Archive for the ‘Library of the Faith’ Category.

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Anastasius Hartmann

Venerable Anastasius HartmannIn the footsteps of Xavier walked the Swiss Capuchin, Anastasius Hartmann. And it was Xavier’s spirit, too, that breathed in the soul of this far-sighted, self-denying, and bitterly tried missionary bishop. If the missionary life in itself is beset with privations, it was doubly so for Bishop Hartmann, since he had not only to contend against the blind specter of heathenism but also with the fanatical passions of a schism that threatened to rend his flock. But the desire to spread God’s kingdom was too deep-rooted in the servant of God to permit him to grow disheartened and feeble in this harassing strife or to be moved to unjust concessions.

Anastasius Hartmann was born on 24 February 1803, at Altwis, in the parish of Hitzkirch in the canton of Lucerne, studied at Solothurn and when eighteen years old joined the Capuchins at Baden in Aargau. Though still a young religious he filled with gteat success the offices of professor, novice-master, and missionary in his own country. His superiors would not gratify his desire for the heathen missions chiefly because the Swiss province of the Capuchins had no mission-field of its own. But in 1841 Father Anastasius presented a petition so eloquent and so inspired with burning zeal that his superiors no longer made objection to this clearly declared vocation.

After two years spent in Rome preparing for mission life Father Hartmann was sent to the vicariate-apostolic of Agra, in British India. He so fully met the expectations of his superiors that before two years had passed he was made titular bishop of Derbe and was appointed the first vicar-apostolic of Patna on the Ganges in West Bengal.

The heathen population of this new mission-district was not less than thirty-seven millions, with about four thousand Christians who had remained loyal. Formerly there had been a flourishing Christian community in Patna, but it gradually fell away. “I began to weep like a child,” writes Bishop Hartmann when he beheld upon his arrival the horror of desolation. But he was a man of deeds and did not despair, although, having but four missionaries under him, he was almost without assistance. Exerting all his powers, he organized his extensive diocese, studied the conditions on the spot and obtained money and new auxiliaries from Europe. The unwearying shepherd was almost continuously engaged in pastoral journeys which, being in the Tropics and with poor means of intercommunication, were extremely painful. The bishop had hardly begun to reap the first fruits of his activity when the confidence of the Apostolic See called him to another field of labor. In spite of the papal Bulls, the archbishop of Goa claimed jurisdiction over the whole of India. The schism arising from these pretensions found most of its adherents in the Presidency of Bombay – principally a portion of the clergy who stirred up disobedience to Rome by word and evample. In the year 1850 Bishop Hartmann was given charge of the vicariate of Bombay that he might try to reconcile the schismatics with the Church. But at his arrival, party hatred broke forth with violence. The schismatical priests, for the greater part uneducated men who had been hurriedly ordained in Goa, left no means untried to pervert the people. They succeeded in stirring up even the Irish colonists against the bishop. The press incessantly declaimed against the legitimate pastor. He found it necessary to start a newspaper of his own to defend the cause of the Church – “The Bombay Catholic Examiner,” which remains to this day one of the best advocates of the good cause in India. For a while Bishop Hartmann was himself obliged to assume the editorship. Three Goanese priests, who had treacherously deceived the bishop, were the soul of the schismatical movement. Once he was on the point of martyrdom. The schismatics had held him prisoner in a tightly closed church for eight days and nights during a time of extreme heat in order to make him surrender. He was almost dead of hunger and thirst when help arrived from Bombay. But by his tenacious constancy, prudent management, and charitable patience he broke the storm of schism. He had, of course, to pay the price in all the insults and injuries of which the hatred of apostates alone is capable. But the courage of the confessor was on this account all the more admired by the Christian nations of the West.

He had much also to endure from the British-Indian government in the defense of the rights of his flock. Protestant proselytism among Catholics was favored by the government in every way possible, especially by grants of money. So, too, was the schismatical movement much encouraged by the official body. At all times the undaunted confessor paid special attention to the foundation and improvement of schools and educational institutions. For this purpose he called the Jesuits to Bombay in 1851, to begin there an establishment for higher education. Much weakened by incessant suffering and hardship, the bishop in 1856 made a journey to Europe. After protracted negotiations with the Propaganda, an entire transfer of the Bombay mission to the Jesuits was effected. The physicians forbade Bishop Hartmann’s return to the Indies, so he resigned his vicariate and assumed charge of the mission college of his Order in Rome. As soon as his health was restored, however, he was obliged again to take up the apostle’s staff and for the second time to govern the vicariate of Patna. This had been frightfully devastated during the Sepoy rebellion (1857) and it was believed that the surest remedy for the evils done lay in the well-known efficiency and prudence of Hartmann. The venerable bishop set to work among the ruins of his vicariate with the enthusiastic zeal of a young missionary. For nearly six years, undeterred by any sacrifice or by any labor, he consecrated his remaining strength to the work. His love of immortal souls gave him no time for rest. In the midst of his labors and during a toilsome journey, the dreadful visitor of the Indies, cholera, came and bore him away on 26 April 1866.

A great life had come to an end. In spite of his love for exterior labors, the servant of God did not forget to work for the perfection of his interior life. The inner life of faith was the renewing source of his never failing courage. A heartfelt confidence in God, devout prayer, sincere humility and mortification, and his remarkable mildness were the weapons of his success. All who were well acquainted with him saw in him the type of a perfect missionary.

Bishop Hartmann was also unwearyingly active with his pen in the cause of Christ. Besides publishing many articles in the “Bombay Catholic Examiner” he was the author of a whole series of ascetical, philosophical, and theological treatises, of many translations into the Hindu language and of a grammar of the same.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Anastasius Hartmann”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Justin de Jacobis

detail from an Italian holy card of Saint JustinAnother true vir apostolicus was the Venerable Justin de Jacobis, Lazarist, bishop of Nicopolis. Justin, born on October 9, 1800, at San Fele, a town near Melfi, in the province of Potenza, Italy, had the fiery temperament of the genuine Southerner. But his pious parents knew how to inspire his lively spirit with the beauty of true ideals alone. At eighteen he joined the Lazarists in Naples, became priest in 1824, then superior in Lecce and finally novice-master. His sermons had great power in attracting souls. They were, indeed, very simple and without rhetorical display, but they came from the heart and therefore went to the heart. They had that supernatural persuasiveness which is peculiar to the words of the saints and this is why they worked such astonishing conversions. It was a great joy to the servant of God when in 1839 the ardent longing of his youth to preach the Gospel to the pagans was brought to fulfillment. He was sent to Abyssinia as prefect-apostolic. God’s blessing rested visibly on his labors; many heretics returned to the Church. When he was appointed bishop of Nicopolis in 1847, he refused for fourteen months to accept this dignity and afterward he sought when possible to conceal the insignia of his rank.

By the contrivance of the schismatical bishop, the prefect-apostolic was put in fetters and imprisoned by the emperor Theodore. Such was his reputation for holiness, however, that the tyrant dared not put him to death, and five months later, still in chains, he was transported across the frontier. But it was not long before the pastor returned to his flock. He took up his abode in a secluded village and journeyed unweariedly to find his scattered sheep. His death was quite like that of his great model, Saint Francis Xavier. He died on 31 July 1860, during one of his apostolic journeys, under the shade of a tree in a vast plain, his head resting upon a stone. Even the heretics and the Mohammedans disputed for his body. Remarkable miracles occurred when his remains were brought away in the year 1889. The preliminary process is surpassingly rich in miracles. The apostolic process began in 1905.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Justin de Jacobis”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Anthony Mary Claret y Clara

Saint Anthony Mary Claret y ClaraSalient, high in the Pyrenees near the frontier of France and not far from grace-bestowing Lourdes, is the birthplace of an archbishop whose holy life may soon receive the acknowledgment of the Church. Anthony Mary Claret y Clara, archbishop of Santiago de Cuba and afterward of Trajanopolis, was born into this world on December 23, 1807. His parents were poor weavers, obliged to work hard the whole day long to provide for their family. But they possessed great riches in their profoundly religious spirit. The father insisted on his children’s going to Mass every morning. He recited the Rosary every day with his workmen and apprentices and was inexorable in dismissing those whose moral conduct might be dangerous to the othfers. He had many a jeer to suffer from his neighbors on account of his piety.

The little Anthony showed himself worthy of such a father. Besides hearing Mass devoutly every morning he again visited the church in the evening to worship Our Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament. From his earliest years the Holy Eucharist and the Mother of God were the greatest attractions to his pure heart. The boys of Salient yielded an involuntary respect to the authority of Anthony Claret, who always admonished them energetically for any ill-conduct. The gifted boy had begun to learn Latin, but unfortunately his teacher soon died, and so nothing was left for him but to take up the trade of his father. He showed very great skill in the work, but he made himself still more useful by his good example and by his beneficial influence upon his fellow-workmen. The father hoped through his talented son to make the business more profitable, and, with this end in view, sent the boy with his brother to Barcelona in 1821, to perfect himself in the weaver’s art.

Claret mastered all the new inventions of the time with such facility that he was appointed foreman over the other workmen in the Barcelona factory. He took lessons, besides, in French and drawing. But his heart constantly drew him toward the priesthood; and for this reason he again applied his leisure to the study of Latin grammar. Once while bathing in the sea he narrowly escaped drowning. A great wave had surprised him and had carried him far out from the beach. In his distress he called upon Mary, and against all hope, as it seemed, one of his companions happily succeeded in saving him from the waves. This accident made a deep impression on him and he resolved for once and for all to put into effect his purpose of giving himself entirely to God. About this time his father came to Barcelona to consult with his sons about increasing his business and to inquire into the new inventions in the sphere of the textile industry. Anthony surprised his father with his unlooked-for resolution. But the father was too good a Christian to resist the pious desire of his son.

In his studies at the seminary of Vich, Anthony Claret distinguished himself so notably by the steadfastness of his character that the bishop ordained him on his name-day, 13 June 1835, some time before his fellow-students. On the feast of Saint Aloysius he celebrated his first Mass and began his first labors as assistant to the old pastor of his native town. He soon won the confidence of his neighbors. No one could resist the power of his words and in all the surrounding country he was venerated as a saint. But this field of activity was too small for the zeal of the young priest and he longed for the foreign missions. He went to Rome, made the Spiritual Exercises and applied for admission into the Society of Jesus. But he had hardly begun his novitiate when he was attacked by a disease of the foot, which forced him to leave the Order after a few months. Following the advice of his former superiors, he returned to Spain. After a brief employment in parish work, he devoted himself entirely to giving missions for the people, principally in Catalonia. What he accomplished there is almost incredible. He made his long journeys always on foot, preached three or four times a day, and was indefatigable in the confessional. His activity brought upon him the hatred and persecutions of the impious, but it won at the same time the repute of a true apostle from the good. To have able co-laborers in his mission work, he founded in 1849 a Congregation called the Sons of the Immacu- late Heart of Mary, which developed into a flourishing establishment. In 1900 it numbered sixteen hundred and seventy members distributed among fifty-six residences. By command of the papal Nuncio at Madrid, Anthony Claret accepted, in 1850, his appointment as archbishop of Santiago de Cuba. Accompanied by several priests and religious women he set out for his distant diocese. On the voyage he preached every day and brought the whole crew of the vessel, without an exception, to confession.

Sad, indeed, was the decay of religion in Cuba. But the new bishop did not despair. He went from place to place through his diocese and gave missions everywhere. The results were truly wonderful. At the end of the mission in Santiago, which lasted during the whole of Lent, the distribution of Holy Communion covered six hours. During a mission in another city he brought to their duty about four hundred couples living in concubinage. He did not forget to take precautions that these beginnings might be lasting in effect. He erected schools, provided for religious houses, and opened a seminary for the training of priests. Pius IX, who had heard of this new Spring of spiritual regeneration in Cuba, sent a letter of special approbation to Archbishop Claret, praising him for his apostolic zeal.

The enemy, however, did not lay down his arms. It was especially Claret’s successful effort against concubinage that excited the degenerate to make an attempt on the archbishop’s life. A secret plot was concocted, and an attack was made upon him which resulted in his being dangerously wounded. Prevented from efficient activity by the constant peril to his life, he asked the Pope to remove him from his archbishopric. The honorable appointment of confessor to Queen Isabella was given to him in i860. Obedience alone prevailed on him to accept this office, but he remained the same apostle as before, full of zeal for souls. He withdrew as much as possible from life at the court and instead gave missions in the churches of Madrid, soon becoming the most beloved confessor in the city. His influence with the queen, which was very great, he used only for the benefit of the poor. Whenever he was traveling with the court, he preached and taught the catechism wherever they stopped. Seeing the evil caused by bad literature, he wrote and distributed very many good pamphlets, and founded the academic society of Saint Michael for the spreading of good books.

In 1869, he went to Rome to participate in the Vatican Council. After its adjournment, he intended to seek rest for a time in the Pyrenees, but he was taken with a serious illness, and on 8 October 1870 received the reward of his tireless labors in the vineyard of the Lord. The process of his beatification was introduced in 1899.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Anthony Mary Claret y Clara”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Anthony Gianelli

Saint Anthony Mary GianelliThe Venerable Anthony Gianelli, bishop of Bobbio on the Trebbia, was held in high repute throughout Upper Italy. The most prominent feature of his sanctity was his unwearying zeal for souls. His natural gifts of eloquence served him greatly in this. While professor of Rhetoric in the seminary of Genoa he used his spare time in giving missions to the country folk. Later, when archpriest at Chiavari, he devoted himself entirely to this work and founded a Society of secular priests, called the Oblates of Saint Alphonsus of Liguori, for the purpose of giving missions and spiritual exercises. After his appointment as bishop of Bobbio, he verily consumed himself by his zeal in keeping far from his flock whatever might bring it harm. His life, says his biographer, recalls to mind the most amiable and consoling traits found in hagiography. Widely mourned, this distinguished bishop died in 1846, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. A Congregation of Sisters – the Daughters of Mary del Orto – founded by him when archpriest, is widely distributed throughout Italy and South America.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Anthony Gianelli”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Vincent Mary Strambi

Saint Vincent StrambiThe Venerable Vincent Mary Strambi, Passionist, bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, had even in his earlier years the reputation of a saint. After his ordination to the priesthood he joined the Congregation of the Passionists in 1768 and enjoyed the most intimate relations with its founder, Saint Paul of the Cross. His energy and activity contributed much to the internal unity of the Order. He became successively provincial, consultor, and general definitor. In 1801 Pius VII appointed him bishop of Macerata and Tolentino. But as bishop he still remained the same poor and mortified religious with the motto: Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi (The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ). When in 1808 he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon, which had been forbidden by the Pope, he was transported to Novara and was not permitted to return to his diocese until 1814. By the holiness of his life he exercised a wholesome influence on all who came into contact with him. When on account of old age he resigned his bishopric in 1823, Leo XII appointed him his consultor. Soon after, the Pope fell dangerously ill. Then Strambi during the sacrifice of the Mass made an offering of his life for that of the Holy Father. After Mass he went to the sick-bed of the Pope and told him that he would not die because God had accepted the sacrifice of a life for that of the Pope. And as the effect proved, the Pope recovered from that hour, but Strambi, a few days later, was called to his reward. He died on 1 January 1824, at the age of seventy-nine years.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Vincent Mary Strambi”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – János Hám

János HámThe Hungarian episcopate is represented by the servant of God, John Ham, bishop of Szatmar on the Szamos. He was born on 5 January 1781, in the town of Gyongyos and was the son of a tradesman of moderate means. A Franciscan priest, observing the excellent qualities of his mind and character, assisted him in his studies and remained a prudent and watchful admonitor to him during the years of his development. A few months after his ordination to the priesthood, which took place on 17 March 1804, John Ham was appointed professor of theology in the seminary of his native diocese of Erlau (Eger). He afterward became regent of the seminary and canon of the cathedral. While exercising these offices he unexpectedly received his nomination as bishop of Szatmar in 1827. A striking feature in Bishop Ham was his unaffected, deep humility. He shunned every mark of honor. He made himself the servant of all, not only of his clergy but even of his domestics. It was thus that he won the confidence of all. They knew that he did not seek his own advantage, but only the welfare of his flock. It was said that his mildness was like that of Saint Francis of Sales. If a priest, so it was remarked, received a reproof in the forenoon, he was sure to get an invitation to dinner. In the episcopal residence everything was as simple as possible. It was like the house of a religious community. The same was true of the bishop’s own life. The time was accurately distributed between prayer and work, and the whole household had to be present at appointed common prayers in the domestic chapel. “To pray more interiorly and with greater devotion than Bishop John is given to few mortals,” says his biographer. He had had for himself satisfactory experience of the blessings of prayer. His demeanor during celebration of the Holy Mass and at liturgical ceremonies made a deep impression on all. They could see how convinced he was of the sacredness of these functions. The servant of God crucified his body by severe practices of penance. On Fridays and Saturdays he ate, as a rule, only bread and fruit, and for his rest at night he rarely used a bed.

The good bishop was indefatigable in the care of the flock entrusted to him. He considered it his first duty to train up a clergy distinguished for knowledge and virtue. As far as his occupations permitted he devoted himself to preaching the word of God. Again and again he exhorted his priests not to neglect the religious instruction of the people, knowing well that the enemies of the Faith could prevail little on a people well instructed in their religion. Therefore, he contributed willingly from his own means to the erection of schools and of new parishes. In the city of Szatmar alone, not to mention other works of less importance, he founded a large institution for the education of girls, which he confided to the Sisters of Saint Vincent, a college for boys under the direction of the Jesuits, a convent of Franciscans, and a hospital of the Brothers of Charity of Saint John of God. He was, in truth, a good shepherd who had no other interest than to lead his flock into green pastures and to protect it from the attacks of the wolves.

To be sure, the enemy of all good was unceasingly at work to hinder the bishop’s activity. He was calumniated at the court in the expectation that he would be deposed. But the Catholic population, knowing the falsity of these groundless misrepresentations, stood firmly with its pastor. For a long time they had looked on him as a saint and at the blessed death of the beloved bishop, on 30 December 1857, the whole of Catholic Hungary overflowed with praise for this true successor of the apostles, whom it hopes to have as its powerful intercessor in heaven.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “János Hám”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – John Nepomucene Neumann

photograph of Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, date unknown, photographer unknownJohn Nepomucene Neumann, bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was by birth an Austrian. He was born on 23 May 1811, and was the son of a municipal official in the little town of Prachatitz in Boehmer Wald. His boyhood foretold the future saint. He served Mass with extraordinary love and devotion. Once, when he saw a poor schoolmate begging, John besought his parents to be permitted to collect alms for the boy. At the age of twelve, having manifested his desire to become a priest, he was sent to the gymnasium of Budweis. Eight years later he began the study of theology in the seminary of Budweis and continued it afterward at Prague. During this time a fellow-student wrote an anonymous letter full of bitter calumnies against him, which brought John a severe public reprimand. He knew who the writer was, but, far from seeking revenge, he endeavored to win his calumniator by showing him greater love and friendship. While a student, John Neumann had read the reports of the Leopold Society on the foreign missions. This enkindled his zeal for souls. He determined to take Saint Francis Xavier as his model and to go off to the missions as soon as possible. After completing his studies he resolved to proceed immediately to North America. Before leaving he desired first to be ordained priest for the consolation of his parents; but this petition was not granted. As he left home he consoled his weeping father and mother, saying that he was not born to strive after honor and renown but to seek out the lambs that had gone astray.

On his landing in New York in 1836, Neumann was kindly received by the bishop and sent to help the pastor of the German church of Saint Nicholas in preparing the children for first Communion. Shortly after this, the bishop ordained him and appointed him pastor of Williamsville, near Buffalo. All the privations of a missionary there awaited the newly-ordained priest, but the sight of so many forsaken souls and their deplorable ignorance of religion made the sacrifice light for his zealous heart. Restless, he hastened with long and toilsome journeys through pathless wilds seeking the forlorn sheep, while at home he had absolutely no one to serve him or to prepare a lodging to shelter him sufficiently from the severe colds of winter.

For a long time Neumann had been deliberating on joining a Religious Order so that he might labor more efficiently as a missionary. Finally, in the year 1840 he obtained permission to enter the Congregation of the Redemptorists. But the novitiate did not give him much rest from his apostolic labors, for the need of priests was very great. A year after taking his vows Neumann became superior at Pittsburgh. Later on he was chosen to govern the whole province and after this was made rector in Baltimore. While occupying this position he was assailed by calumny and as a consequence deposed from his office. He said nothing in his defense, but it was only a short time before his innocence came clearly to light. His superiors did all they could to make amends for the injustice done him and reinstated him in his former office. Then came the unexpected news to the humble priest that he was nominated bishop of Philadelphia by the Propaganda. He used every effort to avoid this dignity, but Rome was inexorable.

Now that he was bishop, Neumann’s zeal could be exercised almost without limit. He was indefatigable in preaching, in hearing confessions, in visiting his far-extended diocese. Philadelphia owes to him its cathedral and its ecclesiastical seminary. He took care to establish Catholic schools everywhere.

At the desire of Pius IX he went to Rome for the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. He took the opportunity of visiting his home, to the great joy of his father, who was still living. They prepared a splendid reception for him, but it was his modesty and deep piety that made the greatest impression on the entire population. The ever active bishop was only forty-eight years of age. But he had already wasted his strength in the service of the Lord. On 5 January 1860, he was stricken with apoplexy while in the street, and the stroke brought about his death. He still wore his penitential girdle even on his death-bed. The apostolic process of his beatification was begun in 1896.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “John Nepomucene Neumann”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Pope Pius IX

Pope Blessed Pius IX, c.1878Whenever the Church has had to struggle through difficult times, God has always raised up great men who, by their eminent qualities, by the holiness of their lives and their convincing devotion to the things of God, have encouraged the timid and have given new life to wavering faith and relaxing zeal. The nineteenth century was to the Church an ordeal by fire. That she has come out of it unscathed and purified is due first to the assistance of God and after this to the faithful allegiance of the supreme pastors to whom her destinies were confided. All the Popes of the nineteenth century were an honor to the Church, distinguished by their virtue and learning, powerful beacons who spread wide a heavenly light throughout the darkness of the world.

For the longest time of all Pius IX stood out as the guardian of Sion and it was he who steered the Bark of Peter through stormiest seas. There is scarcely any pontificate that surpassed his in importance and which was obliged to solve such weighty problems. But Pius IX was in every sense the man whom Christ could put in charge of His flock during that critical period. A saint was needed in whom the sharp eye of the enemy could not discover any fault — a man inflamed by the zeal of faith, who would not sacrifice a single jewel of that precious heritage which the spirit of the time sought with determined energy to drag away from the Church. Such a man was Pius IX. Only a few facts from his virtuous and eventful life are needed to convince us of this. The whole life of Pius IX was pervaded and sustained by the spirit of faith, the most precious heritage he received from his parents. He was born at Sinigaglia on May 13, 1792, son of Count Jerome Mastai-Ferretti, and he received in baptism the name of John Mary. Once his pious mother, kneeling before a picture of the Mother of Sorrows, lifted up the infant John and said: “O Mary, adopt him as your son as you adopted his patron, the beloved disciple. I consecrate him to you and give him up wholly to you.” Thus at his mother’s breast the boy learned to know and to love Mary and later on he was to bear witness before the whole world and to all coming generations what a mighty flame of holy love for the pure Mother of God had been then enkindled. We shall see how Mary on her part showed herself the most powerful protectress of his life. To the Mother of Sorrows he had been dedicated and the sword of sorrow would often pierce his heart.

Another trait which manifests the true Christian spirit of the family is too touching to leave unmentioned. It was in those sad days when the French took Pius VI a captive into France. The mother, who said prayers in common with her children, was accustomed to add an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the Holy Father. One evening she told her children with tears what a hard trial had come upon the Holy Father and that therefore they should pray for him with the greater fervor. John, then only seven years old, knelt down weeping. When the prayers were ended, he asked how God could permit His representative to be so ill-treated. His mother tried to make him understand that the Pope was the Vicar of the Crucified Saviour and on this account had to suffer very much. “But then,” pursued the little reasoner, “they are wicked men who treat the Holy Father so cruelly and we must pray that God may punish them.” “My child,” was the reply, “we should never pray God to punish any one. What did Our Saviour Himself do, even on the Cross? He prayed for His enemies; and Pius VI surely does the same at this very moment.

Let us join him then and pray to God, not that He should punish all these wicked men who have laid sacrilegious hands upon the Lord’s anointed, but rather that He may enlighten them and turn their wicked hearts toward good.” Then all of them knelt down again and said a second “Our Father” for the welfare of the enemies of the Pope. If the boy could have looked into the future and have known what was to come he would have seen that it would be the chief feature of his life to be persecuted as Christ’s Vicar by the enemies of the Cross and to implore Heaven’s mercy in behalf of those very enemies. Joyful and happy were the days spent in his father’s palace. We may be assured that his devout parents were very careful to keep everything evil far from their promising boy and to plant virtue deeply in his young heart. After making his first Holy Communion, John Mastai in his tenth year was sent to the old mountain town of Volterra to apply himself to higher studies in the college of the Piarists. It was not long before he became the favorite of the whole house on account of his angelic modesty and amiability, his piety and docility. His talents enabled him to acquire the knowledge required of him without difficulty and his teachers could never sufficiently praise the purity of his morals.

After six years John had completed his college course and the youth of sixteen found himself confronted with the weighty problem of choosing a state of life. He had hesitated between the career of a soldier and the priesthood. But God had taken the decision into His own hands.

Once during his boyhood John Mastai while playing had fallen into a cold lake and was saved from imminent death only through the presence of mind of a servant. But after that time he became sickly and there gradually developed the dreadful disease of epilepsy. Physicians declared that a cure was impossible. So the young man with his splendid mental endowments was doomed to a life of inactivity. All his bright hopes for the future were stricken from him at one blow which made him incapable of bearing arms and unfitted him for service at the altar. But difficulties are for the saints only the rounds of a ladder on which they ascend to the height of their confidence in God; and young Mastai was not the man to fold his arms in discouragement. His lively faith knew well the grand promises held out to persevering prayer. Therefore, his resolution was quickly made — he decided to dedicate himself to God in Holy Orders and by unremitting prayer obtain freedom from the malady that would bar the door of the priesthood against him. In the spring of 1809 he received the tonsure and then returned to his home, because, for the time, he could do nothing more than to take care of his sick body and to pray.

In the meantime grievous trials had fallen to the lot of the successor of Saint Peter. Pius VII pined in French captivity. But Providence exacted a terrible retribution for the crime and in the very same castle of Fontainebleau where he had kept the Pope a prisoner, the French Emperor was obliged to sign his abdication. The coming home of Pius VII was like a march of triumph, so splendid as never had been seen by a Roman emperor. The way led the Pope through Sinigaglia and here he was the guest of Count Mastai-Ferretti. The whole event made a deep impression on John Mastai, who was at the time twenty-two years of age. He accompanied the Pope and entered the Eternal City with the Pontiff on that memorable day, May 24, 1814, while all Christendom rejoiced. He resided in the house of his uncle, a canon of Saint Peter’s, and attended the lectures at the Roman University. He undertook besides to assist the director of the orphan asylum, Tata Giovanni, in the instruction and management of the children. Still his insidious mal- ady did not leave him. He now began to think that it might be better for him to join the noble guard of the Pope. Then one day he suffered an attack in the street more violent than any he had had before. Pius VII himself heard of it and bade the young man to come to him, for the Pope wished to console him. Soon after, John Mastai disappeared from Rome and remained a considerable time at Loretto, making most fervent appeal to the Blessed Virgin. When he left Loretto, all was bright and sunny in his heart, for he did not doubt that Mary had heard him. His sickness speedily diminished and he immediately applied to obtain the necessary dispensation for the reception of Holy Orders. On April 10 the goal was reached at last, and on the day following he celebrated his first Holy Mass in the midst of the orphan boys of Tata Giovanni. What the Blessed Virgin does, she does thoroughly. After the day of his ordination to the priesthood all traces of epilepsy disappeared and until his death, at the venerable age of eighty-six years, Pius IX was never seriously ill. So his sickness was in the designs of Providence only a means to bring him to his true vocation, to compel him to rest his confidence in God alone, and to give him an evident proof of the favor of the Mother of God, to show him the power of her intercession.

For a while the young priest retained the humble position of assistant at the orphan asylum. During this time he drew great spiritual profit from an intimate intercourse with the noble-minded prelate, Prince Charles Odescalchi. Through the latter he became acquainted with the Venerable Vincent Mary Strambi of the Congregation of the Passionists. The choice of such friends shows the tendency of his own mind. The beatification of the Venerable Strambi is not far distant. Odescalchi also died in the repute of sanctity. In 1838, Odescalchi, then a cardinal, obtained permission from Gregory XVI to renounce his purple and finally to realize the vocation to which his heart had drawn him from his earliest years. He became a member of the Society of Jesus and the former prince and cardinal took his place with the young novices and asked to be treated in every respect as the youngest of them. After living three years in the Society of Jesus he was called to receive the reward of his blameless life.

In contact with these and similarly minded men of mature spirituality and holiness, the religious life of Father Mastai increased in depth and substantial worth while faith sank its roots ever more firmly into his susceptible mind. The years that followed were free from burdensome occupations. It was now his opportunity to seek intimate and loving intercourse with God and to learn how inestimable to the priest are the enlightenment and consolations of prayer. Else there would be danger that, later on, his mind might be swallowed up in merely external affairs because of the multitude of his distracting occupations and would not be able to penetrate into the depths of the life of faith. Now he could gather fuel for the kindling of that fire of divine love which he was afterward to spread throughout the whole world.

It was not long before the eminent qualities of the young priest were recognized. Toward the end of 1823 we find him in distant Chile as Socius of the papal delegate, Mgr. Muzi. After his return, he became president of the great Hospice of Saint Michael in 1825, was made archbishop of Spoleto in 1827, transferred to the see of Imola in 1832, and was created a cardinal in 1840. These were years of wide activity, very difficult affairs in his dioceses requiring settlement. With consummate skill, however, he always made himself master of the situation. His paternal mildness and the purity of intention on which lay the foundation of his indefatigable zeal gained even the most obstinate hearts. The high confidence placed in his ability was evidenced by the fact that he was elected Pope on June 16, 1846, after a conclave of only two days, although he was one of the youngest cardinals and the electors knew well what heavy storms the Church was about to encounter. The Pope-elect quite broke down under an agony of tears when he saw that the required two-thirds of the votes really bore his name. Asked if he would accept the election, he looked up at the image of the Crucified and said: “Lord, behold Thy unworthy servant, Thy will be done.”

In grateful memory of Pius VII he took the name of Pius. When amidst the acclamations of an immense multitude he was on the following day driven to the Quirinal, he said to his companion: “To-day begins the persecution.” It was a prophetic word. The ninth Pius was to be a martyr of the Papacy.

It would exceed the limits of this work to picture the heroic combats and unspeakable sorrows of the “Grand Sufferer,” Pius IX, or realistically to sketch in full effect the grandeur of his character and the blessing his pontificate bestowed on Christendom. His life displays traits of likeness to that of Him whose representative he was. What most excites our reverent admiration in Our Lord Jesus Christ is His great submission to the will of His Heavenly Father, His love for mankind, and the excess of suffering and humiliation undergone of His own free will. “Non possumus,” “We can not,” was the firm expression of Pius IX when, with their shocking menaces, the foes of the Church demanded of him anything that was against the divine law. His kindness of heart and his ineffable meekness toward all, even toward his enemies, exercised an overpowering charm. Yet soon after his accession to the throne of Peter, in fear for his life, he must flee the Eternal City and hear from afar how the holy places were profaned with the wildest abominations.

In defiance of all international law they despoiled him of the inheritance of Saint Peter, and among all the heads of the world’s governments not one had the courage to protest against the crime, save only the noble Garcia Moreno, president of Ecuador. Finally, as a prisoner, Pius IX came to the close of his thorn-crowned life.

We shall lay particular stress upon three events which gave a very special significance to his pontificate; namely, the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the proclamation of the Syllabus of 1864, and the definition of papal infallibility in faith and morals.

The modern world hates the supernatural. The doctrine of grace, of sin and redemption, is for it a senseless puzzle. It had no understanding, therefore, of the realm of things above nature, of the nobility of the divine sonship, of the grand meaning and wondrous deep beauty of redemption through Christ. This is why it sinks more and more deeply into all the sins of the flesh and seeks its happiness in sensual delights alone. In direct opposition to this, Pius IX dared to bind the whole world to believe in the Immaculate Conception of the ever Blessed Virgin Mary, a fact of the supernatural order. This mystery demonstrated as none other the high esteem God has for sinlessness. What a glorious ideal Pius IX proposed to the sinful world! The splendid white purity of our heavenly Mother shall fix our attention and charm us to imitation. Through Mary Pius IX hoped to save our age from the horrible curse of impurity. His act met with enthusiastic approval in the hearts of all true Catholics, and contributed mightily to foster love and imitation of the Stainless Virgin.

Infidelity had cloaked itself with the garment of science. By means of false principles it sought to penetrate secretly into the Church and to consume the very marrow of her life. But this treachery did not escape the watchful eye of the supreme pastor. The Syllabus of 1864 pilloried a large number of such false teachings and the fury of the unmasked deceivers was unbounded. They clamored about unheard-of fetters with which the Pope had shackled science. But these fetters were none other than the laws of truth, and he had really secured freedom to true science against the caprice of passion and the uncertain currents of the spirit of the age. If in anything, certainly in this, we must admire the wisdom and courage of the Pope. And succeeding years have shown that he was right. The truth has never yet contradicted the Faith.

The third evil of the times was the spirit of revolt against authority. Here, too, Pius IX dared lay his hand upon the wound. It would have been a bold deed for Gregory VII to proclaim the Pope’s infallibility an article of faith; but now, in the revolutionary nineteenth century, which raised the worship of self to apotheosis, was it not to be feared that the faithful would abandon Rome in multitudes? Many, indeed, believed so. But Pius saw further. The Church’s enemies themselves had necessitated an authoritative declaration of this dogma by the war they had raised against it. To be silent now would show weakness on the part of the Church. Men prepared their plots against her, the press raged in all countries of the globe, political powers made threats, misguided Catholics showed themselves ready to apostatize, but Pius knew no fear when the performance of his duty for the welfare of the Church was in question and exceeding must be our gratitude for his constancy. No dogma shows us the divine guidance of the Church in a clearer light than does that of papal infallibility. In the limitless confusion about the most important questions of our existence, it is the greatest consolation for a Catholic to know that the Pope is the organ of the Eternal Truth Itself. The papacy under Pius IX lost its temporal possessions; but it made immense conquests in the spiritual domain. Through the doctrine of papal infallibility it has been interiorly strengthened and possesses the greatest conceivable authority.

To bring all this about Providence chose Pius IX. He was the instrument which possessed all the qualities for the realization of the designs of God in His Church. He was as the “Stimmen am Maria Loach” portrays him, “a character consummate in its perfection, a great man, greater than any other of the generation in which he lived, for no one consecrated so long a life as he to so grand an idea with such energy and wisdom; no one bore so loftily as he the standard of truth and justice on the cruel battle-ground of these evil days.”

A man who exhibited a martyr’s courage in defense of the principles of faith certainly would give life and expression to this faith in his personality. When Pius IX died on February 17, 1878, even his bitterest enemies bestowed unreserved praise upon his private life. No one dared call in doubt the spotless integrity of his conduct or the sincerity of his piety. Others who are great as scholars, poets, politicians, military leaders, and the like, are often most miserably small if we measure their lives by the standard of Christian morality. The only thing they found to blame in Pius IX was that he was “too Catholic.” Those who knew him more intimately considered him a saint. Cardinal Patrizzi once said that if he survived Pius he would immediately inaugurate the process of his canonization.

Pius IX had all that mildness and chanjiing amiability which is peculiar to the saints. He was inflexible against any encroachment on the sacred rights of the Church, inflexible also against anything in himself which did not correspond to the highest ideal of Christian perfection. Therefore, we find him so modest, so angelically pure, so affable, so childlike in his piety, so fervent in zeal, and so strong in suffering. Even during his lifetime miraculous works were related of him, and such occurrences so increased year by year after his death that in the year 1907 Pius X ordered the first inquiries in the process of his canonization to be inaugurated. Let us hope that the Pontiff who placed the diamond crown upon the brow of heaven’s Queen will himself soon win the victor’s crown of sainthood.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Pope Pius IX”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>

Divini Redemptoris – On Atheistic Communism, by Pope Pius XI, 19 March 1937

Pope Pius XITo the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and Other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.

2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.

3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization.

4. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of “intellectuals” were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the de-christianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against “that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself.” Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as “the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin.” With clear intuition he pointed out that the atheistic movements existing among the masses of the Machine Age had their origin in that school of philosophy which for centuries had sought to divorce science from the life of the Faith and of the Church.

5. During Our Pontificate We too have frequently and with urgent insistence denounced the current trend to atheism which is alarmingly on the increase. In 1924 when Our relief-mission returned from the Soviet Union We condemned Communism in a special Allocution which We addressed to the whole world. In our Encyclicals Miserentissimus Redemptor, Quadragesimo Anno, Caritate Christi, Acerba Animi, and Dilectissima Nobis, We raised a solemn protest against the persecutions unleashed in Russia, in Mexico and now in Spain. Our two Allocutions of last year, the first on the occasion of the opening of the International Catholic Press Exposition, and the second during Our audience to the Spanish refugees, along with Our message of last Christmas, have evoked a world-wide echo which is not yet spent. In fact, the most persistent enemies of the Church, who from Moscow are directing the struggle against Christian civilization, themselves bear witness, by their unceasing attacks in word and act, that even to this hour the Papacy has continued faithfully to protect the sanctuary of the Christian religion, and that it has called public attention to the perils of Communism more frequently and more effectively than any other public authority on earth.

6. To Our great satisfaction, Venerable Brethren, you have, by means of individual and even joint pastoral Letters, accurately transmitted and explained to the Faithful these admonitions. Yet despite Our frequent and paternal warning the peril only grows greater from day to day because of the pressure exerted by clever agitators. Therefore We believe it to be Our duty to raise Our voice once more, in a still more solemn missive, in accord with the tradition of this Apostolic See, the Teacher of Truth, and in accord with the desire of the whole Catholic world, which makes the appearance of such a document but natural. We trust that the echo of Our voice will reach every mind free from prejudice and every heart sincerely desirous of the good of mankind. We wish this the more because Our words are now receiving sorry confirmation from the spectacle of the bitter fruits of subversive ideas, which We foresaw and foretold, and which are in fact multiplying fearfully in the countries already stricken, or threatening every other country of the world.

7. Hence We wish to expose once more in a brief synthesis the principles of atheistic Communism as they are manifested chiefly in bolshevism. We wish also to indicate its method of action and to contrast with its false principles the clear doctrine of the Church, in order to inculcate anew and with greater insistence the means by which the Christian civilization, the true civitas humana, can be saved from the satanic scourge, and not merely saved, but better developed for the well-being of human society.

8. The Communism of today, more emphatically than similar movements in the past, conceals in itself a false messianic idea. A pseudo-ideal of justice, of equality and fraternity in labor impregnates all its doctrine and activity with a deceptive mysticism, which communicates a zealous and contagious enthusiasm to the multitudes entrapped by delusive promises. This is especially true in an age like ours, when unusual misery has resulted from the unequal distribution of the goods of this world. This pseudo-ideal is even boastfully advanced as if it were responsible for a certain economic progress. As a matter of fact, when such progress is at all real, its true causes are quite different, as for instance the intensification of industrialism in countries which were formerly almost without it, the exploitation of immense natural resources, and the use of the most brutal methods to insure the achievement of gigantic projects with a minimum of expense.

9. The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.

10. Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man’s relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement.

11. Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right.

12. What would be the condition of a human society based on such materialistic tenets? It would be a collectivity with no other hierarchy than that of the economic system. It would have only one mission: the production of material things by means of collective labor, so that the goods of this world might be enjoyed in a paradise where each would “give according to his powers” and would “receive according to his needs.” Communism recognizes in the collectivity the right, or rather, unlimited discretion, to draft individuals for the labor of the collectivity with no regard for their personal welfare; so that even violence could be legitimately exercised to dragoon the recalcitrant against their wills. In the Communistic commonwealth morality and law would be nothing but a derivation of the existing economic order, purely earthly in origin and unstable in character. In a word. the Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God.

13. When all men have finally acquired the collectivist mentality in this Utopia of a really classless society, the political State, which is now conceived by Communists merely as the instrument by which the proletariat is oppressed by the capitalists, will have lost all reason for its existence and will “wither away.” However, until that happy consummation is realized, the State and the powers of the State furnish Communism with the most efficacious and most extensive means for the achievement of its goal.

14. Such, Venerable Brethren, is the new gospel which bolshevistic and atheistic Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation! It is a system full of errors and sophisms. It is in opposition both to reason and to Divine Revelation. It subverts the social order, because it means the destruction of its foundations; because it ignores the true origin and purpose of the State; because it denies the rights, dignity and liberty of human personality.

15. How is it possible that such a system, long since rejected scientifically and now proved erroneous by experience, how is it, We ask, that such a system could spread so rapidly in all parts of the world? The explanation lies in the fact that too few have been able to grasp the nature of Communism. The majority instead succumb to its deception, skillfully concealed by the most extravagant promises. By pretending to desire only the betterment of the condition of the working classes, by urging the removal of the very real abuses chargeable to the liberalistic economic order, and by demanding a more equitable distribution of this world’s goods (objectives entirely and undoubtedly legitimate), the Communist takes advantage of the present world-wide economic crisis to draw into the sphere of his influence even those sections of the populace which on principle reject all forms of materialism and terrorism. And as every error contains its element of truth, the partial truths to which We have referred are astutely presented according to the needs of time and place, to conceal, when convenient, the repulsive crudity and inhumanity of Communistic principles and tactics. Thus the Communist ideal wins over many of the better minded members of the community. These in turn become the apostles of the movement among the younger intelligentsia who are still too immature to recognize the intrinsic errors of the system. The preachers of Communism are also proficient in exploiting racial antagonisms and political divisions and oppositions. They take advantage of the lack of orientation characteristic of modern agnostic science in order to burrow into the universities, where they bolster up the principles of their doctrine with pseudo-scientific arguments.

16. If we would explain the blind acceptance of Communism by so many thousands of workmen, we must remember that the way had been already prepared for it by the religious and moral destitution in which wage-earners had been left by liberal economics. Even on Sundays and holy days, labor-shifts were given no time to attend to their essential religious duties. No one thought of building churches within convenient distance of factories, nor of facilitating the work of the priest. On the contrary, laicism was actively and persistently promoted, with the result that we are now reaping the fruits of the errors so often denounced by Our Predecessors and by Ourselves. It can surprise no one that the Communistic fallacy should be spreading in a world already to a large extent de-Christianized.

17. There is another explanation for the rapid diffusion of the Communistic ideas now seeping into every nation, great and small, advanced and backward, so that no corner of the earth is free from them. This explanation is to be found in a propaganda so truly diabolical that the world has perhaps never witnessed its like before. It is directed from one common center. It is shrewdly adapted to the varying conditions of diverse peoples. It has at its disposal great financial resources, gigantic organizations, international congresses, and countless trained workers. It makes use of pamphlets and reviews, of cinema, theater and radio, of schools and even universities. Little by little it penetrates into all classes of the people and even reaches the better-minded groups of the community, with the result that few are aware of the poison which increasingly pervades their minds and hearts.

18. A third powerful factor in the diffusion of Communism is the conspiracy of silence on the part of a large section of the non-Catholic press of the world. We say conspiracy, because it is impossible otherwise to explain how a press usually so eager to exploit even the little daily incidents of life has been able to remain silent for so long about the horrors perpetrated in Russia, in Mexico and even in a great part of Spain; and that it should have relatively so little to say concerning a world organization as vast as Russian Communism. This silence is due in part to shortsighted political policy, and is favored by various occult forces which for a long time have been working for the overthrow of the Christian Social Order.

19. Meanwhile the sorry effects of this propaganda are before our eyes. Where Communism has been able to assert its power – and here We are thinking with special affection of the people of Russia and Mexico – it has striven by every possible means, as its champions openly boast, to destroy Christian civilization and the Christian religion by banishing every remembrance of them from the hearts of men, especially of the young. Bishops and priests were exiled, condemned to forced labor, shot and done to death in inhuman fashion; laymen suspected of defending their religion were vexed, persecuted, dragged off to trial and thrown into prison.

20. Even where the scourge of Communism has not yet had time enough to exercise to the full its logical effects, as witness Our beloved Spain, it has, alas, found compensation in the fiercer violence of its attack. Not only this or that church or isolated monastery was sacked, but as far as possible every church and every monastery was destroyed. Every vestige of the Christian religion was eradicated, even though intimately linked with the rarest monuments of art and science. The fury of Communism has not confined itself to the indiscriminate slaughter of Bishops, of thousands of priests and religious of both sexes; it searches out above all those who have been devoting their lives to the welfare of the working classes and the poor. But the majority of its victims have been laymen of all conditions and classes. Even up to the present moment, masses of them are slain almost daily for no other offense than the fact that they are good Christians or at least opposed to atheistic Communism. And this fearful destruction has been carried out with a hatred and a savage barbarity one would not have believed possible in our age. No man of good sense, nor any statesman conscious of his responsibility can fail to shudder at the thought that what is happening today in Spain may perhaps be repeated tomorrow in other civilized countries.

21. Nor can it be said that these atrocities are a transitory phenomenon, the usual accompaniment of all great revolutions, the isolated excesses common to every war. No, they are the natural fruit of a system which lacks all inner restraint. Some restraint is necessary for man considered either as an individual or in society. Even the barbaric peoples had this inner check in the natural law written by God in the heart of every man. And where this natural law was held in higher esteem, ancient nations rose to a grandeur that still fascinates – more than it should – certain superficial students of human history. But tear the very idea of God from the hearts of men, and they are necessarily urged by their passions to the most atrocious barbarity.

22. This, unfortunately, is what we now behold. For the first time in history we are witnessing a struggle, cold-blooded in purpose and mapped out to the least detail, between man and “all that is called God.” Communism is by its nature anti-religious. It considers religion as “the opiate of the people” because the principles of religion which speak of a life beyond the grave dissuade the proletariat from the dream of a Soviet paradise which is of this world.

23. But the law of nature and its Author cannot be flouted with impunity. Communism has not been able, and will not be able, to achieve its objectives even in the merely economic sphere. It is true that in Russia it has been a contributing factor in rousing men and materials from the inertia of centuries, and in obtaining by all manner of means, often without scruple, some measure of material success. Nevertheless We know from reliable and even very recent testimony that not even there, in spite of slavery imposed on millions of men, has Communism reached its promised goal. After all, even the sphere of economics needs some morality, some moral sense of responsibility, which can find no place in a system so thoroughly materialistic as Communism. Terrorism is the only possible substitute, and it is terrorism that reigns today in Russia, where former comrades in revolution are exterminating each other. Terrorism, having failed despite all to stem the tide of moral corruption, cannot even prevent the dissolution of society itself.

24. In making these observations it is no part of Our intention to condemn en masse the peoples of the Soviet Union. For them We cherish the warmest paternal affection. We are well aware that not a few of them groan beneath the yoke imposed on them by men who in very large part are strangers to the real interests of the country. We recognize that many others were deceived by fallacious hopes. We blame only the system, with its authors and abettors who considered Russia the best-prepared field for experimenting with a plan elaborated decades ago, and who from there continue to spread it from one end of the world to the other.

25. We have exposed the errors and the violent, deceptive tactics of bolshevistic and atheistic Communism. It is now time, Venerable Brethren, to contrast with it the true notion, already familiar to you, of the civitas humana or human society, as taught by reason and Revelation through the mouth of the Church, Magistra Gentium.

26. Above all other reality there exists one supreme Being: God, the omnipotent Creator of all things, the all-wise and just Judge of all men. This supreme reality, God, is the absolute condemnation of the impudent falsehoods of Communism. In truth, it is not because men believe in God that He exists; rather because He exists do all men whose eyes are not deliberately closed to the truth believe in Him and pray to Him.

27. In the Encyclical on Christian Education We explained the fundamental doctrine concerning man as it may be gathered from reason and Faith. Man has a spiritual and immortal soul. He is a person, marvelously endowed by his Creator with gifts of body and mind. He is a true “microcosm,” as the ancients said, a world in miniature, with a value far surpassing that of the vast inanimate cosmos. God alone is his last end, in this life and the next. By sanctifying grace he is raised to the dignity of a son of God, and incorporated into the Kingdom of God in the Mystical Body of Christ. In consequence he has been endowed by God with many and varied prerogatives: the right to life, to bodily integrity, to the necessary means of existence; the right to tend toward his ultimate goal in the path marked out for him by God; the right of association and the right to possess and use property.

28. Just as matrimony and the right to its natural use are of divine origin, so likewise are the constitution and fundamental prerogatives of the family fixed and determined by the Creator. In the Encyclical on Christian Marriage and in Our other Encyclical on Education, cited above, we have treated these topics at considerable length.

29. But God has likewise destined man for civil society according to the dictates of his very nature. In the plan of the Creator, society is a natural means which man can and must use to reach his destined end. Society is for man and not vice versa. This must not be understood in the sense of liberalistic individualism, which subordinates society to the selfish use of the individual; but only in the sense that by means of an organic union with society and by mutual collaboration the attainment of earthly happiness is placed within the reach of all. In a further sense, it is society which affords the opportunities for the development of all the individual and social gifts bestowed on human nature. These natural gifts have a value surpassing the immediate interests of the moment, for in society they reflect the divine perfection, which would not be true were man to live alone. But on final analysis, even in this latter function, society is made for man, that he may recognize this reflection of God’s perfection, and refer it in praise and adoration to the Creator. Only man, the human person, and not society in any form is endowed with reason and a morally free will.

30. Man cannot be exempted from his divinely-imposed obligations toward civil society, and the representatives of authority have the right to coerce him when he refuses without reason to do his duty. Society, on the other hand, cannot defraud man of his God-granted rights, the most important of which We have indicated above. Nor can society systematically void these rights by making their use impossible. It is therefore according to the dictates of reason that ultimately all material things should be ordained to man as a person, that through his mediation they may find their way to the Creator. In this wise we can apply to man, the human person, the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, who writes to the Corinthians on the Christian economy of salvation: “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” While Communism impoverishes human personality by inverting the terms of the relation of man to society, to what lofty heights is man not elevated by reason and Revelation!

31. The directive principles concerning the social-economic order have been expounded in the social Encyclical of Leo XIII on the question of labor. Our own Encyclical on the Reconstruction of the Social Order adapted these principles to present needs. Then, insisting anew on the age-old doctrine of the Church concerning the individual and social character of private property, We explained clearly the right and dignity of labor, the relations of mutual aid and collaboration which should exist between those who possess capital and those who work, the salary due in strict justice to the worker for himself and for his family.

32. In this same Encyclical of Ours We have shown that the means of saving the world of today from the lamentable ruin into which a moral liberalism has plunged us, are neither the class-struggle nor terror, nor yet the autocratic abuse of State power, but rather the infusion of social justice and the sentiment of Christian love into the social-economic order. We have indicated how a sound prosperity is to be restored according to the true principles of a sane corporative system which respects the proper hierarchic structure of society; and how all the occupational groups should be fused into a harmonious unity inspired by the principle of the common good. And the genuine and chief function of public and civil authority consists precisely in the efficacious furthering of this harmony and coordination of all social forces.

33. In view of this organized common effort towards peaceful living, Catholic doctrine vindicates to the State the dignity and authority of a vigilant and provident defender of those divine and human rights on which the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church insist so often. It is not true that all have equal rights in civil society. It is not true that there exists no lawful social hierarchy. Let it suffice to refer to the Encyclicals of Leo XIII already cited, especially to that on State powers, and to the other on the Christian Constitution of States. In these documents the Catholic will find the principles of reason and the Faith clearly explained, and these principles will enable him to defend himself against the errors and perils of a Communistic conception of the State. The enslavement of man despoiled of his rights, the denial of the transcendental origin of the State and its authority, the horrible abuse of public power in the service of a collectivistic terrorism, are the very contrary of all that corresponds with natural ethics and the will of the Creator. Both man and civil society derive their origin from the Creator, Who has mutually ordained them one to the other. Hence neither can be exempted from their correlative obligations, nor deny or diminish each other’s rights. The Creator Himself has regulated this mutual relationship in its fundamental lines, and it is by an unjust usurpation that Communism arrogates to itself the right to enforce, in place of the divine law based on the immutable principles of truth and charity, a partisan political program which derives from the arbitrary human will and is replete with hate.

34. In teaching this enlightening doctrine the Church has no other intention than to realize the glad tidings sung by the Angels above the cave of Bethlehem at the Redeemer’s birth: “Glory to God . . . and . . . peace to men . . .,” true peace and true happiness, even here below as far as is possible, in preparation for the happiness of heaven – but to men of good will. This doctrine is equally removed from all extremes of error and all exaggerations of parties or systems which stem from error. It maintains a constant equilibrium of truth and justice, which it vindicates in theory and applies and promotes in practice, bringing into harmony the rights and duties of all parties. Thus authority is reconciled with liberty, the dignity of the individual with that of the State, the human personality of the subject with the divine delegation of the superior; and in this way a balance is struck between the due dependence and well-ordered love of a man for himself, his family and country, and his love of other families and other peoples, founded on the love of God, the Father of all, their first principle and last end. The Church does not separate a proper regard for temporal welfare from solicitude for the eternal. If she subordinates the former to the latter according to the words of her divine Founder, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you,” she is nevertheless so far from being unconcerned with human affairs, so far from hindering civil progress and material advancement, that she actually fosters and promotes them in the most sensible and efficacious manner. Thus even in the sphere of social-economics, although the Church has never proposed a definite technical system, since this is not her field, she has nevertheless clearly outlined the guiding principles which, while susceptible of varied concrete applications according to the diversified conditions of times and places and peoples, indicate the safe way of securing the happy progress of society.

35. The wisdom and supreme utility of this doctrine are admitted by all who really understand it. With good reason outstanding statesmen have asserted that, after a study of various social systems, they have found nothing sounder than the principles expounded in the Encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno. In non-Catholic, even in non-Christian countries, men recognize the great value to society of the social doctrine of the Church. Thus, scarcely a month ago, an eminent political figure of the Far East, a non-Christian, did not hesitate to affirm publicly that the Church, with her doctrine of peace and Christian brotherhood, is rendering a signal contribution to the difficult task of establishing and maintaining peace among the nations. Finally, We know from reliable information that flows into this Center of Christendom from all parts of the world, that the Communists themselves, where they are not utterly depraved, recognize the superiority of the social doctrine of the Church, when once explained to them, over the doctrines of their leaders and their teachers. Only those blinded by passion and hatred close their eyes to the light of truth and obstinately struggle against it.

36. But the enemies of the Church, though forced to acknowledge the wisdom of her doctrine, accuse her of having failed to act in conformity with her principles, and from this conclude to the necessity of seeking other solutions. The utter falseness and injustice of this accusation is shown by the whole history of Christianity. To refer only to a single typical trait, it was Christianity that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine she proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude andconviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she potently contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of her teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave a sister in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the Son of God, made Man for love of man, and become not only the “Son of a Carpenter” but Himself a “Carpenter.” It was Christianity that raised manual labor to its true dignity, whereas it had hitherto been so despised that even the moderate Cicero did not hesitate to sum up the general opinion of his time in words of which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: “All artisans are engaged in sordid trades, for there can be nothing ennobling about a workshop.”

37. Faithful to these principles, the Church has given new life to human society. Under her influence arose prodigious charitable organizations, great guilds of artisans and workingmen of every type. These guilds, ridiculed as “medieval” by the liberalism of the last century, are today claiming the admiration of our contemporaries in many countries who are endeavoring to revive them in some modern form. And when other systems hindered her work and raised obstacles to the salutary influence of the Church, she was never done warning them of their error. We need but recall with what constant firmness and energy Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, vindicated for the workingman the right to organize, which the dominant liberalism of the more powerful States relentlessly denied him. Even today the authority of this Church doctrine is greater than it seems; for the influence of ideas in the realm of facts, though invisible and not easily measured, is surely of predominant importance.

38. It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all. There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church. On the bases of liberalism and laicism they wished to build other social edifices which, powerful and imposing as they seemed at first, all too soon revealed the weakness of their foundations, and today are crumbling one after another before our eyes, as everything must crumble that is not grounded on the one corner stone which is Christ Jesus.

39. This, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine of the Church, which alone in the social as in all other fields can offer real light and assure salvation in the face of Communistic ideology. But this doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice in every-day life, according to the admonition of Saint James the Apostle: “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The most urgent need of the present day is therefore the energetic and timely application of remedies which will effectively ward off the catastrophe that daily grows more threatening. We cherish the firm hope that the fanaticism with which the sons of darkness work day and night at their materialistic and atheistic propaganda will at least serve the holy purpose of stimulating the sons of light to a like and even greater zeal for the honor of the Divine Majesty.

40. What then must be done, what remedies must be employed to defend Christ and Christian civilization from this pernicious enemy? As a father in the midst of his family, We should like to speak quite intimately of those duties which the great struggle of our day imposes on all the children of the Church; and We would address Our paternal admonition even to those sons who have strayed far from her.

41. As in all the stormy periods of the history of the Church, the fundamental remedy today lies in a sincere renewal of private and public life according to the principles of the Gospel by all those who belong to the Fold of Christ, that they may be in truth the salt of the earth to preserve human society from total corruption.

42. With heart deeply grateful to the Father of Light, from Whom descends “every best gift and every perfect gift,” We see on all sides consoling signs of this spiritual renewal. We see it not only in so many singularly chosen souls who in these last years have been elevated to the sublime heights of sanctity, and in so many others who with generous hearts are making their way towards the same luminous goal, but also in the new flowering of a deep and practical piety in all classes of society even the most cultured, as We pointed out in Our recent Motu Proprio In multis solaciis of October 28 last, on the occasion of the reorganization of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

43. Nevertheless We cannot deny that there is still much to be done in the way of spiritual renovation. Even in Catholic countries there are still too many who are Catholics hardly more than in name. There are too many who fulfill more or less faithfully the more essential obligations of the religion they boast of professing, but have no desire of knowing it better, of deepening their inward conviction, and still less of bringing into conformity with the external gloss the inner splendor of a right and unsullied conscience, that recognizes and performs all its duties under the eye of God. We know how much Our Divine Savior detested this empty pharisaic show, He Who wished that all should adore the Father “in spirit and in truth.” The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenseless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian.

44. And here We wish, Venerable Brethren, to insist more particularly on two teachings of Our Lord which have a special bearing on the present condition of the human race: detachment from earthly goods and the precept of charity. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” were the first words that fell from the lips of the Divine Master in His sermon on the mount. This lesson is more than ever necessary in these days of materialism athirst for the goods and pleasures of this earth. All Christians, rich or poor, must keep their eye fixed on heaven, remembering that “we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come.” The rich should not place their happiness in things of earth nor spend their best efforts in the acquisition of them. Rather, considering themselves only as stewards of their earthly goods, let them be mindful of the account they must render of them to their Lord and Master, and value them as precious means that God has put into their hands for doing good; let them not fail, besides, to distribute of their abundance to the poor, according to the evangelical precept. Otherwise there shall be verified of them and their riches the harsh condemnation of Saint James the Apostle: “Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl in your miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be for a testimony against you and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. . .”

45. But the poor too, in their turn, while engaged, according to the laws of charity and justice, in acquiring the necessities of life and also in bettering their condition, should always remain “poor in spirit,” and hold spiritual goods in higher esteem than earthly property and pleasures. Let them remember that the world will never be able to rid itself of misery, sorrow and tribulation, which are the portion even of those who seem most prosperous. Patience, therefore, is the need of all, that Christian patience which comforts the heart with the divine assurance of eternal happiness. “Be patient, therefore, brethren,” we repeat with Saint James, “until the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently bearing until he receive the early and the later rain. Be you therefore also patient and strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” Only thus will be fulfilled the consoling promise of the Lord: “Blessed are the poor!” These words are no vain consolation, a promise as empty as those of the Communists. They are the words of life, pregnant with a sovereign reality. They are fully verified here on earth, as well as in eternity. Indeed, how many of the poor, in anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven already proclaimed their own: “for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven,” find in these words a happiness which so many of the wealthy, uneasy with their riches and ever thirsting for more, look for in vain!

46. Still more important as a remedy for the evil we are considering, or certainly more directly calculated to cure it, is the precept of charity. We have in mind that Christian charity, “patient and kind,” which avoids all semblance of demeaning paternalism, and all ostentation; that charity which from the very beginning of Christianity won to Christ the poorest of the poor, the slaves. And We are grateful to all those members of charitable associations, from the conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul to the recent great relief organizations, which are perseveringly practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The more the working men and the poor realize what the spirit of love animated by the virtue of Christ is doing for them, the more readily will they abandon the false persuasion that Christianity has lost its efficacy and that the Church stands on the side of the exploiters of their labor.

47. But when on the one hand We see thousands of the needy, victims of real misery for various reasons beyond their control, and on the other so many round about them who spend huge sums of money on useless things and frivolous amusement, We cannot fail to remark with sorrow not only that justice is poorly observed, but that the precept of charity also is not sufficiently appreciated, is not a vital thing in daily life. We desire therefore, Venerable Brethren, that this divine precept, this precious mark of identification left by Christ to His true disciples, be ever more fully explained by pen and word of mouth; this precept which teaches us to see in those who suffer Christ Himself, and would have us love our brothers as Our Divine Savior has loved us, that is, even at the sacrifice of ourselves, and, if need be, of our very life. Let all then frequently meditate on those words of the final sentence, so consoling yet so terrifying, which the Supreme Judge will pronounce on the day of the Last Judgment: “Come, ye blessed of my Father . . . for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink . . . Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren you did it to me.” And the reverse: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire . . . for I was hungry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink . . . Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least. neither did you do it to me.”

48. To be sure of eternal life, therefore, and to be able to help the poor effectively, it is imperative to return to a more moderate way of life, to renounce the joys, often sinful, which the world today holds out in such abundance; to forget self for love of the neighbor. There is a divine regenerating force in this “new precept” (as Christ called it) of Christian charity. Its faithful observance will pour into the heart an inner peace which the world knows not, and will finally cure the ills which oppress humanity.

49. But charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into constant account. The Apostle teaches that “he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law” and he gives the reason: “For, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal . . . and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” According to the Apostle, then, all the commandments, including those which are of strict justice, as those which forbid us to kill or to steal, may be reduced to the single precept of true charity. From this it follows that a “charity” which deprives the workingman of the salary to which he has a strict title in justice, is not charity at all, but only its empty name and hollow semblance. The wage-earner is not to receive as alms what is his due in justice. And let no one attempt with trifling charitable donations to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice. Both justice and charity often dictate obligations touching on the same subject-matter, but under different aspects; and the very dignity of the workingman makes him justly and acutely sensitive to the duties of others in his regard.

50. Therefore We turn again in a special way to you, Christian employers and industrialists, whose problem is often so difficult for the reason that you are saddled with the heavy heritage of an unjust economic regime whose ruinous influence has been felt through many generations. We bid you be mindful of your responsibility. It is unfortunately true that the manner of acting in certain Catholic circles has done much to shake the faith of the working-classes in the religion of Jesus Christ. These groups have refused to understand that Christian charity demands the recognition of certain rights due to the workingman, which the Church has explicitly acknowledged. What is to be thought of the action of those Catholic employers who in one place succeeded in preventing the reading of Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno in their local churches? Or of those Catholic industrialists who even to this day have shown themselves hostile to a labor movement that We Ourselves recommended? Is it not deplorable that the right of private property defended by the Church should so often have been used as a weapon to defraud the workingman of his just salary and his social rights?

51. In reality, besides commutative justice, there is also social justice with its own set obligations, from which neither employers nor workingmen can escape. Now it is of the very essence of social justice to demand for each individual all that is necessary for the common good. But just as in the living organism it is impossible to provide for the good of the whole unless each single part and each individual member is given what it needs for the exercise of its proper functions, so it is impossible to care for the social organism and the good of society as a unit unless each single part and each individual member – that is to say, each individual man in the dignity of his human personality – is supplied with all that is necessary for the exercise of his social functions. If social justice be satisfied, the result will be an intense activity in economic life as a whole, pursued in tranquillity and order. This activity will be proof of the health of the social body, just as the health of the human body is recognized in the undisturbed regularity and perfect efficiency of the whole organism.

52. But social justice cannot be said to have been satisfied as long as workingmen are denied a salary that will enable them to secure proper sustenance for themselves and for their families; as long as they are denied the opportunity of acquiring a modest fortune and forestalling the plague of universal pauperism; as long as they cannot make suitable provision through public or private insurance for old age, for periods of illness and unemployment. In a word, to repeat what has been said in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno: “Then only will the economic and social order be soundly established and attain its ends, when it offers, to all and to each, all those goods which the wealth and resources of nature, technical science and the corporate organization of social affairs can give. These goods should be sufficient to supply all necessities and reasonable comforts, and to uplift men to that higher standard of life which, provided it be used with prudence, is not only not a hindrance but is of singular help to virtue.”

53. It happens all too frequently, however, under the salary system, that individual employers are helpless to ensure justice unless, with a view to its practice, they organize institutions the object of which is to prevent competition incompatible with fair treatment for the workers. Where this is true, it is the duty of contractors and employers to support and promote such necessary organizations as normal instruments enabling them to fulfill their obligations of justice. But the laborers too must be mindful of their duty to love and deal fairly with their employers, and persuade themselves that there is no better means of safeguarding their own interests.

54. If, therefore, We consider the whole structure of economic life, as We have already pointed out in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, the reign of mutual collaboration between justice and charity in social-economic relations can only be achieved by a body of professional and inter professional organizations, built on solidly Christian foundations, working together to effect, under forms adapted to different places and circumstances, what has been called the Corporation.

55. To give to this social activity a greater efficacy, it is necessary to promote a wider study of social problems in the light of the doctrine of the Church and under the aegis of her constituted authority. If the manner of acting of some Catholics in the social-economic field has left much to be desired, this has often come about because they have not known and pondered sufficiently the teachings of the Sovereign Pontiffs on these questions. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to foster in all classes of society an intensive program of social education adapted to the varying degrees of intellectual culture. It is necessary with all care and diligence to procure the widest possible diffusion of the teachings of the Church, even among the working-classes. The minds of men must be illuminated with the sure light of Catholic teaching, and their wills must be drawn to follow and apply it as the norm of right living in the conscientious fulfillment of their manifold social duties. Thus they will oppose that incoherence and discontinuity in Christian life which We have many times lamented. For there are some who, while exteriorly faithful to the practice of their religion, yet in the field of labor and industry, in the professions, trade and business, permit a deplorable cleavage in their conscience, and live a life too little in conformity with the clear principles of justice and Christian charity. Such lives are a scandal to the weak, and to the malicious a pretext to discredit the Church.

56. In this renewal the Catholic Press can play a prominent part. Its foremost duty is to foster in various attractive ways an ever better understanding of social doctrine. It should, too, supply accurate and complete information on the activity of the enemy and the means of resistance which have been found most effective in various quarters. It should offer useful suggestions and warn against the insidious deceits with which Communists endeavor, all too successfully, to attract even men of good faith.

57. On this point We have already insisted in Our Allocution of May 12th of last year, but We believe it to be a duty of special urgency, Venerable Brethren, to call your attention to it once again. In the beginning Communism showed itself for what it was in all its perversity; but very soon it realized that it was thus alienating the people. It has therefore changed its tactics, and strives to entice the multitudes by trickery of various forms, hiding its real designs behind ideas that in themselves are good and attractive. Thus, aware of the universal desire for peace, the leaders of Communism pretend to be the most zealous promoters and propagandists in the movement for world amity. Yet at the same time they stir up a class-warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and, realizing that their system offers no internal guarantee of peace, they have recourse to unlimited armaments. Under various names which do not suggest Communism, they establish organizations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organizations. Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church. Elsewhere they carry their hypocrisy so far as to encourage the belief that Communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume another and much milder form. It will not interfere with the practice of religion. It will respect liberty of conscience. There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into soviet legislation as a proof that Communism is about to abandon its program of war against God.

58. See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

59. But “unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” And so, as a final and most efficacious remedy, We recommend, Venerable Brethren, that in your dioceses you use the most practical means to foster and intensify the spirit of prayer joined with Christian penance. When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer and penance. We ask especially the Contemplative Orders, men and women, to redouble their prayers and sacrifices to obtain from heaven efficacious aid for the Church in the present struggle. Let them implore also the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin who, having crushed the head of the serpent of old, remains the sure protectress and invincible “Help of Christians.”

60. To apply the remedies thus briefly indicated to the task of saving the world as We have traced it above, Jesus Christ, our Divine King, has chosen priests as the first-line ministers and messengers of His gospel. Theirs is the duty, assigned to them by a special vocation, under the direction of their Bishops and in filial obedience to the Vicar of Christ on earth, of keeping alight in the world the torch of Faith, and of filling the hearts of the Faithful with that supernatural trust which has aided the Church to fight and win so many other battles in the name of Christ: “This is the victory which overcometh the world, our Faith.”

61. To priests in a special way We recommend anew the oft-repeated counsel of Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, to go to the workingman. We make this advice Our own, and faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church, We thus complete it: “Go to the workingman, especially where he is poor; and in general, go to the poor.” The poor are obviously more exposed than others to the wiles of agitators who, taking advantage of their extreme need, kindle their hearts to envy of the rich and urge them to seize by force what fortune seems to have denied them unjustly. If the priest will not go to the workingman and to the poor, to warn them or to disabuse them of prejudice and false theory, they will become an easy prey for the apostles of Communism.

62. Indisputably much has been done in this direction, especially after the publication of the Encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno. We are happy to voice Our paternal approval of the zealous pastoral activity manifested by so many Bishops and priests who have with due prudence and caution been planning and applying new methods of apostolate more adapted to modern needs. But for the solution of our present problem, all this effort is still inadequate. When our country is in danger, everything not strictly necessary, everything not bearing directly on the urgent matter of unified defense, takes second place. So we must act in today’s crisis. Every other enterprise, however attractive and helpful, must yield before the vital need of protecting the very foundation of the Faith and of Christian civilization. Let our parish priest, therefore, while providing of course for the normal needs of the Faithful, dedicate the better part of their endeavors and their zeal to winning back the laboring masses to Christ and to His Church. Let them work to infuse the Christian spirit into quarters where it is least at home. The willing response of the masses, and results far exceeding their expectations, will not fail to reward them for their strenuous pioneer labor. This has been and continues to be our experience in Rome and in other capitals, where zealous parish communities are being formed as new churches are built in the suburban districts, and real miracles are being worked in the conversion of people whose hostility to religion has been due solely to the fact that they did not know it.

63. But the most efficacious means of apostolate among the poor and lowly is the priest’s example, the practice of all those sacerdotal virtues which We have described in Our Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii. Especially needful, however, for the present situation is the shining example of a life which is humble, poor and disinterested, in imitation of a Divine Master Who could say to the world with divine simplicity: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” A priest who is really poor and disinterested in the Gospel sense may work among his flock marvels recalling a Saint Vincent de Paul, a Cure of Ars, a Cottolengo, a Don Bosco and so many others; while an avaricious and selfish priest, as We have noted in the above mentioned Encyclical, even though he should not plunge with Judas to the abyss of treason, will never be more than empty “sounding brass” and useless “tinkling cymbal.” Too often, indeed, he will be a hindrance rather than an instrument of grace in the midst of his people. Furthermore, where a secular priest or religious is obliged by his office to administer temporal property, let him remember that he is not only to observe scrupulously all that charity and justice prescribe, but that he has a special obligation to conduct himself in very truth as a father of the poor.

64. After this appeal to the clergy, We extend Our paternal invitation to Our beloved sons among the laity who are doing battle in the ranks of Catholic Action. On another occasion We have called this movement so dear to Our heart “a particularly providential assistance” in the work of the Church during these troublous times. Catholic Action is in effect a social apostolate also, inasmuch as its object is to spread the Kingdom of Jesus Christ not only among individuals, but also in families and in society. It must, therefore, make it a chief aim to train its members with special care and to prepare them to fight the battles of the Lord. This task of formation, now more urgent and indispensable than ever, which must always precede direct action in the field, will assuredly be served by study-circles, conferences, lecture-courses and the various other activities undertaken with a view to making known the Christian solution of the social problem.

65. The militant leaders of Catholic Action thus properly prepared and armed, will be the first and immediate apostles of their fellow workmen. They will be an invaluable aid to the priest in carrying the torch of truth, and in relieving grave spiritual and material suffering, in many sectors where inveterate anti-clerical prejudice or deplorable religious indifference has proved a constant obstacle to the pastoral activity of God’s ministers. In this way they will collaborate, under the direction of especially qualified priests, in that work of spiritual aid to the laboring classes on which We set so much store, because it is the means best calculated to save these, Our beloved children, from the snares of Communism.

66. In addition to this individual apostolate which, however useful and efficacious, often goes unheralded, Catholic Action must organize propaganda on a large scale to disseminate knowledge of the fundamental principles on which, according to the Pontifical documents, a Christian Social Order must build.

67. Ranged with Catholic Action are the groups which We have been happy to call its auxiliary forces. With paternal affection We exhort these valuable organizations also tO dedicate themselves to the great mission of which We have been treating, a cause which today transcends all others in vital importance.

68. We are thinking likewise of those associations of workmen, farmers, technicians, doctors, employers, students and others of like character, groups of men and women who live in the same cultural atmosphere and share the same way of life. Precisely these groups and organizations are destined to introduce into society that order which We have envisaged in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, and thus to spread in the vast and various fields of culture and labor the recognition of the Kingdom of Christ.

69. Even where the State, because of changed social and economic conditions, has felt obliged to intervene directly in order to aid and regulate such organizations by special legislative enactments, supposing always the necessary respect for liberty and private initiative, Catholic Action may not urge the circumstance as an excuse for abandoning the field. Its members should contribute prudently and intelligently to the study of the problems of the hour in the light of Catholic doctrine. They should loyally and generously participate in the formation of the new institutions, bringing to them the Christian spirit which is the basic principle of order wherever men work together in fraternal harmony.

70. Here We should like to address a particularly affectionate word to Our Catholic workingmen, young and old. They have been given, perhaps as a reward for their often heroic fidelity in these trying days, a noble and an arduous mission. Under the guidance of their Bishops and priests, they are to bring back to the Church and to God those immense multitudes of their brother-workmen who, because they were not understood or treated with the respect to which they were entitled, in bitterness have strayed far from God. Let Catholic workingmen show these their wandering brethren by word and example that the Church is a tender Mother to all those who labor and suffer, and that she has never failed, and never will fail, in her sacred maternal duty of protecting her children. If this mission, which must be fulfilled in mines, in factories, in shops, wherever they may be laboring, should at times require great sacrifices, Our workmen will remember that the Savior of the world has given them an example not only of toil but of self immolation.

71. To all Our children, finally, of every social rank and every nation, to every religious and lay organization in the Church, We make another and more urgent appeal for union. Many times Our paternal heart has been saddened by the divergencies – often idle in their causes, always tragic in their consequences – which array in opposing camps the sons of the same Mother Church. Thus it is that the radicals, who are not so very numerous, profiting by this discord are able to make it more acute, and end by pitting Catholics one against the other. In view of the events of the past few months, Our warning must seem superfluous. We repeat it nevertheless once more, for those who have not understood, or perhaps do not desire to understand. Those who make a practice of spreading dissension among Catholics assume a terrible responsibility before God and the Church.

72. But in this battle joined by the powers of darkness against the very idea of Divinity, it is Our fond hope that, besides the host which glories in the name of Christ, all those – and they comprise the overwhelming majority of mankind – who still believe in God and pay Him homage may take a decisive part. We therefore renew the invitation extended to them five years ago in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi, invoking their loyal and hearty collaboration “in order to ward off from mankind the great danger that threatens all alike.” Since, as We then said, “belief in God is the unshakable foundation of all social order and of all responsibility on earth, it follows that all those who do not want anarchy and terrorism ought to take energetic steps to prevent the enemies of religion from attaining the goal they have so brazenly proclaimed to the world.”

73. Such is the positive task, embracing at once theory and practice, which the Church undertakes in virtue of the mission, confided to her by Christ, of constructing a Christian society, and, in our own times, of resisting unto victory the attacks of Communism. It is the duty of the Christian State to concur actively in this spiritual enterprise of the Church, aiding her with the means at its command, which although they be external devices, have nonetheless for their prime object the good of souls.

74. This means that all diligence should be exercised by States to prevent within their territories the ravages of an anti-God campaign which shakes society to its very foundations. For there can be no authority on earth unless the authority of the Divine Majesty be recognized; no oath will bind which is not sworn in the Name of the Living God. We repeat what We have said with frequent insistence in the past, especially in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi: “How can any contract be maintained, and what value can any treaty have, in which every guarantee of conscience is lacking? And how can there be talk of guarantees of conscience when all faith in God and all fear of God have vanished? Take away this basis, and with it all moral law falls, and there is no remedy left to stop the gradual but inevitable destruction of peoples, families, the State, civilization itself.”

75. It must likewise be the special care of the State to create those material conditions of life without which an orderly society cannot exist. The State must take every measure necessary to supply employment, particularly for the heads of families and for the young. To achieve this end demanded by the pressing needs of the common welfare, the wealthy classes must be induced to assume those burdens without which human society cannot be saved nor they themselves remain secure. However, measures taken by the State with this end in view ought to be of such a nature that they will really affect those who actually possess more than their share of capital resources, and who continue to accumulate them to the grievous detriment of others.

76. The State itself, mindful of its responsibility before God and society, should be a model of prudence and sobriety in the administration of the commonwealth. Today more than ever the acute world crisis demands that those who dispose of immense funds, built up on the sweat and toil of millions, keep constantly and singly in mind the common good. State functionaries and all employees are obliged in conscience to perform their duties faithfully and unselfishly, imitating the brilliant example of distinguished men of the past and of our own day, who with unremitting labor sacrificed their all for the good of their country. In international trade-relations let all means be sedulously employed for the removal of those artificial barriers to economic life which are the effects of distrust and hatred. All must remember that the peoples of the earth form but one family in God.

77. At the same time the State must allow the Church full liberty to fulfill her divine and spiritual mission, and this in itself will be an effectual contribution to the rescue of nations from the dread torment of the present hour. Everywhere today there is an anxious appeal to moral and spiritual forces; and rightly so, for the evil we must combat is at its origin primarily an evil of the spiritual order. From this polluted source the monstrous emanations of the communistic system flow with satanic logic. Now, the Catholic Church is undoubtedly preeminent among the moral and religious forces of today. Therefore the very good of humanity demands that her work be allowed to proceed unhindered.

78. Those who act otherwise, and at the same time fondly pretend to attain their objective with purely political or economic means, are in the grip of a dangerous error. When religion is banished from the school, from education and from public life, when the representatives of Christianity and its sacred rites are held up to ridicule, are we not really fostering the materialism which is the fertile soil of Communism? Neither force, however well organized it be, nor earthly ideals however lofty or noble, can control a movement whose roots lie in the excessive esteem for the goods of this world.

79. We trust that those rulers of nations, who are at all aware of the extreme danger threatening every people today, may be more and more convinced of their supreme duty not to hinder the Church in the fulfillment of her mission. This is the more imperative since, while this mission has in view man’s happiness in heaven, it cannot but promote his true felicity in time.

80. We cannot conclude this Encyclical Letter without addressing some words to those of Our children who are more or less tainted with the Communist plague. We earnestly exhort them to hear the voice of their loving Father. We pray the Lord to enlighten them that they may abandon the slippery path which will precipitate one and all to ruin and catastrophe, and that they recognize that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is their only Savior: “For there is no other name under heaven given to man, whereby we must be saved.”

81. To hasten the advent of that “peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ” so ardently desired by all, We place the vast campaign of the Church against world Communism under the standard of Saint Joseph, her mighty Protector. He belongs to the working-class, and he bore the burdens of poverty for himself and the Holy Family, whose tender and vigilant head he was. To him was entrusted the Divine Child when Herod loosed his assassins against Him. In a life of faithful performance of everyday duties, he left an example for all those who must gain their bread by the toil of their hands. He won for himself the title of “The Just,” serving thus as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social life.

82. With eyes lifted on high, our Faith sees the new heavens and the new earth described by Our first Predecessor, Saint Peter. While the promises of the false prophets of this earth melt away in blood and tears, the great apocalyptic prophecy of the Redeemer shines forth in heavenly splendor: “Behold, I make all things new.” Venerable Brethren, nothing remains but to raise Our paternal hands to call down upon you, upon your clergy and people, upon the whole Catholic family, the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the feast of Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, on the 19th of March, 1937, the 16th year of our Pontificate.

PIUS XI

Quibus Beatae Mariae Christinae ab Immaculata Conceptione Sanctorum honores decernuntur

detail of the Vatican portrait of Blessed Maria; swiped from the Vatican web siteServus Servorum Dei ad perpetuam rei memoriam

Operamini non cibum, qui perit, sed cibum, qui permanet in vitam aeternam, quem Filius hominis vobis dabit; hunc enim Pater signavit Deus! (Io 6, 27).

Beata Maria Christina ab Immaculata Conceptione, in saeculo Adelaidis Brando, haec Evangelii verba intense vixit atque amorem in Eucharistiam propositum suae vitae effecit, quam in continua peregit Iesu in hoc Sacramento adoratione.

Neapoli die I mensis Maii anno MDCCCLVI orta est ac iam puella ingressa est viam mortificationis et sanctitatis quaerendae. Primam Communionem fecit die VIII mensis Decembris anno MDCCCLXIV atque deinceps Eucharistia in medio exstitit eius cogitationum et affectuum, cum studeret victima fieri Domino consecrata. Namque asserebat: « Utinam operam condere possim destinatam ad expiandas iniurias et contumelias, quas Iesus patitur ab hominum ingratitudine ». Apud varias religiosas communitates accepta est, sed infirma valetudo coëgit eam in familiam revertere. Attamen firma voluntate se plane dicandi Sanctissimi Sacramenti cultui anno MDCCCLXXX cum quibusdam sociis Neapoli perpetuam incohavit adorationem. Beata sensit suum locum esse iuxta tabernaculum, ut se offerret cum Iesu Hostia, victima reparationis expiationisque perennis. Validum auxilium et solacium invenit in sancto Ludovico a Casaurea et in Venerabili Servo Dei Michaële Angelo Longo de Marigliano. Propter suam magnam humilitatem conabatur ante mundi oculos se abscondere, sed celeriter quaedam iuvenes, eius virtutibus haud communibus attractae, in parvam eius communitatem accipi postulaverunt. Anno MDCCCLXXXIV sedes nascentis Congregationis in Casauream est translata, approbante Eminentissimo Cardinale Guglielmo Sanfelice d’Acquavella, O.S.B., Archiepiscopo Neapolitano. Etiamsi communitas in extrema paupertate viveret atque Fundatrix semper infirmae esset valetudinis, sociarum eius numerus auctus est ideoque aliae domus sunt constitutae. Anno MCMIII data est approbatio pontificia Congregationis sub nomine officioso « Victimae Expiatrices Iesu Sacramentati » atque Fundatrix una cum viginti sociis vota perpetua nuncupavit. Propositum operae desideratum a Beata erat adoratio perpetua atque divini cultus erga Sanctissimum Sacramentum promotio. Ex Domini amore desiderium ortum est humanae christianaeque iuvenum de humilioribus coetibus institutionis, amplectentis spiritalia exercitia pro adulescentibus et catecheticum scholasticumve munus docendi. Cum autem amor sit « diffusivum sui », nec assistentia erga pauperiores iuvenes, potissimum pupillas deficere poterat. Corporis infirmitas Beatae sustinebatur fide heroica et continua oratione. Noctem transigebat in sella unde tabernaculum videre potuit atque e dialogo amabili suo cum Sponso vim traxit non solum ad offerendum se ipsam uti victimam expiationis pro hominum peccatis, sed etiam ut Congregationem suam prudenter sapienterque regeret. Christi amori fìdelis, beata Maria Christina vixit in perfecta castitate a iuvenili aetate ut plene et exclusive ad suum Sponsum caelestem pertineret. Divinae Providentiae fisa, paupertatem et oboedientiam exercuit, ita manifestans voluntatem Christum artius sequendi. Docebat novitias: « In mente iugiter habetote, filiae meae, humilitatem esse fundamentum super quod spiritale ponitur aedificium; sanctitas in qualibet anima sine humilitate non potest haberi. Animae humiles constituunt Dei delectamentum ». Dives in virtutibus et meritis, sanctitatis fama circumdata die XX mensis Ianuarii anno MCMVI pie in Domino obdormivit.

Ad beatificationem parandam annis MCMXXVII-MCMXL apud Curiam Neapolitanam celebrati sunt Processus Ordinarii de sanctitatis fama, scriptis et non cultu. Die IV mensis Maii anno MCMLXXII prodiit Decretum super Causae introductione ac deinde Processus Apostolicus perfectus est. Die II mensis Iulii anno MCMXCIV sanctus Ioannes Paulus II Decretum de virtutibus heroum in modum exercitis promulgavit. Praeterea quaedam sanatio mira putata discussa est, quam Commissio medica apud Congregationem de Causis Sanctorum constituta secundum scientiam inexplicabilem declaravit. Consultores Theologi in Congressu die II mensis Octobris anno MMI hanc sanationem intercessioni Mariae Christinae ab Immaculata Conceptione adscripserunt, itemque iudicarunt Cardinales et Episcopi in Sessione Ordinaria die VI mensis Novembris anno MMI congregati. Proinde die XX mensis Decembris eiusdem anni coram sancto Ioanne Paulo II promulgatum est Decretum super miro, idemque Summus Pontifex die XXVII mensis Aprilis anno MMIII eam Beatam publice declaravit.

Ad canonizationem consequendam die XIV mensis Aprilis anno MMXI Neapoli Inquisitio dioecesana perfecta est de quadam mira sanatione. Consultores Medici Congregationis de Causis Sanctorum illud factum scientifice inexplicabile agnoverunt. Consultores Theologi, in Congressu peculiari die XXIV mensis Iunii anno MMXIV congregati, huiusmodi sanationem intercessioni Beatae tribuerunt, ac Patres Cardinales et Episcopi, adstantes in Sessione Ordinaria die XVI mensis Septembris eodem anno, pariter censuerunt. Insequenti die Nos Ipsi facultatem fecimus Congregationi de Causis Sanctorum ut Decretum super miro ederet, atque, faventibus Patribus Cardinalibus, in Consistorio die XX mensis Octobris anno MMXIV statuimus ut canonizationis ritus die XVII mensis Maii anno MMXV Romae celebraretur.

Hodie igitur in foro Petriano inter sacra hanc pronuntiavimus formulam: Ad honorem Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis, ad exaltationem fidei catholicae et vitae christianae incrementum, auctoritate Domini nostri Iesu Christi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli ac Nostra, matura deliberatione praehabita et divina ope saepius implorata, ac de plurimorum Fratrum Nostrorum consilio, Beatas Ioannam Aemiliam de Villeneuve, Mariam Christinam ab Immaculata Conceptione, Mariam Alfonsinam Danil Ghattas et Mariam a Iesu Crucifixo Baouardy Sanctas esse decernimus et definimus, ac Sanctorum Catalogo adscribimus, statuentes eas in universa Ecclesia inter Sanctos pia devotione recoli debere. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Quae autem his Litteris decrevimus, nunc et in posterum rata et firma esse volumus, contrariis quibuslibet rebus minime obstantibus. Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die decimo septimo mensis Maii, anno Domini bismillesimo quinto decimo, Pontificatus Nostri tertio.

EGO FRANCISCUS
Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus
Marcellus Rossetti, Proton. Apost.

MLA Citation

  • “Quibus Beatae Mariae Christinae ab Immaculata Conceptione Sanctorum honores decernuntur“. Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 2 September 2016. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 February 2018. Web. 23 February 2018. <>