contradicting anarchy.
I smile when I read article attributing to Francis the willful adherence to philosophical positions of the past. The man has no philosophical approach at all: firstly because he is too stupid for that, and secondly because he is too ignorant for that.
His populist rhetoric, his relentless enviro-madness, his attacks to the sacraments, his insults to Christ and the Blessed Virgin, his very confusion about the difference between the Trinity and the false god of the Muslims are not the result of profound philosophical study. They are the same rubbish arrogant, uneducated idiots think and profess every day. And they are spouted with the same abundance of self-contradictions your typical illiterate peasant, or your typical self-righteous prostitute, would not be able to avoid.
There’s nothing educated or in any way (even wrong way) “lofty” in what Francis says. You could have taken any semi-illiterate peasant from any field in Guatemala, and the “theology” would have been exactly the same. The man is simply too ignorant to think in philosophical terms, too stupid to think right even in simple things, and too stupid to notice it. It is a farce of a pope, running a farce of a papacy.
Mock him. Laugh at him. Bury him under a tidal wave of ridicule.
Because of you, and by God’s grace, someone might wake up from his stupor.
I have read around – I suspect, from the usual V II crowd – that repression of heresy doesn’t really work, as soon after the death of the last “repressive” Pope they were everywhere in just a few years. I found the reasoning so wrong I need to write a post of explanation, in case the argument should emerge in your own discussions with friends, on the Internet, etc.
in my eyes, that repression of Modernism works fine is abundantly proven by the fact that for more than 50 years Modernists were absolutely nowhere as far as mainstream Catholicism is concerned. Their work was limited to some isolated theologians, who were promptly censored or condemned, and – presumably- to a subterranean current of followers which, being underground and therefore silent, could not be easily spotted, much less attacked.
Still, the work of the good Popes of the past was so good, that even in such a situation they did not hesitate in keeping a very strict control over what was happening. It is said Pope Pius XII had put his own “plants” in the major Catholic universities and seminaries, exactly in order to flush out, as much as he could, even the heretics working in the shade. Seriously, how anyone could do better than this is beyond me; and whether it worked, of course it worked!
Still, heresy in the Church is like the weed in a huge field. You can do as much as you want to eradicate the weed, but it will pop up again and again, and it will never be possible to eradicate it completely. Even constant attention will not lead to the problem’s extinction; but neglect will soon cause the problem to explode.
This is exactly what happened when John XXIII was elected. Suddenly, there was no real interest in the extirpation on of weed anymore. As a result, the weed started to grow at a prodigious rate, and in just a few years took over the field. To say the policy of the former Popes didn’t work merely because the following Popes refused to care for the extirpation of the weed is to put things completely upside down.
Repression of heresy works. It works, in fact, beautifully. If after Pope Pius XII we had had Popes who care for the extirpation of weed, the field would be exactly in the same beautiful shape now as it was in the Fifties. Of course, we would still have heretics working in the dark. But this has always been the case.
Those who say the Popes of the first half of the XX Century were not effective against heresy are like those who blame the good gardener who left the garden spotless for the mess caused by his successors, and for the weed now growing everywhere, undisturbed.
Don’t blame the good gardener. Blame the bad ones.
It seems the only way left to defend Francis and let him look like a halfway normal Pope instead of a dangerous liberal Neo-modernist, populist, appeasing moderniser is to deny that he is worse than he really is, and to infer from this that he must, then, be good.
At the end of May, Francis excommunicated a mad priest. A pope defrocking and or excommunicating a mad priest is not new or strange, and it is questionable whether it is “news”. For some predictable reason – like the necessity to give Francis a varnish of “tough” orthodoxy for the benefit of the gullible – the news has been echoed, several months after the fact, by the Press after the 12,000 word disaster, prompting desperate cries of “look! He is not the Antichrist!” from the equally desperate defenders of Circus Bergoglio.
The same happens with the nuns, or with the strange idea of Francis “changing the teaching of the Church”.
Well no, Francis is not a mad nun – though Nazi Pelosi seems almost to think he is; but actually not even she does – and it will always be easily possible to find a mad nun telling us that, to her, Francis is not good enough. But this does not prove absolutely anything beside the disquieting fact the mad nun considers the reflection whether the man could be, in fact, good enough a legitimate one, worthy of a statement or a video or an interview or an assertion that he might be “teachable” after all.
Similarly, the assertion that Francis “has not changed Church teaching” means perfectly nothing. The topics about which Francis has caused the biggest stir – abortion and homosexuality – are clearly part of the universal and ordinary Magisterium. The bishop of Rome couldn't change them at all, so Francis not saying “as per midnight new rules will apply” doesn't even begin to be an argument to defend his alleged orthodoxy.
A Pope cannot change Church doctrine. What a bad Pope can do, though, is to downplay or sabotage or subvert important parts of it, and put fluffy sentimentalism and populist waffle of all sorts in its place. This has been a popular sport at the Vatican in these last 50+ years; but clearly, Francis wins the contest hands down and puts every one of his predecessors easily in the shade. In the hit parade for the worst pope since V II he has already left even the 15 years of Paul VI's pontificate easily behind himself, and he a … bishop of Rome only six months. Just imagine what he will do in ten or fifteen years.
The devastation caused by this man is now apparent, but there are still those who believe the entire planet is stupid and doesn't understand, for the thirtieth time, what Francis wanted to say. Some of them now begin to say that, perhaps, it might be a mistake to cause an earthquake a week with his oh so orthodox interventions; still, that dozens of interventions show a clear pattern of thinking and behaviour does not enter their elevated and perceptive minds. No. We just don't get the man, that's all.
You see, Francis is a sly, cunning man. A genius he is not, a Jesuit he clearly is. He knows how the church works, and how the V II crowd thinks. Therefore, he goes on with his work of destruction, comfortable in the knowledge that he will never be short of clericalist cheerleaders, whilst looking oh so good in the eyes of the enemies of Christ. The orthodox Catholics, on the other hand, he feels free to offend in that humble, non-judgmental way of his, and calls them various names, among which “obsessed”, “Restorationists”, “Disciplinarians”, and “Pelagians” come to mind, not to mention “hypocrites” and “cowards”.
Yes, Francis is against the ordination of women. Of course he is, this is Catholic dogma. Yes, he will defrock or excommunicate a priest every now and then, when there is really no alternative. But this proves exactly nothing concerning the main problem of Francis, the daily downplaying, sabotaging or subverting Catholic teaching in his quest for popularity and approval.
It's like wanting to defend Che Guevara stating that he wasn't Stalin after all.
It says little, and it proves nothing.
“I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts” is the literal translation of the brilliant Virgil’s verse.
In our case, the Trojan Horse we must pay attention to is the allegedly ventilated canonisation of Pope Pius XII.
Having read about Padre Pio’s hours-long vision of our beloved Pastor Angelicus in heaven the day that great Pope died, I would not be among those who cry scandal and heresy if such a decision were to be taken. Canonisations are infallible anyway, so one has to either believe the Sea is vacant or believe they are true.
I would, in fact, be overjoyed; not because of the news that Pius XII is in heaven – Padre Pio had no doubts, and this is good enough for me every day of the week – but because of the obvious repercussions within the Church. At first sight, this appears a great gift made to conservative Catholics and, clearly, to us Traditionalists.
On the other hand, I offer the following reflections:
I fear an homosexuality-condoning, liturgy-massacring, heresy-flirting, sodomite-buddying, humbleness-professing, canon-law trampling Jesuit even when he bears gifts. Actually, I fear him particularly when he bears gift.
You can call it mistrust if you want to. I call it life experience, and sound reasoning.
I also wonder whether this rumour has not been started – by the Bishop of Rome, or someone near to him – to persuade the growing phalanx of well awake Catholics to tone done the criticism a bit. If you behave, Uncle Jorge will give you a chocolate cookie. If not… He will have to get rid of Summorum Pontificum, and it will be all your fault, you naughty boys…
Thirdly, I wonder whether this might not be the novocaine the dentist gives to the patient before he starts to get to work in earnest. Imagine a total or substantial killing of Summorum Pontificum coupled with the announcement of the canonisation.
What now, skipper?
Anyway, relata refero. It might be all rubbish, or it might be the Bishop is thinking of a Beatification.
We will have to wait and see how this pans out.
In the meantime, I will continue to fear the Greeks.
“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul….
“I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.
“A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them, like Mary Magdalene weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?'”
Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, future Pope Pius XII, 1931.
Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out … if they don’t, they become an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO. May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice. Thanks for whatever you can do.
Francis, Bishop of Rome, 2013.
What the great Pope of the past feared, my dear friends, we are already living with the disgraceful Bishop of Rome of the present.
Together with the new Encyclical, the Holy Father today announced the canonisation of both John Paul II and John XXIII. In the case of the latter, the Pope waived the usual requirement for a second miracle.
My limited understanding of these things tells me that canonisations are a matter of infallibility; therefore, the day the Pope decides to canonise Annibale Bugnini, or Pope Leo X, I will shut up and believe they are both in Heaven. So much easier is to get accustomed to the idea of the two men slated for canonisation, whose personal piety and saintliness is not questioned. The matter of infallibility also has as corollary that the Holy Ghost will strike Pope Francis dead if John XXIII is not in heaven, which in my book is guarantee enough the Holy Father has read the file with a certain attention.
In fact, I consider such canonisations, in themselves, very encouraging for the likes of us, because whilst great Saints of the past come to us with an aura of granitic heroism, the limits of the earthly decisions and actions of the two new saints are very evident to everyone with some attitude to thinking, particularly concerning the Koran-kissing, Buddha-on-the-altar, Pray-with-infidels John Paul II. If, therefore, one can commit such impious acts and still manage – after suitable contrition, no doubt – to land straight to Heaven without a more or less painful and prolonged stop in Purgatory, there is some bigger hope for us not so pious, but less sacrilegious sinners to, at least, avoid hell.
What is not only bad, but of course very bad are two intended consequences of these canonisations.
1. The V II crowd will desperately try to smuggle personal saintliness for the canonisation of V II itself; which is bollocks, but just what the Argentinian doctor ordered. Can't wait for the beatification of all the VII heavyweights from Rahner to Meisner.
2. Pope Venerable Pius XII is still waiting – I mean, he is not waiting; but we are; though in a sense we aren't, either – for the beatification, for which leaked information published on this blog state the beatification mass prayer is ready, a clear sign the procedure has been concluded. It strikes one as odd – but again, also as normal – that the Pastor Angelicus is forgotten in this way. I suspect his old habit of praying (and counting! counting!! I kid you not!) rosaries sits badly with the current Pontiff; besides the fact that Pope Pius XII was, clearly, very much the “Renaissance Prince”…
What, therefore, these canonisations mean for the likes of us? They mean that we must, in our little circle of half-Catholics, agnostics and utter infidels, explain that not being canonised does not mean not to be in Heaven; that the soul in Heaven is past any care whether he is canonised or not, much less when; and that the decision to canonise a saint is also a political one (because a Pope can decide a certain canonisation is not opportune, for example, whilst another one is). From such decision we can see, for example, which direction a Pope wants to give to his reign, but not who was the saintlier man, much less the better Pope.
Let us rejoice, then, at the news of two very questionable Popes (I mean obviously: questionable qua Popes) in Heaven. I wish heaven to people I strongly dislike, I will have no difficulty whatever in exulting at he canonisation of two saintly men.
The obviously planned canonisation of Vatican II is, of course, a different matter altogether. Actually, the canonisations call for more frequent cannon work, as you can be sure the pansies will now stage a full scale program of celebration.
Thinking of which, yours truly is even tempted to think the decision to proceed to these new canonisations has been precipitated by the utter indifference with which the Catholic world has (not) greeted the anniversary of V II; an indifference calling for measures which, from a purely political point of view, reek of desperation. As if two, or twenty, canonisations could make right what is wrong.
Vatican II must die, and die will it one day.
In the meantime, let us rejoice. They made it straight, we can make it in instalments.
Pope Pius XII, 1943.
Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.
Pope Francis, 2013.
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
I had to smile when I read on Rorate that Pope Francis is asking the Pontiff Emeritus to … complete the encyclical letter on Faith. I could almost hear the Pontiff says to the Emeritus, in tears, “aiutami, Benedetto!” after comparing the existing text with his own additions…
Don’t take me seriously, of course. It is normal for encyclical letters to be either written or co-written with expert theologians (when they are expert, or rather orthodox), and even a smart Pope like Pius XI asked his very own Cardinal Pacelli to write Mit Brennender Sorge. Nothing wrong or unusual per se.
Still, I had to smile…
Also interesting is the other news the Pope is working at an encyclical letter on (you guessed it) poverty, hopefully and allegedly intended in the proper way. Beati pauperes is clearly being hinted as a possible name for this effort.
We shall see, but I don’t think I’ll need to read any period of this twice, or will emerge from the reading tremendously enriched.
No great risk of controversy, either. Expect rather grilled tofu on soya sauce. I do not doubt the, ahem, simplest Catholics will be delighted, and the tofu blogosphere will be utterly, utterly delighted.
We shall see, and read. I do not doubt which of the two encyclicals will make the better reading.
If you have looked at the Video of Pope Francis visiting the Pontiff Emeritus yesterday, you could probably not avoid noticing how frail Benedict looked. If one thinks that only at the beginning of February he was still fully in charge, one begins to have a very clear picture of why his decision to abdicate was a wise one.
I never bought the story of the “Cross from which the Pope is not supposed to step down”. If the duty of a Pope had traditionally been to be frail and ineffective, the Popes would have been traditionally chosen among the oldest and sickest, in the hope their frailty goes on for as long as possible; after which, the next sick old man would have been picked up.
We all know this was never the case, and when it happened that old men were chosen for the office it was because a ” transition Pope” (that is: one of whom the Cardinals thought he would not occupy the position for very long) was considered preferable to a long impasse or a very public quarrel.
Please also consider the most famous Popes were men full of energy. Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, Urban II, or Pius IX (to mention just a few) were Popes who would have never thought it would be better for them to be old, frail, and ultimately factually irrelevant. Popes were meant to reign, not to be put in a shop window (or a “Popemobile”) for all the world to see Catholicism is de facto without its guide.
Pope Pius XII was a Pope I continue to go back to, because it seems to me in most cases if you want to know how a Pope did it right you only have to look at what this great Pope did. Pope Pacelli was a man of such strong energy and iron will, that in one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Church he united in himself the functions of Pope and Secretary of State. Nothing less than full control was enough for him. This, my friends, is a Pope who sees his role rather differently than being looked at behind the bullet proof glass of a vehicle. In fact, Pope Pius XII thought of resigning when it became clear to him he could not reign properly anymore; and we are talking of a time where the Church had things so much under control – though challenges are always there – that the Western societies of the Fifties seem to belong to a different age than the present ones.
What does this tell us? It tells us that a Pope is supposed to function as a Pope, rather than as a televised ad for Catholicism. The “shop window Pope” is very well for the Curia, who can easily manipulate him; or for the local hierarchies, who can do as they please; but it's not good at all for the Church, who needs to be led by Peter, not by a bunch of Cardinals no one ever made Pope and avoiding, at least on this earth, every accountability.
It is not surprising that weak or ill Popes cause the Curia to become inefficient, or corrupt. What is surprising is that the same people who lament the Curia's inefficiency (or corruption) are perfectly fine with years and years of impotent Popes, unable to reign or, alas, even to think properly. They don't see that weak Popes, like weak Kings or Emperors, unavoidably lead to the supremacy of the shrewdest manipulators, to a total lack of accountability, and to an environment of savage intrigue, whereas strong Popes will, for good or for bad, steer the Barque where they want to, and be clearly seen as responsible for what they do.
If we are honest with ourselves, Benedict wouldn't have gone down in history with the nickname “the iron Pope” if he had been in best health every day of his Papacy. Still, the exercise of power always needs a certain amount of energy, of inner fire, of will to demand and command that builds on a certain amount of strength. This strenght is needed to cope with the adrenalines, the difficult decisions, the opposition, the punishments if must be, that the exercise of power invariably demands. Seeing Benedict in yesterday's video, it is abundantly clear this fire isn't there any longer.
An intelligent man, and a man who loves the Church, Benedict must have seen it. He had also seen from very near the quasi-Sede Vacante situation created in the last five, or more, years of his predecessor's reign. He has, I am certain, correctly assessed such a situation as damaging for the Church; and he has decided to draw the consequences from his own situation for the good of the Church, irrespective of the criticism he knew would be levelled at him.
Pope Benedict wasn't an Iron Pope, but he understood the need for the Church to be guided by a Pope, not by an unelected small group of shrewd manipulators. He was intelligent enough to see the issue, and unselfish enough to take a step he knew would be criticised. It pains me, it truly pains me to see a man able to take such a selfless decision, and being criticised for it.
If you ask me, this, what Pope Benedict showed us, was the true courage and the true humility; not the iron cross, the black shoes, and the absence of Mozzetta.
May the Almighty grant Benedict serene days of prayer on earth, and reward this gentle man for this beautiful act of courage.
It is very embarrassing to say “we got it so wrong we should all resign and apply for a job at McDonald’s”. Particularly when the people in question lead the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum visited by people from all over the world.
Therefore – and in order to avoid having to resign – the responsible for the museum have decided to back pedal a bit at a time, in order to look less ideologised, blind and stupid when the time comes to say “erm, aah, well, actually….”.
For the moment they limit themselves to show the arguments of the thinking minds together with those of the liberals; but frankly, everyone knows the game is up.
McDonald’s awaits. Perfectly honourable profession. Much better than working at the denigration of such an excellent man, one of the key people in the XX century, and one who saved the backside of so many Jews they could fill the entire Gaza strip with them.
Time to wake up, boys and girls.
On the usual Rorate Caeli (Good Lord! Where would we all be without them!?) a very interesting excerpt from an article dealing with issues of governance (or we would say: proper administration) in the Vatican.
I note in this article the mentality present in so many commentaries concerning the Vatican: the responsibility is apportioned pretty much everywhere, but where it belongs. Which is, of course, in flagrant violation of the very principles of governance that are discussed. Put in more simple words, the expression “the buck stops here” seems to be simply unknown in the Papal chambers, and never heard of in the Vatican corridors, or among Vatican commentators.
The first example of this unfortunate thinking is the “explanation” that after V II, the Vatican machinery has become more complicated, with the numerous “committees” now dealing with pretty much everything (and being effective in pretty much nothing) and the Secretary of State reduced to be an arbiter and “team manager” rather than a decider.
These discussions all forget a very important factor: reality. If the Vatican’s human dynamics are in anything similar to every other government’s on the planet (which, make no mistake, they are), the committees are there exclusively in order to be perceived as doing something whilst doing nothing, and there is no way one can become I do not say Pope, but coach of the parish football team without understanding this very clearly.
The idea, therefore, the Pope be “prisoner” of a structure he has inherited is a typical example of bad governance: those responsible are exonerated from any responsibility, whilst the problems are considered as a given, or as caused by someone else.
This is even more evident in another rather enlightening phrase of the interviewed expert, Father Levillain, in the simple assumption that it be not possible today to do what the great Pope Pius XII once did, namely: to be at the same time Pope and Secretary of State.
This astonishing utterance completely neglects another great division in everyday life, self-evident to everyone who has worked in a halfway complex organisation: the one between the talkers and the doers. The talkers are those who create – or happily live with – the committees; the doers are those who are not afraid to take responsibility, and to let all the world know they (not a committee, that is: an alibi) are in charge, and will be answerable for what they do. Pope Pius XII, a doer as few others, was a classic example. This was a man not afraid of infallibly proclaiming a dogma, just think how much time he would have had for all the committees of the modern Curia…
Another – not very savoury – aspect of the interview is the rather questionable attempt – morally as well as practically – to apportion the guilt of the undoubtedly bad governance in the Vatican to… the dead.
Please realise John Paul II died more than seven years ago: this is a longer time than any of the two World Wars, and a time long enough to completely re-do the Vatican administration not one, but several times. Besides eluding the simple problem of…reality, the argument has a huge logical flaw: if it is not in the power of a Pope to change things, one cannot proclaim anyone guilt of the present problems. If – as it is logical – it is, then one cannot blame JP II without automatically apportion the greater blame to the one who has been in charge the last seven years. The reality is, few – and possibly: no one – men on Earth have the power of a Pope: not even a President of the United States could re-mould the entire structure of his government and state apparatus without need to get consent from every possible quarter, and not even the most ruthless Middle-Eastern dictator could do so without fear for his safety and life. The Pope is the most powerful man on earth – and I mean here from a purely secular point of view – bar none, and his responsibility when the structures don’t work should be measured accordingly or, at least, not apportioned somewhere else.
The (alas: very human) reality is that whilst some are strong leaders, some saintly men and some good theologians, very few get to achieve excellence in all three fields. Pope Pius XII was an extraordinary man – a man clearly put by the Almighty in a very delicate position at a very delicate time – in that he was great in all three fields; but his successors were certainly – at least, those who lived long enough – clearly deficient in one or more of them.
Pope Benedict runs the risk of being remembered as the Pope who revoked the excommunication for Bishop Williamson without even knowing all the controversies the latter was involved in; who managed to have his most private drawers sniffed by those he trusted most; who continued to appoint extremely bad bishops to appeased the local hierarchies; and who discovered himself totally unable to act against openly heretical Bishops and/or Cardinals, because he had some sympathy for them. By all the merits of his pontificate (Summorum Pontificum comes to mind and, bigger still, the imminent reconciliation with the SSPX, certainly the crown of this papacy) one can’t say his was an example of good governance tout court, much less of strong leadership in the style of a Pius XII.
Mind, I am not saying he is a bad Pope. He is, in fact, probably as good as a Pope who lived the Council as a “conciliar father” could be. I merely find it more than vaguely questionable when it is simply assumed whenever something goes wrong the responsibility must be looked for pretty much everywhere – even in coffins – but where it most obviously lies.
Rorate Caeli has an old-ish, but always beautiful blog post: the translation of the message sent by Pope Pius XII to the Spanish Faithful at the end of the Civil War in Spain.
Pointedly, Rorate Caeli point out that this is a reminder of who represented what in that conflict.
I reproduce the text in its entirety, and allow myself to suggest that it be accompanied by a prayer for Francisco Franco, the brave men who followed him in his stand, and all those who fought and died for Christ.
Let us also use this as a reminder that open persecution is always nearer than one thinks.
«CON INMENSO GOZO»
OF HIS HOLINESS
TO THE SPANISH FAITHFUL
(April 14, 1939)
With great joy We address you, most dear children of Catholic Spain, to express to you our fatherly congratulations for the gift of peace and of victory, with which God has deemed worthy to crown the Christian heroism of your faith and charity, tried in so many and so generous sufferings. Our Predecessor, of venerable memory, expected, with longing and trust, this Providential peace, which is undoubtedly the fruit of that copious blessing which he sent, in the very beginning of the struggle, “to all those who had devoted themselves to the difficult and dangerous task of defending and restoring the rights and the honor of God and Religion” ; and We do not doubt that this peace shall be the one that he himself foretold since then, “the sign of a future of tranquility in order, and of honor in prosperity” .
The designs of Providence, most beloved children, have once again dawned over heroic Spain. The Nation chosen by God as the main instrument of the evangelization of the New World and as an impregnable fortress of the Catholic faith has just shown to the apostles of materialistic Atheism of our century the greatest evidence that the eternal values of religion and of the spirit stand above all things.
The tenacious propaganda and the constant efforts of the enemies of Jesus Christ seemed to have desired to try in Spain a supreme experiment of the dissolving forces which they have at their disposal throughout the world; and even though it is true that the Almighty has for now not allowed them to achieve their goal, He has at least tolerated some of their terrible effects, so that the world could see how religious persecution, undermining the very bases of justice and charity, which are love for God and respect for His holy law, may drag modern society to unthinkable abysses of evil destruction and passionate discord.
Convinced of this truth, the sane Spanish people, with the two marks characteristic of their most noble spirit, which are generosity and frankness, rose up determinedly in defense of the ideals of Christian faith and civilization, deeply rooted in the Spanish soil, and, aided by God, “who does not abandon those who hope in Him” (Judith 13, 17), could resist the push from those who, deceived by what they believed to be a humanitarian ideal of the exaltation of the meek, truly fought only for Atheism.
This primordial meaning of your victory makes us dwell in the most promising hopes, that God in His mercy will deign lead Spain through the safe path of its traditional and Catholic grandeur; which will be the point that will guide all Spaniards, who love their Religion and their Fatherland, in the effort to organize the life of the Nation in perfect harmony with its most noble history of Catholic faith, piety, and civilization.
We thus exhort the Authorities and Shepherds of Catholic Spain to enlighten the mind of those who were deceived, showing them, lovingly, the roots of Materialism and Secularism from which their errors and wrongful acts came forth, and from which they could spring forth again. Propose to them the principles of individual and social justice, without which the peace and prosperity of nations, as mighty as they may be, cannot subsist, and which are those contained in the Holy Gospel and in the doctrine of the Church.
We do not doubt that it will happen thus, and the bases for Our firm hope are the most noble and Christian sentiments, of which the Chief of State and so many gentlemen, his faithful collaborators, have given unequivocal evidence with the legal protection which they have granted to the supreme religious and social interests, according to the teachings of the Apostolic See. The same hope is also founded upon the enlightened zeal and abnegation of your Bishops and Priests, tempered by pain, and also in the faith, piety, and spirit of sacrifice of which, in terrible hours, all classes of Spanish society gave heroic proof.
And now, before the remembrance of the mounting ruins of the bloodiest civil war recorded in the history of modern times, We, with pious regard, bow our head, above all, to the holy memory of the Bishops, Priests, Religious of both sexes, and faithful of all ages and conditions who, in such an elevated number, sealed with blood their faith in Jesus Christ, and their love for the Catholic Religion: «maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet», “Greater love than this no man hath” (Jn 15, 13).
We also acknowledge our debt of gratitude towards all those who sacrificed themselves even unto heroism in defense of the unalienable rights of God and of Religion, either in the battlefields, or devoted to the sublime works of Christian charity in prisons and hospitals.
We cannot hide the bitter sorrow that the remembrance of so many innocent children, who, having been ripped from their homes, were taken to faraway lands, often in danger of apostasy and perversion: we desire nothing more ardently than to see them returned to the bosom of their families, where they will once again find the warm and Christian tenderness of their own. And those others who, as prodigal sons, wish to return to the house of the father, we doubt not that they will be welcomed with goodwill and love.
It falls upon You, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, to advise all, so that in their policy of pacification all will follow the principles taught by the Church, and proclaimed with such nobility by the Generalísimo: of justice for crime, and of lenient generosity for the mistaken. Our solicitude, also as a Father, cannot forget these deceived ones, whom a deceitful and perverse propaganda succeeded in enticing with praises and promises. Your Pastoral solicitude should be targeted at them, with patience and meekness: pray for them, seek them, lead them again to the regenerative bosom of the Church and to the warmth of the Fatherland, and lead them to the Merciful Father, Who awaits them with open arms.
Therefore, most dear children, since the rainbow of peace has returned to brighten the heavens of Spain, let us come together heartily in a fervent hymn of thanksgiving to the God of Peace and in a prayer of forgiveness and mercy for all those who perished; and, in order that this peace be fruitful and longlasting, We exhort you with all the fervor of Our heart, to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4, 2-3). Thus united and obedient to your venerable Episcopate, devote yourselves joyfully and with no delay, to the urgent work of reconstruction, which God and the Fatherland expect from you.
As a pledge of the copious graces, which the Immaculate Virgin and Saint James the Apostle, Patrons of Spain, shall obtain for you, and which the great Spanish Saints have merited for you, We bestow upon you, Our dear children of Catholic Spain, upon the Chief of State and his illustrious Government, upon the zealous Episcopate and their selfless Clergy, upon the heroic combatants, and upon all the faithful Our Apostolic Blessing.
Dear readers, you often read me complaining that the “reform of the reform” (namely: the recovery of liturgical and theological sobriety after the drunkenness of the post-Vatican II years) is far too slow, and that whilst a new orthodoxy opens its way into the heart of the Church (both in the liturgical sense and as a new assertiveness in making clear again what too often had been obfuscated, played down or, rather often, dumbed down), at the periphery, in the many dioceses where the faithful live, the reform is far too slow and most Western Catholics are still afflicted by fully inadequate but, alas, not really old shepherds.
It is true that yours truly was not born with the vocation of the diplomat, and I am the first to admit that I am, erm, somewhat right of centre in most things. Still, I must confess my scepticism whenever I read of supposed “schisms” that would loom if the Holy Father decided – as is wildly desired among devout Catholics of all tendencies – to put a heavier foot on the gas pedal.
Against this argument I have following objections:
1) It seems to me a contradiction in terms. It is difficult to say that heterodox tendencies should be tolerated in order to avoid schisms. A schism is not an evil in itself. It is an evil because it shows that there are heterodox tendencies. To say that to have a schism is worse than to live with schismatic thinking doesn’t make really sense to me. It is like saying that by abolishing jails you at least avoid the evil of criminality; but jails are merely the result of criminality, and by refusing to build jails one only achieves the free-flowing of criminal energy within the veins of society.
2) It seems to me that it vastly understates the strenght of the Church. The modernist and feminist drunkenness we are living now is, once seen within the great picture of Church history, certainly not the greatest threat to her survival. Nestorianism, Gnosticism, Lutheranism at least can be considered threats of vaster proportions. If no fear of schism has refrained the Church leaders of past times from seeking a clear path to Truth whatever the cost, I can’t see why the same shouldn’t be done now. The Church that has survived the hurricane of Lutheranism will certainly survive the storm of neo-modernism and V II-worship.
3) It seems to me that it puts the interest of the schismatics before the interest of the Catholics. It is as if one should refrain from demanding orthodoxy, for fear of the people who are not orthodox openly choosing heresy. Well they should choose truth then, or accept the consequences. It can’t be that truth accommodates lie in order for lie not to be upset at its own falseness.
4) It seems to me that it ignores the workings of human nature. Whatever the rhetoric, in real life most people tend to refrain from extreme gestures, and from revolutionary behaviour, even in more profane circumstances. Much more so for Catholics. The bond of a Catholic to the Church is much stronger than, say, the bond of a Baptist to his local church, or pastor, or the bond of a political activist to his party of choice. The bond of a Catholic is so strong in fact, that even the most deluded nutcases go to unbelievable lenghts to persuade themselves that they are still Catholics. The expression “mother church” has, for most Catholics, a very real meaning. In a world where not even the Tories defeat en masse after being served Cameronism, I truly can’t imagine Catholics defeating en masse after being served.. Catholicism.
We live in times where one can’t avoid wondering how many of our priests believe in the Real presence, or in God in the first place. The frequency with which even bishops openly embrace heterodoxy (from the one wondering whether he will perform same-sex marriages; to the one expressing himself in favour of the building of a mosque; to the one saying that female priesthood will not happen “yet”, and so on) leaves much to be feared as to how many embrace it more quietly, but still undermining Catholicism with their total refusal to defend it.
I do not think that such threats can be underestimated. It is true that the “biological solution” (that is: the undertaker) will in time very probably solve the problem and it is also true that the Church is indefectible. But in the meantime an entire generation of Catholics will have been exposed to great danger for their souls, and many more will lose the opportunity to experience and get in contact with a Truth now unknown to them. Besides, to allow the spreading of heterodox thinking will probably cause a sizeable minority to continue in their errors for generations to come.
The solution is, in my eyes, twofold:
1) generous use of the rod and staff. Heterodox bishops should be not only removed, but excommunicated pour encourager les autres. Bishops are, as a category, not what you’d call professional agitprops (particularly the crop of weak, popularity-seeking cowards we are afflicted with today), and it is therefore not reasonable to suppose that they will choose to lose rank, prestige and livelihood in great numbers. Methinks, most of them will shut up all right, and do what they’re told.
2) Total absence of compromise in the appointment of new bishops. Young, absolutely orthodox bishops with a fighting spirit will revitalise the Church in just a few years. If they refuse and there is no better alternative, they must be required to obey and take responsibility. Karol Wojtyla became bishop at 38, and it is clear that a young, brave bishop was what Pius XII wanted for communist Poland. Difficult situations require determined and energetic shepherds.
Revolt is easier said than done. Particularly among Catholics.
Unfortunately, the massive material gathered by them now requires subscription. But Pave The Way – an organisation with extensive access to the Vatican archives – has now released an additional document, revealing that the Allies themselves had asked Pope Pius XII to stay silent about the german deportations of Jewish from Hungary, to avoid the Pope denouncing, whilst doing so, the massacres perpetrated by the Russians.
Notice that whilst the Germans were deporting, the Russians were raping and the Allies were politicking, the Vatican was saving 25,000 Jews from Budapest alone through their vast net of religious institutions and brave helpers.
This documents reveals a typical Pius XII: a shrewd diplomatician forced to move in extremely difficult times; doing all he can to help the oppressed whilst at the same time paying attention not to do anything which might be of damage to the oppressed themselves – one can easily imagine what would have happened in France, in Poland, perhaps in occupied Italy if he had openly and frontally attacked the Nazi regime on the holocaust – and to his Catholic fold alike.
What once more emerges, is a Pope admirably mixing courage, intelligence, prudence and diplomacy.
What a splendid Pope we had, and how fitting that this great man be, in the mad decades that followed his death, be slandered from the anti-Catholic and anti-Christian wolves.
We already know that the beatification prayer for his beatification mass has been already approved. This makes his beatification, to all practical purposes, only a matter of when. But I do think that another cry is here appropriate:
Browsing the net, I have found that this rather impressive news had already been published by the Corriere della Sera last November. The link is not accessible without logging in, therefore I will link to this for those of you blessed with a knowledge of the most useless, but most beautiful language on the planet.
The information is very clear and rather complete, and it is improbable that the Corriere della Sera would risk a blunder on such a matter. It would therefore appear that the prayer has been written by don Nicola Bux, an advisor of the CDF, and that it has already obtained the imprimatur from Cardinal Bagnasco, the head of the italian Bishop’s Conference.
It also transpires from the article ( I didn’t know it) that Rai Uno has broadcast a TV series about the life of Pius XII, obviously criticised by the professional holocaust-whinos among those of the Jewish persuasions. Being Rai Uno rather conservative, still clearly Catholic and with the best links with the Vatican, it seems clear to me that the work was meant to “prepare” the Italians to a beatification that it is now difficult not to consider probable in the next few years. In addition, it seems even more difficult to believe that all preparatory work would be made without at least a “safe” miracle, whose existence has been wildly rumoured but never confirmed.
I do hope that Pope Benedict will find the courage to proceed with the beatification of this great, great Pope, choosing – as he must in this case – to weather the storm caused by the liberal, the ignorant and some of the above-mentioned “older brothers and sisters”. A political decision, of course, by which the Holy Father will have to weight the positive and – if any 😉 – negative effects.
May I remind you on this occasion that, on the day of Pope Pacelli’s death, the great saint Padre Pio had a beatific vision of the Pope in paradise, surrounded by angels, which went on for hours. Padre Pio himself never made a mystery of such an occurrence and for the rest of his life showed the utmost certainty about the holy Pope being in Paradise. It goes without saying that the devout followers of Padre Pio – yours truly among them – will, due to the extraordinary power and duration of this vision, find it difficult not to be as persuaded about Pope Pius XII’s immediate access to Paradise as the great Saint himself was.
Let us hope and pray. It seemed clear to me, though, that it is now only a matter of “when”, not “if”.
It is very well-known that Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus, was a great supporter of the Fatima apparitions; so much so, that one of the names with which he is remembered is the Pope of Fatima.
An important issue of the Fatima apparitions is the great importance put by Our Blessed Virgin on the daily recitation of the Rosary. It is therefore no surprise that this great Pope would at some point address the importance of the rosary in an encyclical letter.
It is particularly indicative that this happened in 1951, in the middle of the Cold War. The Holy Father chose the day of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, the 15th September, to address the entire Catholic world with Ingruentium Malorum.
Let us see some of the – in my eyes – most relevant and instructive passages of this work.
We well know the Rosary’s powerful efficacy to obtain the maternal aid of the Virgin. By no means is there only one way to pray to obtain this aid. However, We consider the Holy Rosary the most convenient and most fruitful means, as is clearly suggested by the very origin of this practice, heavenly rather than human, and by its nature.
The most convenient and the most fruitful means. This is an important reminder both of the power of the Rosary (that Padre Pio didn’t hesitate in calling “weapon”) and his “convenience”. What this holy Pope means by this is explained a bit later, when he says that through the Rosary
[….all, even the most simple and least educated, have in this a prompt and easy way to nourish and preserve their own faith.]
The Rosary is so beautifully simple, that everyone can profit from it, no matter how simple or uneducated. This simplicity is one of his greatest beauties, because it makes it so accessible.
The simple structure of the Rosary is also extolled by the Pastor Angelicus from a different angle, namely that:
The recitation of identical formulas repeated so many times, rather than rendering the prayer sterile and boring, has on the contrary the admirable quality of infusing confidence in him who prays and brings to bear a gentle compulsion on the motherly Heart of Mary.
This is not a new form of prayer (think of the endless affirmations and repetition of sacred words used in the Eastern religions), but it is a point that is still not less valid and also followed by the most elementary common sense and by the wisdom of the ages: repetita iuvant.
How does it work, concretely? The Holy Father writes beautifully about this that:
from the frequent meditation on the Mysteries, the soul little by little and imperceptibly draws and absorbs the virtues they contain, and is wondrously enkindled with a longing for things immortal, and becomes strongly and easily impelled to follow the path which Christ Himself and His Mother have followed.
Little by little, imperceptibly. One doesn’t have to expect miracles from the Rosary (or from any other form of prayer or devotion, by the way). Praying the Rosary is the work of a lifetime, not a specific event with a before and an after. It is like the habit of living a healthy life, not the injection which cures the disease. I would say that the The recitation of the Rosary is, in a sense, as much a way of living than it is a way of praying.
So much so, that Pope Pius XII stresses the importance of the recitation of the Rosary in the daily life of the family; he does so with extremely beautiful words:
What a sweet sight – most pleasing to God – when, at eventide, the Christian home resounds with the frequent repetition of praises in honor of the august Queen of Heaven! Then the Rosary, recited in common, assembles before the image of the Virgin, in an admirable union of hearts, the parents and their children, who come back from their daily work. It unites them piously with those absent and those dead. It links all more tightly in a sweet bond of love, with the most Holy Virgin, who, like a loving mother, in the circle of her children, will be there bestowing upon them an abundance of the gifts of concord and family peace.
In this fashion, the Rosary will help both the adults and the children:
This meditation on the Divine Mysteries of the Redemption will teach the adults to live, admiring daily the shining examples of Jesus and Mary, and to draw from these examples comfort in adversity, striving towards those heavenly treasures “where neither thief draws near, nor moth destroys” (Luke 12, 33). This meditation will bring to the knowledge of the little ones the main truths of the Christian Faith, making love for the Redeemer blossom almost spontaneously in their innocent hearts, while, seeing, their parents kneeling before the majesty of God, they will learn from their very early years how great before the throne of God is the value of prayers said in common.
Please note here a point rarely stressed this day, but extremely important in any age: as a child naturally sees in his parents the source of authority, seeing their parents kneeling before the majesty of God will readily impress itself in the child’s receptive mind.
Pope Pius XII spoke to Catholicism during the cold war, with the Communist monster reigning over half of Europe, and threatening the other half. This is what Pope Pius had to say about the way to destroy the evil menace:
We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that We put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils which afflict our times. Not with force, not with arms, not with human power, but with Divine help obtained through the means of this prayer, strong like David with his sling, the Church undaunted shall be able to confront the infernal enemy, repeating to him the words of the young shepherd: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of armies . . . and all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear, for this is his battle, and he will deliver you into our hands” (I Kings 17, 45-47)
“Not with force, not with arms, not with human power” was Communism defeated, but with the determination of staunchly Christian people (Ronald Reagan very probably the most important single person); the prayer of millions of Christians and, of course, countless shoots from that most powerful weapon, the Rosary.
This great Pope had the misfortune to become Pope in the most grievous of times, and to have to absolve his role in possibly the most dangerous situation a Pope personally – and Catholicism collectively – were ever called to confront.
It will be a comfort to you to know that the Rosary was always in his mind and in his prayers.
Those among you who have the rare ability to read German (a very beautiful language in its own right; not easy to assimilate for sure, but ready to compensate the one who puts the effort with countless pearls of breathtaking literary beauty) will certain enjoy this blog site.
In the superior two-column format allowed by the Blogspot structure (not found by me on WordPress at the time of beginning this blog, and sorely missed afterwards when changing format or even “blog provider” would have meant a major disruption, pain in the neck and possible loss of information; but I digress…) you will notice that the left column is devoted to the usual, beautifully orthodox, Catholic apologetics, whilst the right column is devoted to none else than the Pastor Angelicus: the favourite of conservative Catholics the world over and the last great Pope: Pius XII.
I translate the best citations therein reported near the original German text:
“Nur die katholische Kirche protestierte gegen den Angriff Hitlers auf die Freiheit. Bis dahin war ich nicht an der Kirche interessiert, doch heute empfinde ich große Bewunderung für die Kirche, die als einzige den Mut hatte, für geistige Wahrheit und sittliche Freiheit zu kämpfen.”
“Only the Catholic Church protested against Hitler’s attacks to freedom. Until then I wasn’t interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church, which alone had the courage to fight for spiritual truth and for moral freedom”.
Albert Einstein, 1940.
“In dieser Weihnacht ist der Papst mehr denn je die einsame aufbegehrende Stimme im Schweigen eines Kontinents. ”
“This Christmas, the Pope is more than ever the lonely voice raised amidst the silence of a continent”
New York Times, commenting on Pius XII’s Christmas address, 1942.
“Die katholische Kirche und das Papsttum haben bewiesen, dass sie so viele Juden, wie sie konnten, gerettet haben.”
“The Catholic Church and the Papacy have demonstrated that they have saved as many Jews as they could”
Raffaele Cantoni, Head of the Jewish Welfare Committee during the War, 1946.
“Mehr als alle anderen haben wir Gelegenheit gehabt, die Güte und Edelmütigkeit des Papstes während der Jahre der Verfolgung und des Schreckens kennen zu lernen in einer Zeit, da es schien, dass für uns keine andere Hoffnung mehr bestand.”
“More than any other had we the opportunity to know the goodness and noble mindedness of the Pope during the years of persecution and terror, in times when it seemed that for us there was no other hope anymore”.
Elio Toaff, Roman Chief Rabbi, 1951.
“Die ganze Welt schwieg über die Schoah, und da will man jetzt nahezu die gesamte Verantwortung für dieses Schweigen auf die Schultern des Souveräns legen, der weder Kanonen noch Flugzeuge hatte; der sich zweitens bemühte, seine Informationen mit denen zu teilen, die solche Waffen hatten, und drittens, in Rom und anderswo eine große Zahl derer zu retten vermochte, für die er die moralische Verantwortung trug.”
“The entire world kept silent during the Shoah, and now they want to unload almost all the responsibility for this silence on the shoulders of the Sovereign who had neither cannons nor aeroplanes; who, secondly, went to great lenght to share this information with those who had such weapons and, thirdly, in Rome and elsewere succeeded in saving a great number of those, for whom he carried moral responsibility”
Bernhard-Henry Levy, 2010
I understand that the celebrations for the upcoming beatification of the saintly, but rather ineffective (other would say: catastrophical) John Paul II will divert some attention, for the time being, from this truly saintly, truly courageous, truly Catholic, truly great Pope. Still, even in the weeks leading to what will certainly be a huge media event we should never forget the towering figure of our beloved Pastor Angelicus.
Following a very interesting intervention of Schmenz in reply to a former post, I spent some time looking for some credible description of how a Catholic is to react to a decree of canonisation or beatification. This particularly in view of the upcoming beatification (and one day, perhaps, canonisation) of the late Pope JP II, an event which will clearly excite both an oceanic wave of enthusiasm and a smaller, but noticeable one of dismay.
I have already made clear that in my eyes the worth as a Blessed of John Paul II is to be seen in his saintly character, not in his working as a Pope. This is nothing new or wrong as a beatification or canonisation isn’t, nor could it ever be, a seal of approval of political action.
Now let us see what the Catholic Encyclopedia says on the matter of canonisation.
1) There are two types of canonisation, formal and equivalent.
Formal canonization occurs when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremonies, orders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted
2) It is evident that modern canonisations are all formal ones; that they are the object of a prescription; that the decision is explicit and definitive. That they, as such, bind every Catholic. In matters of canonisation, “ours is not to reason why“. This is only logical, as the nature itself of the canonisation is to give the faithful certainty, not hope, that the canonised person is in Heaven.
3) Whether the decree of canonisation is an expression of Papal Infallibility (as, says the Catholic encyclopedia, most theologians think) or not, the result of the canonisation is evidently not less binding, and this is what interests us here. When the Church formally decrees that Titius or Caius are Saint Titius and Saint Caius, every Catholic is bound to accept this as part and parcel of his Catholic belief. Still, this mandatory belief does not stretch to the man in question having done everything right and not even to his having had heroic virtue; what every catholic is bound to believe is merely that the canonised person is in heaven.
Very different is the case of Beatification. The Catholic Encyclopedia again:
This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification, not withstanding the contrary teaching of the canonical commentary known as “Glossa” […] Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees of beatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command;
Clearly, here the Church is not saying “you have to believe”, but “you are allowed to believe”. You can therefore – as long as no canonisation intervenes – refuse to believe that the one or other person declared Blessed is in heaven in the same way as you can, say, not believe in the Fatima apparitions.There can be no question of infallibility, because there is no question of prescription in the first place.
In practical terms, this means that a Catholic is allowed to question the prevalent opinion that, say, John Paul II is in heaven but is not allowed to question the prescriptive decree that, say, Padre Pio is.
Fatima and Sacro Vergente Anno: Pius XII’s Consecration of “The Peoples Of Russia” to the Blessed Virgin
It is well-known that among the requests of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima was the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Less well-known is the fact that Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus, also known as “The Pope of Fatima” for his relentless support to the apparitions, did consecrate “all the peoples of Russia” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1950.
I am informed that this consecration is widely believed to be somewhat short of the Blessed Virgin’s request, though in all honesty it is not clear to me why it should. It is, though, evident from Sacro Vergente Anno and from further Vatican documents that the great Pope, Venerable Pius XII, had to take care of political considerations in the way he responded to the Blessed Virgin’s request. Therefore, during the “hottest” phase of the Cold War he had limited himself to consecrate to the Blessed Virgin the peoples of all world (not wishing the potential political repercussions of a more direct action); whilst in the comparatively calmer 1952 he felt the moment come to the consecration to the Blessed Virgin of the peoples of Russia so that their freedom (and the freedom of the Church) may be achieved.
I will publish below the relevant part of Sacro Vergente Anno, in the elaborate but extremely elegant Italian in use when people had a somewhat longer attention span and could read longer sentences without becoming dizzy. Following the original text I will write a personal attempt at translation.
I am grateful to all those who will send a message with some link pointing to:
1) an official translation of Sacro Vergente Anno or at least of the relevant passage, none of which I could find.
2) the facts as to why the consecration according to the wishes of Mary is widely considered not to have been completely complied with; perhaps it could be because it was a consecration of the peoples of Russia rather than of Russia itself, though this seems rather a quaestio de lana caprina to me.
In the meantime, enjoy another spectacular example of the work of a truly spectacular Pope.
Noi, pertanto, affinché più facilmente le Nostre e le vostre preghiere siano esaudite, e per darvi un singolare attestato della Nostra particolare benevolenza, come pochi anni fa abbiamo consacrato tutto il mondo al Cuore immacolato della vergine Madre di Dio, così ora, in modo specialissimo, consacriamo tutti i popoli della Russia al medesimo Cuore immacolato, nella sicura fiducia che col potentissimo patrocinio di Maria vergine quanto prima si avverino felicemente i voti, che Noi, che voi, che tutti i buoni formano per una vera pace, per una fraterna concordia e per la dovuta libertà a tutti e in primo luogo alla chiesa; in maniera che, mediante la preghiera che Noi innalziamo insieme con voi e con tutti i cristiani, il regno salvifico di Cristo, che è «regno di verità e di vita, regno di santità e di grazia, regno di giustizia, di amore e di pace»,(8) in ogni parte della terra trionfi e si consolidi stabilmente.
And therefore we, in order that Our and your prayers may be more easily answered, and in order to give you a special attestation of our benevolence, in the same way as a few years ago We consecrated the entire world to the immaculate Heart of the virgin Mother of God, so now, in a very special way, consecrate all peoples of Russia to the very same immaculate Heart, in the safe confidence that with the extremely powerful protection of the virgin Mary the wishes expressed by Us, by you and by every good person for a true peace for fraternal concord and due freedom for everyone and for the Church in the first place, may be answered as soon as possible; in such a manner that, through the prayer that We send up to Heaven together with you and all Christians, the reign of Christ, harbinger of salvation, which is “kingdom of truth and life, kingdom of sainthood and grace, kingdom of justice, of love and of peace”, may triumph and steadily consolidate itself everywhere on earth”
The impending beatification of John Paul II will no doubt cause many questions among non-Catholics as to what this beatification is, and might reinforce many of them in their errors and misconceptions about this beautiful Catholic institution of beatification and canonisation.
I’d like here to give some very short explanations in bullet points, in the hope that in the coming months some non-Catholics may end up here and get some benefit from them and that Catholics may get some points to give explanations if and when required.
1) Everyone who is in paradise is a saint. Everyone. Angels are saints, the Holy Innocents are saints, etc.
2) Normally we cannot know whether someone is in Paradise. When the neighbour dies we know that he is either in hell, or in purgatory, or in paradise. Purgatory is widely believed to be the most frequent occurrence at death, but no one really knows. In Catholicism, individual certainty of someone’s destination is a sin of presumption, unless one believes one’s own private revelation (say: an apparition); indirectly, he can draw a big amount of confidence from the truth of a credible revelation to someone else (say: Saint Padre Pio’s well-known hours-long mystical vision of Pope Pius XII in Heaven on the day of his death). ” I believe that John Lennon is in Paradise because he wrote such beautiful music” does not qualify.
3) Catholic theology says that those in purgatory cannot effect intercessory prayer for those on earth, but those on earth can do the same for the souls in purgatory; on the other hand the saints can pray and intercede for those on earth, but not for those in purgatory. Notice the “circle” of prayer here, with saints being able only to help those on earth, who themselves are the only ones who can help those in purgatory. In this way there is a beautiful solidarity, a chain of love or if you prefer a “prayer cooperative”. This common destiny and common purpose uniting every good Catholic (souls in hell aren’t catholic, and can’t be helped) is called by the Church “communion of saints”.
4) As a consequence, a Catholic will need some clues to know those to whom he can pray for intercession knowing that they will actually hear their prayer and be able to intercede for them. He can obviously ask Christ or the Blessed Virgin directly, but the beauty of the communion of saints is in the mutual giving and receiving help like members of a loving family. Therefore, one may prefer to ask a person particularly dear to him to help him and to intercede for him by Christ. In order to do so, he’d be helped if he knew, instead of hoped, that the relevant person is really a saint, that is, is really in heaven. Mind, though, that no Catholic is forbidden to ask for the intercession of someone of whom he thinks that he is very probably in heaven.
5) God helps this system of “prayer cooperative” by making known that the one or the other actually is in heaven. He does so by linking a miracle to this person. With one miracle one can be declared Blessed, with two he can be declared a Saint. Notice that here the “s” is capitalised. Whether the miracle has occurred is decided – after an always careful and generally lengthy process – by a Vatican “ministry”, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
6) Whilst the miracle is God’s choice, the decision whether to declare the beatification or sainthood is the Pope’s choice and it is an eminently political one. A Pope might think a canonisation dangerous or politically not convenient (eg. because it could spark a wave of persecutions, as in Thomas More’s case; or a wave of slandering, as it is probably the case by Pope Pius XII), or he might not be persuaded himself that the work of the congregation was really good, that is: that the person is really in paradise. He cannot “kill” the process though, merely let things rest.
7) One day, a Pope decides that the moment has come and a man or woman is ready to be declared Saint. His decision is inspired in the sense that God takes care that a Pope does not make mistakes in this matter*. In the last centuries, this process was very slow and people canonised were people who had lived a couple of centuries before, but there always were exceptions. The late Pope John Paul II was himself of the opinion that canonisations (and beatifications, comes to that) of recently deceased people were the best choice, because their memory is still well alive among the faithful. This was the thinking followed in the first thirteen centuries or so, with some canonisations being really, really fast (think of St. Francis: death on the 3 October 1226; canonisation on the 16th July 1228).
8) Coming back to 6), the beatifications or canonisations of particularly popular people have always been relatively uncomplicated, whilst those pertaining to politically sensitive people have been, or are being, slower. But be assured that Thomas More and Pope Pius XII do not care in the least for that. There is no race to be canonised first and the speed of canonisation is no indication whatsoever of the “ranking” among saints. This is important in order to understand that calls of “santo subito”, particularly when angry or expressing a demand rather than a wish, are not really Catholic and are more suitable to football stadiums.
9) Once a Pope has taken his decision about a canonisation, every Catholic is bound by it*. A Catholic rejoices for every canonisation not only because of the happy news, but because he knows that many people will be drawn to Christ through the canonisation of the person they love.
The reasons for a fast-track for John Paul II are now evident. The sainthood of the man is uncontroversial among everyone except the most severe sedevacantists; his popularity makes of such a beatification a great weapon in the Church’s hands; his beatification helps to shift the accent from the political aspects of his pontificate (which many don’t like, yours truly included) to the towering spiritual dimension of the person.
It is not – and it can never be – about “giving precedence to celebrities”; it is about recognising that:
a) The Pope seems to believe that God wants hom to know that the man is in Paradise, and
b) the Pope doesn’t see any political obstacle to his declaring so in front of all Christianity.
This is as simple as that. It doesn’t mean that one only becomes blessed if he is a celebrity. It doesn’t mean that only famous people are said to go to heaven. It doesn’t mean that “Church celebrities” get special favours compared to those whose beatification has not been declared and emphatically it does not mean that, between two saints, the one is “more of a saint” that has been canonised or beatified.
* the matter is slightly different with the beatification. With it, the Church merely declares that it is “worthy of belief” that the person in question is in heaven. There is, though, no obligation for every Catholic to feel bound by this.
Once upon a time, Fridays were days of abstinence, that is: days on which no meat could be eaten. The practice has now been largely restricted to the Fridays of Lent, but a conservative Catholic – as you, dear reader, hopefully are or are slowly becoming – could do no wrong in thinking of reintroducing these time-honoured practices for himself even in the absence of an obligation.
In the end, many of us want – to put it bluntly and without fake gentleness – the Church to come back to what it was before Vatican II. Then we can, a bit at a time, also try to let it be so in our own private existence. If the Catholics in the pew start to walk the walk, in time the vatican will decide that at this point it is better to talk the talk…..
You can read here the longish take of the Catholic Encyclopedia on abstinence and fasting. Abstinence is not really difficult and not really a sacrifice. I have found that for me (a single, and very forgetful since I can remember) the biggest challenge is to remember that it is Friday before I eat my lunch. “How can you forget what day it is?” You may ask. Well I can do it very well and I can’t even count the times I have been answered “tomorrow is Saturday” at work…. :(. Apart from that, it is not really difficult, mainly requiring (probably, only for singles) nothing more than a minimum of planning in your fridge administration (after Friday comes the weekend, where you might eat out rather often; therefore a Tuesday or Wednesday meat purchase should be weighted against the probability of eating it within Thursday or it might stay in your fridge for a while, which is sub-optimal to say the least). As in almost everything, if we persevere until we have acquired a habit, the habit will take care of us.
We are called to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Christ. Abstinence is a small, rather easy, but frequent way to do this. It is another little brick with which we build the edifice of our salvation. It will greatly contribute to keep us away from gluttony (ah! Gluttony!! When was last time you heard this word mentioned?! Nowadays it must be McDonald’s fault, isn’t it?), help us to better remember our Lord’s sacrifice and, as a bonus, will probably keep us in better shape.
I have frequently noticed that one of the biggest differences between Catholicism (properly understood) and Protestant ecclesial communities is that whilst the latter may tend to some sort of easy “emotionalism”, the (traditional) Catholic path gives a great importance to habits, to the small little things one does regularly. These little practices may not seem such a big deal taken individually, but when considered in their entirety they become a solid railway upon which we base our journey to salvation. From the litanies to crossing oneself when walking past a church, from praying the Rosary (very important, this!) to the devotions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; from the novenas to the use of holy water, all these seemingly not life-changing small activities contribute to the building of our spiritual edifice.
Gutta cavat lapidem. Even a small gesture, repeated faithfuly again and again, can go a long way to keep us away from serious trouble and will, on that fateful day of the redde rationem, have a great weight on the right side of the scale.
If you are not doing it already, you may want to seriously consider to reintroduce Friday abstinence in your life. Perhaps you might want to give it a try tomorrow?
If we had asked Padre Pio about the opportunity of abolishing the abstinence on Fridays, I wonder whether he would have remained calm. If we had told him that all these things are meaningless relics of the past, as in reality only our oh so emotionally charged relationship with Jesus is all that count, I think he most certainly wouldn’t have.
It might be good to give it a try for a while. It was good enough for Pius XII’s Church. Really, it can’t be bad for Benedict XVI’s one.
A beautiful article (of some time ago, but that has lost nothing of its actuality) on the “Remnant”. Its leitmotiv is a funny comparison with the bees who become more aggressive when they sense that their life is slowly turning to an end. A bit the same is happening, says the author Brian McCall, with the modernists within the Church: as they get more desperate, they get more aggressive and like the bees they don’t get younger, either. In short, they know that the Modernist show is soon going to be terminated because of natural death of the paying public and don’t like it a bit.
Another funny image of the article follows the remark that Kueng clearly recognises the malaise within the Church, but stubbornly insists in refusing to identify the causes. “His call to arms” writes McCall “reads like a doctor diagnosing a patient with malaria who then prescribes an injection of more live malaria to cure him”. And in truth it needs all the delusion of an ageing Modernist to attribute 50 years of declining Church attendance to the Vatican…… not being “progressive” enough. Therefore,
Like the bees […] the Modernist insects that have been swarming since the false Spring have begun to sense their mortality. They still dominate the hive, of course, but seem to recognize their hour is at hand. They are lashing out in desperation.
As to what will happen, the author writes:
Who are the beekeepers approaching to clear the hives? […] Küng identifies two of them: The Mass of All Ages and the Society of St. Pius X.
I agree only partially with that as it seems to me that the realisation of the mess produced by the Vatican II – and even more by the dissent and “spirit of V II” allowed to spread afterwards – is in my eyes not something to be directly attributed to the Latin Mass or the SSPX: rather, I’d say that the progressive sobering up of the Vatican hierarchy after the big booze of Vatican II preceded the factual reinstatement of the Tridentine Mass and the (factual, if yet incomplete) rehabilitation of the SSPX. Still, one must recognise that once the Church has finally sobered up, Catholics will look back and say that the process has been if not caused, certainly encouraged by the courageous witness of the SSPX.
I’d like to close this entry with McCall’s beautiful quotation from a dire prediction of the “Pastor Angelicus” Pius XII, whose suffering and prophetic words were pronounced, as the author himself says, “when Küng was a boy in Lederhosen, too young to yodel”:
I am concerned about the confidences of the Virgin to the little Lucia of Fatima. The persistence of the Good Lady in face of the danger that threatens the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that the modification of the Faith, liturgy, theology, and soul of the Church would represent.
I hear around me partisans of novelties who want to demolish the Holy Sanctuary, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her adornments, and make her remorseful for her historical past. Well, my dear friend, I am convinced that the Church of Peter must affirm her past, or else she will dig her own tomb.”
Beautiful words from a wonderful Pope whose greatness the Church has all too willingly ignored just a few years after his death.
As they say in Italy, “Time is an honourable man”.
Pave the way Foundation is a Jewish organisation promoting the understanding among religions . This is not en “ecumenical” effort, mind; rather, the foundation has the aim of removing non-theological differences among different religions. This is also not the usual micro-organisation set up by two or three nutcases inventing conspiracies, but a highly regarded institution uniquely received en bloc (more than 150 of them) by the late Pontiff John Paul II.
“Pave the way Foundation” has spent four years reconstructing a coherent view of the attitude and actions of Eugenio Pacelli – and later, of Pope Pius XII – in front of Nazi oppression and persecution of the Jews. Among the immense quantity of documents analysed, a small selection of representative pieces of historic documentation has been put together in a power point presentation. This 56-minutes documentary (in the proper sense of the word, as the only thing showed are….. documents) allows everyone following the presentation to have a very clear idea of the relentless, intelligent, prudent but at the same time very courageous action of Pope Pius XII in the face of such a dangerous, determined and godless mass destruction machine.
Whilst the presentation is rather long, the nature of it allows its exam a bit at a time if so wished. The fact that one can go back and forth only through the audio commentary (no possibility of autonomously switching pages) makes of it more of a video documentary than a presentation. Still, the material is easy to follow, highly impressive, attentive to every aspect of the Pope’s activity (and to his great personal courage, to the point of putting his own life at risk) and highly credible particularly in light of the circumstance that the documents showed are, as repeatedly stated, only a small part of the vast quantity of documents supporting the case of the Foundation.
Let me say it once again: this is a Jewish foundation. It goes to show that when reasonable analysis takes the place of self victimhood and ideological (read: liberal) hate of a conservative and fiercely anti-Communist Pope, understanding is easily possible and can bring both side on the same side; in this case, on the side of such a great – and for this reason so greatly slandered – Pope.