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Reflections: Vatican View (Papal Solicitude)

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Papal Solicitude

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Papal Solicitude



Papal Solicitude

Also See: The Pope (Topic Page)

"[E]very people is embraced by my fatherly love, thoughts, and concern." (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800 A.D.)

"We grieve and suffer greatly if any are separated from the truth, and We desire to assist them." (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800 A.D.)

"Nothing would be more desirable to me than to give my life for them if their safety could be achieved by my death." (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800)

"We rejoice more to serve his See than to occupy it, in the hope that his prayers will make the God of mercies regard the time of Our ministry with kindness and deign to guard and feed the shepherd of his sheep." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"The vigilance and pastoral solicitude of the Roman Pontiff are principally and above all manifested in maintaining and conserving the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God." (Pope Benedict XIV)

"[T]he person of Jesus Christ is represented by the Supreme Pontiff, who in turn must call on others to share much of his solicitude lest he be overwhelmed by the burden of his pastoral office, and must be helped daily by the prayers of the Church." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"As more serious ills threaten the Catholic Church from the heinous contrivances of its enemies, the popes who have been placed in the See of St. Peter should be so much the quicker in taking action to repel them." (Pope Gregory XVI, Quo Graviora, 1833 A.D.) 

"Our paternal love embraces all peoples, whatever their nationality and race, so Catholics the world over, through 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 all the conflicting gates of human passions, takes upon himself with all his strength the defense of truth, justice, and charity." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"We, therefore, whom the Father has appointed over His field, We who are bound by Our most holy office to take care lest the good seed be choked by the weeds, believe it fitting to apply to Ourselves the most grave words of the Holy Ghost with which the Apostle Paul exhorted his beloved Timothy: 'Be thou vigilant ... Fulfill thy ministry ... Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"Nothing is more pleasing to Us than to assist you, whom We love, with affection, advice, and exertion. We devote Ourselves wholeheartedly together with you to protect and spread the glory of God and the Catholic faith; We also endeavor to save souls for whom We are ready to sacrifice life itself, should it be necessary. Come to Us as often as you feel the need of the aid, help and protection of Our authority and that of this See." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

"To your inquiry we do not deny a legal reply, because we, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon the whole body, out of consideration for our office do not have the liberty to dissimulate, nor to remain silent. We carry the weight of all who are burdened; nay rather the blessed apostle Peter bears these in us, who, as we trust, protects us in all matters of his administration, and guards his heirs." (Pope St. Siricius, 385 A.D.)

"Is any one of Us not aroused by the words God speaks to Us through the prophet Ezechiel: 'Son of man, I have given you as a guide to the house of Israel: and you shall hear a word from my mouth, and you shall proclaim to them from me. If when I say to the wicked, you shall die the death, you do not proclaim it to him....the wicked man shall die in his iniquity but I shall look for his blood from your hand.'' I confess this statement startles me and prevents me from being slothful and fearful in executing the demands of my office. I promise and swear that I will always be not only your helper and supporter, but your chief and leader." (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800)

"From here all the churches take what the water worthy of clean bodies avoids teaching and the people whom, as though fouled in unpurged filth, the water avoids washing. We trust first of all in the strength of God, then in the protection of St. Peter, whose care holds all present. We shall help you with advice, resources, and authority, for We are ready to be very near you, to keep the churches and the brothers safe and sound. As for the rest, We trust in God under the weight of this burden we have received; since He is the originator of this burden, He will also help us. In order that human weakness does not falter under the greatness of His grace, He who gave the dignity will also give the strength." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758)

"Ever since we have been placed on this Chair of Peter by the hidden plan of divine providence and have thus been elevated to the supreme rule of the universal Church, we have striven to fulfill the duties of our apostolic ministry as the daily direction and solicitude for the Churches demand of us. Because we depend utterly on divine help, we do not fear the many nefarious and sacrilegious destructions, attempts and attacks by which in these disturbed times the enemies of the Catholic religion endeavor to undermine its foundations, if that were ever possible. No, indeed, the spiritual good and salvation of all people are our constant concern." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862 A.D.)

"Bring it home to their minds, as We have Ourselves oftentimes conveyed the warning, that matters of the highest moment and worthy of all honor are at stake, for the safeguarding of which every most toilsome effort should be readily endured; and that a sublime reward is in store for the labors of a Christian life. On the other hand, to refrain from doing battle for Jesus Christ amounts to fighting against Him; He Himself assures us 'He will deny before His Father in heaven those who shall have refused to confess Him on earth.' As for Ourselves and you all, never assuredly, so long as life lasts, shall We allow Our authority, Our counsels, and Our solicitude to be in any wise lacking in the conflict. Nor is it to be doubted but that especial aid of the great God will be vouchsafed, so long as the struggle endures, to the flock alike and to the pastors" (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"We, indeed, who steer the mystical barque of the Church in such a storm, fix Our mind and heart upon the Divine Pilot Who holds the helm and sits unseen. Thou seest, Lord, how the winds have borne down on every side, how the sea rages and the waves are lashed to fury. Command, we beseech Thee, Who alone canst, the winds and the sea. Give back to man that tranquility and order - that true peace which the world cannot give. By Thy grace let man be restored to proper order with faith in God, as in duty bound, with justice and love towards our neighbor, with temperance as to ourselves, and with passions controlled by reason. Let Thy kingdom come, let the duty of submitting to Thee and serving Thee be learnt by those who, far from Thee, seek truth and salvation to no purpose. In Thy laws there is justice and fatherly kindness; Thou grantest of Thy own good will the power to keep them. The life of a man on earth is a warfare, but Thou lookest down upon the struggle and helpest man to conquer, Thou raisest him that falls, and crownest him that triumphs." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888 A.D.)

"Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. It is eminently fitting for the Roman pontiff to carry out the duty of a provident shepherd, in order to care for and keep safe the Lord's flock entrusted to him by God, since, by the will of the supreme ordinance by which the things of heaven and of earth are arranged by ineffable providence, he acts on the lofty throne of St. Peter as vicar on earth of Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. When we notice, out of solicitude for our said pastoral office, that church discipline and the pattern of a sound and upright life are worsening, disappearing and going further astray from the right path throughout almost all the ranks of Christ's faithful, with a disregard for law and with exemption from punishment, as a result of the troubles of the times and the malice of human beings, it must be feared that, unless checked by a well-guided improvement, there will be a daily falling into a variety of faults under the security of sin and soon, with the appearance of public scandals, a complete breakdown. We desire, then, as far as it is permitted to us from on high, to check the evils from becoming too strong, to restore a great many things to their earlier observance of the sacred canons, to create with God's help an improvement in keeping with the established practice of the holy fathers, and to give - with the approval of the sacred Lateran council initiated for that reason, among others, by our predecessor of happy memory, pope Julius II, and continued by us - healthy guidance to all these matters." (Pope Leo X / Fifth Lateran Council) 

"For to show with what dispositions of mind and will We subjected Ourselves to the most serious charge of feeding the flock of Christ, We can well adduce those same proofs of grief which he invokes in his own behalf. 'My tears are witnesses,' he wrote, 'and the sounds and moanings issuing from the anguish of my heart, such as I never remember before to have come from me for any sorrow, before that day on which there seemed to fall upon me that great misfortune of the archbishop of Canterbury. And those who fixed their gaze on my face that day could not fail to see it ... I, in color more like a dead than a living man, was pale for amazement and alarm. Hitherto I have resisted as far as I could, speaking the truth, my election or rather the violence done me. But now I am constrained to confess, whether I will or no, that the judgments of God oppose greater and greater resistance to my efforts, so that I see no way of escaping them. Wherefore vanquished as I am by the violence not so much of men as of God, against which there is no providing, I realize that nothing is left for me, after having prayed as much as I could and striven that this chalice should if possible pass from me without my drinking it, but to set aside my feeling and my will and resign myself entirely to the design and the will of God.' In truth reasons both numerous and most weighty were not lacking to justify this resistance of Ours. For, beside the fact that We deemed Ourselves altogether unworthy through Our littleness of the honor of the Pontificate; who would not have been disturbed at seeing himself designated to succeed him who, ruling the Church with supreme wisdom for nearly twenty six years, showed himself adorned with such sublimity of mind, such luster of every virtue, as to attract to himself the admiration even of adversaries, and to leave his memory stamped in glorious achievements? Then again, to omit other motives, We were terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today. For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is - apostasy from God, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the word of the Prophet: 'For behold they that go far from Thee shall perish' (Ps. 1xxii., 17). We saw therefore that, in virtue of the ministry of the Pontificate, which was to be entrusted to Us, We must hasten to find a remedy for this great evil, considering as addressed to Us that Divine command: 'Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant' (Jerem. i., 10). But, cognizant of Our weakness, We recoiled in terror from a task as urgent as it is arduous. Since, however, it has been pleasing to the Divine Will to raise Our lowliness to such sublimity of power, We take courage in Him who strengthens Us; and setting Ourselves to work, relying on the power of God, We proclaim that We have no other program in the Supreme Pontificate but that 'of restoring all things in Christ' (Ephes. i., 10), so that 'Christ may be all and in all' (Coloss. iii, 2). Some will certainly be found who, measuring Divine things by human standards will seek to discover secret aims of Ours, distorting them to an earthly scope and to partisan designs. To eliminate all vain delusions for such, We say to them with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. Hence, should anyone ask Us for a symbol as the expression of Our will, We will give this and no other: 'To renew all things in Christ.' In undertaking this glorious task, We are greatly quickened by the certainty that We shall have all of you, Venerable Brethren, as generous cooperators. Did We doubt it We should have to regard you, unjustly, as either unconscious or heedless of that sacrilegious war which is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, 'The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things' (Ps.ii., 1.) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: 'Depart from us' (Job. xxi., 14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will - nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God." (Pope St. Pius X, E Supremi, 1903 A.D.)

Also See: Papal Duties / Concerns | Infallibility | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines | Preservation of Truth / Unity | Classic Encyclicals

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