Rorate Caeli

The Pascendi Centennial Year

"Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!"

Exactly 99 years ago today, Pope Saint Pius X, after years of mild admonishments and loving rebukes, acting with the firmness of the charitable Father that he was, issued the strongest encyclical in modern history, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, a brief treaty on the newest heresy, the sum of all heresies: Modernism.

The stern measures enacted as a result of Pascendi certainly delayed for more than half a century the disgraceful trends, already quite active in the underworld of clerical disobedience, which would lead to the apparent disintegration of the Church after the Second Vatican Council. Yes, thankfully, even in such a critical age for the Holy Roman Church as the present one, the faithful may be comforted in hearing the words of the living Successor of Peter:

In the century of the Reformation, the Catholic Church seemed truly to be almost finished. It seemed that triumph belonged to this new movement, which asserted: now the Church of Rome is finished! And we see how with the great saints like Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Charles Borromeo, and others, the Church rose again. She finds in the Council of Trent a new restoration and revitalization of its doctrine. ...

The Church is alive! ... We see the time of the Enlightenment, during which Voltaire said: finally this ancient Church is finished, and humanity lives! But what happened instead? The Church renewed itself. The 19th century became the century of the great saints, of a new vitality for many religious congregations. The faith is stronger than all the movements that come and go.
Just so: the Church lives today, despite the violent warfare waged by the Modernists, insidiously and openly, for more than 100 consecutive years. During the next twelve months, we will try, within our very limited intellectual means, to celebrate the memory of this giant of the faith, Saint Pius X, and his struggle, which was not in vain, against Modernism, the "Enlightenment of the Faith". We invite all our friends in other weblogs and forums to do the same. Let us all celebrate, in 2007, 100 years of this great document.

Sancte Pie, ora pro nobis!


  1. Beautiful! I will do what I can to answer the call here. Thank you, New Catholic

  2. Is not this sermon, apart from the John Paul II "the Great" nonsense, quite a stance against Modernism and the Modernists' "evolution of dogma"?

    Pope Benedict XVI Homily
    Pilsudski Square, Warsaw, Poland

    Friday, May 26, 2006

    "Praise be Jesus Christ

    Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Our Lord,

    Together with you I wish to sing a hymn of praise to Divine Providence which enables me to be here as a pilgrim." Twenty-seven years ago my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, began his homily in Warsaw with these words. I make them my own, and I thank the Lord who has enabled me to come here today to this historic square. Here on the eve of Pentecost Pope John Paul II uttered the significant words of the prayer "Let your Spirit descend, and renew the face of the earth." And he added: "the face of this land."

    This very place witnessed the solemn funeral ceremony of the great primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, whose 25th anniversary occurs during these days. God united these two men not only through the same faith, hope, and love, but also through the same human vicissitudes which linked each of them so strongly to the history of this people and of the Church that lives in their midst.

    At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II wrote to Cardinal Wyszynski: "This Polish Pope would not be on the Chair of Peter today beginning a new pontificate full of the fear of God, but also full of trust, had it not been for your faith which did not bend in the face of imprisonment and suffering, your heroic hope, your trusting to the end in the Mother of the Church; had it not been for Jasna Gora and this whole period of the history of the Church in our homeland, linked to your service as bishop and primate" (Letter of Pope John Paul II to the Polish People, October 23, 1978).

    How can we not thank God today for all that was accomplished in your native land and in the whole world during the pontificate of John Paul II? Before our eyes changes occurred in entire political, economic, and social systems. People in various countries regained their freedom and their sense of dignity. "Let us not forget the great works of God" (cf. Psalm 78:7).

    I thank you too for your presence and for your prayer. I thank the Cardinal Primate for the words that he addressed to me. I greet all the bishops present here. I am glad that the President and the authorities of national and local government could be here. I embrace with my heart all the Polish people both at home and abroad.

    "Stand firm in your faith!" We have just heard the words of Jesus: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15-17a). With these words Jesus reveals the profound link between faith and the profession of Divine Truth, between faith and dedication to Jesus Christ in love, between faith and the practice of a life inspired by the commandments.

    All three dimensions of faith are the fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. This action is manifested as an inner force that harmonizes the hearts of the disciples with the Heart of Christ and makes them capable of loving as he loved them. Hence faith is a gift, but at the same time it is a task.

    "He will give you another Counselor - the Spirit of Truth." Faith, as knowledge and profession of the truth about God and about man, "comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ," as Saint Paul says (Romans 10:17). Throughout the history of the Church, the apostles preached the word of Christ, taking care to hand it on intact to their successors who in their turn transmitted it to subsequent generations until our own day. Many preachers of the Gospel gave their lives specifically because of their faithfulness to the truth of the word of Christ. And so solicitude for the truth gave birth to the Church's Tradition.

    As in past centuries, so also today there are people or groups who obscure this centuries-old Tradition, seeking to falsify the Word of Christ and to remove from the Gospel those truths which in their view are too uncomfortable for modern man. They try to give the impression that everything is relative: Even the truths of faith would depend on the historical situation and on human evaluation. [Note of amemusathanasium: This is what Modernism ís!] Yet the Church cannot silence the Spirit of Truth. The successors of the apostles, together with the Pope, are responsible for the truth of the Gospel, and all Christians are called to share in this responsibility, accepting its authoritative indications.

    Every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Church's Tradition in the effort to remain faithful to the word of Christ even when it is demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand. We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and selective interpretation of sacred Scripture. Only the whole truth can open us to adherence to Christ, dead and risen for our salvation. Christ says: "If you love me ..."

    Faith does not just mean accepting a certain number of abstract truths about the mysteries of God, of man, of life and death, of future realities. Faith consists in an intimate relationship with Christ, a relationship based on love of Him who loved us first (cf. 1 John 4:11) even to the total offering of Himself. "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

    What other response can we give to a love so great if not that of a heart that is open and ready to love? But what does it mean to love Christ? It means trusting him even in times of trial, following him faithfully even on the Via Crucis in the hope that soon the morning of the Resurrection will come. Entrusting ourselves to Christ we lose nothing, we gain everything. In his hands our life acquires its true meaning. Love for Christ expresses itself in the will to harmonize our own life with the thoughts and sentiments of His Heart.

    This is achieved through interior union based on the grace of the sacraments, strengthened by continuous prayer, praise, thanksgiving and penance. We have to listen attentively to the inspirations that He evokes through his Word, through the people we meet, through the situations of daily life. To love Him is to remain in dialogue with Him in order to know His Will and to put it into effect promptly.

    Yet living one's personal faith as a love relationship with Christ also means being ready to renounce everything that constitutes a denial of His love. That is why Jesus said to the apostles: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." But what are Christ's commandments?

    When the Lord Jesus was teaching the crowds, He did not fail to confirm the law which the Creator had inscribed on men's hearts and had then formulated on the tablets of the Decalogue. "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18).

    But Jesus showed us with a new clarity the unifying center of the divine laws revealed on Sinai, namely love of God and love of neighbor: "To love [God] with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength and to love one's neighbor as oneself is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). Indeed, in His life and in His paschal mystery Jesus brought the entire law to completion. Uniting himself with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, He carries with us and in us the "yoke" of the law which thereby becomes a "light burden" (Matthew 11:30).

    In this spirit, Jesus formulated His list of the inner qualities of those who seek to live their faith deeply: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who weep, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake ... (cf. Matthew 5:3-12).

    Dear brothers and sisters, faith as adherence to Christ is revealed as love that prompts us to promote the good inscribed by the Creator into the nature of every man and woman among us, into the personality of every other human being, and into everything that exists in the world. Whoever believes and loves in this way becomes a builder of the true "civilization of love," of which Christ is the center. Twenty-seven years ago, in this place, Pope John Paul II said: "Poland has become nowadays the land of a particularly responsible witness" (Warsaw, June 2, 1979).

    I ask you now, cultivate this rich heritage of faith transmitted to you by earlier generations, the heritage of the thought and the service of that great Pole who was Pope John Paul II. Stand firm in your faith, hand it down to your children, bear witness to the grace which you have experienced so abundantly through the Holy Spirit in the course of your history. May Mary, Queen of Poland, show you the way to her Son, and may she accompany you on your journey towards a happy, peace filled future. May your hearts never be wanting in love for Christ and for His Church. Amen.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. "apart from the John Paul II 'the Great' nonsense,"

    I hope you don't think it would have been charitable or even possible for Benedict XVI to do anything but honor John Paul II's memory when speaking about him to his fellow countrymen. I also have to wonder how John Paul II could be anything but a "great Pole," seeing as how no other Polish man or woman has received greater honor from God.

  5. >> I also have to wonder how John Paul II could be anything but a "great Pole," seeing as how no other Polish man or woman has received greater honor from God.

    Greater honor than St. Stanislaus and other Polish martyrs and saints?

  6. Pope St. Stanislaus? Never heard of him. I don't think there ever was such a Pope.

  7. jordan potter,
    Nor was St. Stanislaus a woman. Your point is?

  8. Is being divinely chosen to be pope a greater honor than to be declared a saint by the Church? This is a great question. Nevertheless it seems clear that John Paul's cause for canonization is not far from completion. And, assuming that this is true, he will be a Polish pope saint. One of three sainted popes in the past five hundred years and the only polish pope in history.

    All other accomplishments aside, this certainly seems "great."

  9. Really I think it's silly to play the game of "who is greater." But I don't argue with John Paul II being a "great Pole." I'll let God decide whether he is greater than St. Stanislaus or the other saints and martyrs of Poland. All I know is that he was servant of the servants of God, and that the last shall be first and that he who aspires to greatness must make himself the slave of all.

  10. I still take issue with the prima facie assertion that it is nonsense for Pope Benedict to call John Paul II "the Great."

    Even if one cannot understand the pope's reasoning, it is not for anyone to make himself the pope's judge. Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, not vice versa.


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