Today marks the death of the saintly and unjustly maligned Pius XII. In honor of this great Pope, I will reprint here his words from Summi Pontificatus
that Rorate Caeli
posted earlier. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute.
We, as a newly ordained priest, then just empowered to recite “Introibo ad altare Dei” (Psalm xiii. 4), hailed the Encyclical Annum Sacrum [on the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart] with genuine approval, enthusiasm and delight as a message from heaven. … It is only natural, then, that We should today feel profoundly grateful to Providence for having designed that the first year of Our Pontificate should be associated with a memory so precious and so dear of Our first year of priesthood, and that We should take the opportunity of paying homage to the King of kings and Lord of lords (I Timothy vi. 15; Apocalypse xix. 6) as a kind of Introit prayer to Our Pontificate, in the spirit of Our renowned predecessor and in the faithful accomplishment of his designs, and that, in fine, We should make of it the alpha and omega of Our aims, of Our hopes, of Our teaching, of Our activity, of Our patience and of Our sufferings, by consecrating them all to the spread of the Kingdom of Christ. …
As Vicar of Him Who in a decisive hour pronounced before the highest earthly authority of that day, the great words: “For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, hearest My voice” (Saint John xviii. 37), We feel We owe no greater debt to Our office and to Our time than to testify to the truth with Apostolic firmness: “to give testimony to the truth.” This duty necessarily entails the exposition and confutation of errors and human faults; for these must be made known before it is possible to tend and to heal them. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Saint John viii. 32).
In the fulfillment of this, Our duty, we shall not let Ourselves be influenced by earthly considerations nor be held back by mistrust or opposition, by rebuffs or lack of appreciation of Our words, nor yet by fear of misconceptions and misinterpretations. We shall fulfill Our duty, animated ever with that paternal charity which, while it suffers from the evils which afflict Our children, at the same time points out to them the remedy; We shall strive to imitate the Divine Model of shepherds, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Who is light as well as love: “Doing the truth in charity” (Ephesians iv. 15).
Refutation and exposition of error makes it possible for those who err to be healed. It is the path of Christ Himself. Archbishop Burke has lived this mission of Christ and has heeded the admonition of Pius XII– not to be “held back by mistrust or opposition, by rebuffs or lack of appreciation, nor yet by fear of misconceptions and misinterpretations.”
Bishop Hermann, in his short tenure as Administrator, has done so as well, and no doubt will do so in the days, weeks and months to come. It is the job of the shepherd to lead the flock in truth, and to point out error so that the sinner may repent and the Church be strengthened and built up.
We as Catholics should be ever ready to stand by him as he zealously fulfills the duties of the office to which Christ has entrusted him.
St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us!