Friday, 15 January 2010

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part IX)

On 2nd September, 1893, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Constanti Hungarorum regarding the Church in Hungary:

"12. Above all, We wish you to direct your zeal and devotion towards the education of children and adolescents. It is not Our intention to repeat now what We have already written in the same letter that We mentioned in the beginning of this one. We cannot, however, refrain from touching briefly upon certain serious matters. In respect to primary schools, you must insist that pastors and others who are in charge of souls be constantly vigilant in their behalf and consider it their most important duty to teach sacred doctrine to children. This special service should be undertaken by themselves and valued as a sacred trust. It is certain that a wholesome and pious education in childhood ensures in great measure not only the preservation of the family. but of the state itself. Nor should you spare any industry or ingenuity to help these schools increase and develop successfully. It would be most appropriate to appoint in each diocese supervisors of schools for both the diocese and the deaneries. The bishops could confer with them annually on the condition of the schools as well as on other matters pertaining to faith, morals, and the care of souls. If it should be necessary to build new schools in answer to local needs or enlarge those already established, we are fully confident that your liberality and likewise that of all Catholics will be prompt and generous."

"13. Regarding high schools and graduate schools, care should be taken that the good, planted like seeds in the minds and hearts of children, be not sadly destroyed in their adolescence. See that dangers of that kind be removed or diminished. Most especially, your pastoral concern should avail in selecting learned and virtuous teachers of religion and in removing those causes that too often hinder fruitful results."

"14. For the rest, We appreciate your concerted efforts to maintain the seats of highest studies under the authority of the Church and bishops in accord with the will of their founders. We, nevertheless, exhort you to continue to fulfill this obligation. It would certainly not be equitable to deny Catholics that which is granted adversaries of the Catholic cause. It is of common interest, moreover, that what our predecessors established so piously and wisely should never be used to the detriment of the Church and Catholic faith, but for the protection and defense of both and hence, for the continuous good of the state itself."

"15. Finally, these recommendations also apply to seminarians and priests. You should expend even greater effort on them that they may be worthy of the priesthood and that they may manifest virtue fitting the times. For this reason, the sacred seminaries justly claim the greater part of your attention. Direct them in the best way possible and provide them with all that is necessary so that through the dedication of selected teachers, seminarians will be trained in the morals and virtues required by their order and, moreover, in all the beauty and glory of doctrine, both human and divine."

"16. For your clergy, the times require a very particular unanimity in your guidance. concern and love in admonishing and exhorting them, and extraordinary firmness in defending ecclesiastical discipline. In turn, all priests should have strong faith in their bishops, accept their directives, and support their undertakings. In their sacred duties and their pastoral work, they should always be ready and zealous, guided by love.
Because, moreover, priests set an example, they should be living models of virtue and constancy. They should be cautious, however, not to get too involved in civilian or political affairs, and let them often recall this passage from St. Paul, 'No one serving as God's soldier entangles himself in worldly affairs, that he may please him whose approval he has secured.'"

"17. To be sure, as St. Gregory the Great admonishes, it is not right to abandon foresight in external matters in one's anxiety for spiritual matters. Explicitly, when it is a question of defending religion or promoting the common good, the latter is not to be disregarded. A priest must be cautious not to overstep his dignity and deportment lest he seem more concerned for human than heavenly affairs. Most aptly the same Gregory the Great says, 'Therefore, worldly occupations are sometimes to be tolerated out of compassion, never however to be pursued out of love; lest they, by burdening the mind of the lover, overwhelm him and make him sink under their weight from heaven into the depths.'"

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