Rorate Caeli

Two Blessed Popes and a Holy Inquisitor

God willing, John Paul II will be beatified on May 1, 2011.

The servant of God John Paul II himself beatified Pope Pius IX.

Blessed Pius IX gave the Church a model of heroic virtue in the person of the inquisitor of Aragon, St. Pedro Arbues, martyred by conspirators in 1485 while he was praying before Matins in church. St. Peter’s defenders say that no death sentence was ever pronounced by him, and that he was a model of clemency and zeal to obtain conversion of heretics, not their death; in this he was like other servants of the Inquisition, including St. Peter Martyr (13th century) and St. Pius V. However it is said that he did employ the coercive means available to him as an inquisitor to arrest and imprison heretics. Needless to say he is a controversial figure, as a quick glance at the Google pages will show, just like the venerable and beloved Pontiff who canonized him.

Known already before his martyrdom for his holiness, he was canonized by Blessed Pius IX on June 29, 1867. The prayer assigned to his feast by Pius IX mentions God raising up the saint to combat “Jewish unbelief” and “Mohammedan superstition”. Lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of belief will be expressed again tomorrow by the prayer assigned for Blessed John Paul II—it mentions Our Lord as the only Redeemer of mankind.