Pope Pius XII: After 50 Years

I recently came across this excellent article and wished to share it on this website. I have heard a lot of condemnations from traditional Catholics of Pope Pius XII and his decisions, and I find such brazen disrespect of a Vicar of Christ to be quite appalling.

On the one hand, all that I have read about him has been quite remarkable and edifying, especially considering the very difficult times during which he held the Papal throne.  On the other hand, I just can’t swallow any lack of reverence for the Papacy and those who hold that office. To highlight one part of the article below, this was the attitude of the great St. John Bosco: “To his clerics he gave a practical rule of thumb in appraising a book: If its author is somewhat unfavorable to the Pope, don’t read the book.” Such is my attitude, and such, I believe, should be the attitude of all Catholics.

I hope any readers of this blog will take the time to read this article, though it may be a bit lengthy for some. I hope to write a follow up in the next week or so with some of my own thoughts on the Papacy.

 

Excerpts from a Lecture by Rev. Fr. Benedict Hughes, CMRI

Rev. Fathers and Sisters, and dear Conference guests, I chose this title for this lecture not only because yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the passing of the great Pope Pius XII, the last pope to whom we can look as a truly orthodox Catholic Pope, but also because I want to talk about the Papacy in general and in particular what our attitude towards the Papacy should be as traditional Catholics today.

Let us begin with an understanding of the proper Catholic attitude towards the papacy. Fr. Mateo, a priest from South America who spent his whole life promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in particular the Enthronement of the Home to the Sacred Heart, had a great love for the Papacy. He had this to say about an audience he once had with the Pope:

“I was gratified by the Sovereign Pontiff meeting with me and the answer His Holiness made to one of my remarks. I said ‘Holy Father, I always request prayers for the Pope for I unite the Eternal King and His Vicar in one same love. I often preach devotion to the Pope whom I consider as a kind of second Eucharist.’ His Holiness suddenly interrupted me and said, ‘Oh, you do well my son, and you are quite right in saying that the Pope is as a second Eucharist. Unfortunately the beauty and necessity of devotion to the Pope is  not always understood. You, my son, spread this devotion wherever you preach the King of Love’” (Jesus King of Love, p. 244).

Here is another quote, this one from a book entitled Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco (p. 129):

“This was Don Bosco’s attitude. In his love of the Sovereign Pontiff he was truly great, both in word and in deed, he used to say that he could kiss each page of Salzano’s Church history because this Italian historian had clearly shown therein his love for the Popes. To his clerics he gave a practical rule of thumb in appraising a book: If its author is somewhat unfavorable to the Pope, don’t read the book. The Bonetti chronicle had this entry to that year, 1862: When Don Bosco talks about the Popes, he can go on forever. He always has new praises for them and speaks so charmingly as to inflame his listeners. He is at his best in two subjects: the virtue of purity and the Papacy. He entrances and amazes everyone. To believe this, one must only read his works, especially his lives of the Popes, which we consider required reading for anyone chosen by Providence to write the biography of this faithful servant of God.”

The book brings out beautifully St. John Bosco’s love for the Papacy and for the true Popes. This is the spirit that we as traditional Catholics have. You might say that we have imbibed it from our Baptism and all through our Catholic upbringing, through the Masses we have attended, the Holy Communions we have received, the spiritual books we have read. This is the Catholic sense of loyalty and love for the Papacy.

It is sad that many of our adversaries do not understand our position regarding the Papacy. They believe that a sede­vacantist is one who has to somehow temporarily forget Catholic doctrine on the Papacy in order to make the intellectual decision to reject what I refer to collectively as the modern “Popes” of Vatican II. Nothing could be further from the truth. As one priest once put it, it is not in spite of our belief in the Papacy that we reject these promoters of a new religion, but it is because of our belief in the Papacy that we must reject those who have rejected the work of all the Popes before them.

I recall someone asking a question on this subject at one of my lectures, and a layman who was present answered it very well in this way: “Well, the way I look at it is that if I accept and follow John Paul II, I automatically reject the 262 Popes from Peter to Pope Pius XII inclusive. But if I accept those 262 Popes, then I automatically reject these Modernists who have undermined and rejected what these Popes taught and what they stood for.”

We must understand, then, this attitude of the saints and of true Catholics because it must be our attitude. The devil knows this. He knows that as Catholics we have a strong love and respect for, and, as Fr. Mateo would say, a strong devotion to the Papacy. That is why the devil sought to control the Papacy. As one prominent Freemason put it, “We must get our own man on the Chair of Peter.” It has been said that at the time of Pope Pius IX, the devil inspired his minions, Freemasons and others, to try to destroy the Catholic Church from without. Pope Pius IX’s prime minister was murdered in broad daylight. The Papal States were taken away. There was open warfare against the Papacy and the Catholic Church — but the devil lost, as he always does and always will. For it was at this time that the Vatican Council took place, and that the dogma of Papal Infallibility was defined, and the Faith seemed to revive all the more. It was then that the Freemasons changed their tactics, and began working to infiltrate and destroy the Church from within. And so over the last 150 years or so there has been a concerted effort to get Modernists and liberals into positions of authority.

It is interesting that Pope Pius XII understood the state of the Church, although to all appearances the Catholic Church in the 1950’s was a magnificent structure. I’m not talking about physical structures, although it had those in abundance. All around this country there were magnificent buildings such as this one — convents, schools, and seminaries that are now vacant but that were built with the pennies and dimes of the faithful. More than that, there were converts by the droves, and the Church seemed strong and thriving. But Pope Pius XII knew that there was a terrible cancer within, and that many priests and bishops were infected with Modernism. Shortly before his death he confided to a cardinal, “After me, comes the deluge.” What an amazing insight!

So let us examine the life of this great man, his accomplishments, and some of the major events of his life, and then return to this Catholic concept of the Papacy. Pope Pius XII was born Eugenio Pacelli on March 2, 1876. He was ordained at the young age of 23 on Easter Sunday of 1899 with degrees in theology and both canon and civil law. Even as a young priest, he was assigned many diplomatic roles for the Pope at the time, first under Pope Leo XIII and then under Pope Pius X. He was consecrated a bishop by Pope Benedict XV himself in the Sistine Chapel on May 13, 1917 — the very day that Our Lady first appeared to the children at Fatima. (It is also interesting that he was laid to rest in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica on October 13, 1958.)

After Pacelli’s consecration, he was sent as a papal nuncio to Bavaria. According to his biographers, he quickly became more beloved to the Germans than even their own bishops and cardinals. As he was there during the rise of the Nazi party, an account is told of an occasion when his residence was stormed by an angry mob. One young man pulled a gun and pointed it at him. Pacelli fearlessly talked them down, and then the man took his gun and threw it at him and hit him in the chest.

Eventually Pacelli was recalled to Rome and created a cardinal on December 16, 1929, by Pope Pius XI, who named Pacelli his Cardinal Secretary of State. He served in that post until the death of Pope Pius XI in 1939, at which time he was elected to the Papacy.

Cardinal Pacelli was the highest ranking churchman ever to visit the United States. During his visit, which took place in 1936, he traveled extensively throughout the country. I remember an elderly priest, Fr. Ferdinand Falque, who lived here at Mount St. Michael, whom we took care of in his last years, telling us how he spoke to Pacelli of the difficulty of the Eucharistic fast for priests in this country. He felt he was personally responsible, at least to some degree, for giving Pope Pius XII the idea that the fast needed to be changed. The then-Secretary of State Cardinal Pacelli met with bishops and pastors who explained to him the difficulty a priest would have in fasting from water as well as food from midnight on Sundays when he offered three Masses, preached three sermons, distributed numerous Communions, and perhaps had to travel in hot summer weather. I remember Fr. Clement Kubesh telling me that on Sundays he would drink a gallon of water after Mass. I said, “A gallon — you’re exaggerating.” And he answered, very seriously, “No, I would drink a gallon of water.” You can imagine how difficult it would have been. Pope Pius XII certainly had a special love for this country and that became manifest later.

Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope on March 2, 1939, on his 63rd birthday, and he died 19 1/2 years later. He had, then, a relatively lengthy papacy, during which he accomplished an enormous amount of work. He wrote 41 encyclicals, more than his predecessors of the previous 50 years combined. Some of them, granted, were short, but others were lengthy and filled with footnotes. He wrote on topics such as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Sacred Liturgy, Sacred Music and Sacred Virginity. One of his greatest encyclicals was on devotion to the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas, which is quite lengthy and filled with hundreds of footnotes.

Pope Pius  XII also wrote and delivered many addresses which were later published. I have a book which is a collection of addresses he gave to newlyweds, for whom he had a particular regard. He gave nearly a thousand addresses in the course of his papacy on anything from nuclear physics to medicine to modern travel to just about any other topic under the sun. As the primary Teacher of Christianity, the Vicar of Christ used his position and his office to explain various facets of life from a Catholic viewpoint. This required the reading of many books. It was said that he read a book or two a day, and was the master of six or seven languages.

In addition to his written works, Pope Pius XII gave audiences to thousands upon thousands of people, including many servicemen, as he was Pope during World War II and the Nazi occupation of Rome.  Of course, the Germans who had known him as papal nuncio loved him, and many German soldiers, some Catholic, some not, were eager to see the Pope. He was as kind and affable to them as he was to the Italians, his own people, and later to the American servicemen when the Allies liberated Rome. Many servicemen considered it one of the greatest privileges of their lives to have an audience with him.

Unfortunately, however, Pope Pius XII has been roundly criticized more recently by a number of authors who claim that he did not do enough for the Jews during World War II. Other books have been written which completely refute that claim, which, of course, comes from anti-Catholic sources. One can put those criticisms to bed very simply by pointing out that the head rabbi of Rome, who became a Catholic and took the name Eugenio after Pope Pius XII, said that he was converted because he was so inspired by the example of Pope Pius XII. The problem these modern historians encounter and don’t understand is that the Pope tried to intercede for the Jews for quite a while. Eventually he realized that, because of the anti-Catholic attitude of the Nazis, the more he did this, the more they were persecuted. He was caught, so to speak, between a rock and a hard place. But he really did all that was humanly possible to help the Jews.

No matter how you look at it, Pope Pius XII was an extraordinary man. He worked tirelessly during the war to intercede for prisoners of war and for people who lived in areas that had been occupied or were being used as battlefields. At the end of the war he issued an encyclical asking nations to come to the aid of the children who had been orphaned. He worked tirelessly during the war for peace. Most fittingly, then, the name Pacelli comes from the word peace. Pope Pius XII was truly the Pope of Peace, and constantly sought to bring about a just end to the war and a lasting peace to the world.

Pope Pius XII was also prominent in his canonizations, which included many familiar saints: St. Pius X, St. Maria Goretti, St. Gemma Galgani, and others who lived in more recent times.

He had an extraordinary devotion to our Blessed Mother. He consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and promoted the propagation of the message of Fatima. In 1950, which was the Holy Year, he proclaimed solemnly the dogma of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother body and soul into heaven, and proclaimed 1954 a Marian year, something that had never been done before. The entire year was to be dedicated to honoring Our Lady, studying her theological role, and promoting devotion to her. This was to celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which took place on December 8, 1854. The year officially began in December of 1953 and lasted until the following December, the climax of the Marian year. During that year Pope Pius XII established the feast of the Queen­ship of our Blessed Mother and issued the encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam on the Queenship.

In January of 1954 Pope Pius XII became very ill, and endured a painful and protracted illness throughout the year. He had a seemingly incurable case of the hiccups and was bedridden much of the time. He grew weaker and weaker, to the point that doctors did not think he would last the year. He went to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence, for the summer and stayed there well into November, which was much longer than normal. He then returned to Rome and by December 1, appeared to be dying. The next morning, when the Pope awoke, he began to pray one of his favorite prayers, the Anima Christi. As he came to the words, “and bid me to come unto Thee,” Our Lord appeared to him, standing at the foot of his bed. Pope Pius XII thought that he had already died and that Christ had come for him. Although he never revealed exactly what Our Lord said to him, apparently it was that he needed to remain a few years longer, that he had more work to do. Amazingly, he got up and was just fine, even though he had been gravely ill most of the year. One of his greatest crosses was that he confided this vision to a few friends, and the story leaked out to the secular media, who reported it with ridicule and mockery.

Pope Pius XII lived for a few more years, accomplishing an enormous amount of work during that time, and dying in October of 1958 at the age of 82. One wonders what would have happened had he lived just a little longer until 1960, when, according to Our Lady’s instructions, the Fatima secret was to have been revealed.

It has often been said that Popes can be divided into three categories: scholars, diplomats, and saints. Pope Pius XII, it has been said, was all three. He was certainly a scholarly, brilliant man, and also a very skilled and successful diplomat. But he was obviously holy as well. When I say this, certainly I acknowledge that the judgment of the Church is the final word, and we can only go by appearances. But he was a very devout and spiritual man, and this can be seen in his writings as well as in his own personal life. No one ever accused him of anything that would besmirch this reputation. In that regard I might mention, somewhat parenthetically, that there is talk now in the modern Church of canonizing Pope Pius XII. If that should happen, I believe that the purpose of such an act would only be to use him, to try to portray the modern teachings of the Conciliar Church as a continuation of the work of his pontificate.

After the death of Pope Pius XII came the election of John XXIII, who in almost no time declared that he was going to call a council. Many cardinals were surprised, and some were steadfastly opposed to it, for there was no need for a council. But he went boldly ahead with his council, which, as we know, changed what is known to the world as Catholicism. John XXIII was succeeded by Paul VI, who completed the work of  Vatican II. It was he who promulgated its decrees, established the Novus Ordo Missae, changed all of the sacraments and devastated the Catholic Faith. Paul VI was followed briefly by John Paul I, for a month, then by John Paul II for about 26 years. Now, of course, there is Benedict XVI, who was elected in 2005. These five I group together as the Popes of Vatican II. Now why do we reject them?

It’s interesting that you have individuals, would-be traditional Catholics who do love their faith, who believe they must submit to or at least accept verbally these modern popes. And so we have the interesting situation which Fr. Anthony Cekada refers to as the Cardboard Pope  — for display purposes only. In other words, you can go into a traditional chapel and see a picture in the vestibule of Benedict XVI, and then hear the priest rail against what he’s doing in the sermon. Here’s another example. This is a book called Previews of the New Papacy put out by a traditional group in San Diego called Tradition in Action (TIA). They have some very good books, and promote devotion to Our Lady of Good Success. But the gist of this book is that the popes of V2 have changed the Papacy and Catholics need to adjust to the fact that there is a new papacy. Now they are not supporting it; they are just stating the facts. But they nevertheless believe these men are true Popes.

You don’t need to be a theologian or a scholar to say to yourself, “Well, wait a minute, Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church and He founded everything about the Church, its hierarchical structure, the Mass and Sacraments, and the Papacy, and what He founded will endure until the end of time. So how can any human being take something that Christ founded and change it and distort it until it is no longer similar to what it was that Christ founded?” There might be the trappings, the white cassock, certain marks of respect — although those have been disappearing — such as the sedia gestatoria, the tiara, and so forth. But it’s still referred to as the Papacy. So I look at this contradiction and see these modern Popes promoting a new religion and I say to myself that they cannot be representatives of the Papacy that Pope Pius XII and his predecessors represented, who were authentically Vicars of Christ. These individuals who recognize the errors of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII, are often referred to as the “recognize but resist” crowd. Theirs is the attitude that we must recognize them as true popes but we must do everything we can to resist them. They often quote a commentary of St. Robert Bellarmine or St. Thomas Aquinas on chapter 2 of Galatians, concerning fraternal correction, in support of their position. Now while we do not have time today to delve into this erroneous reasoning, suffice it to say that faithful Catholics may never refuse to obey universal disciplinary laws or teachings of the Pope’s ordinary universal magisterium. (For more detail on this subject, see the article on “Resisting the Pope….” by Fr. Anthony Cekada in The Remnant, November, 2005. Also at  www.traditionalmass.org).

To return to the proper Catholic attitude to guide us in these days: We must love, revere and honor the Papacy. Our attitude is well explained by Pope St. Pius X, who said: “When people love the Pope, they do not discuss his orders; they do not question the extent of their obedience, nor in what matter they are to obey” (as quoted by Fr. Mateo in Jesus King of Love, p. 247).  Far be from us, dear friends, that un-Catholic attitude of “recognize but resist.” May we always have that love for the Papacy, with which the Church has ever been endowed.

Mary’s Troublemaker and the Conversion of Ireland

This YouTube channel was recently started by a good friend of mine who is currently living in Germany. There are now several episodes on a wide range of topics about the Faith or connected with traditional Catholicism.   I found this particular podcast to be very insightful and motivational and have been sharing it with as many people as I can.

On this feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, a special patroness for us here in America, let us fervently and persistently pray to Our Lady to intercede for us, our country and the whole world. It is by prayer and sacrifice and by living a holy and virtuous life that we will draw down the blessings of God and best oppose the work of Satan in our times.

Our Lady of Fatima promised us that in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. With this thought in mind, let us be full of hope and courage and do our part to bring about the Reign of Mary.

 

“Make Friends with the Angels”

St. Peter tells us that “the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” One does not have to look far to see Satan’s influence in our world, our society, and in the lives of many poor souls who have fallen under his sway. 

God has given us many aids to combat the influence of Satan in our own lives. One of these is very easy to overlook and forget about: the Angels, and in particular, our Guardian Angels. 

Each angel is created with an intelligence far surpassing our human intellects, and they possess great power. As men are far superior in power and intelligence to ants, so are angels far superior to men. As spirits are of a higher order than what is material, so the angels have power over the physical, material creation. We read in the Old Testament that one angels was sent to deliver the Israelites from the army of Sennacherib, which was threatening Jerusalem. In one night, a single angel slew 185,000 Assyrians, thus ending the plight of God’s people. 

It is good to keep this in mind. No matter what forces of evil are arrayed against us, God can put to flight all of this worlds power and might by sending one of his angels to our aid.    

“Then I looked and and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.”

There are 9 Choirs of angels: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim.

We cannot fathom the number of angels God has created. Our guardian angels are taken from the lowest of the 9 choirs, and in this choir there is an individual angel assigned to every human being that has ever lived or will live.  That is an incredibly large number, but each of the ascending choirs is larger than the choir beneath it!  What a vast number of angels there must be!

While innumerable angels fill the courts of Heaven, there are millions and millions of angels here on earth. God has given to their care, not only mankind, but all of his works of creation.

“It is true that all the stars and heavenly bodies, by the natural direction given them by God, pursue their several courses, but these great worlds are material and therefore, as the Angelic Doctor points out, are liable to decay and deterioration. To prevent, therefore, disorder and confusion in the thousands of heavenly bodies which are whirling through space with inexpressible speed, God gives each one, in His all-wise Providence, an Angel to keep it in its course and avert the dire calamities that would result were it to stray from its allotted orbit.

Few people think of all this when, on beautiful star-lit nights, they gaze on the Heavens and the myriads of stars. How fitting it would be to salute the countless Angels who guard these stars: “O, glorious Angels of the stars, we love you, we thank you! Please bless us and shower on us your graces.”

Excerpt from “All About the Angels” by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan 

Because we cannot see them, it is easy to forget about the Angels, but thankfully, they do not forget about us. The angel assigned to us does not cease to watch over and care us. They are our guardians, our friends, and have been since we were born. And just as the devils can have an evil influence over us and tempt us to sin, so the angels continually strive to inspire us to do good, to resist temptation, to practice virtue and to love God. 

The effect of their influence depends of course on us – on our free will. We can certainly choose to ignore or block their inspirations and the good influence that they can have on us. However, to those who are open to their promptings and request their help, they can do a lot of good. 

Imagine that you see someone who spends all their time and makes every effort to help another, and instead of appreciating that help, the beneficiary never shows any appreciation and more or less fails to even acknowledge his existence.  We would be appalled and would rightly condemn this behavior in others. Yet how many of us treat our guardian angels this way?

The greatest of earthly kings would be as nothing compared to the splendor and glory of our guardian angel. What a privilege to be guarded and cared for by such a powerful and wonderful being! 

Let’s make an effort to think about the angels throughout the day and ask them for their help. They will be delighted when we do so and will do a lot more for us if we honor them. Let us make friends with the Angels.

The Catholic Church: The Church of Christ

The following text is taken from the preface to an excellent 3 volume series of books titled “Radio Replies” by Fathers Rumble and Carty. It was first published in 1938 and its question and answer format can be very helpful when confronted with the plethora of questions and objections to Catholicism which arise in our very not-so-Catholic-at-all society.

In following posts, I will be sharing excerpts from this book. It is important for us as Catholics to continually read and learn more about our Faith so that we can be bolstered against error, doubts and confusion; as well as be equipped with the necessary knowledge and conviction to defend the Faith if ever there is a need.  There is much contained even in just this preface that can help us do just that.

 

Preface to Radio Replies:

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church – which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues” ; because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God” ; because they say “indulgence is a permission to commit sin” : because the Pope “is a Fascist” ;  because the “Church is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believe all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men seer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.

If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit: they know the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just the single certitude which makes them what might be called the great “potential”, for they are ready to pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they mus take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who follower Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.

It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are “wrong” ; it is not to prove that we are “right” : it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they to starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book “Radio Replies” with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.

It is not only the point of “Radio Replies” to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day: It is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of “Radio Replies” in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: “I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when after changing Simon’s name to Rock He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hand; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body an earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified: I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned a king in matters temporal as Peter’s vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father’s house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the ‘doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me’. I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall live to chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning: I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body: I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia: I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven.”

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, D.D.

I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman

St. Louis de Montfort

There is a lot of enmity in the world today. With all that’s happened just in 2020, the preceding sentence could probably be called the understatement of the year.

With all of the contentions and divisions that we see in society today, especially between those who defy God’s laws and those who hold to the teachings of Christ and His Church, one can’t help but think of the words of Our Lord: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold”. (Matthew 24:12) 

Who would have thought that such an “advanced and civilized” society could be so divided on such obvious issues as whether an unborn child should or should not have the right to life? I am reminded of a writer that said that the more a civilization moves away from God, the more it falls back into barbarism.

It is important that we recognize that, ultimately, the struggle that is taking place in the world is “not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers,against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

It is the same struggle that has been going on since the fall of Lucifer and the other rebellious angels who were his first followers. Perhaps at no time in history has this struggle and the division between the followers of Christ and the followers of Lucifer – disguised though he be as an angel of light –  been more obvious.

The two standards as described by St. Ignatius of Loyola are unfurled and openly displayed.

Christ Himself has warned us that for everyone involved in this struggle, there can be no compromise      

He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23) 

 Now, enough of the doom and gloom for the present discussion. Such reflections are important and beneficial in their own right, but if we’re not careful can easily take over our thoughts, rob us of our peace of soul, and spread a shroud of gloom to those around us.

“Saints are not sad”, and joy is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Ghost, so let’s move on to a very bright, very cheerful subject: Mary, the Mother of God.

She is the “Cause of our Joy”, the “Comfort of the Afflicted” and the “Help of Christians”.

She is the solution to the problems that we face in the world today.

Pope St. Pius X said, “There is no surer or easier way than Mary in uniting all men with Christ.”

“I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman” 

Our Lady

This quote comes from the third chapter of the book of Genesis and are the words addressed by God to the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve. It is fascinating to consider that immediately following the first and most damaging victory of Satan over mankind, Almighty God pronounced Satan’s doom.

Satan may have thought that he had brought about the ruin of mankind, but God foretold that one of the daughters of mankind would bring about his complete and utter ruin.

The pride of Satan would be crushed by the humility of the Mother of God. The works of Satan would be brought to nothing by the handmaid of the Lord.

No doubt, most every Catholic has heard an explanation of this excerpt from Genesis. Many also know that when Christ spoke to his mother in the Gospels, he addressed her as “Woman” in order to point to her as the Woman foretold in Genesis.

He did this when he would work his first miracle, thus giving the first public sign of his divinity: “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.” He would again do this as He was hanging on the cross, accomplishing the Redemption of mankind: “Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold thy Mother.”

It was the will of God that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to have a very important role in the Redemption of man as well as a vital role in man’s sanctification and salvation. 

Perhaps no one explained this role better than St. Louis de Montfort. True Devotion to Mary is an incredible work, as is The Secret of the Rosary, and The Friends of the Cross.

Several Popes highly commended his writings and the special devotion to Mary that he practiced and preached. 

Pope Pius IX said that Saint Louis De Montfort’s devotion to Mary was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our Lady. 

Pope Leo XIII beatified him and granted a plenary indulgence to those who made the consecration to Mary that St. Louis promoted. 

Pope St. Pius X: “I heartily recommend True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin, so admirably written by [Saint] De Montfort, and to all who read it grant the Apostolic Benediction.”

Pope Pius XI  said that he had practiced this devotion from his youth.

Pope Pius XII canonized him a saint and declared that his “great secret of attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity was founded upon her, all his confidence rested in her. In opposition to the joyless austerity, melancholy fear and depressing pride of Jansenism, he promoted the filial, trustful, ardent and expansive love in action of a slave of Mary.”

The above examples show us how heartily the Church approves of this special devotion to Our Lady.

This is important.

The Church, the immaculate Bride of Christ, can only approve and promote that which is good and holy, for if She did otherwise, the promise of Christ to be with the Church would have failed.

That which is taught and promoted by the Church can only be good and lead to holiness.  

If you have never read True Devotion to Mary or The Secret of the Rosary by this Saint, take the time to do so. One fantastic advantage we have in our day is such easy access to a plethora of  Catholic books and writings, and we ought to take full advantage of this opportunity.

When we stand before God to render an account of our life and how well or poorly we fulfilled our obligation to know, love and serve Him, we will not have the excuse that we couldn’t have learned any more because we didn’t have the opportunity. The internet ( and in particular, Amazon’s 99 cent digital books) has robbed us of this excuse. 

The insight of St. Louis de Montfort when speaking of the Mother of God and of the Rosary is powerful and inspiring. 

Here are a few excerpts from this great Saint:

“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”

“For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children – not only in what concerns their body – which would be of little account – but also in what concerns their soul.”

“One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, nor the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the Head and the members are born of one and the same Mother; and if a member of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ—that is to say, one of the predestinate—was born of any other mother than Mary, who has produced the Head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but simply a monster in the order of grace.”

“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-and mark well what I say-if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”

Pius x

 

Let’s follow the advice of this holy Saint and devote ourselves to the Mother of God. Let’s be sure to take the time every day to do spiritual reading and fill our minds with good things, instead of only letting in the things of the world. (Garbage in, garbage out.) 

Pray the Rosary every day. If we tell ourselves that we don’t have time for it, let’s take a look at the screen time on our phones or the amount of time that we spend on Youtube and ask ourselves if we can’t make a little time for the Queen of Heaven. 

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination.” 

–St. Bernard