Friday, 30 April 2010

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

On 22nd January, 1899, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae to James, Cardinal Gibbons, Cardinal Priest of the Title Sancta Maria, Beyond the Tiber, Archbishop of Baltimore, on Virtue, Nature and Grace, and Americanism:

"Those who so bind themselves by the vows of religion, far from having suffered a loss of liberty, enjoy that fuller and freer kind, that liberty, namely, by which Christ hath made us free. And this further view of theirs, namely, that the religious life is either entirely useless or of little service to the Church, besides being injurious to the religious orders cannot be the opinion of anyone who has read the annals of the Church. Did not your country, the United States, derive the beginnings both of faith and of culture from the children of these religious families? to one of whom but very lately, a thing greatly to your praise, you have decreed that a statue be publicly erected. And even at the present time wherever the religious families are found, how speedy and yet how fruitful a harvest of good works do they not bring forth! How very many leave home and seek strange lands to impart the truth of the gospel and to widen the bounds of civilization; and this they do with the greatest cheerfulness amid manifold dangers! Out of their number not less, indeed, than from the rest of the clergy, the Christian world finds the preachers of God's word, the directors of conscience, the teachers of youth and the Church itself the examples of all sanctity."

"Nor should any difference of praise be made between those who follow the active state of life and those others who, charmed with solitude, give themselves to prayer and bodily mortification. And how much, indeed, of good report these have merited, and do merit, is known surely to all who do not forget that the "continual prayer of the just man" avails to placate and to bring down the blessings of heaven when to such prayers bodily mortification is added."

"But if there be those who prefer to form one body without the obligation of the vows let them pursue such a course. It is not new in the Church, nor in any wise censurable. Let them be careful, however, not to set forth such a state above that of religious orders. But rather, since mankind are more disposed at the present time to indulge themselves in pleasures, let those be held in greater esteem "who having left all things have followed Christ.""

"Finally, not to delay too long, it is stated that the way and method hitherto in use among Catholics for bringing back those who have fallen away from the Church should be left aside and another one chosen, in which matter it will suffice to note that it is not the part of prudence to neglect that which antiquity in its long experience has approved and which is also taught by apostolic authority. The scriptures teach us that it is the duty of all to be solicitous for the salvation of one's neighbor, according to the power and position of each. The faithful do this by religiously discharging the duties of their state of life, by the uprightness of their conduct, by their works of Christian charity and by earnest and continuous prayer to God. On the other hand, those who belong to the clergy should do this by an enlightened fulfillment of their preaching ministry, by the pomp and splendor of ceremonies especially by setting forth that sound form of doctrine which Saint Paul inculcated upon Titus and Timothy. But if, among the different ways of preaching the word of God that one sometimes seems to be preferable, which directed to non-Catholics, not in churches, but in some suitable place, in such wise that controversy is not sought, but friendly conference, such a method is certainly without fault. But let those who undertake such ministry be set apart by the authority of the bishops and let them be men whose science and virtue has been previously ascertained. For we think that there are many in your country who are separated from Catholic truth more by ignorance than by ill-will, who might perchance more easily be drawn to the one fold of Christ if this truth be set forth to them in a friendly and familiar way."

Friday, 23 April 2010

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

On 16th August, 1898, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Quam Religiosa to the Bishops of Peru on the Civil Marriage Law in that Country:

"1. The great religious persistence with which Peru adhered to the Catholic faith is a praiseworthy distinction for that illustrious country. This same nation is united with Us and with the Apostolic See through allegiance and choice. A number of things show this, among which are the prayers addressed to Us to support the holy missions in the remotest districts of that land. Priests and religious are needed, men whose devotion and piety would be nourished by skill and zeal for daily growth. We remember with pleasure that a large group of Catholics from the entire country met two years ago in the capital of Peru, knowledgeable and virtuous men distinguished by their position and wealth. From this group a certain new and joyful spiritual love burst forth. Without hesitation they zealously promoted the faith of their fathers, and with reverence and love they followed this See of Peter in public discussions. Venerable brothers, We have never avoided any opportunity to show Our singular good will toward Peru with increased encouragement and open proof of Our benevolence. There are many things We do not want to pass by, among which is this: Peru has attained much dignity and authority from the honors and special privileges attributed by the Apostolic See to its bishop. These distinctions fill Us with a certain hope that in whatever manner your ancestors carried out their wonderful work, from this moment on the leaders of Peru might employ as much effort on behalf of these matters. Furthermore, We hope that they will fully approve everything which their steadfastness in defending the Catholic faith has lawfully conferred on them."

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Chrism Mass of Msgr. Rifan

by Gregor Kollmorgen

Salvem a Liturgia has some images of the Chrism Mass of Msgr. Fernando Arêas Rifan of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney dedicated to the usus antiquior in Campos, Brazil. This is of particular interest as this is presumably the only Chrism Mass celebrated by a bishop in full communion with the Holy See according to the 1962 books in the world.

(reposted from The New Liturgical Movement)

Friday, 16 April 2010

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

On 5th August, 1898, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Spesse Volte on the suppression of Catholic Institutions in Italy:

"4. After the downfall of the civil power of the Popes the Catholic Church in Italy was gradually robbed of her elements of life and action as well as of her native secular influence in public and social life. By a progressive series of systematized oppressions the monasteries and convents were closed; by the confiscation of ecclesiastical property the greater part of the patrimony of the Church was taken away; military service was imposed on the clergy; the freedom of the sacred ministry was shackled by unjust exceptions. Persistent efforts were made to deprive all public institutions of their religious and Christian character; dissident religions were favoured; and whilst the widest liberty was given to the masonic sects, intolerance and odious repression were reserved for the one religion which was ever the glory, the stay and the strength of the Italian people."

"5. We have never failed to deplore these grave and reiterated outrages. We deplored them on account of the danger to which they exposed our holy religion, and we deplored them too, and we say this from Our heart, on behalf of our country, for religion is a source of a nation's prosperity and greatness and the principal foundation of all well ordered society. Religious feelings raise and ennoble the soul and instil into it notions of justice and honesty, and when they are weakened men fall away and abandon themselves to their savage instincts and to the pursuit of material interests. The logical outcome of this is bitterness, dissension, depravity, strife and the disturbance of the public peace - evils which will find no certain or effective remedy in the severity of the law, the rigours of the courts, or the employment of armed force.

"6. In letters addressed to the people of Italy We have more than once warned those on whom falls the serious responsibility of power of this natural and necessary connection between religious decadence and the development of the spirit of revolution and disorder. We have also drawn attention to the inevitable progress of socialism and anarchy and to the endless evil to which they expose the nation."

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Abbatial Blessing in Clear Creek

by Martin Bürger

On 10 April 2010, the eagerly awaited Blessing of the first Abbot of
Clear Creek Abbey, Dom Philip Anderson took place. This was done by Bishop Edward Slattery, the Ordinary of Tulsa, in whose diocese the Abbey is situated. Here is a picture from the ceremony, which took place in the crypt of the Abbey, as the Abbey Church has not yet actually been built:


A series of images found on the website of the Diocese of Tulsa.

(tr. from

Friday, 9 April 2010

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

On 25th July, 1898, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Caritatis Studium on the Church in Scotland:

"12. It is likewise of vital importance to defend most strenuously, to establish more firmly, and to surround with every safeguard, the Catholic education of youth. We are not unmindful of the fact that in Scotland thoroughly efficient schools exist, in which the best method of teaching is to be found. But every effort must be put forth, and every sacrifice must be made, so that Catholic schools should be second to none in point of efficiency. We must not allow our youth to be inferior to others in literary attainments, or in learning, which the Christian faith demands as its honourable accompaniments with a view to its defence and adornment. The love of Religion and country requires that whatever institutions Catholics already possess for the purposes of primary, intermediate, or higher education, should, by the due and proportionate cooperation of all, be consolidated and extended. Justice similarly demands that the education and training of the clergy should be most zealously promoted, as they cannot now-a-days occupy worthily and usefully their position, unless they have the prestige of wide erudition and solid learning. In this connection, We can find no institution more worthy of being recommended than Blairs College. An excellent and noble work, begun with exceptional zeal and generosity by one devoted Catholic, this institution should not be allowed to decline and disappear by neglect, but should be sustained by a similar charity, and completed as soon as possible. This will be tantamount to making provision that for nearly the whole of Scotland, priests will be trained and educated according to the needs of the present time."

Friday, 2 April 2010

Pro Nobis Mortuus Est

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

On 12th September, 1897, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter Augustissimae Virginis Mariae on the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary:

"12. We also, Venerable Brethren, moved by the example of Our predecessors, earnestly exhort and conjure you, as We have so often done, to devote special care to this sacred warfare, so that by your efforts fresh forces may be daily enrolled on every side. Through you and those of your clergy who have care of souls, let the people know and duly appreciate the efficacy of this Sodality and its usefulness for man's salvation. This We beg all the more earnestly as of late that beautiful devotion to our Blessed Mother, called "the living Rosary," has once more become popular. We have gladly blessed this devotion, and We earnestly desire that you would sedulously and strenuously encourage its growth. We cherish the strongest hope that these prayers and praises, rising incessantly from the lips and hearts of so great a multitude, will be most efficacious. Alternately rising by night and by day, throughout the different countries of the earth, they combine a harmony of vocal prayer with meditation upon the divine mysteries. In ages long past this perennial stream of praise and prayer was foretold in those inspired words with which Ozias in his song addressed Judith: "Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord, the Most High God, above all women upon the earth . . . because He hath so magnified thy name this day that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of man." And all the people of Israel acclaimed him in these words: "So be it, so be it!" Judith xiii., 23, 24, 26)."