Sunday, August 21, AD 2016



To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
and other Local Ordinaries in Peace
and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.

Gravity of the Situation

2. That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.

3. Though they express astonishment themselves, no one can justly be surprised that We number such men among the enemies of the Church, if, leaving out of consideration the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he is acquainted with their tenets, their manner of speech, their conduct. Nor indeed will he err in accounting them the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have said, they put their designs for her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain, the more intimate is their knowledge of her. Moreover they lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to disseminate poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth from which they hold their hand, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skilful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them to a better sense, and to this end we first of all showed them kindness as Our children, then we treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse, though with great reluctance, to public reproof. But you know, Venerable Brethren, how fruitless has been Our action. They bowed their head for a moment, but it was soon uplifted more arrogantly than ever. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have overlooked it: but the security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore, as to maintain it longer would be a crime, We must now break silence, in order to expose before the whole Church in their true colours those men who have assumed this bad disguise.

Division of the Encyclical

4. But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil.

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5 Responses to Pope Saint Pius X: PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS

  • I admittedly could only spot read this letter again as it is dense with wisdom and requires much time. It is an autopsy of modernity, and as topical today as it was over a hundred years ago. It is also for me a remarkable “coincidence” as the subject of modernity was a point of discussion with a friend just yesterday. This letter is a good reference tool and is encouraging as we see the Spirit hard at work through his servant Saint Pope Pius X. Blessimgs to all on this glorious Sumday.

  • This is amazing to read! It is as if Pius X had had a vision of Bergolio’s program for the Church and how he plans to carry
    it out with the help of the Cupich bishops he has appointed. His notion of ecumenism is so extreme that he dismisses the Catholic
    Church as founded by Christ, to wit, his intention to rehabilitate Luther. He will compromise Catholicism until it would suit the Luthers of this world.
    His dismissal of dogmatic teachings based on what Jesus has said in the Gospels, e.g., his support for Communion for the divorced and remarried.
    And, although he has not said anything quotable about homosexuality except his infamous, “Who am I to judge?”, he surrounds himself with gay friends and appoints gay sympathizers to important posts like those regarding family life. He has vowed to change the Catholic Church and the way our Faith is lived and he is doing it. He is deliberately confusing, leaving people muddled about what the Church really teaches. He advocates dialogue about subjects that have been long closed to discussion, like the ordination of women to the diaconate. That is a way of slowly persuading people that this is a fine thing to do. And his emphasis on subjective conscience, echoed by Cupich in Chicago, leads people to think that their private judgment supercedes Church teaching and authority. Thus there is a total collapse of doctrine and moral values into the vagueness of what people claim “is right for me.” Schoenborn, the Austrian cardinal who has replaced Cardinal Mueller as the de facto advisor of Begolio on theology, insists on the validity of moving forward by taking into consideration the “experience” of modern man. There is a kind of Hegelian progression in his thought where nothing is definitive or absolute, but always a movement forward to some unknown destination. Reminds me of the Chinese expression: “The Tao is in the passage rather than the path.” But we do have revelation, God’s word ot us about salvation history. We do have Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man who taught us how to live for God and who suffered, died and rose for us. He is our Redeemer. It is surely pride, as St. Pius X points out, that makes men of the Church to try and distinguish themselves with novel philosophies and theologies and to spurn ecclesiastical authority while doing so. Conservatives are not mad hatters, but can see the chaos and the confusion all this causes the Faithful. We must react in order to conserve the teaching of Christ in the Gospels, Church dogma and tradition, Christian moral values, and the sacredness of our liturgical worship. This is hard work today, indeed!

  • Thanks for publishing Donald. Great stuff. I love the clarity and directness of it all. Such a contrast to the muddled thinking our Pope who is actually being addressed with this encyclical.

  • Thank you Susan Varenne. We do stumble forward today with eyes shut to the teaching already given us. As you say …”there is a total collapse of doctrine and moral values into the vagueness of what people claim “is right for me.”
    Schoenborn,… the de facto advisor of Begolio on theology, insists on the validity of moving forward by taking into consideration the “experience” of modern man…. is also the main editor of the Catechism.
    “We must react in order to conserve the teaching of Christ in the Gospels, Church dogma and tradition, Christian moral values, and the sacredness of our liturgical worship. “

Cardinal Gibbons and the Stormy Conclave of 1903

Friday, March 8, AD 2013




James Cardinal Gibbons of the Archdiocese of Baltimore was the second American cardinal and an enormously important figure both within the history of the Church in America and the history of America in general.  His championing of the rights of labor in the nineteenth century helped direct America on a more peaceful path in the relationship between labor and capital than existed in many other nations.  Many posts could be written about this man and I intend to write them!  Today we will focus on the fact that he was the first American cardinal to participate in a papal conclave.

When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903 Cardinal Gibbons happened to be in Rome.  Without that fortuitous circumstance he would most likely have not been able to participate in the subsequent Conclave.  In 1914 with the death of Pope Pius X, Cardinal Gibbons boarded a rapid steamer to cross the Atlantic but arrived too late to participate in the Conclave.  Thus the Conclave of 1903 was the only one Cardinal Gibbons was fated to participate in, but it certainly was a dramatic one.

The first Conclave to occur within the glare of modern media, the proceedings leaked like a sieve to eager waiting journalists, so much so that after this Conclave Pope Pius decreed that participants were to take an oath of silence as to the proceedings of all future conclaves.

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26 Responses to Cardinal Gibbons and the Stormy Conclave of 1903

  • Looks like that bad ol’ Hapsburg veto turned out pretty well, after all.

    Can’t imagine why anyone would not, on the level of principle, want the Catholic faith to inform every aspect of society, including its political life. That anyway is the clear teaching of Libertas, Immortale Dei, and other pertinent encyclicals.

  • Don

    You failed to mention the all important fact that Pope St. Pius X was also an avid cigar smoker.

  • Ironically, too, it would be Pius and Leo who would in turn condemn the nascent Modernism and Americanism with which Gibbons was associated; it was to him, after all, that Testem Benevolentiae was addressed (admittedly, in his capacity as Archbishop of the Primary See in the US). It was just such a dismissiveness about the desirability of the public acknowledgement of the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ that spurred Leo to write.

  • “Looks like that bad ol’ Hapsburg veto turned out pretty well, after all.”

    God always works to the good. Sometimes in accord with the actions of men, sometimes in spite of them.

  • “Looks like that bad ol’ Hapsburg veto turned out pretty well, after all.”

    No doubt why an appalled Saint Pius X banned its use in perpetuity Tom.

    “Can’t imagine why anyone would not, on the level of principle, want the Catholic faith to inform every aspect of society”

    Really Tom? Considering your vociferous and repeated disagreement with the use of the death penalty as articulated by Pope John Paul II I would have thought that would be self-evident to you. We of course have the practical problem of the fact that it is a big world out there and most people in it are not Catholic. We then have the added problem that Catholics tend to disagree among themselves on most things outside of the essentials of the faith. Finally we have the history of the Confessional States that was often quite unhappy for the Church with constant intervention by the State and often rabid anti-clericalism developing among the opponents of the State who viewed the Church as merely an arm of the State.

  • “Ironically, too, it would be Pius and Leo who would in turn condemn the nascent Modernism and Americanism”

    Gibbons was on good terms with both Pope Leo, who gave him his cardinal’s cap, and Pope Pius of whom he wrote a biography. Americanism was an imaginary heresy, largely the result of Pope Leo XIII being ill-informed about conditions in America and paying too much heed to idiots among American clerics who delighted in attempting to stir up trouble over nothing. Modernism was a real enough heresy, although Pope Pius tended to throw the baby out with the bath water and completely orthodox Catholic scholars suffered along with complete heretics.

  • We would do well to understand exactly what Pope Leo XIII actually meant when he condemned Americanism as this passage from the encyclical distinguishes:

    “From the foregoing it is manifest, beloved son, that we are not able to give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some “Americanism.” But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to the name. But if this is to be so understood that the doctrines which have been adverted to above are not only indicated, but exalted, there can be no manner of doubt that our venerable brethren, the bishops of America, would be the first to repudiate and condemn it as being most injurious to themselves and to their country. For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world.” (Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae)

    From what I understand, at the time there was a movement within the American Church to apply American style democracy to Church government.

  • No there wasn’t Greg. Cardinal Gibbons and the rest of the American heirarchy responded that no one among them taught these propositions that were condemned:

    1.undue insistence on interior initiative in the spiritual life, as leading to disobedience
    2.attacks on religious vows, and disparagement of the value of religious orders in the modern world
    3.minimizing Catholic doctrine
    4.minimizing the importance of spiritual direction

    They were really scratching their heads on this one and had a hard time figuring out why the Pope was concerned with a non-problem in this country.

    This tempest in a papal tea pot had more to do with the French Church. A biography of Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists and now a Servant of God, was mistranslated into French and portrayed Father Hecker as some sort of flaming radical which he was not. This book became popular among liberal Catholics in France. As usual the relationship
    between the French Church and the Vatican was turbulent at this time. Pope Leo XIII’s concern about “Americanism” could have better been labeled a concern about “Frenchism”. Purportedly Leo XIII was reluctant to attack the Church in America, which he had often praised, and made his rebuke of “Americanism” as soft as possible.

    The statements of loyalty from the American heirarchy were sufficient for the Pope and “Americanism” vanished from history as quickly as it appeared.

  • Okay, I wasn’t sure. But I do know that what Pope Leo condemned was not the American political system as many radical elements of the so-called “traditionalist” movement allege.

  • Quite right Greg. The whole incident is fairly confusing and the I-Hate-America fringe of the RadTrads help increase the confusion deliberately.

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  • Don

    If I remember correctly, a popular American priest had written a book that was very poorly translated into French which is what was read in Rome.

    Of course the Amercans were confused because they had read the book in English, and “Americanism” disapeared quickly because it only existed in a poor French translation.

  • Ironically, there is an SSPX priest (at least there was I don’t know if he is still in the Society) named Fr. Christopher Hunter who offers the most articulate Catholic defense of American principles.

  • True Hank. It was a poorly translated bio of Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists, that falsely portrayed him as a flaming radical which he was not.

  • I think the anti-Americanism faction is a minority among the RadTrads Greg, but they tend to make quite a bit of noise, at least on the internet.

  • Actually, Donald, amongst the SSPX anti-Americanism seems to be the prevailing view from what I have been able to gather.

  • This old article from Fidelity indicates that you might be right Greg:


    I based my statement on Rad Trads I have encountered and who were very patriotic.

  • I’m a bit puzzled by the reference to St Pius X’s sisters being given titles of nobility; I had thought that he refused to do this but that it was Pius XII later who did it for his sisters.

  • Piux X did not grant his sisters titles of nobility as I indicated in my post:

    “When Roman aristocrats complained that he had not made his sisters Papal countesses he responded that he had made them the sisters of a pope and he didn’t see how he could improve on that!”

  • There is no “mystery” why Kaiser Franz used his veto over the election of Rampola. The emperor became aware of the fact that Cardinal Rampola was a freemason and therefore a danger to the church and the papacy. The catholic monarchies exercised the role of “protector ” of the church and it’s discipline since Charlemagne. Pius X ,after he was elected and advised ,had Rampola arrested and all his papers searched. after he was satisfied as to the truth of the allegations ,Rampola was exiled to Scicily ,where he couldn’t do anymore harm.
    Austria was not so fortunate as the Allied powers saw to it’s dimemberment and the replacement of the catholic monarchy with “masonic republics”.
    The Orthodox church fared worse,as the”impius sect” succeeded in electing Melitos as Patriarch of contantinople…he didn’t last very long but did untold harm.

  • Ah, Masons under every bed craziness. None of what you said is true. Pope Pius X appointed Rampola to head The Holy Office in 1908. He was not exiled to Sicily, living in a house near Saint Peter’s. He was considered the foremost candidate to be Pope in any future Conclave, and only his death in 1913 prevented him from being such a candidate in the Conclave of 1914.

  • Americanism was and still is a real heresy. The impetus came from the hierarchy in America’s mostly East Coast dioceses. The most serious problem came from two sources of Americanism-one, the belief that the Church in America needed to tackle her own problems without intervention from Rome; and two, the acceptance of many of the modernist heresies condemned by Pope Pius IX. That at least one bishop was sent beyond the Mississippi for his recalcitrance and the historical fact that at least two bishops were asked to come to Rome for “clarifications” indicates the seriousness of this heresy.

    There are many aspects of this real heresy and one which is the most serious was that Catholicism could be tolerant and accepting of many, if not most, aspects of American culture. This led directly to the undermining of Catholic teaching in colleges and universities set up for the purpose of teaching Catholic doctrine and passing on a Catholic identity, which now, has been almost lost in America.

    The Americanist heresy encourages assimilation to the point of disobedience. And, it is still around today.

  • Nope, the Americanist heresy is as I described it, a phantom heresy that had virtually nothing to do with the Church in America and quite a bit to do with the Church in France. The American Church had a well deserved reputation in the 19th century for loyalty to the Pope and supplying most of the funds needed for the operation of the Vatican after the fall of the Papal States.

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  • Although Rampolla would have been Leo XIII’s preferred successor, Merry del Val, who was secretary to the conclave, later claimed that he was never in the running as the cardinals wanted the Church to take a more conservative direction after Leo’s long pontificate. After the veto was announced by Cardinal Puzyna, Archbishop of Cracow, Merry recalled that the cardinals were so outraged that support for Rampolla actually increased.

    The most likely reason for the veto was pressure on the Emperor by the Ultramontane faction in Vienna. As Leo’s Secretary of State Rampolla had attempted rapprochement with the Third French Republic.

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Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman

Sunday, September 6, AD 2009

Saint Joseph and Jesus

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.

Pope Saint Pius X

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2 Responses to Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman

Saint John Vianney Play To Debut In Houston

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

Saint John Vianney is being staged as a one-man production titled “VIANNEY” and will be debuting in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on August 4, 2009 AD.  This is in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of this patron saint of parish priests.  The play will continue in other dioceses across America.

Leonardo Defilippis plays the role of Saint John Vianney as he performs at various churches across the archdiocese.  Mr. Defilippis’s one-man stage production opens amidst the chaos of the French Revolution, a time which mirrors the secularization, materialism and anti-religious sentiment of today. Against this dramatic backdrop, a simple ignorant peasant priest enters the backwater town of Ars, a place where no one cares much about their faith, or sees the Church as particularly relevant. They don’t expect much out of John Vianney.

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8 Responses to Saint John Vianney Play To Debut In Houston

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  • Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, was the epitome of humility. When priests in his diocese, jealous of his acclaim, sent a circular letter around asking the bishop to replace him because of his lack of learning, it was accidentally sent to him. He unhesitatingly signed it and sent it on. The priest who originated the letter came and begged his forgiveness. Saint John told him that there was no need to apologize and that he knew that he was an ignorant man and that he should be replaced.

  • We’ll be seeing this when he comes to St. Theresa’s in Sugar Land next Sunday evening. Looking forward to it…

  • I’m planning on watching this also, maybe down by your parts Alan?!

  • Donald R. McClarey Says Monday, August 3, 2009 A.D. at 12:14 pm
    “Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, was the epitome of humility. When priests in his diocese, jealous of his acclaim, sent a circular letter around asking the bishop to replace him because of his lack of learning, it was accidentally sent to him. He unhesitatingly signed it and sent it on. The priest who originated the letter came and begged his forgiveness. Saint John told him that there was no need to apologize and that he knew that he was an ignorant man and that he should be replaced”.

    Never, ever, fight a saint!

    It will be curious to hear who his sermons are presented. Towards the end of his life, they were reputed to be unintelligible. But his parishioners were quite happy. They had heard it all before and knew what he was saying.

  • “To the end of his life the poor Curé could never understand the reason for his own fame. And to begin with, many of his colleagues couldn’t understand it either. An abbé Borjon wrote to him: “Monsieur le Curé, a man with as little theology as yourself ought never to enter a confessional.” The Curé of Ars replied:

    “My very dear and respected colleague, how right I am to love you. You alone really know me. As you are good and charitable enough to deign to take an interest in my poor soul, help me to obtain the favour for which I have been asking for so long, so that I may be moved from a post I am unworthy to fill because of my ignorance and retire into obscurity to atone for my wretched life.”

    This long and awkward sentence was written without irony, but with humility, and its recipient was touched. Fortunately, M. Vianney had his bishop behind him. One day when a priest said to Msgr. Devie: “The Curé of Ars is looked upon as being rather uneducated”, the Bishop answered: “I don’t know whether he is educated or not, but what I do know is the Holy Spirit makes a point of enlightening him.”

  • “Never, ever, fight a saint!”

    You should tell that to Morning Minion who takes almost every opportunity to condemn St. Thomas More as a minion of Satan — and Iafrate had the gall to call Tito Taco “anti-Catholic”; if anything, Morning Minion is the epitome of anti-Catholicism as well as common sense!

  • Note: The latter remark concerning MM’s being the epitome of “common sense” was meant in rhetorical irony; I mean, if magistrates who apply the death penalty to those who commit capital offenses and, therefore, deserve it, are to be condemned by God as evil men; then may God send all judges who rightfully apply the death penalty to criminals who commit capital offenses to Hell, extending all the way back to those in the Old Testament who themselves followed the prescriptions of Mosaic Law that also applied such penalty to criminals who committed capital offense!