EVERY CHRISTIAN has to fulfill towards the Church the four duties of the Fourth Commandment of God. As spiritual fatherhood is greater than physical fatherhood, so our duties towards the Church must enjoy primacy of honor and of fidelity.
Now, the Fourth Commandment directs us to honor our parents, to love them, to obey them, and to assist them in their needs: such are the duties of Christians towards the Pope, the bishops, and the priests, each according to the order of his dignity and of his mission in the Church.
Honor. – We must honor the Pope as the visible Vicar of Jesus Christ. He should be the Teacher of teachers, the Father of fathers, the Master of masters. That is why he use to wear the tiara, the triple crown of Jesus Christ signifying ruler, sanctifier and prophet. To the Sovereign Pontiff, therefore, we owe sovereign honor and supreme respect; the Pope is to us in all our conduct what the Blessed Sacrament is to us in all our adoration. With the pope stands or falls Christianity. We are either papal or we are nothing.
Then to the Bishop, we owe high honor and profound respect; he should be the hand, the heart, the mouthpiece of the Pope, and of Jesus Christ; he is a successor of the apostles, seated on the steps of the pontifical throne and sharing in the spiritual royalty of the Sovereign Pontiff.
To despise a faithful priest, is to sin against him, which is a sin against Jesus Christ Himself. “He who despises you despises Me,” said the Savior. He has said through the Prophets: “Lay no hand on them … servants anointed.” A violation of this command calls for the most terrible chastisements. For he who sins against the priest strikes at the teacher, the mainstay, the channel of Catholic Faith; and he is himself justly punished by the weakening and loss of faith.
And since, usually, there is no remission of sins without the priest, no Eucharist without the priesthood, and no charity without this fire which feeds it unceasingly, he who no longer believes in the priesthood is lost. That is why the enemies of Jesus Christ attack the members of His priesthood with such treachery and fury; they correctly perceive such an attack as a most effective means to paralyze the power of faith and destroy religion in the heart of the faithful.
The spiritual battle of the antichrist will center on the priesthood and the eternal Sacrifice, said the Prophet Daniel. This battle has already begun and is growing in intensity. Let the faithful, therefore, beware of the devilish stratagems of their enemies who, in order to destroy faith in their priests, never cease to point out their human frailties and, if need be, to calumniate them so as to render them despicable and an object of scandal to the faithful. Let the faithful close ranks around their faithful priests as around their spiritual commanders; let them defend their divine mission and honor their priesthood; let them, out of filial piety, overlook the failings of human nature to which Jesus Christ leaves His priests subject in order to keep them humble and to oblige the Christian to practice charity and to supernaturalize his faith; let them, out of sorrow, pray for those priests that have fallen.
Love. – We love the mother that has given us life, the father that provides and protects, devoting himself to our good. Similarly, the Church is the Mother of our souls. She has brought us into the world for Jesus Christ amidst the sufferings of martyrdom. She gives us spiritual life; a life than no one can take away from us (one can only lose it by his own sins). She educates us for life eternal that through Jesus Christ we may share God’s very glory and happiness. As a tender and watchful Mother, She guides and sustains our steps amidst the perils and dangers of life, defends us against the attacks of our enemies, dresses our wounds, works and suffers with us; and She will not leave us until our eyes are closed to the light of day, our last words have crossed our dying lips, and our heart has stopped beating.
Then, taking our souls, She lifts them to the bosom of God, their Creator and Savior, after having purified and blessed them and clothed them with Her merits. Her love will even follow the soul to Purgatory; there She can still use Her power of expiation and of prayer. Her mission of salvation stops only at the gates of Heaven. Who can help loving such a good and tender Mother?
Who can also help respecting the Pope’s office, the common Father of the faithful, to whom Jesus Christ has allowed us to have? And who will refuse to the Bishops and priests, the shepherds of our souls, the filial piety that lightens their burden, formidable even to angels, that encourages their zeal, consoles them in their tribulations and comforts them in their sufferings? They are fathers, fathers of an immense family, fathers with no support other than the Divine Providence that has sent them into the world like Jesus Christ.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.