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Reflections: Love of Catholic Faith (Soc. Frt.)

Sacred Heart of Jesus

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'Love of the Catholic Faith': Social Fruits

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Social Fruits of Catholicism



Social Fruits of Catholicism

"In non-Catholic, even in non-Christian countries, men recognize the great value to society of the social doctrine of the Church." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"The Church preserved and saved the treasures of ancient culture, which without her and her monasteries would have been almost entirely lost" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"The music and songs of the Catholic Church are among the richest treasures of civilization" (Curran)

"Catholic writers have produced most of the world's greatest literature...literature written by Catholics is one of the word's greatest treasures." (Curran)

"There was a time when the philosophy of the Gospel governed the states. In that epoch, the influence of Christian wisdom and its divine virtue permeated the laws, the institutions, the customs of the people, all categories and all relations of civil society. Then the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, solidly established in the degree of dignity due it, flourished everywhere thanks to the favor of the princes and the legitimate protection of the magistrates. Then the Priesthood and the Empire were united in happy concord, harmony, and the friendly exchange of good offices. Thus organized, society bore fruits beyond all expectations, whose memory subsists and will subsist, registered as it is in innumerable documents that no artifice of the adversaries can destroy or obscure" (Pope Leo XIII, 1895 A.D.)

"The Church...carries civilization with it, wheresoever it goes, for it carries with it the true notion of God and of the supernatural end of man. Barbarism recedes; pagan institutions, how ancient soever they may be, are forced to give way. Even Greece and Rome laid down their own laws to adopt those of the Christian code - the code which was based on the Gospel." (Gueranger)

"Wherever the Church was listened to she changed the lives of all men for the better." (Curran)

"Are not consecrated virgins, who dedicate their lives to the service of the poor and the sick, without making any distinction as to race, social rank, or religion, are not these virgins united intimately with their miseries and sorrows, and affectionately drawn to them, as though they were their mothers? And does not the priest likewise, moved by the example of his Divine Master, perform the function of a good shepherd, who knows his flock and calls them by name?" (Pope Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas", 1954)

"What a glory it is for the Catholic Church, that she alone has the gift of this holy state of virginity, which is the source of every other sacrifice, because nothing but the love of God could inspire a human heart to vow virginity!" (Gueranger)

"[H]ow many have been, and are, in the priesthood, preeminent in holiness, in learning, in works of zeal, nay, even in martyrdom." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"But thanks be to God, it is just this flame of apostolic zeal which is one of the brightest jewels in the crown of the Catholic priesthood. Our heart fills with fatherly consolation at the sight of Our Brothers and Our beloved Sons, Bishops and Priests, who like chosen troops ever prompt to the call of their chief hasten to all outposts of this vast field. There they engage in the peaceful but bitter warfare of truth against error, of light against darkness, of the Kingdom of God against the kingdom of Satan." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"The experience of twenty centuries fully and gloriously reveals the power for good of the word of the priest. Being the faithful echo and reecho of the 'word of God,' which 'is living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword,' it too reaches 'unto the division of the soul and spirit'; it awakens heroism of every kind, in every class and place, and inspires the self-forgetting deeds of the most generous hearts. All the good that Christian civilization has brought into the world is due, [at least partially], to the word and works of the Catholic priesthood." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"Priests have a duty which, in a certain way, is higher than that of the most pure spirits 'who stand before the Lord.' Is it not right, then, that he live an all but angelic life? A priest is one who should be totally dedicated to the things of the Lord. Is it not right, then, that he be entirely detached from the things of the world, and have his conversation in Heaven? A priest's charge is to be solicitous for the eternal salvation of souls, continuing in their regard the work of the Redeemer. Is it not, then, fitting that he keep himself free from the cares of a family, which would absorb a great part of his energies?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"[S]cience, scientific methods and scientific research; they have nothing to fear from the full and perfect mandate which the Church holds in the field of education. Our Catholic institutions, whatever their grade in the educational and scientific world, have no need of apology. The esteem they enjoy, the praise they receive, the learned works which they promote and produce in such abundance, and above all, the men, fully and splendidly equipped, whom they provide for the magistracy, for the professions, for the teaching career, in fact for every walk of life, more than sufficiently testify in their favor." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"The Church alone can introduce into society and maintain therein the prestige of a true, sound spiritualism, the spiritualism of Christianity which both from the point of view of truth and of its practical value is quite superior to any exclusively philosophical theory. The Church is the teacher and an example of world good-will, for she is able to inculcate and develop in mankind the 'true spirit of brotherly love' (St. Augustine, De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, i, 30) and by raising the public estimation of the value and dignity of the individual's soul help thereby to lift us even unto God." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922)

"This law of charity which He imposed upon His Apostles, they in the most holy and zealous way put into practice; and after them those who embraced Christianity originated that wonderful variety of institutions for alleviating all the miseries by which mankind is afflicted. And these institutions carried on and continually increased their powers of relief and were the especial glories of Christianity and of the civilization of which it was the source, so that right-minded men never fail to admire those foundations, aware as they are of the proneness of men to concern themselves about their own and neglect the needs of others." (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901)

"In several countries of Europe...the custom has been kept up of wishing a 'Happy Christmas', which was the ancient salutation when this Feast was the beginning of a new year. Hence too, in these countries, the custom of making presents, of writing letters of good wishes, and other friendly acts. How many of our practices of everyday life have originated from Faith, and yet are looked upon as mere consequences of natural good-feeling, or even compliments which society requires us to pay to each other!" (Dom Gueranger)

"Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good. We need then to 'show care' for all life and for the life of everyone. Indeed, at an even deeper level, we need to go to the very roots of life and love. It is this deep love for every man and woman which has given rise down the centuries to an outstanding history of charity, a history which has brought into being in the Church and society many forms of service to life which evoke admiration from all unbiased observers." (Pope John Paul II, 1995)

"And, in truth, whatever in the State is of chief avail for the common welfare; whatever has been usefully established to curb the license of rulers who are opposed to the true interests of the people, or to keep in check the leading authorities from unwarrantably interfering in municipal or family affairs; whatever tends to uphold the honor, manhood, and equal rights of individual citizens - of all these things, as the monuments of past ages bear witness, the Catholic Church has always been the originator, the promoter, or the guardian." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"History bears witness how, particularly in modern times, the State has violated and does violate rights conferred by God on the family. At the same time it shows magnificently how the Church has ever protected and defended these rights, a fact proved by the special confidence which parents have in Catholic schools. As We pointed out recently in Our letter to the Cardinal Secretary of State: The family has instinctively understood this to be so, and from the earliest days of Christianity down to our own times, fathers and mothers, even those of little or no faith, have been sending or bringing their children in millions to places of education under the direction of the Church." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"Hence the Church, which from the fountains of the Sacraments turns the stream of grace into our souls, is rightly entitled holy. For by her tireless, ceaseless influence she unites countless souls with God in the close bond of a friendship, in which they abide. What is more, many of these souls she guides and leads to an invincible fortitude, to perfect sanctity of life, to deeds of heroism. Why, is there not a growth year by year in the number of her martyrs, virgins, confessors, whom she holds up to her children for their admiration and imitation? Are not they so many fair flowers of staunch virtues of chastity and charity, transplanted by Divine grace from earth to heaven?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

"The Catholic Church, that imperishable handiwork of our all-merciful God, has for her immediate and natural purpose the saving of souls and securing our happiness in heaven. Yet, in regard to things temporal, she is the source of benefits as manifold and great as if the chief end of her existence were to ensure the prospering of our earthly life. And, indeed, wherever the Church has set her foot she has straightway changed the face of things, and has attempered the moral tone of the people with a new civilization and with virtues before unknown. All nations which have yielded to her sway have become eminent by their gentleness, their sense of justice, and the glory of their high deeds." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"So powerful, so conspicuous, in this respect is the influence of the Church that experience abundantly testifies how savage customs are no longer possible in any land where she has once set her foot; but that gentleness speedily takes the place of cruelty, and the light of truth quickly dispels the darkness of barbarism. Nor has the Church been less lavish in the benefits she has conferred on civilized nations in every age, either by resisting the tyranny of the wicked, or by protecting the innocent and helpless from injury, or, finally, by using her influence in the support of any form of government which commended itself to the citizens at home, because of its justice, or was feared by their enemies without, because of its power." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

"It is quite true that there have been some worthwhile compensations for these great spiritual misfortunes. Among these compensations is one which stands out in bold relief and gives the lie to many ancient calumnies, namely, that a pure love of country and a generous devotion to duty burn brightly in the souls of those consecrated to God, and that through their sacred ministry the consolations of religion were brought to thousands dying on the fields of battle wet with human blood. Thus, many, in spite of their prejudices, were led to honor again the priesthood and the Church by reason of the wonderful examples of sacrifice of self, with which they had become acquainted. For these happy results we are indebted solely to the infinite goodness and wisdom of God, Who draws good from evil." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922)

"The well-known origin of the Rosary, illustrated in celebrated monuments of which we have made frequent mention, bears witness to its remarkable efficacy. For, in the days when the Albigensian sect, posing as the champion of pure faith and morals, but in reality introducing the worst kind of anarchy and corruption, brought many a nation to its utter ruin, the Church fought against it and the other infamous factions associated with it, not with troops and arms, but chiefly with the power of the most holy Rosary, the devotion which the Mother of God taught to our Father Dominic in order that he might propagate it. By this means the Church triumphed magnificently over every obstacle and provided for the salvation of her children not only in that trial but in others like it afterward, always with the same glorious success" (Pope Leo XIII, "Magnae Dei Matris", 1892)

"Columbus, as We have elsewhere expressly shown, sought, as the primary fruit of his voyages and labors, to open a pathway for the Christian faith into new lands and new seas. Keeping this thought constantly in view, his first solicitude, wherever he disembarked, was to plant upon the shore the sacred emblem of the cross. Wherefore, like as the Ark of Noe, surmounting the overflowing waters, bore the seed of Israel together with the remnants of the human race, even thus did the barks launched by Columbus upon the ocean carry into regions beyond the seas as well the germs of mighty States as the principles of the Catholic religion... The names newly given to so many of your towns and rivers and mountains and lakes teach and clearly witness how deeply your beginnings were marked with the footprints of the Catholic Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Longinqua", 1895)

"These services of Our predecessors, to omit mention of many others, have been witnessed to in a special manner by the records of the times of St. Leo the Great, Alexander III, Innocent III, St. Pius V, Leo X, and other Pontiffs, by whose exertions or protection Italy has escaped unscathed from the utter destruction threatened by barbarians; has kept unimpaired her old faith, and, amid the darkness and defilement of the ruder age, has cultivated and preserved in vigor the luster of science and the splendor of art. To this, furthermore, bears witness Our own fostering city, the home of the Popes, which, under their rule, reaped this special benefit, that it not only was the strong citadel of the faith, but also became the refuge of the liberal arts and the very abode of wisdom winning for itself the admiration and respect of the whole world." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878)

"Finally, the priest, in another way, follows the example of Christ. Of Him it is written that He 'passed the whole night in the prayer of God' and 'ever lives to make intercession for us'; and like Him, the priest, is public and official intercessor of humanity before God; he has the duty and commission of offering to God in the name of the Church, over and above sacrifice strictly so-called, the 'sacrifice of praise,' in public and official prayer; for several times each day with psalms, prayers and hymns taken in great part from the inspired books, he pays to God this dutiful tribute of adoration and thus performs his necessary office of interceding for humanity. And never did humanity, in its afflictions, stand more in need of intercession and of the divine help which it brings. Who can tell how many chastisements priestly prayer wards off from sinful mankind, how many blessings it brings down and secures?" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"Though a long and deadly war has pitilessly broken the bond of brotherly union between nations, We have seen Our children in Christ, in whatever part of the world they happened to be, one in will and affection, lift up their hearts to the common Father [the pope], who, carrying in his own heart the cares and anxieties of all, is guiding the barque of the Catholic Church in the teeth of a raging tempest. This is a testimony to the wonderful union existing among Christians; but it also proves that, as Our paternal love embraces all peoples, whatever their nationality and race, so Catholics the world over, though their countries may have drawn the sword against each other, look to the Vicar of Jesus Christ as to the loving Father of them all, who, with absolute impartiality and incorruptible judgment, rising above the conflicting gales of human passions, takes upon himself with all his strength the defense of truth, justice and charity." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"Let us recall that in every age the Church has exercised the most diligent care of the young and has rightly deemed this as an official mission assigned in a very special way to her charity. And as she did this and continues to do it, she undoubtedly was following in the footsteps and obeying the injunctions of her Divine Founder, Who, gently gathering the children around Him, said to the Apostles who rebuked their mothers: 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of God' (Mark 10, 14)... Venerable Brethren, you see with what love, diligence and care the Church looks after infants and children following the lead of her Founder. While she exercises all possible care to see that they be provided with food, shelter and clothing for their bodies, she does not ignore or neglect their souls which - born, so to speak, from the breath of God - seem to portray the radiant beauty of Heaven. Her first care and endeavor is, then, to preserve their innocence from stain and provide for their eternal salvation." (Pope Pius XII, "Quemadmodum", 1946)

"But from the time when the civil society of men, raised from the ruins of the Roman Empire, gave hope of its future Christian greatness, the Roman Pontiffs, by the institution of the Holy Empire, consecrated the political power in a wonderful manner. Greatly, indeed, was the authority of rulers ennobled; and it is not to be doubted that what was then instituted would always have been a very great gain, both to ecclesiastical and civil society, if princes and peoples had ever looked to the same object as the Church. And, indeed, tranquility and a sufficient prosperity lasted so long as there was a friendly agreement between these two powers. If the people were turbulent, the Church was at once the mediator for peace. Recalling all to their duty, she subdued the more lawless passions partly by kindness and partly by authority. So, if, in ruling, princes erred in their government, she went to them and, putting before them the rights, needs, and lawful wants of their people, urged them to equity, mercy, and kindness. Whence it was often brought about that the dangers of civil wars and popular tumults were stayed." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum", 1881)

"The suffrages of the Church for the dead are as so many satisfactions of the living in lieu of the dead: and accordingly they free the dead from the punishment which the latter have not paid." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]t is owing to the wisdom and exertions of the Church that there has always been continued from century to century that cultivation of Holy Scripture which has been so remarkable and has borne such ample fruit." (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893)

"Indeed, in all ages the Catholic clergy has distinguished itself in every field of human knowledge; in fact, in certain centuries it so took the lead in the field of learning that the word 'cleric' became synonymous with 'learned.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935)

"Surely there is not one that does not know how many and how great are the works that the tireless zeal of Catholics is striving everywhere to carry out, both for social and economic welfare as well as in the fields of education and religion." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"The Church, truly, to our great benefit, has carefully preserved the monuments of ancient wisdom; has opened everywhere homes of science, and has urged on intellectual progress by fostering most diligently the arts by which the culture of our age is so much advanced." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

"Moreover, [the Church] gives encouragement to every kind of art and handicraft, and through her influence, directing all strivings after progress toward virtue and salvation, she labors to prevent man's intellect and industry from turning him away from God and from heavenly things." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"As to what regards the people, the Church has been established for the salvation of all men and has ever loved them as a mother. For it is the Church which by the exercise of her charity has given gentleness to the minds of men, kindness to their manners, and justice to their laws." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum", 1881)

"The wisdom of the pagan philosophers, and the eloquence of their orators, were confounded at the extraordinary sight of the death and triumphs of the early martyrs. The tyrants and judges were seized with astonishment when they witnessed the faith, courage, and even the gaiety of these holy champions of the faith." (St. Ephrem)

"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." (Pope Leo XIII, "Fin Dal Principio", 1902)

"Thus, the powerful influence of the Church has ever been manifested in the custody and protection of the civil and political liberty of the people. The enumeration of its merits in this respect does not belong to our present purpose. It is sufficient to recall the fact that slavery, that old reproach of the heathen nations, was mainly abolished by the beneficent efforts of the Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

"[T]he Church, whilst directly and immediately aiming at the salvation of souls and the beatitude which is to be attained in heaven, is yet, even in the order of temporal things, the fountain of blessings so numerous and great that they could not have been greater or more numerous had the original purpose of her institution been the pursuit of happiness during the life which is spent on earth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Longinqua", 1895)

"Hence, so far is the church from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace." (First Vatican Council)

"The Catholic Church rejoices in and is proud of the charity beyond praise which inspires the clergy to proclaim the Gospel of Christian peace and to bring the blessings of salvation and civilization even to barbarous races; through their unsparing labor, sometimes consecrated by their blood, the kingdom of Christ is expanding constantly and the Christian faith gains added splendor from these new triumphs." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908)

"As these ages sped, the Church of God, though afflicted by many a disaster and social upheaval, torn by many a heresy and schism, anguished by the treason of her followers and by the disloyalty of her sons, nevertheless, trusting in the promises of her Founder, while human institutions of varying origin that surrounded her fell in ruins, not only stood safe and unharmed, but also in every age glowed with brighter beauty in noble lives of holiness and devotion, while in many Christians she made the fire of charity burn with growing heat. Moreover, thanks to her missionaries and martyrs she brought into her Fold fresh nations, among whom the pristine glory of virginity renews its bloom and the rank of priest and Bishop keeps its vigor. In fine, so deeply has she imbued all peoples with her spirit of charity and justice, that the very men who treat her with indifference or hostility, cannot refrain from borrowing her way of speaking and acting." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

"In fact, from the lowest ranks to the highest, there prevailed an enthusiasm and a generous and eager ardor to be affiliated to this Franciscan Order. Amongst others, King Louis IX, of France, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, sought this honor; and, in the course of centuries, several Sovereign Pontiffs, Cardinals, Bishops, Kings, and Princes have not deemed the Franciscan badges derogatory to their dignity. The associates of the Third Order displayed always as much courage as piety in the defense of the Catholic religion; and if their virtues were objects of hatred to the wicked, they never lacked the approbation of the good and wise, which is the greatest and only desirable honor. More than this, Our Predecessor, Gregory IX, publicly praised their faith and courage; nor did he hesitate to shelter them with his authority, and to call them, as a mark of honor, 'Soldiers of Christ, new Maccabees;' and deservedly so. For the public welfare found a powerful safeguard in that body of men who, guided by the virtues and rules of their founder, applied themselves to revive Christian morality as far as lay in their power and to restore it to its ancient place of honor in the State. Certain it is, that to them and their example it was often due that the rivalries of parties were quenched or softened, arms were torn from the furious hands that grasped them, the causes of litigation and dispute were suppressed, consolation was brought to the poor and the abandoned; and luxury, that gulf of fortunes and instrument of corruption, was subdued. And thus domestic peace, incorrupt morality, gentleness of behavior, the legitimate use and preservation of private wealth, civilization and social stability, spring as from a root from the Franciscan Third Order; and it is in great measure to St. Francis that Europe owes their preservation." (Pope Leo XIII, "Auspicato Concessum", 1882)

"What a spectacle for heaven and earth is not the Church in prayer! For centuries without interruption, from midnight to midnight, is repeated on earth the divine psalmody of the inspired canticles; there is no hour of the day that is not hallowed by its special liturgy; there is no stage of life that has not its part in the thanksgiving, praise, supplication and reparation in common use by the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. Thus prayer of itself assures the presence of God among men, according to the promise of the divine Redeemer: 'Where there are two or three gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matth. xviii. 20)." (Pope Pius XI, "Caritate Christi Compulsi", 1932)

Indeed, the Saints have ever been, are, and ever will be the greatest benefactors of society, and perfect models for every class and profession, for every state and condition of life, from the simple and uncultured peasant to the master of sciences and letters, from the humble artisan to the commander of armies, from the father of a family to the ruler of peoples and nations, from simple maidens and matrons of the domestic hearth to queens and empresses. What shall we say of the immense work which has been accomplished even for the temporal well-being of men by missionaries of the Gospel, who have brought and still bring to barbarous tribes the benefits of civilization together with the light of the Faith? What of the founders of so many social and charitable institutions, of the vast numbers of saintly educators, men and women, who have perpetuated and multiplied their life work, by leaving after them prolific institutions of Christian education, in aid of families and for the inestimable advantage of nations?" (Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri, 1929 A.D.)

"Again, if We consider the achievements of the see of Rome, what can be more wicked than to deny how much and how well the Roman bishops have served civilized society at large? For Our predecessors, to provide for the peoples' good, encountered struggles of every kind, endured to the utmost burdensome toils, and never hesitated to expose themselves to most dangerous trials. With eyes fixed on heaven, they neither bowed down their head before the threats of the wicked, nor allowed themselves to be led by flattery or bribes into unworthy compliance. This apostolic chair it was that gathered and held together the crumbling remains of the old order of things; this was the kindly light by whose help the culture of Christian times shone far and wide; this was an anchor or safety in the fierce storms by which the human race has been convulsed; this was the sacred bond of union that linked together nations distant in region and differing in character; in short, this was a common center from which was sought instruction in faith and religion, no less than guidance and advice for the maintenance of peace and the functions of practical life. In very truth it is the glory of the supreme Pontiffs that they steadfastly set themselves up as a wall and a bulwark to save human society from falling back into its former superstition and barbarism." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878)

"And so, with [Pope] Leo's Encyclical pointing the way and furnishing the light, a true Catholic social science has arisen, which is daily fostered and enriched by the tireless efforts of those chosen men whom We have termed auxiliaries of the Church... Nor is the benefit that has poured forth from Leo's Encyclical confined within these bounds; for the teaching which On the Condition of the Working Class contains has gradually and imperceptibly worked its way into the minds of those outside Catholic unity who do not recognize the authority of the Church. Catholic principles on the social question have as a result, passed little by little into the patrimony of all human society, and We rejoice that the eternal truths which Our Predecessor of glorious memory proclaimed so impressively have been frequently invoked and defended not only in non-Catholic books and journals but in legislative halls also courts of justice... We, of course, do not deny that even before the Encyclical of Leo, some rulers of peoples have provided for certain of the more urgent needs of the workers and curbed more flagrant acts of injustice inflicted upon them. But after the Apostolic voice had sounded from the Chair of Peter throughout the world, rulers of nations, more fully alive at last to their duty, devoted their minds and attention to the task of promoting a more comprehensive and fruitful social policy." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"[I]t was Christianity that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine she proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude and conviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she potently contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of her teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave a sister in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the Son of God, made Man for love of man, and become not only the 'Son of a Carpenter' but Himself a 'Carpenter.' It was Christianity that raised manual labor to its true dignity, whereas it had hitherto been so despised that even the moderate Cicero did not hesitate to sum up the general opinion of his time in words of which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: 'All artisans are engaged in sordid trades, for there can be nothing ennobling about a workshop.' Faithful to these principles, the Church has given new life to human society. Under her influence arose prodigious charitable organizations, great guilds of artisans and workingmen of every type. These guilds, ridiculed as 'medieval' by the liberalism of the last century, are today claiming the admiration of our contemporaries in many countries who are endeavoring to revive them in some modern form. And when other systems hindered her work and raised obstacles to the salutary influence of the Church, she was never done warning them of their error." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"The Church, moreover, intervenes directly in behalf of the poor, by setting on foot and maintaining many associations which she knows to be efficient for the relief of poverty. Herein, again, she has always succeeded so well as to have even extorted the praise of her enemies. Such was the ardor of brotherly love among the earliest Christians that numbers of those who were in better circumstances despoiled themselves of their possessions in order to relieve their brethren; whence 'neither was there any one needy among them.'... Thus, by degrees, came into existence the patrimony which the Church has guarded with religious care as the inheritance of the poor. Nay, in order to spare them the shame of begging, the Church has provided aid for the needy. The common Mother of rich and poor has aroused everywhere the heroism of charity, and has established congregations of religious and many other useful institutions for help and mercy, so that hardly any kind of suffering could exist which was not afforded relief. At the present day many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek to blame and condemn the Church for such eminent charity. They would substitute in its stead a system of relief organized by the State. But no human expedients will ever make up for the devotedness and self-sacrifice of Christian charity. Charity, as a virtue, pertains to the Church; for virtue it is not, unless it be drawn from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ; and whosoever turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"It must consequently be acknowledged that the Church has deserved exceedingly well of all nations by her ever watchful care in guarding the sanctity and the indissolubility of marriage. Again, no small amount of gratitude is owing to her for having, during the last hundred years, openly denounced the wicked laws which have grievously offended on this particular subject; as well as for her having branded with anathema the baneful heresy obtaining among Protestants touching divorce and separation; also, for having in many ways condemned the habitual dissolution of marriage among the Greeks; for having declared invalid all marriages contracted upon the understanding that they may be at some future time dissolved; and, lastly, for having, from the earliest times, repudiated the imperial laws which disastrously favored divorce. As often, indeed, as the supreme pontiffs have resisted the most powerful among rulers, in their threatening demands that divorces carried out by them should be confirmed by the Church, so often must we account them to have been contending for the safety, not only of religion, but also of the human race. For this reason all generations of men will admire the proofs of unbending courage which are to be found in the decrees of Nicholas I against Lothair; of Urban II and Paschal II against Philip I of France; of Celestine III and Innocent III against Alphonsus of Leon and Philip II of France; of Clement VII and Paul III against Henry VIII; and, lastly, of Pius VII, that holy and courageous pontiff, against Napoleon I" (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880)

"[A] perfect harmony of opinion should prevail; in which intent we find Paul the Apostle exhorting the Corinthians with earnest zeal and solemn weight of words: 'Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfectly in the same mind, and in the same judgment.' The wisdom of this precept is readily apprehended. In truth, thought is the principle of action, and hence there cannot exist agreement of will, or similarity of action, if people all think differently one from the other. In the case of those who profess to take reason as their sole guide, there would hardly be found, if, indeed, there ever could be found, unity of doctrine. Indeed, the art of knowing things as they really are is exceedingly difficult; moreover, the mind of man is by nature feeble and drawn this way and that by a variety of opinions, and not seldom led astray by impressions coming from without; and, furthermore, the influence of the passions oftentimes takes away, or certainly at least diminishes, the capacity for grasping the truth. On this account, in controlling State affairs means are often used to keep those together by force who cannot agree in their way of thinking. It happens far otherwise with Christians; they receive their rule of faith from the Church, by whose authority and under whose guidance they are conscious that they have beyond question attained to truth. Consequently, as the Church is one, because Jesus Christ is one, so throughout the whole Christian world there is, and ought to be, but one doctrine: 'One Lord, one faith;' 'but having the same spirit of faith,' they possess the saving principle whence proceed spontaneously one and the same will in all, and one and the same tenor of action." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890)

"There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. The State, constituted in this wise, bore fruits important beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, witnessed to as they are by countless proofs which can never be blotted out or ever obscured by any craft of any enemies. Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; stood forth in the front rank as the leader and teacher of all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is - beyond all question - in large measure, through religion, under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"The Son of God, redeemer of the human race, our Lord Jesus Christ, promised, when about to return to his heavenly Father, that he would be with this Church militant upon earth all days even to the end of the world. Hence never at any time has he ceased to stand by his beloved bride, assisting her when she teaches, blessing her in her labors and bringing her help when she is in danger. Now this redemptive providence appears very clearly in unnumbered benefits, but most especially is it manifested in the advantages which have been secured for the Christian world by ecumenical councils, among which the council of Trent requires special mention, celebrated though it was in evil days. Thence came 1. A closer definition and more fruitful exposition of the holy dogmas of religion and 2. The condemnation and repression of errors; thence too, 3. The restoration and vigorous strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, 4. The advancement of the clergy in zeal for learning and piety, 5. The founding of colleges for the training of the young for the service of religion; and finally 6. The renewal of the moral life of the Christian people by a more accurate instruction of the faithful, and a more frequent reception of the sacraments. What is more, thence also came 7. A closer union of the members with the visible head, and an increased vigor in the whole mystical body of Christ. Thence came 8. The multiplication of religious orders and other organizations of Christian piety; thence too 9. That determined and constant ardor for the spreading of Christ's kingdom abroad in the world, even at the cost of shedding one's blood." (First Vatican Council)

"Now, who would make bold to deny that the Church, by spreading the Gospel throughout the nations, has brought the light of truth amongst people utterly savage and steeped in foul superstition, and has quickened them alike to recognize the Divine Author of nature and duly to respect themselves? Further, who will deny that the Church has done away with the curse of slavery and restored men to the original dignity of their noble nature; and - by uplifting the standard of redemption in all quarters of the globe, by introducing, or shielding under her protection, the sciences and arts, by founding and taking into her keeping excellent charitable institutions which provide relief for ills of every kind - has throughout the world, in private or in public life, civilized the human race, freed it from degradation, and with all care trained it to a way of living such as befits the dignity and the hopes of man? And if any one of sound mind compare the age in which We live, so hostile to religion and to the Church of Christ, with those happy times when the Church was revered as a mother by the nations, beyond all question he will see that our epoch is rushing wildly along the straight road to destruction; while in those times which most abounded in excellent institutions, peaceful life, wealth, and prosperity the people showed themselves most obedient to the Church's rule and laws. Therefore, if the many blessings We have mentioned, due to the agency and saving help of the Church, are the true and worthy outcome of civilization, the Church of Christ, far from being alien to or neglectful of progress, has a just claim to all men's praise as its nurse, its mistress, and its mother." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inscrutabili Dei Consilio", 1878)

"As We said on a recent occasion: Right back in the far-off middle ages when there were so many...monasteries, convents, churches, collegiate churches, cathedral chapters, etc., there was attached to each a home of study, of teaching, of Christian education. To these we must add all the universities, spread over every country and always by the initiative an under the protection of the Holy See and the Church. That grand spectacle, which today we see better, as it is nearer to us and more imposing because of the conditions of the age, was the spectacle of all times; and they who study and compare historical events remain astounded at what the Church has been able to do in this matter, and marvel at the manner in which she had succeeded in fulfilling her God-given mission to educate generations of men to a Christian life, producing everywhere a magnificent harvest of fruitful results. But if we wonder that the Church in all times has been able to gather about her and educate hundreds, thousands, millions of students, no less wonderful is it to bear in mind what she has done not only in the field of education, but in that also of true and genuine erudition. For, if so many treasures of culture, civilization and literature have escaped destruction, this is due to the action by which the Church, even in times long past and uncivilized, has shed so bright a light in the domain of letters, of philosophy, of art and in a special manner of architecture. All this the Church has been able to do because her mission to educate extends equally to those outside the Fold, seeing that all men are called to enter the kingdom of God and reach eternal salvation. Just as today when her missions scatter schools by the thousand in districts and countries not yet Christian, from the banks of the Ganges to the Yellow river and the great islands and archipelagos of the Pacific ocean, from the Dark Continent to the Land of Fire and to frozen Alaska, so in every age the Church by her missionaries has educated to Christian life and to civilization the various peoples which now constitute the Christian nations of the civilized world." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)

"We feel the deepest joy at the thought of the innumerable army of virgins and apostles who, from the first centuries of the Church up to our own day, have given up marriage to devote themselves more easily and fully to the salvation of their neighbor for the love of Christ, and have thus been enabled to undertake and carry through admirable works of religion and charity. We by no means wish to detract from the merits and apostolic fruits of the active members of Catholic Action: by their zealous efforts they can often touch souls that priests and religious cannot gain. Nevertheless, works of charity are for the most part the field of action of consecrated persons. These generous souls are to be found laboring among men of every age and condition, and when they fall worn out or sick, they bequeath their sacred mission to others who take their place. Hence it often happens that a child, immediately after birth, is placed in the care of consecrated persons, who supply in so far as they can for a mother's love; at the age of reason he is entrusted to educators who see to his Christian instruction together with the development of his mind and the formation of his character; if he is sick, the child or adult will find nurses moved by the love of Christ who will care for him with unwearying devotion; the orphan, the person fallen into material destitution or moral abjection, the prisoner, will not be abandoned. Priests, religious, consecrated virgins will see in him a suffering member of Christ's Mystical Body, and recall the words of the Divine Redeemer: 'For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me...Amen I say to you, as long you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.' Who can ever praise enough the missionaries who toil for the conversion of the pagan multitudes, exiles from their native country, or the nuns who render them indispensable assistance?' To each and every one We gladly apply these words of Our Apostolic Exhortation, 'Menti Nostrae:' ' this law of celibacy the priest not only does not abdicate his paternity, but increases it immensely, for he begets not for an earthly and transitory life but for the heavenly and eternal one.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas", 1954)

"But the Church, not content with pointing out the remedy, also applies it. For the Church does her utmost to teach and to train men, and to educate them and by the intermediary of her bishops and clergy diffuses her salutary teachings far and wide. She strives to influence the mind and the heart so that all may willingly yield themselves to be formed and guided by the commandments of God. It is precisely in this fundamental and momentous matter, on which everything depends that the Church possesses a power peculiarly her own. The instruments which she employs are given to her by Jesus Christ Himself for the very purpose of reaching the hearts of men, and drive their efficiency from God. They alone can reach the innermost heart and conscience, and bring men to act from a motive of duty, to control their passions and appetites, to love God and their fellow men with a love that is outstanding and of the highest degree and to break down courageously every barrier which blocks the way to virtue. On this subject we need but recall for one moment the examples recorded in history. Of these facts there cannot be any shadow of doubt: for instance, that civil society was renovated in every part by Christian institutions; that in the strength of that renewal the human race was lifted up to better things - nay, that it was brought back from death to life, and to so excellent a life that nothing more perfect had been known before, or will come to be known in the ages that have yet to be. Of this beneficent transformation Jesus Christ was at once the first cause and the final end; as from Him all came, so to Him was all to be brought back. For, when the human race, by the light of the Gospel message, came to know the grand mystery of the Incarnation of the Word and the redemption of man, at once the life of Jesus Christ, God and Man, pervaded every race and nation, and interpenetrated them with His faith, His precepts, and His laws. And if human society is to be healed now, in no other way can it be healed save by a return to Christian life and Christian institutions. When a society is perishing, the wholesome advice to give to those who would restore it is to call it to the principles from which it sprang; for the purpose and perfection of an association is to aim at and to attain that for which it is formed, and its efforts should be put in motion and inspired by the end and object which originally gave it being. Hence, to fall away from its primal constitution implies disease; to go back to it, recovery." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

Also See: The Catholic Church is Key to Happy Life | Catholic Law vs. Modern Law | The Church Alone Has Teaching Mandate | The Church is at Our Side Throughout Our Life | The Church is Heaven in Miniature | The Church is Removed by Only One Degree from Heaven | The Church is the Safe Guide to Conscience / The Church is Errorless | The Church's Faithfulness to Her Mission | Divine Origin of the Catholic Church | Forgiveness of Sins is a Comfort to the Guilty | Name 'Catholic' Distinguishes from Heretics | No Greater Gift Than the Catholic Faith | Nothing More Glorious Than Belonging to the Church | Outside the Church is Night | Praise of the Church | The Unshakable Church | The World Needs the Church | Catholic Basics Section | Non-Catholics (apologetics)

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