Monday, 27 December 2010

New DVD - "Men Apart"


Who are they, these men dressed in black, wearing a cassock in the world as a sign of their belonging to God? Where do they come from, with their youth breathing eternity? What do they say to the world of tomorrow, which makes everyone feel cared for?

"I'm thirty-five years old. I have been a priest of the Fraternity of St. Peter for ten years now, having given myself to God to better serve mankind. An ordinary life? No. Each day brings new joys and incredible experiences. Bringing God to the world today is a real adventure, physical as well as spiritual. I am as happy now as when I first made my choice."

"You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask of him in my name. My command to you is to love one another." (Gospel according to St. John, 15:16-17)

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In the summer of 2008, two directors, Yvon Bertorello and Eddy Vicken - Marcel Jullian Prize 2010 winners for their documentary "Watchers in the Night" - and a team of cameramen and sound engineers observed the various ministries of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter around the world.

Their goal? To make a movie for television, presenting the life of priests and seminarians today. Who are these men, mostly young, who give themselves totally to Christ and whose life poses many questions and sometimes criticism? To answer this question, this documentary, titled "Men Apart" looks for the first time at the heart of their community, revealing a few secrets of their lives.

More than a year of filming was required. We travel the world, discover the Seminary at Wigratzbad, and follow the lives of student-priests. See the anniversary of the Fraternity in Rome in their personal parish, attend a priestly ordination, see daily parish life of priests in France, and even in the distant missions of Colombia.

Several more months were needed in studio for editing, cutting the footage, recording in Prague with an original score written by Thierry Malet, subtitles in five languages, - english, french, german, italian, spanish - and a commentary with the famous voice of Michael Lonsdale.

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English-language enquiries to:
fssp_dvd@catholic.org

Price: £20 / €23 , including postage and packaging in Europe.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Voice of... Pope Benedict XV (Part V)

On 30th April, 1921, Pope Benedict XV published his Encyclical In Praeclara Summorum to Professors and Students of Literature and Learning in the Catholic World on Dante:

"6. ...And indeed, since, through mortal infirmity, "by worldly dust even religious hearts must needs be soiled" (St. Leo M. S. IV de Quadrag), it cannot be denied that at that time there were matters on which the clergy might be reproved, and a mind as devoted to the Church as was that of Dante could not but feel disgust while we know, too, that reproof came also from men of conspicuous holiness. But, however he might inveigh, rightly or wrongly, against ecclesiastical personages, never did he fail in respect due to the Church and reverence for the "Supreme Keys"; and on the political side he laid down as rule for his views "the reverence which a good son should show towards his father, a dutiful son to his mother, to Christ, to the Church, to the Supreme Pastor, to all who profess the Christian religion, for the safeguarding of truth" (Mon. III, 3)."

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Diaconal Ordinations for the Apostolic Administration


The Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney was established on 18 January 2002 by Pope John Paul II for the traditionalist clergy and laity within the Catholic Diocese of Campos, Brazil, who had followed their beloved Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer in opposition to modernism within the Church. It is the only Personal Apostolic Administration in the Church at present. The current Apostolic Administrator is Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan.

On 14th November last, Bishop Rifan ordained two new Deacons, the Reverend Deacon Renan Menezes and the Reverend Deacon Bruce Júdice, for the Apostolic Administration.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Voice of... Pope Benedict XV (Part IV)

On 23rd May, 1920, Pope Benedict XV issued his Encyclical Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherrimum to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Holy See on Peace and Christian Reconciliation:

"13. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, We pray you and exhort you in the mercy and charity of Jesus Christ, strive with all zeal and diligence not only to urge the faithful entrusted to your care to abandon hatred and to pardon offences; but, and what is more immediately practical, to promote all those works of Christian benevolence which bring aid to the needy, comfort to the afflicted and protection to the weak, and to give opportune and appropriate assistance of every kind to all who have suffered from the war. It is Our especial wish that you should exhort your priests, as the ministers of peace, to be assiduous in urging this love of one's neighbour and even of enemies which is the essence of the Christian life, and by "being all things to all men" [I Cor. ix 22.] and giving an example to others, wage war everywhere on enmity and hatred, thus doing a thing most agreeable to the loving Heart of Jesus and to him who, however unworthy, holds His place on earth. In this connection Catholic writers and journalists should be invited to clothe themselves "as elect of God, holy and beloved, with pity and kindness." [Col. iii, i2] Let them show this charity in their writings by abstaining not only from false and groundless accusations but also from all intemperance and bitterness of language, all of which is contrary to the law of Christ and does but reopen sores as yet unhealed, seeing that the slightest touch is a serious irritant to a heart whose wounds are recent."

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Voice of... Pope Benedict XV (Part III)

On 15th September, 1920, Pope Benedict XV published his Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and Ordinaries in Union with the Apostolic See on St. Jerome:

"45. If, then, St. Jerome begs for assiduous reading of the Bible by the faithful in general, he insists on it for those who are called to "bear the yoke of Christ" and preach His word. His words to Rusticus the monk apply to all clerics:

"So long as you are in your own country regard you cell as your orchard; there you can gather Scripture's various fruits and enjoy the pleasures it affords you. Always have a book in your hands and read it; learn the Psalter by heart; pray unceasingly; watch over your senses lest idle thoughts creep in.[76] Similarly to Nepotian:

"Constantly read the Bible; in fact, have it always in your hands. Learn what you have got to teach. Get firm hold of that "faithful word that is according to doctrine, that you may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and convince the gainsayers."[S. Jerome, Epist. ad Nepotianum, 52, 7, 1; cf. Tit. 1:9.]

"When reminding Paulinus of the lessons St. Paul gave to Timothy and Titus, and which he himself had derived from the Bible, Jerome says:

"A mere holy rusticity only avails the man himself; but however much a life so meritorious may serve to build up the Church of God, it does as much harm to the Church if it fails to "resist the gainsayer." Malachias the Prophet says, or rather the Lord says it by Malachias: "Ask for the Law from the priests." For it is the priest's duty to give an answer when asked about the Law. In Deuteronomy we read: "Ask thy father and he will tell thee; ask the priests and they will tell thee. . ." Daniel, too, at the close of his glorious vision, declares that "the just shall shine like stars and they that are learned as the brightness of the firmament." What a vast difference, then, between a righteous rusticity and a learned righteousness! The former likened to the stars; the latter to the heavens themselves![Id. Epist. ad Paulinum, 53, 3 3.]

"He writes ironically to Marcella about the "self-righteous lack of education" noticeable in some clerics, who "think that to be without culture and to be holy are the same thing, and who dub themselves 'disciples of the fisherman'; as though they were holy simply because ignorant!"[Id. Epsit. as Marcellam, 27, i, 2.]

"Nor is it only the "uncultured" whom Jerome condemns. Learned clerics sin through ignorance of the Bible; therefore he demands of them an assiduous reading of the text.

"46. Strive, then, Venerable Brethren, to bring home to your clerics and priests these teachings of the Sainted Commentator. You have to remind them constantly of the demands made by their divine vocation if they would be worthy of it: "The lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and men shall ask the Law at his mouth, for he is the Angel of the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 2:7). They must realize, then, that they cannot neglect study of the Bible, and that this can only be undertaken along the lines laid down by Leo XIII in his Encyclical Providentissimus Deus.[Leo Xlll, Providentissimus Deus; cf. Ench. Bibl., n. 100-132.] They cannot do this better than by frequenting the Biblical Institute established by our predecessor, Pius X, in accordance with the wishes of Leo XIII. As the experience of the past ten years has shown, it has proved a great gain to the Church. Not all, however, can avail themselves of this. It will be well, then, Venerable Brethren, that picked men, both of the secular and regular clergy, should come to Rome for Biblical study. All will not come with the same object. Some, in accordance with the real purpose of the Institute, will so devote themselves to Biblical study that "afterwards, both in private and in public, whether by writing or by teaching, whether as professors in Catholic schools or by writing in defense of Catholic truth, they may be able worthily to uphold the cause of Biblical study." Others, however, already priests, will obtain here a wider knowledge of the Bible than they were able to acquire during their theological course; they will gain, too, an acquaintance with the great commentators and with Biblical history and geography. Such knowledge will avail them much in their ministry; they will be "instructed to every good work."[Pius X, Vinea electa, May 7, 1909; cf. A.A.S., I (1909) 447-451; Ench. Bibl., n. 300.]"

Friday, 12 November 2010

The Voice of... Pope Benedict XV (Part II)

On 15th June, 1917, Pope Benedict XV promulgated his Encyclical Humani Generis Redemptionem to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and Other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See on Preaching the Word of God:

"21. Through the intercession, therefore, of the most Holy Virgin, the August Mother of the Incarnate Word Himself, and the Queen of the Apostles, may Jesus Christ the merciful and everlasting Shepherd of souls vouchsafe to look down with favor on His flock, fill the clergy with the apostolic spirit, and grant that there may be many who will strive eagerly "to present themselves approved unto God workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." [II Tim. ii:15]"

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Voice of... Pope Benedict XV (Part I)

On 1st November, 1914, Pope Benedict XV wrote his Encyclical Letter Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and Other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See appealing for Peace:

"27. Now, in order that all these recommendations should have the results We hope for, you know, Venerable Brethren, how necessary is the prudent and assiduous work of those whom Christ our Lord sends as "labourers into His harvest," that is to say the clergy. Remember, therefore, that your chief care must be to foster in the holiness which becomes them the clergy you already possess, and worthily to form your ecclesiastical students for so sacred an office by the very best available education and training. And although your carefulness in this respect calls for no stimulus, nevertheless We exhort and even implore you to give the matter your most careful attention. Nothing can be of greater importance for the good of the Church; but as Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII and Pius X, have definitely written on this subject, there is no need of further counsels from Us. We only beg of you that the writings of those wise pontiffs, and especially Pius X's "Exhortation to the Clergy," should, thanks to your insistent admonitions, not be forgotten, but ever attended to carefully.

"28. There remains one matter which must not be passed over in silence, and that is, to remind the priests of the whole world, as Our most dear sons, how absolutely necessary it is, for their own salvation, and for the fruitfulness of their sacred ministry, that they should be most closely united with their Bishop and most loyal to him. The spirit of insubordination and independence, so characteristic of our times, has, as We deplored above, not entirely spared the ministers of the Sanctuary. It is not rare for pastors of the Church to find sorrow and contradiction where they had a right to look for comfort and help. Let those who have so unfortunately failed in their duty, recall to their minds again and again, that the authority of those whom "the Holy Spirit hath placed as Bishops to rule the Church of God" (Acts xx. 28) is a divine authority. Let them remember that if, as we have seen, those who resist any legitimate authority, resist God, much more impiously do they act who refuse to obey the Bishop, whom God has consecrated with a special character by the exercise of His power. "Since charity," wrote St. Ignatius Martyr, "doth not suffer me to be silent concerning you, therefore was I forward to exhort you, that you run in harmony with the mind of God: for Jesus Christ also, our inseparable life, is the mind of the Father, even as the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus Christ. So then it becometh you to run in harmony with the mind of the bishop" (Ep. ad Ephes. iii.). These words of the illustrious Martyr are re-echoed throughout the ages by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church."

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part XIII)

On 24th September, 1912, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Singulari Quadam to the Bishop of Breslau and the other Archbishops and Bishops of Germany on Labor Organizations:

"6. ...The following are the most important of these precautions: In the first place, provision should be made that Catholic workers who are members of the trade unions must also belong to those Catholic associations which are known as "Arbeitervereine." In the event that they must make some sacrifice for this cause, even in a monetary way, We are convinced that they will readily do so for the sake of safeguarding the integrity of their Faith. As has been happily demonstrated, the Catholic workingmen's associations, aided by the clergy and by its leadership and alert direction, are able to achieve very much toward preserving the truths of religion and the purity of morals among their members, and nourish the religious spirit through frequent practices of piety. Therefore, the leaders of such associations, clearly recognizing the needs of the age, are undoubtedly prepared to instruct the workers about their duties in justice and charity, especially regarding all those commandments and precepts in which an accurate knowledge is needed or useful in order to enable them to take an active part in their trade unions according to the principles of Catholic doctrine.

"7. Furthermore, if Catholics are to be permitted to join the trade unions, these associations must avoid everything that is not in accord, either in principle or practice, with the teachings and commandments of the Church or the proper ecclesiastical authorities. Similarly, everything is to be avoided in their literature or public utterances or actions which in the above view would incur censure.

"The Bishops, therefore, should consider it their sacred duty to observe carefully the conduct of all these associations and to watch diligently that the Catholic members do not suffer any harm as a result of their participation. The Catholic members themselves, however, should never permit the unions, whether for the sake of material interests of their members or the union cause as such, to proclaim or support teachings or to engage in activities which would conflict in any way with the directives proclaimed by the supreme teaching authority of the Church, especially those mentioned above. Therefore, as often as problems arise concerning matters of justice or charity, the Bishops should take the greatest care to see that the faithful do not overlook Catholic moral teaching and do not depart from it even a finger's breadth."

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tonsures in Lindau


The excellent blog Fides et Forma features a slideshow of images from the recent conferral of Tonsure to Seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter International Seminary at Wigratzbad.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part XII)

On 7th June, 1912, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Lacrimabili Statu to the Archbishops and Bishops of Latin America:

"6. As for our part, having good reason to hope for the consent and support of the public authorities, we have more especially taken care to extend the field of Apostolic labor in these broad regions, appointing further missionary stations, where the Indians can find safety and succor. For the Catholic Church has ever been a fertile mother of Apostolic men, who, pressed by the charity of Christ, are brought to give their lives for their brethren. And to-day, when so many abhor the faith or fall away from it, the zeal for spreading the Gospel among the barbarous nations is still strong in the clergy and in religious men and holy virgins; and this zeal grows greater and is spread abroad more widely by the power of the Holy Ghost, who helps the Church, His spouse, according to the needs of the time. Wherefore, we think it well to make greater use of those aids which by God's goodness are ready to our hand, in order to deliver the Indians, where their need is greatest. from the slavery of Satan and of wicked men. For the rest, since the preachers of the Gospel had watered these regions, not only with their sweat, but sometimes with their blood, we trust that at length a fair harvest of Christian kindness shall spring forth from their great labors and bear abundant fruit. And now, in order that what you shall do for the benefit of the Indians, whether of your own accord or at our exhortation, may be the more efficacious by the help of our Apostolic authority, we, mindful of the example of our aforesaid predecessor, condemn and declare guilty of grave crime whosoever, as he says, "shall dare or presume to reduce the said Indians to slavery, to sell them, to buy them, to exchange or give them, to separate them from their wives and children, to deprive them of goods and chattels, to transport or send them to other places, or in any way whatsoever to rob them of freedom and hold them in slavery; or to give counsel, help, favor, and work on any pretext of color to them that do these things, or to preach or teach that it is lawful, or to co-operate therewith in any way whatever." Accordingly, we will that the power of absolving penitents in the sacramental tribunal from these crimes shall be reserved to ordinaries of the localities.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part XI)

After a gap of two years since his Apostolic Exhortation Haerent Animo on Priestly Sanctity, on 24th May, 1911, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Iamdudum on the Law of Separation in Portugal:

"6. First of all the Hierarchy is set aside as if its existence were unknown. And if men in holy orders are mentioned, it is only that they may be prohibited from having anything to do with the ordering of public worship. This work is entirely handed over to associations of laymen already established or to be established as societies of public assistance according to the regulations of the administrative under the power of the Republic and in no way depending on the authority of the Church. And if from the actions of the associations to which this duty is entrusted disputes arise between clerics and lay people or between lay people alone, the decision is to lie not with the Church but with the Republic, which claims all power over these bodies. Indeed, so completely do the rulers of the Portuguese Republic deny any place to the clergy in the organization of divine worship that they have definitely laid it down and provided that those who exercise the ministry of religion may not be co-opted as members of the aforesaid parish associations or be allotted any part in their administration or direction. Than such a provision nothing can be imagined more unjust or more intolerable, for it puts the clergy at the beck of other citizens in the very matters upon which they are the rightful directors."

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Why Women Can't Be Priests


Bro. Tom Forde, OFM Cap, an Irish Capuchin, has an illuminating article entitled Why Women Can't Be Priests on his highly recommendable blog Breathing With Both Lungs.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part XI)

On 4th August, 1908, Pope St. Pius X gave his Apostolic Exhortation Haerent Animo on Priestly Sanctity:

"Anyone who exercises the priestly ministry exercises it not for himself alone, but for others. For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in the things that pertain to God. [Hebr. v:1.] Christ himself taught that lesson when he compared the priest to salt and to light, in order to show the nature of the priestly ministry. The priest then is the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Everyone knows that he fulfills this function chiefly by the teaching of christian truth; and who can be unaware that this ministry of teaching is practically useless if the priest fails to confirm by the example of his life the truths which he teaches? Those who hear him might say, insultingly it is true, but not without justification: They profess that they know God but in their works they deny him; [Tit. i:16.] they will refuse to accept his teaching and will derive no benefit from the light of the priest.

Christ himself, the model of priests, taught first by the example of his deeds and then by his words: Jesus began to do and then to teach. [Acts i:1.]

Likewise, a priest who neglects his own sanctification can never be the salt of the earth; what is corrupt and contaminated is utterly incapable of preserving from corruption; where sanctity is lacking, there corruption will inevitably find its way. Hence Christ, continuing this comparison, calls such priests salt that has lost its savor, which is good for nothing any more, but to be cast out and to be trodden on by men. [Mt. v:13.]

These truths are all the more evident inasmuch as we exercise the priestly ministry not in our own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ. The Apostle said: Let man so consider us as the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God; [I Cor. iv:1.] for Christ, therefore, we are ambassadors. [I. Cor. v:20.] This is the reason that Christ has numbered us not among his servants but as his friends. I will not now call you servants; . . . but I have called you friends, because all things whatsoever I have heard from my Father I have made known to you; . . . I have chosen you and appointed you that you should go and bring forth fruit. [Jn. xv:15-16.]

We have, therefore, to take the place of Christ: the mission which he has given to us we must fulfill with that same purpose that he intended. True friendship consists in unity of mind and will, identity of likes and dislikes; therefore, as friends of Jesus Christ, we are bound to have that mind in us which was in Jesus Christ who is holy, innocent, undefiled. [Hebr. vii:26.] As his envoys, we must win the minds of men for his doctrine and his law by first observing them ourselves; sharing as we do in his power to deliver souls from the bondage of sin, we must strive by every means to avoid becoming entangled in these toils of sin."

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part X)

On 8th September, 1907, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis on the doctrine of the Modernists:

"When a Catholic layman or a priest forgets the precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce ourselves if we would follow Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart, then it is he who most of all is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. For this reason, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to resist such victims of pride, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices. The higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that the lowliness of their position may limit their power of causing damage. Examine most carefully your young clerics by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the vigilance and constancy which were required!"

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part IX)

On 10th August, 1906, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Gravissimo Officii Munere on the French Associations of Worship:

10. Assuredly they will tax their ingenuity to throw upon Us the blame for this conflict and for the evils resulting therefrom. But whoever loyally examines the facts of which We have spoken in the Encyclical "Vehementer Nos" will be able to see whether We have deserved the least reproach-We, who, after having patiently borne with injustice upon injustice in Our love for the beloved French nation, finally find Ourselves summoned to go beyond the last holy limits of Our Apostolic duty, and We declare that We will not go beyond them -- or rather whether the fault does not lie entirely with those who in hate of the Apostolic name have gone to such extremities.

11. Therefore, if they desire to show Us their submission and their devotion, let the Catholic men of France struggle for the Church in accordance with the directions We have already given them, that is to say, with perseverance and energy, and yet without acting in a seditious and violent manner. It is not by violence, but by firmness, that, fortifying themselves in their good right as within a citadel, they will succeed in breaking the obstinacy of their enemies; let them well understand, as We have said and as we repeat that their efforts will be useless unless they unite in a perfect understanding for the defense of religion.

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part VIII)

On 28th July, 1906, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Pieni L'animo to the Archbishops and Bishops of Italy on the Clergy in Italy:

2. The cause which now moves Us to raise Our voice is of very serious importance. It demands all the attention of your mind and all the energy of your pastoral office to counteract the disorder which has already produced the most destructive effects. If this disorder is not radically removed with a firm hand, even more fatal consequences will be felt in the coming years. In fact, Venerable Brethren, We have letters, full of sadness and tears, from several of you, in which you deplore the spirit of insubordination and independence displayed here and there among the clergy. Most assuredly, a poisonous atmosphere corrupts men's minds to a great extent today, and the deadly effects are those which the Apostolic Saint Jude formerly described: "These men also defile the flesh, disregard authority, deride majesty."[Jude viii] That is to say, over and above the most degrading corruption of manners there is also an open contempt for authority and for those who exercise it. What overwhelms Us with grief, however, is the fact that this spirit should creep into the sanctuary even in the least degree, infecting those to whom the words of Ecclesiasticus should most fittingly be applied: "Their generation, obedience and love."[Ecclus. iii:1] This unfortunate spirit is doing the damage especially among young priests, spreading among them new and reprehensible theories concerning the very nature of obedience. In order to recruit new members for this growing troop of rebels, what is even more serious is the fact that such maxims are being more or less secretly propagated among youths preparing for the priesthood within the enclosure of the seminaries.

3. We therefore consider it Our duty, Venerable Brethren, to appeal to your conscience to see that you do not spare any effort and with a firm hand and constant resolve you do not hesitate to destroy this evil seed which carries with it such destructive consequences. Never forget that the Holy Spirit has placed you to rule. Remember Saint Paul's command to Titus: "Rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise thee."[Titus ii:15] Be firm in demanding that obedience from your priests and clerics which is a matter of absolute obligation for all the faithful, and constitutes the most important part of the sacred duty of priests.

4. Take the proper means necessary for the diminution of these quarrelsome souls. Bear well in mind, Venerable Brethren, the Apostle's warning to Timothy: "Do not lay hands hastily upon anyone."[I Tim. v:22] In fact, haste in admitting men to Sacred Orders naturally opens the way to a multiplication of people in the sanctuary who do not increase joy. We know that there are cities and dioceses where, far from there being any reason to lament the dearth of clergy, the clergy greatly exceed the needs of the faithful. Venerable Brethren, what reason is there for imposing hands so frequently? In those places where the lack of clergy is no sufficient reason for haste in so important a matter and the clergy are more numerous than the requirements demand, nothing excuses from the most delicate caution and the greatest exactitude in selecting those who are to receive the sacerdotal honor. The eagerness of the aspirants is no excuse for haste. The priesthood that Jesus Christ instituted for the salvation of souls is by no means a human profession or office which anyone desiring it for any reason can say he has a right to receive. Therefore, let the Bishops call young men to sacred orders, not according to the desires or pretexts of the aspirants, but, as the Council of Trent prescribes, according to the needs of the dioceses. In this task they can select only those who are really suitable and dismiss those who have inclinations contrary to the priestly vocation. The most dangerous of these inclinations are a disregard for discipline and that pride of mind which fosters it.

5. In order that young men who display qualities suitable for the sacred ministry may not be lacking, Venerable Brethren, We wish to insist most earnestly on what We have already frequently pointed out. That is to say, you have a very serious obligation before God of guarding and fostering most solicitously the proper conduct of the seminaries. Your priests will be as you have trained them. The letter of December 8, 1902, which Our most prudent Predecessor addressed to you as a testament from his long Pontificate is very important.[Cf. ASS, 35:257 ff.] We desire to add nothing new to it; We shall merely remind you of the rules it lays down. We especially recommend the immediate execution of Our orders, published through the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars, on the concentration of the seminaries especially for the study of philosophy and theology. In this way the great advantage resulting from the separation of the major and minor seminaries and the no less great advantage of the necessary instruction of the clergy will be secured.

6. Let the seminaries be jealously guarded in order that a proper atmosphere will be maintained. Let them always be destined exclusively for preparing youths, not for civil careers, but for the noble vocation of being ministers of Christ. Let philosophy, theology, and the related sciences, especially Sacred Scripture, be studied along the lines of pontifical directives: according to the teaching of Saint Thomas which Our venerable Predecessor so often recommended, and We Ourselves recommended in the Apostolic Letter of January 23, 1904.[Cf. ASS, 36:467 ff.] Therefore, let the Bishops exercise the most prudent vigilance towards the professors' teachings. Let them recall those who run after certain dangerous novelties to their sense of duty. If they do not profit from these warnings, let them be removed-cost what it may -- from their teaching position. Young clerics are forbidden to frequent the universities unless the Bishops think there are very good reasons and necessary precautions have been taken. Seminarians are absolutely forbidden to take part in external activities. Accordingly. We forbid them to read newspapers and periodicals, excepting, in the case of the latter, those with solid principles and which the Bishop deems suitable for their study. Let discipline continue to be fostered with renewed vigor and vigilance. Finally, in every seminary there must be a spiritual director. He is to be a man of extraordinary prudence and experienced in the ways of Christian perfection. With untiring zeal he must train the young men in solid piety, the primary foundation of the spiritual life. Venerable Brethren, if these rules are conscientiously and religiously followed they will be your sure guarantee of seeing a clergy growing up around you which will be your joy and your crown.

7. If these instructions are not observed, the problem of insubordination and independence which We now lament will be even more aggravated by some of the younger clergy and cause even more harm. This is especially so since those who are subject to this reprobate spirit are not lacking, and, abusing the sacred office of preaching, they are its outspoken promoters and apostles, to the detriment and scandal of the faithful.

Monday, 13 September 2010

What Must Be Done?

Glory be to our Lord Christ!

A poll conducted by the BBC recently discovered that 49% of Catholics interviewed believed that the Holy Father should drop his (in fact, the Latin Church's) insistence on clerical celibacy in light of the sexual abuse scandals. Now, we must ask whether such a measure would be beneficial to the Church's mission, which is to perpetuate the Incarnation and bring the Redemption wrought by Christ's Precious Blood to all nations. Will a relaxing of discipline allow the Church to fully witness to the salvific work of God and make it effective in the lives of mankind? The simple answer is no.

What must be done is a return to the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ and an embrace of her teachings and her disciplines in their fullness. The Catholic Church (thankfully) is not founded as a democracy, otherwise she would have consumed and mutilated herself by impatiently attempting to conform to the prevailing trends in society. However, in a short period of time, these 'absolute values' of the world will be classed as outmoded and contrary to the judgment of right-minded and rational people. If we as a modern, technical and 'humane' society have progressed such a great deal in the past 50 or so years, could we even contemplate the marvellous nature of our country in another hundred years time? Will not our current 'truths' be decried as preposterous and Medieval? Let us not latch on to the latest novelty for the mere sake of it being 'new'. It must be noted however that not all developments must be rejected out of hand without due consideration, we must be careful not to throw out the wheat with the chaff.

Many have commented that if the Church does not alterate her doctrines and practices, there will not be a Church to worship in shortly. We are being warned that great multitudes will depart from her bosom as the Sacrament of Salvation is not fulfilling their needs. What should we do? Let them go. Our Blessed Lord said that 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God' (Lk 9:62) and 'anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me' (Mt 10:38). Such are hard (dare we say, harsh?) demands that require the conversion and consecration of the whole person to Christ Who descended to save all men and all of man. Let not an itch of your being remain cut off from Christ. Let your words be the words of Christ, your thoughts be of Christ, and your actions be of Christ. A recommitment to our Divine Lord especially to the Holy Sacrifice and to His Most Holy Mother Mary will allow us to be conformed to His likeness, resulting in an unconditional renunouncement of ourselves to our Lord. Do we not say at Compline, 'Into Your hands Lord, I commend my spirit'? Why do we idly recite those precious words of the Crucified and then retire to our beds without a single change of heart, of true repentence and desire for sanctity? The soul who verily acknowledges his debt to the God Who created, sustains and has redeemed him counts nothing as too much. 'Oh but it is too hard' we lament and blubber. Yes it is, for you. We must listen attentively to the words of our Lord to the Divine Apostle, Paul, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' (2 Cor 12:9) He, as the fashioner of human nature, knows exactly what we are capable and by His grace and illumination He allows man to live a divine life. A life free of disordered passions and worries of the ephemeral sort.

This will shrink the Church, they cry. Certainly. Yet, we must remember that few souls will enter and savour the Beatific Vision for all eternity anyway. Our Way is in the steps of our Master Who has went before us and He promised His chosen ones nothing less than sorrow, persecution and repudiation in return for eternal felicity. Is the servant greater than the Master? (Jn 13:16). Let us not be blinded by secular oppression and accept a Gospel other than the one 'entrusted once for all to the saints'(Ju 1:3). The Church cannot witness to the Redemption of the Incarnate Logos by attenuating her commitment to her Bridegroom and the salvation of souls. So if it has to be that men walk away sad from her like the rich man (Lk 18:23), or those gathered around our Lord as He spoke of the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood who departed at this 'hard teaching' (Jn 6:60), so be it. However, I would greatly prefer that we educate our children in the Faith and hand it on to them whilst leading a holy and cheerful life, in willing obedience to Christ and His Church. By our example to our friends, family and extended society, let us become channels of grace for this darkened time and with the Apostle may we say honestly, 'I feel as if I'm going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.' (Gal 4:19).

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part VII)

On 11th February, 1906, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Vehementer Nos to the Archbishops of Paris, of Bordeaux, of Lyons, of Rennes; and to all the Archbishops and Bishops, and to all the Clergy and People of France on the French Law of Separation:

17. As for the defense of religion, if you wish to undertake it in a worthy manner, and to carry it on perseveringly and efficaciously, two things are first of all necessary: you must model yourselves so faithfully on the precepts of the Christian law that all your actions and your entire lives may do honor to the faith you profess, and then you must be closely united with those whose special office it is to watch over religion, with your priests, your bishops, and above all with this Apostolic See, which is the pivot of the Catholic faith and of all that can be done in its name. Thus armed for the fray, go forth fearlessly for the defense of the Church; but take care that your trust is placed entirely in God, for whose cause you are working, and never cease to pray to Him for help.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Institute of Christ the King takes up permanent residence in Ireland

by Mgr. Wach

Canon Lebocq celebrates Holy Mass at St. Patrick's Church in Limerick

Dear Friends of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest,

For the last four years Divine Providence has permitted the Institute of Christ the King to exercise a ministry in the Diocese of Limerick with the permission of the Most Reverend Bishop Murray, then Bishop of Limerick, whom I had the pleasure to meet several times on my visits.

Thanks to your prayers and perseverance, and also to Father Irwin, Pastor of St. Patrick Church, we have celebrated mass more and more often in Limerick.

This year as every year, I have asked all the canons of our Institute to come together at our mother house and seminary at Gricigliano, near Florence, Italy, for the first week of September. Canon Lebocq knows this house well, having received his priestly formation here and having spent another seven years here as vice-rector and choirmaster.

Our 57 young priests have thus come together this year, first of all, to pray together and also to cultivate a spirit of family and true brotherhood. It is also the occasion when I receive them individually and announce to them the place where they will exercise their ministry for the next year.

As you know, Canon Lebocq has been coming regularly from Italy for several years to tend to your souls. Thanks to your prayers, patience and perseverance, I have the pleasure to announce to you that Canon Lebocq will soon stay in Ireland permanently; you will thus be able to attend the extraordinary form of the mass every Sunday in Limerick, as encouraged by our Holy Father, Benedict XVI. Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, my Vicar General, whom many of you know, will assist me as Provincial for Ireland. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right in canonical form, which means that all the priests of our community are canons. This title is not first of all an honour but above all a duty. The principal duty of a canon is to make the prayer of the Church public by chanting the divine office in community. For this reason, I have asked a seminarian and an oblate to form a community life with him. They will pray together, study and work in St. Joseph House in Graigacurragh, Granagh, to advance the reign of Christ the King on your beautiful island.

I will have the pleasure to come visit you soon and to sing the mass again at St. Patrick Church. In the meantime, I ask you to give thanks to God for sending you our young community which, by the Catholic priesthood, will bring to you the wonders of God in a spirit of great love for the Church. I thank each one of you for supporting by your prayers and fidelity this apostolate which we have placed under the patronage of St. Joseph, foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Msgr Wach
Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

(reproduced from Rorate Caeli)

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part VI)

On 11th June, 1905, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Il Fermo Proposito to the Bishops of Italy on Catholic Action in Italy:

25. The priest, raised above all men in order to accomplish the mission he has from God, must also remain above all human interests, all conflicts, all classes of society. His proper field of action is the Church. There, as ambassador of God, he preaches the truth, teaching along with respect for the rights of God respect also for the rights of every creature. In such a work he neither exposes himself to any opposition nor appears as a man of factions, ally to one group and adversary to others. In such a way he will not place himself in the danger of dissimulating the truth, of keeping silence in the conflict of certain tendencies, or of irritating exasperated souls by repeated arguments. In all these cases he would fail in his real duty. It is unnecessary to add that while treating so often of material affairs he may find himself obligated to perform tasks harmful to himself and to the dignity of his office. He may take part in these associations, therefore, only after mature deliberation, with the consent of his Bishop, and then only in those cases when his assistance will be free from every danger and will be obviously useful.

26. This does-not diminish his zeal. The true apostle must make himself "all things to all men"[I Cor. ix:22] in order to save all. Like the Divine Redeemer, he ought to be moved with compassion, "seeing the crowds . . . bewildered and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd."[Matt. ix:36] By means of the printed and spoken word, by direct participation in the above-mentioned cases, he can labor on behalf of the people according to the principles of justice and charity by favoring and promoting those institutions which propose to protect the masses from the invasion of Socialism, saving them at the same time from both economic ruin and moral and religious chaos. In this way the assistance of the clergy in the works of Catholic Action has a truly religious purpose. It will then not be a hindrance, but rather a help, to the spiritual ministry by enlarging its sphere and multiplying its results.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Transalpine Redemptorist Final Profession

On August 15th 2010, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Br. Martin Mary, F.SS.R. made his final vows in the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay. His mother, father, sister and two brothers were also there for the occasion, and his father and brothers sung in the schola. This video is mostly made up of clips from the ceremony. In the evening we held our annual bonfire and BBQ, to which the residents of Stronsay are also invited, to celebrate the profession and the feast.



More photographs from the occasion are available here.

Monastery Address:
Golgotha Monastery Island

Papa Stronsay
Orkney, KW17 2AR
Scotland, UK
papastronsay.blogspot.com

Friday, 27 August 2010

New video: To God Who Giveth Joy To My Youth

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is pleased to announce the completion of a 28 minute film entitled "To God Who Giveth Joy To My Youth".

The title, taken from the opening words of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, captures the essence of the Fraternity's total formation process and life at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary.

Intended for generous, young men discerning a priestly vocation, this production provides an visual description of daily life within the walls of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. Thus, this film will prove to be an informative and instrumental tool in their vocational process.

In the Church, the members of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter's have the unique charism of sanctifying themselves through the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Throughout the seminary's intensive seven year program, each of the various aspects and stages of formation has this purpose in mind, the worthy celebration of the Mass.

Explore how this seminary, drawing from the Church's rich tradition of priestly formation, seeks to form zealous priests in various areas including Thomistic philosophy and theology, spiritual direction, Gregorian Chant, manual labor and recreation. Discover how one seminary receives a man and prepares him for his transformation into an Alter Christus, "Another Christ".





The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part V)

On 15th April, 1905, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Acerbo Nimis on the teaching Christian Doctrine:

8. We do not think it necessary to set forth here the praises of such instruction or to point out how meritorious it is in God's sight. If, assuredly, the alms with which we relieve the needs of the poor are highly praised by the Lord, how much more precious in His eyes, then, will be the zeal and labor expended in teaching and admonishing, by which we provide not for the passing needs of the body but for the eternal profit of the soul! Nothing, surely, is more desirable, nothing more acceptable to Jesus Christ, the Savior of souls, Who testifies of Himself through Isaias: "To bring good news to the poor he has sent me."[11]

9. Here then it is well to emphasize and insist that for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding than this. Who, indeed, will deny that knowledge should be joined to holiness of life in the priest? "For the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge."[12] The Church demands this knowledge of those who are to be ordained to the priesthood. Why? Because the Christian people expect from them knowledge of the divine law, and it was for that end that they were sent by God. "And they shall seek the law at his mouth; because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts."[13] Thus the bishop speaking to the candidates for the priesthood in the ordination ceremony says: "Let your teaching be a spiritual remedy for God's people; may they be worthy fellow-workers of our order; and thus meditating day and night on His law, they may believe what they read, and teach what they shall believe."[14]

10. If what We have just said is applicable to all priests, does it not apply with much greater force to those who possess the title and the authority of parish priests, and who, by virtue of their rank and in a sense by virtue of a contract, hold the office of pastors of souls? These are, to a certain extent, the pastors and teachers appointed by Christ in order that the faithful might not be as "children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine devised in the wickedness of men," but that practicing "the truth in love," they may, "grow up in all things in him who is the head, Christ."[15]

11. For this reason the Council of Trent, treating of the duties of pastors of souls, decreed that their first and most important work is the instruction of the faithful.[16] It therefore prescribes that they shall teach the truths of religion on Sundays and on the more solemn feast days; moreover during the holy seasons of Advent and Lent they are to give such instruction every day or at least three times a week. This, however, was not considered enough. The Council provided for the instruction of youth by adding that the pastors, either personally or through others, must explain the truths of religion at least on Sundays and feast days to the children of the parish, and inculcate obedience to God and to their parents. When the Sacraments are to be administered, it enjoins upon pastors the duty to explain their efficacy in plain and simple language.

12. These prescriptions of the Council of Trent have been summarized and still more clearly defined by Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, in his Constitution "Esti minime." "Two chief obligations," he wrote, "have been imposed by the Council of Trent on those who have the care of souls: first, that of preaching the things of God to the people on the feast days; and second, that of teaching the rudiments of faith and of the divine law to the youth and others who need such instruction." Here the wise Pontiff rightly distinguishes between these two duties: one is what is commonly known as the explanation of the Gospel and the other is the teaching of Christian doctrine. Perhaps there are some who, wishing to lessen their labors, would believe that the homily on the Gospel can take the place of catechetical instruction. But for one who reflects a moment, such is obviously impossible. The sermon on the holy Gospel is addressed to those who should have already received knowledge of the elements of faith. It is, so to speak, bread broken for adults. Catechetical instruction, on the other hand, is that milk which the Apostle Peter wished the faithful to desire in all simplicity like newborn babes.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Living the Liturgy: The Benedictine Monks of Clear Creek

by Shawn Tribe

We recently made mention of a video which was produced about the Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault in France, and which aired on EWTN. Now it has come to our attention that the following video, "Living the Liturgy: Clear Creek Monastery", has also been made available through EWTN, this time about the daughter-house of Fontgombault, Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma.

While the video is 52 minutes in length, I would encourage you all to make the time to watch it at some point. The video is excellent and guides you through the monastic life and day, particularly through the lens of the sacred liturgy. (A thought strikes me as well: parishes, Catholic schools and other institutions which endeavour to have vocations related materials should try to ensure they have resources such as this video to also inform men and women about the possibilities of monastic life; an all too easily forgotten and neglected vocational consideration.)



* * *


To give you a taste, here a few screenshots showing some of the liturgical aspects within the video:













(reposted from The New Liturgical Movement)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Solemn Pontifical Mass in São Paulo, Brazil

by Shawn Tribe

One of our readers has sent in photos from a Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated August 11th according to the usus antiquior in São Paulo, Brazil at Saint Paul the Apostle Church.

It is reported to us that it is the first Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency, Fernando Guimarães, the Bishop of Garanhuns, who was recently made a bishop. (See previous NLM posts on this bishop here and here.)

The NLM is also told that the Brazilian seminarians of the Institute of the Good Shepherd served the Mass, while the M.C. was Father Almir de Andrade of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

A photo album has been made available. Here are a few selections.















(reposted from The New Liturgical Movement)

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part IV)

On 12th December, 1904, Pope St. Pius X gave an Allocution on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Delaration of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

Venerable brethren, there is only one piece of advice that I offer to you: watch over your seminaries and over candidates for the priesthood.

As you yourselves know, an air of independence which is fatal for souls is widely diffused in the world, and has found its way even within the sanctuary; it shows itself not only in relation to authority but also in regard to doctrine.

Because of it, some of our young clerics, animated by that spirit of unbridled criticism which holds sway at the present day, have come to lose all respect for the learning which comes from our great teachers, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the interpreters of revealed doctrine.

If ever you have in your seminary one of those new-style savants, get rid of him without delay; on no account impose hands upon him. You will always regret having ordained even one such person: never will you regret having excluded him. [Cf. Decree Vetuit of the Sacred Congregation of the Council (22 December 1905), forbidding in principle the admission into a seminary of any cleric or layman who was previously dismissed from another seminary by the local Ordinary (ASS XXXVIII, p. 407).]

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part III)

On 12th March, 1904, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Iucunda Sane on the thirteenth century of Pope Gregory the Great:

26. And so too are all they seriously mistaken who, occupying themselves with the welfare of the people, and especially upholding the cause of the lower classes, seek to promote above all else the material well-being of the body and of life, but are utterly silent about their spiritual welfare and the very serious duties which their profession as Christians enjoins upon them. They are not ashamed to conceal sometimes, as though with a veil, certain fundamental maxims of the Gospel, for fear lest otherwise the people refuse to hear and follow them. It will certainly be the part of prudence to proceed gradually in laying down the truth, when one has to do with men completely strangers to us and completely separated from God. "Before using the steel, let the wounds be felt with a light hand," as Gregory said (Registr. v. 44 (18) ad Joannem episcop.). But even this carefulness would sink to mere prudence of the flesh, were it proposed as the rule of constant and everyday action -- all the more since such a method would seem not to hold in due account that Divine Grace which sustains the sacerdotal ministry and which is given not only to those who exercise this ministry, but to all the faithful of Christ in order that our words and our action may find an entrance into their heart. Gregory did not at all understand this prudence, either in the preaching of the Gospel, or in the many wonderful works undertaken by him to relieve misery. He did constantly what the Apostles had done, for they, when they went out for the first time into the world to bring into it the name of Christ, repeated the saying: "We preach Christ crucified, a scandal for the Jews, a folly for the Gentiles" (I Cor. i. 23). If ever there was a time in which human prudence seemed to offer the only expedient for obtaining something in a world altogether unprepared to receive doctrines so new, so repugnant to human passions, so opposed to the civilization, then at its most flourishing period, of the Greeks and the Romans, that time was certainly the epoch of the preaching of the faith. But the Apostles disdained such prudence, because they understood well the precept of God: "It pleased God by the foolishness of our preaching to save them that believe (I Cor. i. 21). And as it ever was, so it is today, this foolishness "to them that are saved, that is, to us, is the power of God" (I Cor. i. 18). The scandal of the Crucified will ever furnish us in the future, as it has done in the past, with the most potent of all weapons; now as of yore in that sign we shall find victory.

27. But, Venerable Brethren, this weapon will lose much of its efficacy or be altogether useless in the hands of men not accustomed to the interior life with Christ, not educated in the school of true and solid piety, not thoroughly inflamed with zeal for the glory of God and for the propagation of His kingdom. So keenly did Gregory feel this necessity that he used the greatest care in creating bishops and priests animated by a great desire for the divine glory and for the true welfare of souls. And this was the intent he had before him in his book on the Pastoral Rule, wherein are gathered together the laws regulating the formation of the clergy and the government of bishops -- laws most suitable not for his times only but for our own. Like an "Argus full of light," says his biographer, "he moved all round the eyes of his pastoral solicitude through all the extent of the world" (Joann. Diac., lib ii. c. 55), to discover and correct the failings and the negligence of the clergy. Nay, he trembled at the very thought that barbarism and immortality might obtain a footing in the life of the clergy, and he was deeply moved and gave himself no peace whenever he learned of some infraction of the disciplinary laws of the Church, and immediately administered admonition and correction, threatening canonical penalties on transgressors, sometimes immediately applying these penalties himself, and again removing the unworthy from their offices without delay and without human respect.

28. Moreover, he inculcated the maxims which we frequently find in his writings in such form as this: "In what frame of mind does one enter upon the office of mediator between God and man who is not conscious of being familiar with grace through a meritorious life?" (Reg. Past. i. 10). "U passion lives in his actions, with what presumption does he hasten to cure the wound, when he wears a scar on his very face?" (Reg. Past. i. 9). What fruit can be expected for the salvation of souls if the apostles "combat in their lives what they preach in their words?" (Reg. Past i. 2). "Truly he cannot remove the delinquencies of others who is himself ravaged by the same" (Reg. Past. i. 11).

29. The picture of the true priest, as Gregory understands and describes him, is the man "who, dying to all passions of the flesh, already lives spiritually; who has no thought for the prosperity of the world; who has no fear of adversity; who desires only internal things; who does not permit himself to desire what belongs to others but is liberal of his own; who is all bowels of compassion and inclines to forgiveness, but in forgiveness never swerves unduly from the perfection of righteousness; who never commits unlawful actions, but deplores as though they were his own the unlawful actions of others; who with all affection of the heart compassionates the weakness of others, and rejoices in the prosperity of his neighbor as in his own profit; who in all his doings so renders himself a model for others as to have nothing whereof to be ashamed, at least, as regards his external actions; who studies so to live that he may be able to water the parched hearts of his neighbors with the waters of doctrine; who knows through the use of prayer and through his own experience that he can obtain from the Lord what he asks" (Reg. Past. i. 10).

30. How much thought, therefore, Venerable Brethren, must the Bishop seriously take with himself and in the presence of God before laying hands on young levites! "Let him never dare, either as an act of favor to anybody or in response to petitions made to him, to promote any one to sacred orders whose life and actions do not furnish a guarantee of worthiness" (Registr. v 63 (58) ad universos episcopos per Hellad.) With what deliberation should he reflect before entrusting the work of the apostolate to newly ordained priests! If they be not duly tried under the vigilant guardianship of more prudent priests, if there be not abundant evidence of their morality, of their inclination for spiritual exercises, of their prompt obedience to all the norms of action which are suggested by ecclesiastical custom or proved by long experience, or imposed by those whom "the Holy Ghost has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God" (Acts xx. 28), they will exercise the sacerdotal ministry not for the salvation but for the ruin of the Christian people. For they will provoke discord, and excite rebellion, more or less tacit, thus offering to the world the sad spectacle of something like division amongst us, whereas in truth these deplorable incidents are but the pride and unruliness of a few. Oh! let those who stir up discord be altogether removed from every office. Of such apostles the Church has no need; they are not apostles of Jesus Christ Crucified but of themselves.

31. We seem to see still present before Our eyes the Holy Pontiff Gregory at the Lateran Council, surrounded by a great number of bishops from all parts of the world. Oh, how fruitful is the exhortation that falls from his lips on the duties of the clergy! How his heart is consumed with zeal! His words are as lightnings rending the perverse, as scourges striking the indolent, as flames of divine love gently enfolding the most fervent. Read that wonderful homily of Gregory, Venerable Brethren, and have it read and meditated by your clergy, especially during the annual retreat (Hom. in Evang. i. 17).

32. Among other things, with unspeakable sorrow he exclaims: "Lo, the world is full of priests, but rare indeed it is to find a worker in the hands of God; we do indeed assume the priestly office, but the obligation of the office we do not fulfill" (Hom. in Evang. n. 3). What force the Church would have to-day could she count a worker in every priest! What abundant fruit would the supernatural life of the Church produce in souls were it efficaciously promoted by all. Gregory succeeded in his own times in strenuously stimulating this spirit of energetic action, and such was the impulse given by him that the same spirit was kept alive during the succeeding ages. The whole mediaeval period bears what may be called the Gregorian imprint; almost everything it had indeed came to it from the Pontiff -- the rule of ecclesiastical government, the manifold phases of charity and philanthropy in its social institutions, the principles of the most perfect Christian asceticism and of monastic life, the arrangement of the liturgy and the art of sacred music.

33. The times are indeed greatly changed. But, as We have more than once repeated, nothing is changed in the life of the Church. From her Divine Founder she has inherited the virtue of being able to supply at all times, however much they may differ, all that is required not only for the spiritual welfare of souls, which is the direct object of her mission, but also everything that aids progress in true civilization, for this follows as a natural consequence of that same mission.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Solemn Mass sponsored by Mater Ecclesiae

by Fr John Zuhlsdorf

I received this note from my good friend Fr. Robert Pasley, pastor of Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ where I have often been a guest. Each year Mater Ecclesiae sponsors a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form with exceptional sacred choral music for 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption.

Mater Ecclesiae, in the diocese of Camden New Jersey, has a national reputation. The community was established by the Diocese of Camden on 13 October 2000, the anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. All Masses and Sacraments are celebrated according to the liturgical books of 1962.

Here are the details for this year’s Assumption Mass:

15 August at 1:00 PM
Saint Peter Roman Catholic Church
43 West Maple Avenue
Merchantville, NJ.

The Music for the Mass:

  • Gregorian Propers
  • The Missa brevis septorum sanctorum dolorum B.V.M. by Carl Heinrich Biber
  • Alleluia Assumpta est and the Dilexisti iustitiam by Heinrich Isaac
  • Offertorium de Sanctissimo Sacramento by Leopold Mozart, the father of A. Mozart
  • Dulcissima Maria – Francesco Guerrero
  • Sonata VII of Heinrich Isaac Biber
  • Ave Maria by Johann Joseph Fux
  • Sonata in D for two trumpets IV and Sonata in D for two trumpets II by Franceschini
  • O Sanctissima and Hail Holy Queen arranged for Brass and Orchestra by Timothy McDonnell
For more information, please call 856-753-3408 or visit the website: www.materecclesiae.org.

(reposted from What Does the Prayer Really Say?)

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part II)

On 22nd November, 1903, the Feast of St. Cecilia, St. Pius X issued his Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini on Sacred Music:

22. It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.

In a letter regarding Tra le Sollecitudini addressed to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, dated 8th December, 1903, St. Pius X wrote:

Finally, We desire that sacred music be cultivated with special care and in the proper way in all the seminaries and ecclesiastical colleges of Rome, in which such a large and choice body of young clerics from all parts of the world are being educated in the sacred sciences and in the ecclesiastical spirit. We know, and We are greatly comforted by the knowledge, that in some institutions sacred music is in such a flourishing condition that it may serve as a model for others. But there are some seminaries and colleges which leave much to be desired owing to the carelessness of the superiors, or the want of capacity and the imperfect taste of the persons to whom the teaching of chant and the direction of sacred music is entrusted. You, Lord Cardinal, will be good enough to provide a remedy for this also with solicitude, by insisting especially that Gregorian Chant, according to the prescriptions of the Council of Trent and of innumerable other councils, provincial and diocesan in all parts of the world, be studied with particular diligence, and be as a rule preferred in the public and private functions of the institute. It is true that in other times Gregorian Chant was known to most people only through books which were incorrect, vitiated and curtailed. But the accurate and prolonged study that has been given to it by illustrious men who have done a great service to sacred art has changed the face of things. Gregorian Chant restored in such a satisfactory way to its early purity, as it was handed down by the fathers and is found in the codices of the various churches, is sweet, soft, easy to learn and of a beauty so fresh and full of surprises that wherever it has been introduced it has never failed to excite real enthusiasm in the youthful singers. Now, when delights enters into the fulfillment of duty, everything is done with greater alacrity and with more lasting fruit. It is Our will, therefore, that in all seminaries and colleges in this fostering city there be introduced once more the most ancient Roman chant which used to resound in our churches and basilicas and which formed the delight of past generations in the fairest days of Christian piety. And as in former times the chant was spread abroad over the whole Western Church from Rome, so We desire that Our young clerics, educated under Our own eyes, may carry it with them and diffuse it again in their own dioceses when they return thither as priests to work for the glory of God. We are overjoyed to be able to give these regulations at a time when We are about to celebrate the 15th centenary of the death of the glorious and incomparable Pontiff St. Gregory the Great, to whom an ecclesiastical tradition dating back many centuries has attributed the composition of these sacred melodies and from whom they have derived their name. Let Our dearly-beloved youths exercise themselves in them, for it will be sweet to us to hear them when, as We have been told will be the case, they will assemble at the coming centenary celebrations round the tomb of the Holy Pontiff in the Vatican Basilica during the Sacred Liturgy which, please God, will be celebrated by Us on that auspicious occasion.

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Voice of... St. Pius X (Part I)

On 4th October, 1903, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical E Supremi on the restoration of all things in Christ:

11. This being so, Venerable Brethren, of what nature and magnitude is the care that must be taken by you in forming the clergy to holiness! All other tasks must yield to this one. Wherefore the chief part of your diligence will be directed to governing and ordering your seminaries aright so that they may flourish equally in the soundness of their teaching and in the spotlessness of their morals. Regard your seminary as the delight of your hearts, and neglect on its behalf none of those provisions which the Council of Trent has with admirable forethought prescribed. And when the time comes for promoting the youthful candidates to holy orders, ah! do not forget what Paul wrote to Timothy: "Impose not hands lightly upon any man" (I. Tim. v., 22), bearing carefully in mind that as a general rule the faithful will be such as are those whom you call to the priesthood. Do not then pay heed to private interests of any kind, but have at heart only God and the Church and the eternal welfare of souls so that, as the Apostle admonishes, "you may not be partakers of the sins of others" (Ibid.). Then again be not lacking in solicitude for young priests who have just left the seminary. From the bottom of Our heart, We urge you to bring them often close to your breast, which should burn with celestial fire -- kindle them, inflame them, so that they may aspire solely after God and the salvation of souls. Rest assured, Venerable Brethren, that We on Our side will use the greatest diligence to prevent the members of the clergy from being drawn to the snares of a certain new and fallacious science, which savoureth not of Christ, but with masked and cunning arguments strives to open the door to the errors of rationalism and semi-rationalism; against which the Apostle warned Timothy to be on his guard, when he wrote: "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called which some promising have erred concerning the faith" (I. Tim. vi., 20 s.). This does not prevent Us from esteeming worthy of praise those young priests who dedicated themselves to useful studies in every branch of learning the better to prepare themselves to defend the truth and to refute the calumnies of the enemies of the faith. Yet We cannot conceal, nay, We proclaim in the most open manner possible that Our preference is, and ever will be, for those who, while cultivating ecclesiastical and literary erudition, dedicate themselves more closely to the welfare of souls through the exercise of those ministries proper to a priest jealous of the divine glory. "It is a great grief and a continual sorrow to our heart" (Rom. ix., 2) to find Jeremiah's lamentation applicable to our times: "The little ones asked for bread, and there was none to break it to them" (Lam. iv., 4). For there are not lacking among the clergy those who adapt themselves according to their bent to works of more apparent than real solidity -- but not so numerous perhaps are those who, after the example of Christ, take to themselves the words of the Prophet: "The Spirit of the Lord hath anointed me, hath sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to announce freedom to the captive, and sight to the blind" (Luke iv., 18-19).

Friday, 23 July 2010

Convent needs Sisters, Sisters need Convent

by Fr Tim Finigan


Joseph Shaw at the LMS Chairman's blog has news from the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate. They are appealing for benefactors to help them start a new community in Darlington. If you have the funds, you could own a beautiful building and do a good work for the Lord in letting the Sisters use it for its proper purpose. The photo above is of the sisters at Lanhearne and is from Joseph Shaw's flickr set. Here is the information from Lanhearne:
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Lanherne Cornwall

DARLINGTON CARMEL (one of the very early Carmels to be established in England [1830]) is up for sale. The very few remaining sisters are soon to move out. At Lanherne we have known about this for several months and we have been to visit the establishment. Wonderful for our needs! The Sisters are not going to leave Lanherne, in fact another house is needed as a new foundation. The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate have a goodly number of vocations; especially sisters who at the moment belong to the “active” branch who have a vocation to the contemplative life. So another contemplative house is needed. There is a major problem. Yes, you’ve got it! The FSI have no money and the Carmelites at Darlington require one and half million pounds. If you know Darlington and the Carmel then you will be surprised that it’s going for only £1,500,000. It’s large and fine, in good order and a Grade 2 listed building.

So we are looking for a benefactor. Franciscans cannot own property and therefore a possible benefactor would continue to own the Carmel and would let the FSI use it – or a trust could be set up. It is possible that with a serious bit of thinking other activities may be considered - retreats etc. ALL is possible. May I remind you that the FSI use ONLY the 1962 liturgical books. A centre for traditional Catholics in the north of England would be a great help to many people.

Please pray that a benefactor or a group of benefactors may be found.

Please contact me and let me know your thoughts.

Father Joseph M Taylor
Lanherne Convent
St Mawgan
Newquay
Cornwall
TR8 4ER
(reposted from The Hermeneutic of Continuity)

Institute of the Good Shepherd Ordinations

by Shawn Tribe

The Institute of the Good Shepherd have some photos from recent ordinations in Courtalain (France) which occurred this month. A full photo gallery is available at the website of their seminary, the Seminaire Saint Vincent de Paul.

Here, however, are some selections.
























(reposted from The New Liturgical Movement)

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

On 8th December, 1902, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Fin Dal Principio on the education of the Clergy. Written only a few months before his death and the last in our series, I quote it in extensio:

1. From the beginning of our Pontificate having gravely considered the serious conditions of society, we are not slow to recognize, as one of the most urgent duties of the Apostolic office, that of devoting a most special care to the education of the clergy.

2. We see in fact that all our designs to bring about a restoration of Christian life among our people, would be in vain if in the ecclesiastical state the sacerdotal spirit was not preserved intact and vigorous. This we have not ceased to do, as far as was possible to us, both with institutions and writings directed to that end. And now a particular solicitude regarding the clergy of Italy moves us, venerable brethren, again to treat on this subject of so great importance. It is true, beautiful and continued testimonies have been shown of learning, piety and zeal, among which we are glad to praise the alacrity with which, seconding the impulse and direction of their bishops, they cooperate in that Catholic movement which we have so much at heart. We cannot altogether, however, hide the preoccupation of our soul at seeing for some time past a certain desire of innovation insinuating itself here and there, as regards the constitution as well as the multiform actions of the sacred ministry. Now it is easy to foresee the grave consequences which we should have to deplore if a speedy remedy were not applied to this innovating tendency.

3. Therefore, in order to preserve the Italian clergy from the pernicious influences of the times, we deem it opportune, venerable brethren, to recall in this our letter, the true and invariable principles that should regulate ecclesiastical education and the entire sacred ministry. The Catholic priesthood-divine in its origin, supernatural in its essence, immutable in its character, is not an institution that can accommodate itself with ease to human systems and opinions. A participation of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ, it must perpetuate even to the consummation of ages the same mission that the Eternal Father confided to His Incarnate Word: "Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos."' To work the eternal salvation of souls will always be the great commandment of which it must never fall short, as to faithfully fulfil it, it must never cease to have recourse to those supernatural aids and those divine rules of thought and of action which Jesus Christ gave His Apostles when He sent them throughout the whole world to convert the nations to the Gospel. Therefore St. Paul in his letters reminds us that the priest can never be anything but the legate, the minister of Christ, the dispenser of His mysteries,[2] and he represents him to us as dwelling in a high place [3] as a mediator between heaven and earth, to treat with God, about the supreme interests of the human race, which are those of everlasting life. The idea that holy books give us of the Christian priesthood, is that it is a supernatural institution superior to all those of earth, and as far separated from them as the divine is from the human.

4. This same high idea is clearly brought out by the works of the Fathers, the laws of the Roman Pontiffs, and the Bishops, by the decrees of the Councils, and by the unanimous teaching of the Doctors and of the Catholic schools. Above all, the tradition of the Church with one voice proclaims that the priest is another Christ, and that the priesthood though exercised on earth merits to be numbered among the orders of heaven[4]; because it is given to them to administer things that are wholly celestial and upon them is conferred a power that God has not trusted even to the angels[5]; a power and ministry which regard the government of souls, and which is the art of arts.[6] Therefore, education, studies, customs, and whatever comprises the sacerdotal discipline have always been considered by the Church as belonging entirely to herself, not merely distinct, but altogether separate from the ordinary rules of secular life. This distinction and separation must, therefore, remain unaltered, even in our own times, and any tendency to accommodate or confound the ecclesiastical life and education with the secular life and education must be considered as reproved, not only by the traditions of Christian ages, but by the apostolic doctrine itself and the ordinances of Jesus Christ.

5. Certainly in the formation of the clergy and the sacerdotal ministry, it is reasonable that regard should be had to the varied conditions of the times. Therefore we are far from rejecting the idea of such changes as would render the work of the clergy still more efficacious in the society in which they live, and it is for that reason that it has seemed necessary to us to promote among them a more solid and finished culture, and to open a still wider field to their ministry; but every other innovation which could in any way prejudice what is essential to the priest must be regarded as altogether blameworthy. The priest is above all constituted master, physician and shepherd of souls, and a guide to an end not enclosed within the bounds of this present life. Now he can never fully correspond if he is not well versed in the science of divine and sacred things, if he is not furnished with that piety which makes a man of God; and if he does not take every care to render his teachings valuable by the efficacy of his example, conformably to the admonition given to the sacred pastor by the Prince of the Apostles: "Forma facti gregis ex animo."[7] For those who watch the times and the changeable condition of society, these are the right and the greatest gifts that could shine in the Catholic priest, together with the principles of faith; every other quality natural and human would certainly be commendable, but would not have with regard to the sacerdotal office anything but secondary and relative importance. If, therefore, it is reasonable and just that the clergy should accommodate themselves as far as is permitted to the needs of the present age, it is still more necessary that the present depravity of the century should not be yielded to, but strongly resisted; and this while corresponding naturally to the high end of the priesthood, will also render their ministry still more fruitful by increasing its dignity, and therefore gaining it respect. It is seen everywhere how the spirit of naturalism tends to penetrate every part of the social body, even the most healthy; a spirit which fills the minds with pride and causes them to rebel against every authority; depraves the heart and turns it after the desire of earthly goods, neglecting those eternal.

6. It is greatly to be feared that some influence of this spirit, so evil, and already so widely diffused, might insinuate itself even among ecclesiastics, particularly among those of less experience. What sad effects would not arise if that gravity of conduct which belongs to the priest, should be in any way lessened; if he should yield with lightness to the charm of every novelty; if he should deport himself with pretentious indocility towards his superiors; if he should lose that weight and measure in discussion which is so necessary, particularly in matters of faith and morals.

7. Would it not be a still more deplorable thing, causing as it would the ruin of Christian people, if he, in the sacred ministry of the pulpit, should introduce language not conformable to his character of a preacher of the Gospel? Moved by such considerations we feel it our duty again and still more warningly to recommend that above all things the Seminaries should with jealous care keep up a proper spirit with regard to the education of the mind as well as to that of the heart. They must never lose sight of the fact that they are exclusively destined to prepare young men not for merely human offices, however praiseworthy and honorable, but for that higher mission, which we lately spoke of, as ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God.[8] From such a reflection altogether supernatural, it will be easy, as we have already said in our Encyclical to the clergy of France, dated September 8, 1899, to draw precious rules, not merely for the correct education of clerics, but also to remove far from the institutes in which they are educated, every danger, whether external or internal, or of a moral or religious order.

8. With respect to the studies, in order that the clergy should not be strangers to the advancement of all good discipline, everything that is truly useful or good will be recognized in the new methods; every age can contribute to the knowledge of human learning. However, we desire that on this subject, great attention shall be paid to our prescriptions regarding the study of classic literature., principally philosophy, theology, and the like sciences-prescriptions which we have given in many writings, chiefly in the above-mentioned Encyclical, of which we send you an extract, together with the present. It would certainly be desirable that the young ecclesiastics should all follow the course of studies always under the shadow of the sacred institutes. However, as grave reasons sometimes render it necessary that some of them should frequent the public universities, let it not be forgotten with what and how great caution bishops should permit this.[9]

9. We desire likewise that they should insist on the faithful observance of the rules contained in a still more recent document, which in a particular manner regards the lectures on anything else that could give occasion to the young men to take part in external agitations.[10] Thus the students of the seminaries, treasuring up this time, so precious and full of the greatest tranquillity for their souls, will be able to devote themselves entirely to those studies which will render them fitted for the grand duties of the priesthood, particularly that of the ministry of preaching and the confessional. They should reflect well on the gravity of the responsibilities of those priests who in spite of the great need of the Christian people neglect to devote themselves to the exercise of the sacred ministry, and of those also who, not bringing to it an enlightened zeal for both the one and the other, correspond sadly with their vocation in things which are of the greatest importance in the salvation of souls.

10. Here we must call your attention, venerable brethren, to the special instruction which we wish given regarding the ministry of the Divine Word;[11] and from which we desire they should draw copious fruit. With respect to the ministry of the confession: let them remember how severe are the words of the most enlightened and mildest of moralists towards those who, without purifying their own souls, do not hesitate to seat themselves in the tribunal of Penance,[12] and how not less severe is the lament of the late great Pontiff, Benedict XIV., who numbers among the greatest calamities of the Church the defect in confessors of a science, both theological and moral, added to the gravity that such a holy office requires.

11. To the noble end of preparing worthy ministers of the Lord, it is necessary, venerable brethrens to watch with an ever-increasing vigor and vigilance not only over the scientific instruction, but also over the disciplinary and educative systems of your seminaries. Do not accept young men other than those who exhibit well-founded desires of consecrating themselves for ever to the ecclesiastical ministry.[13] Keep them removed from contact and still more from living together with youths who are not aspiring to the sacred ministry. Such intercourse may, for certain just and grave reasons, be allowed for a time, and with great caution, until they can be properly provided for according to the spirit of ecclesiastical discipline. Those who during the course of their education shall manifest tendencies little suited to the priestly vocation, must be dismissed, and in admitting clerics to the sacred orders the utmost discretion must be used, according to the grave admonition of St. Paul to Timothy, "Manus cito nemini imposueris."[14] In this matter it is only right that every consideration should be put on one side that is inferior to the most important one of the dignity of the sacred ministry. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance that in order to render the pupils of the sanctuary living images of Jesus Christ (which is the end of ecclesiastical education), that the directors and teachers should unite to the diligent fulfilment of their office the example of a truly priestly life. The exemplary conduct of those in authority is, especially to young men, the most eloquent and persuasive language to inspire in their souls the conviction of their own duties and the love of virtue.

12. A work of such importance requires from the directors of souls a more than ordinary prudence and an indefatigable care; and it is our desire that this office, which we wish should not be lacking in any seminary, should be confided to an ecclesiastic of great experience in the ways of Christian perfection. It can never be sufficiently recommended to him to found and cultivate in his pupils that piety which is for all, but especially for the clergy, of the greatest fruitfulness and inestimable utility.[15] Therefore, he will be solicitous to warn them against a pernicious snare not unfrequent among young men-that of giving themselves so entirely and with such ardor to their studies as to neglect their advancement in the science of the saints. The deeper root piety has taken in clerics' souls, so much the more will they be filled with that strong spirit of sacrifice which is altogether necessary to work for the divine glory in the salvation of souls. Thanks be to God, there are not lacking among the Italian clergy priests who give noble proof of what a minister of God, penetrated with that spirit, can do; wonderful, indeed, is the generosity of many who to spread the Kingdom of Jesus Christ voluntarily hasten to distant countries, there to encounter fatigues, privations and hardships of every kind and even martyrdom itself.

13. In this manner, aided by loving care and fitting culture of soul and mind, step by step the young Levite will be brought up to recognize both the sanctity of his vocation and the needs of the Christian people. The training, 'tis true, is not short; and yet it is to be wished that the time in the seminary could be prolonged. It is necessary, indeed, that the young priests are not left without guidance in their first labors, but should be strengthened by the experience of their seniors, who will ripen their zeal, their prudence and their piety; and it is expedient also that either with academic exercises or with periodical conferences they should be encouraged to continue with their sacred studies.

14. It is plain, venerable brethren, that what we have here recommended will aid in a singular manner that social usefulness of the clergy which we have on many occasions inculcated as necessary to our times. Therefore, by exacting the faithful observance of those rules this usefulness will draw therefrom its spirit and life.

15. We repeat again, and still more warmly, that the clergy go to a Christian people tempted on every side, and with every kind of fallacious promise offered by Socialism to apostatize from the true faith. They must therefore submit all their actions to the authority of those whom the Holy Spirit has constituted Bishops, to rule the Church of God, without which would follow confusion and the most grave disorders to the detriment even of the cause they have at heart to defend and promote. It is for this end that we desire that the candidates for the priesthood, on the conclusion of their education in the seminary, should be suitably instructed in the pontifical documents relating to the social question, and the Christian democracy, abstaining, however, as we have already said, from taking any part whatever in the external movement. When they are made priests they will direct themselves with particular care to the people, always the object of the Church's loving care. They will raise the children of the people from the ignorance of things both spiritual and eternal, and with industrious tenderness they will lead them to an honest and virtuous life. They will strengthen the adults in their faith, dissipating the contrary prejudices and confirm them in the practices of Christian life. They will promote among the Catholic laity those institutions which they all recognize as really efficacious in the moral and material improvement of the multitude. Above all they will propose to them the principles of justice and evangelical charity, to which are equally united all the rights and duties of civil and social life, such should be the way in which they fulfil their noble part in the social action.

16. Let them, however, have it always present to their minds that the priest even in the midst of his people must preserve intact his august character as a minister of God, being as he is placed at the head of his brethren.[16] Any manner whatever, in which he employs himself among the people, to the loss of the sacerdotal dignity, or with danger to the ecclesiastical duties and discipline, can only be warmly reproved.

17. This, then, venerable brethren, is what the conscience of the Apostolic Office has imposed on us to make known, regarding the present condition of the Italian clergy. We do not doubt that in a thing of such gravity and importance you will add your zealous and loving care to our solicitude, inspired thereto especially by the bright example of the great Archbishop, St. Charles Borromeo. Therefore, to give effect to our admonitions, make them the subject of your diocesan conferences, and inform yourselves on such means as are necessary according to the needs of your respective diocese. To all these designs and deliberations you will not lack the aid of our authority.

18. And now, with words that rise from the depths of our fatherly heart, we turn to you, priests of Italy, and recommend to each and all of you to use every effort to correspond still more worthily with your high vocation. To you, ministers of Christ, we can say with more reason than did St. Paul to the mere faithful, "Obsecro itaque vos ego vinctus in Domino, ut digne ambuletis vocatione qua vocati estis."[17] The love of our common mother the Church renews and reinvigorates between you that concord of thought and action which redoubles the strength and renders the work more fruitful. In these times, so dangerous to religion and society, when the clergy of every nation are called on to unite together in defense of the Faith and Christian morals, it belongs to you, beloved sons, joined by a special bond to this Apostolic See, to give to all an example and be the first in unlimited obedience to the voice and command of the Vicar of Jesus Christ; and so may the blessing of God which we invoke descend copiously and preserve the Italian clergy ever worthy of their illustrious traditions.

19. May the Apostolic Benediction be a pledge of the divine favor which, with the affection of our heart, we impart to you and to the entire clergy trusted to your care.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on the Sacred day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, December 8, 1902, in the twenty-fifth year of our Pontificate.


ENDNOTES

  • 1. Jn 20:21.
  • 2. 2 Cor 5: 20; 6: 4; I Cor 4: 1.
  • 3. Heb 5: 1.
  • 4. John Chrysostom, De sacerdotio III, n. 4.
  • 5. Ibid. n. 5.
  • 6. Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis, pars 1, cap. 1.
  • 7. I Pt 5: i.
  • 8. I Cor 4: 1.
  • 9. Instructio Perspectum est. S. Congr. EE. et RR. (21 Iulii 1896).
  • 10. Istruzione, S. Congr. degli AA. EE. SS. (27 gennaio 1902).
  • 11. Istruzione, S. Congr. dei VV. e RR. (31 luglio 1894).
  • 12. S. Alfonso Maria de Liguori, Practica del confessore, c. 1, III, n. 18.
  • 13. Conc. Trident. Sess. XXIII, c. XVIII, De Reformat.
  • 14. I Tm 5:22.
  • 15. I Tm4: 7,8.
  • 16. Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis, pars 2, cap. 7.
  • 17. Eph 4: 1.