Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blessed Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland

portrait of Blessed Thomas Percy, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e Beati; click for source image
Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland by Steven van der Meulen, 1566AD

On 22 August 1572, at York, England, Blessed Thomas Percy, the 7th Earl of Northumberland was beheaded for his involvement in the 1569 "Rising in the North" and his adherence to the Roman Catholic Faith during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603).

Percy was, of course, descended from an old and renowned English family (he was a direct descendant of the famous Henry "Hotspur" Percy of the days of King Henry IV), but his loyalty remained with the Catholic Church when, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England turned in a definitively Protestant direction.  Notably, his father, Sir Thomas Percy, had been a participant in the "Pilgrimage of Grace" during the reign of Henry VIII, and had been executed, as well, back in 1537.  Blessed Thomas, then, was not the first in his line to suffer for his adherence to Catholicism.  The family titles and estates lost under Henry VIII, were regained under Queen Mary.  That was not to last, however.

In November 1569 a rebellion rose in Durham in resistance to the Protestant program of Queen Elizabeth, and in favor of Mary, Queen of Scots under the Catholic leadership of Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmoreland and Blessed Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland – this was known as the “Rising in the North.”

They commanded about 4,500 men, and even had Mass said publicly!  Their success was to be rather short-lived.  The rising was dispersed by superior English numbers and a force under the Earl of Sussex.  In the aftermath, some 600-800 were executed, with Westmoreland going into exile in Flanders and Northumberland captured in Scotland, by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, only to be returned to England and executed at York in 1572.

It is worth noting that it was that year of 1570 that Pope St. Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I with the bull Regnans in Excelsis.  The saintly pontiff certainly hoped to give force and support to the efforts of men like Blessed Thomas Percy, but this bull came too late to help the Rising in the North, and, arguably, only worsened the situation of Catholics in England.  You can read the full text of the bull here: Pope St. Pius V: Regnans in Excelsis

Blessed Thomas Percy was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.  His feast is kept as a local traditional feast in these dioceses of northern England on 26 August, and he is mentioned on the revised martyrology on 22 August, the anniversary of his death.

May we pray with the traditional collect of his feast:
"O Lord, we beseech Thee, pour down upon us the spirit of constancy and fortitude wherewith Thou strengthened Thy blessed martyr Thomas in the defense of the Catholic Faith: so that, filled therewith, we, who rejoice on earth for his triumphant martyrdom, may deserve to be partakers of his glory in Heaven."

For more on Blessed Thomas Percy, you might consult:
Catholic Saints Info: Blessed Thomas Percy


Alnwick Castle 02.jpg
The Home of Blessed Thomas Percy, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England
["Alnwick Castle 02" by Phil Thomas - originally posted to Flickr as the castle. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons]

For information on the ancestoral home of the Percy family, Alnwick Castle (made famous now by Downton Abbey, it seems, as "Brancaster Castle"), you might visit this site: Alnwick Castle: History

Live well!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Octave of the Assumption

Today is the Octave Day of the great Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, Mother of God.  Always a great celebration in and of itself, it is also traditionally the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and, more recently, of the Queenship or Coronation of Our Lady.

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The Coronation of the Virgin by Diego Velazquez (+1660AD)

The Octave, or the eight days, inclusive, used to be a much more commonly observed liturgical feature of major feast days -- in modern times only Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost have retained their full Octave, though even Pentecost has had it trimmed in the reforms.  Though each day since the Assumption is no longer celebrated as part of its proper liturgical Octave -- at least this eighth day, 22 August, allows us some connection to the great feast.  The Old Catholic Encyclopedia has an interesting entry on the history of the liturgical Octave: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Octaves

The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary goes back some centuries, but the observance as a formal feast is a really rather new development.  It seems the first formal observance of the feast came in the Diocese of Palermo, Sicily with the permission of Pope Pius VI in 1799.  This article gives a summary of the history up to the start of the 20th century, and before its institution as a feast on the universal calendar: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Heart of Mary  The feast was added to the universal calendar of the Latin rite by Pope Pius XII in 1944AD.  Of course, it is a commemoration of both the love and Immaculate purity of the Blessed Mother, the Immaculate Conception.  The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is, worthy of note, the patronal feast day of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia -- home of this blogger!

From its establishment by Pope Pius XII in 1954, until its transfer by Pope Paul VI with reform of the calendar, the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady fell on 31 May.  The new date, today on the Octave day, links the feast more closely with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  There is a bit more about the feast here: Catholic Saints Info: Queenship of Mary

Fisheaters has some excellent posts on both of the occasions of this day:
Fisheaters: Immaculate Heart of Mary
Fisheaters: Queenship of Mary

Now, too, seems an opportune time to review the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII that first established the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, so here it is in its entirety:

---------------------

AD CAELI REGINAM

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON PROCLAIMING THE QUEENSHIP OF MARY OCTOBER 11, 1954

To the Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Holy See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Blessing.

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

2. Following upon the frightful calamities which before Our very eyes have reduced flourishing cities, towns, and villages to ruins, We see to Our sorrow that many great moral evils are being spread abroad in what may be described as a violent flood. Occasionally We behold justice giving way; and, on the one hand and the other, the victory of the powers of corruption. The threat of this fearful crisis fills Us with a great anguish, and so with confidence We have recourse to Mary Our Queen, making known to her those sentiments of filial reverence which are not Ours alone, but which belong to all those who glory in the name of Christian.

3. It is gratifying to recall that We ourselves, on the first day of November of the Holy Year 1950, before a huge multitude of Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and of the faithful who had assembled from every part of the world, defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven[1] where she is present in soul and body reigning, together with her only Son, amid the heavenly choirs of angels and Saints. Moreover, since almost a century has passed since Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, proclaimed and defined the dogma that the great Mother of God had been conceived without any stain of original sin, We instituted the current Marian Year[2] And now it is a great consolation to Us to see great multitudes here in Rome -- and especially in the Liberian Basilica -- giving testimony in a striking way to their faith and ardent love for their heavenly Mother. In all parts of the world We learn that devotion to the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing more and more, and that the principal shrines of Mary have been visited and are still being visited by many throngs of Catholic pilgrims gathered in prayer.

4. It is well known that we have taken advantage of every opportunity -- through personal audiences and radio broadcasts -- to exhort Our children in Christ to a strong and tender love, as becomes children, for Our most gracious and exalted Mother. On this point it is particularly fitting to call to mind the radio message which We addressed to the people of Portugal, when the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary which is venerated at Fatima was being crowned with a golden diadem.[3] We Ourselves called this the heralding of the "sovereignty" of Mary.[4]

5. And now, that We may bring the Year of Mary to a happy and beneficial conclusion, and in response to petitions which have come to Us from all over the world, We have decided to institute the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen. This will afford a climax, as it were, to the manifold demonstrations of Our devotion to Mary, which the Christian people have supported with such enthusiasm.

6. In this matter We do not wish to propose a new truth to be believed by Christians, since the title and the arguments on which Mary's queenly dignity is based have already been clearly set forth, and are to be found in ancient documents of the Church and in the books of the sacred liturgy.

7. It is Our pleasure to recall these things in the present encyclical letter, that We may renew the praises of Our heavenly Mother, and enkindle a more fervent devotion towards her, to the spiritual benefit of all mankind.

8. From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever,"[5] "the Prince of Peace,"[6] the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."[7] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.

9. Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary "the Mother of the King" and "the Mother of the Lord," basing their stand on the words of St. Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever,[8] and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her "the Mother of my Lord."[9] Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.

10. So it is that St. Ephrem, burning with poetic inspiration, represents her as speaking in this way: "Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is her mother."[10] And in another place he thus prays to her: ". . . Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me."[11]

11. St. Gregory Nazianzen calls Mary "the Mother of the King of the universe," and the "Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world,"[12] while Prudentius asserts that the Mother marvels "that she has brought forth God as man, and even as Supreme King."[13]

12. And this royal dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite clearly indicated through direct assertion by those who call her "Lady," "Ruler" and "Queen."

13. In one of the homilies attributed to Origen, Elizabeth calls Mary "the Mother of my Lord." and even addresses her as "Thou, my Lady."[14]

14. The same thing is found in the writings of St. Jerome where he makes the following statement amidst various interpretations of Mary's name: "We should realize that Mary means Lady in the Syrian Language."[15] After him St. Chrysologus says the same thing more explicitly in these words: "The Hebrew word 'Mary' means 'Domina.' The Angel therefore addresses her as 'Lady' to preclude all servile fear in the Lord's Mother, who was born and was called 'Lady' by the authority and command of her own Son."[16]

15. Moreover Epiphanius, the bishop of Constantinople, writing to the Sovereign Pontiff Hormisdas, says that we should pray that the unity of the Church may be preserved "by the grace of the holy and consubstantial Trinity and by the prayers of Mary, Our Lady, the holy and glorious Virgin and Mother of God."[17]

16. The Blessed Virgin, sitting at the right hand of God to pray for us is hailed by another writer of that same era in these words, "the Queen of mortal man, the most holy Mother of God."[18]

17. St. Andrew of Crete frequently attributes the dignity of a Queen to the Virgin Mary. For example, he writes, "Today He transports from her earthly dwelling, as Queen of the human race, His ever-Virgin Mother, from whose womb He, the living God, took on human form."[19]

18. And in another place he speaks of "the Queen of the entire human race faithful to the exact meaning of her name, who is exalted above all things save only God himself."[20]

19. Likewise St. Germanus speaks to the humble Virgin in these words: "Be enthroned, Lady, for it is fitting that you should sit in an exalted place since you are a Queen and glorious above all kings."[21] He likewise calls her the "Queen of all of those who dwell on earth."[22]

20. She is called by St. John Damascene: "Queen, ruler, and lady,"[23] and also "the Queen of every creature."[24] Another ancient writer of the Eastern Church calls her "favored Queen," "the perpetual Queen beside the King, her son," whose "snow-white brow is crowned with a golden diadem."[25]

21. And finally St. Ildephonsus of Toledo gathers together almost all of her titles of honor in this salutation: "O my Lady, my Sovereign, You who rule over me, Mother of my Lord . . . Lady among handmaids, Queen among sisters."[26]

22. The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all.

23. The Supreme Shepherds of the Church have considered it their duty to promote by eulogy and exhortation the devotion of the Christian people to the heavenly Mother and Queen. Simply passing over the documents of more recent Pontiffs, it is helpful to recall that as early as the seventh century Our predecessor St. Martin I called Mary "our glorious Lady, ever Virgin."[27] St. Agatho, in the synodal letter sent to the fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council called her "Our Lady, truly and in a proper sense the Mother of God."[28] And in the eighth century Gregory II in the letter sent to St. Germanus, the patriarch, and read in the Seventh Ecumenical Council with all the Fathers concurring, called the Mother of God: "The Queen of all, the true Mother of God," and also "the Queen of all Christians."[29]

24. We wish also to recall that Our predecessor of immortal memory, Sixtus IV, touched favorably upon the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, beginning the Apostolic Letter Cum praeexcelsa[30] with words in which Mary is called "Queen," "Who is always vigilant to intercede with the king whom she bore." Benedict XIV declared the same thing in his Apostolic Letter Gloriosae Dominae, in which Mary is called "Queen of heaven and earth," and it is stated that the sovereign King has in some way communicated to her his ruling power.[31]

25. For all these reasons St. Alphonsus Ligouri, in collecting the testimony of past ages, writes these words with evident devotion: "Because the virgin Mary was raised to such a lofty dignity as to be the mother of the King of kings, it is deservedly and by every right that the Church has honored her with the title of 'Queen'."[32]

26. Furthermore, the sacred liturgy, which acts as a faithful reflection of traditional doctrine believed by the Christian people through the course of all the ages both in the East and in the West, has sung the praises of the heavenly Queen and continues to sing them.

27. Ardent voices from the East sing out: "O Mother of God, today thou art carried into heaven on the chariots of the cherubim, the seraphim wait upon thee and the ranks of the heavenly army bow before thee."[33]

28. Further: "O just, O most blessed Joseph), since thou art sprung from a royal line, thou hast been chosen from among all mankind to be spouse of the pure Queen who, in a way which defies description, will give birth to Jesus the king."[34] In addition: "I shall sing a hymn to the mother, the Queen, whom I joyously approach in praise, gladly celebrating her wonders in song. . . Our tongue cannot worthily praise thee, O Lady; for thou who hast borne Christ the king art exalted above the seraphim. . . Hail, O Queen of the world; hail, O Mary, Queen of us all."[35]

29. We read, moreover, in the Ethiopic Missal: "O Mary, center of the whole world, . . . thou art greater than the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim . . . Heaven and earth are filled with the sanctity of thy glory."[36]

30. Furthermore, the Latin Church sings that sweet and ancient prayer called the "Hail, Holy Queen" and the lovely antiphons "Hail, Queen of the Heavens," "O Queen of Heaven, Rejoice," and those others which we are accustomed to recite on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "The Queen stood at Thy right hand in golden  vesture surrounded with beauty"[37]; "Heaven and earth praise thee as a powerful Queen"[38]; "Today the Virgin Mary ascends into heaven: rejoice because she reigns with Christ forever."[39]

31. To these and others should be added the Litany of Loreto which daily invites Christian folk to call upon Mary as Queen. Likewise, for many centuries past Christians have been accustomed to meditate upon the ruling power of Mary which embraces heaven and earth, when they consider the fifth glorious mystery of the rosary which can be called the mystical crown of the heavenly Queen.

32. Finally, art which is based upon Christian principles and is animated by their spirit as something faithfully interpreting the sincere and freely expressed devotion of the faithful, has since the Council of Ephesus portrayed Mary as Queen and Empress seated upon a royal throne adorned with royal insignia, crowned with the royal diadem and surrounded by the host of angels and saints in heaven, and ruling not only over nature and its powers but also over the machinations of Satan. Iconography, in representing the royal dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has ever been enriched with works of highest artistic value and greatest beauty; it has even taken the form of representing colorfully the divine Redeemer crowning His mother with a resplendent diadem.

33. The Roman Pontiffs, favoring such types of popular devotion, have often crowned, either in their own persons, or through representatives, images of the Virgin Mother of God which were already outstanding by reason of public veneration.

34. As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood. In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, We read this sentence: "He shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,"[40] and in addition Mary is called "Mother of the Lord";[41] from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature."[42] Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary's royal office.

35. But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. "What more joyful, what sweeter thought can we have" -- as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI wrote -- "than that Christ is our King not only by natural right, but also by an acquired right: that which He won by the redemption? Would that all men, now forgetful of how much we cost Our Savior, might recall to mind the words, 'You were redeemed, not with gold or silver which perishes, . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb spotless and undefiled.[43] We belong not to ourselves now, since Christ has bought us 'at a great price'."[44]/[45]

36. Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ; and so it is fitting to sing in the sacred liturgy: "Near the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ there stood, sorrowful, the Blessed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World."[46] Hence, as the devout disciple of St. Anselm (Eadmer, ed.) wrote in the Middle Ages: "just as . . . God, by making all through His power, is Father and Lord of all, so the blessed Mary, by repairing all through her merits, is Mother and Queen of all; for God is the Lord of all things, because by His command He establishes each of them in its own nature, and Mary is the Queen of all things, because she restores each to its original dignity through the grace which she merited.[47]

37. For "just as Christ, because He redeemed us, is our Lord and king by a special title, so the Blessed Virgin also (is our queen), on account of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in, our salvation."[48]

38. From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of "recapitulation,"[49] in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ "in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race";[50] and if, in truth, "it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,"[51] then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.

39. Certainly, in the full and strict meaning of the term, only Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is King; but Mary, too, as Mother of the divine Christ, as His associate in the redemption, in his struggle with His enemies and His final victory over them, has a share, though in a limited and analogous way, in His royal dignity. For from her union with Christ she attains a radiant eminence transcending that of any other creature; from her union with Christ she receives the royal right to dispose of the treasures of the Divine Redeemer's Kingdom; from her union with Christ finally is derived the inexhaustible efficacy of her maternal intercession before the Son and His Father.

40. Hence it cannot be doubted that Mary most Holy is far above all other creatures in dignity, and after her Son possesses primacy over all. "You have surpassed every creature," sings St. Sophronius. "What can be more sublime than your joy, O Virgin Mother? What more noble than this grace, which you alone have received from God"?[52] To this St. Germanus adds: "Your honor and dignity surpass the whole of creation; your greatness places you above the angels."[53] And St. John Damascene goes so far as to say: "Limitless is the difference between God's servants and His Mother."[54]

41. In order to understand better this sublime dignity of the Mother of God over all creatures let us recall that the holy Mother of God was, at the very moment of her Immaculate Conception, so filled with grace as to surpass the grace of all the Saints. Wherefore, as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius IX wrote, God "showered her with heavenly gifts and graces from the treasury of His divinity so far beyond what He gave to all the angels and saints that she was ever free from the least stain of sin; she is so beautiful and perfect, and possesses such fullness of innocence and holiness, that under God a greater could not be dreamed, and only God can comprehend the marvel."[55]

42. Besides, the Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through His Humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if He uses His Sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should He not make use of the role and work of His most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption? "With a heart that is truly a mother's," to quote again Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, "does she approach the problem of our salvation, and is solicitous for the whole human race; made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only a Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother's prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused."[56] On this point another of Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII, has said that an "almost immeasurable" power has been given Mary in the distribution of graces;[57] St. Pius X adds that she fills this office "as by the right of a mother."[58]

43. Let all Christians, therefore, glory in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love.

44. Theologians and preachers, however, when treating these and like questions concerning the Blessed Virgin, must avoid straying from the correct course, with a twofold error to guard against: that is to say, they must beware of unfounded opinions and exaggerated expressions which go beyond the truth, on the other hand, they must watch out for excessive narrowness of mind in weighing that exceptional, sublime, indeed all but divine dignity of the Mother of God, which the Angelic Doctor teaches must be attributed to her "because of the infinite goodness that is God."[59]

45. For the rest, in this as in other points of Christian doctrine, "the proximate and universal norm of truth" is for all the living Magisterium of the Church, which Christ established "also to illustrate and explain those matters which are contained only in an obscure way, and implicitly in the deposit of faith."[60]

46. From the ancient Christian documents, from prayers of the liturgy, from the innate piety of the Christian people, from works of art, from every side We have gathered witnesses to the regal dignity of the Virgin Mother of God; We have likewise shown that the arguments deduced by Sacred Theology from the treasure store of the faith fully confirm this truth. Such a wealth of witnesses makes up a resounding chorus which changes the sublimity of the royal dignity of the Mother of God and of men, to whom every creature is subject, who is "exalted to the heavenly throne, above the choirs of angels."[61]

47. Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary's Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.

48. Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother. Let her churches be thronged by the faithful, her feast-days honored; may the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary's name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels; may none utter blasphemous words, the sign of a defiled soul, against that name graced with such dignity and revered for its motherly goodness; let no one be so bold as to speak a syllable which lacks the respect due to her name.

49. All, according to their state, should strive to bring alive the wondrous virtues of our heavenly Queen and most loving Mother through constant effort of mind and manner. Thus will it come about that all Christians, in honoring and imitating their sublime Queen and Mother, will realize they are truly brothers, and with all envy and avarice thrust aside, will promote love among classes, respect the rights of the weak, cherish peace. No one should think himself a son of Mary, worthy of being received under her powerful protection, unless, like her, he is just, gentle and pure, and shows a sincere desire for true brotherhood, not harming or injuring but rather helping and comforting others.

50. In some countries of the world there are people who are unjustly persecuted for professing their Christian faith and who are deprived of their divine and human rights to freedom; up till now reasonable demands and repeated protests have availed nothing to remove these evils. May the powerful Queen of creation, whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies, look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; may the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials.

51. By this Encyclical Letter We are instituting a feast so that all may recognize more clearly and venerate more devoutly the merciful and maternal sway of the Mother of God. We are convinced that this feast will help to preserve, strengthen and prolong that peace among nations which daily is almost destroyed by recurring crises. Is she not a rainbow in the clouds reaching towards God, the pledge of a covenant of peace?[62] "Look upon the rainbow, and bless Him that made it; surely it is beautiful in its brightness. It encompasses the heaven about with the circle of its glory, the hands of the Most High have displayed it."[63] Whoever, therefore, reverences the Queen of heaven and earth -- and let no one consider himself exempt from this tribute of a grateful and loving soul -- let him invoke the most effective of Queens, the Mediatrix of peace; let him respect and preserve peace, which is not wickedness unpunished nor freedom without restraint, but a well-ordered harmony under the rule of the will of God; to its safeguarding and growth the gentle urgings and commands of the Virgin Mary impel us.

52. Earnestly desiring that the Queen and Mother of Christendom may hear these Our prayers, and by her peace make happy a world shaken by hate, and may, after this exile show unto us all Jesus, Who will be our eternal peace and joy, to you, Venerable Brothers, and to your flocks, as a promise of God's divine help and a pledge of Our love, from Our heart We impart the Apostolic Benediction.

53. Given at Rome, from St. Peter's, on the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eleventh day of October, 1954, in the sixteenth year of our Pontificate.



REFERENCES:




  • 1. Cf. constitutio apostolica Munificentissirnus Deus: AAS XXXXII 1950, p. 753 sq.
  • 2. Cf. Iitt. enc. Fulgens corona: AAS XXXXV, 1953, p. 577 sq.
  • 3. Cf. AAS XXXVIII, 1946, p. 264 sq.
  • 4. Cf. L'Osservatore Romano, d. 19 Maii, a. 1946.
  • 5. Luc. 1, 32.
  • 6. Isai. IX, 6.
  • 7. Apoc. XIX, 16.
  • 8. Cf. Luc. 1, 32, 33.
  • 9. Luc. 1, 43.
  • 10. S. Ephraem, Hymni de B Mana, ed. Th. J. Lamy, t. II, Mechliniae, 1886, hymn. XIX, p. 624.
  • 11. Idem, Oratio ad Ssmam Dei Matrem; Opera omnia, Ed. Assemani, t. III (graece), Romae, 1747, pag. 546.
  • 12. S. Gregorius Naz., Poemata dogmatica, XVIII, v. 58; PG XXXVII, 485.
  • 13. Prudentius, Dittochaeum, XXVII: PL LX, 102 A.
  • 14. Hom. in S. Lucam, hom. Vll; ed. Rauer, Origenes' Werke, T. IX, p. 48 (ex catena Marcarii Chrysocephali). Cf. PG XIII, 1902 D.
  • 15. S. Hieronymus, Liber de nominibus hebraeis: PL XXIII, 886.
  • 16. S. Petrus Chrysologus, Sermo 142, De Annuntiatione B.M.V.: PL Lll, 579 C; cf. etiam 582 B; 584 A: "Regina totius exstitit castitatis."
  • 17. Relatio Epiphanii Ep. Constantin.: PL LXII, 498 D.
  • 18. Encomium in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae (inter opera S. Modesti): PG LXXXVI, 3306 B.
  • 19. S. Andreas Cretensis, Homilia II in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae: PG XCVII, 1079 B.
  • 20. Id., Homilia III in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae: PG XCVII, 1099 A.
  • 21. S. Germanus, In Praesentationem Ssmae Deiparae, 1: PG XCVIII, 303 A.
  • 22. Id., In Praesentationem Ssmae Deiparae, n PG XCVIII, 315 C.
  • 23. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Homilia I in Dormitionem B.M.V.: P.G. XCVI, 719 A.
  • 24. Id., De fide orthodoxa, I, IV, c. 14: PG XLIV, 1158 B.
  • 25. De laudibus Mariae (inter opera Venantii Fortunati): PL LXXXVIII, 282 B et 283 A.
  • 26. Ildefonsus Toletanus, De virginitate perpetua B.M.V.: PL XCVI, 58 A D.
  • 27. S. Martinus 1, Epist. XIV: PL LXXXVII, 199-200 A.
  • 28. S. Agatho: PL LXXXVII, 1221 A.
  • 29. Hardouin, Acta Conciliorum, IV, 234; 238: PL LXXXIX, 508 B.
  • 30. Xystus IV, bulla Cum praeexcelsa. d. d. 28 Febr. a. 1476.
  • 31. Benedictus XIV, bulla Gloriosae Dominae, d. d. 27 Sept. a. 1748.
  • 32. S. Alfonso, Le glone de Maria, p. I, c. I, 1.
  • 33. Ex liturgia Armenorum: in festo Assumptionis, hymnus ad Matutinum.
  • 34. Ex Menaeo (byzantino): Dominica post Natalem, in Canone, ad Matutinum.
  • 35. Officium hymni Axathistos (in ritu byzantino).
  • 36. Missale Aethiopicum, Anaphora Dominae nostrae Mariae, Matris Dei.
  • 37. Brev. Rom., Versiculus sexti Respons.
  • 38. Festum Assumptionis; hymnus Laudum.
  • 39. Ibidem, ad Magnificat 11 Vesp.
  • 40. Luc. 1, 32, 33.
  • 41. Ibid. 1, 43.
  • 42. S. Ioannes Damascenus, De fide orthodoxa, 1. IV, c. 14; PL XCIV, 1158 s. B.
  • 43. I Petr. 1, 18, 19.
  • 44. I Cor. Vl, 20.
  • 45. Pius Xl, litt. enc. Quas primas: AAS XVII, 1925, p. 599.
  • 46. Festum septem dolorum B. Mariae Virg., Tractus.
  • 47. Eadmerus, De excellentia Virginis Mariae, c. 11: PL CLIX, 508 A B.
  • 48. F. Suarez, De mysteriis vitae Christi, disp. XXII, sect. 11 (ed Vives, XIX, 327).
  • 49. S. Irenaeus, Adv. haer., V, 19, 1: PG VII, 1175 B.
  • 50. Pius Xl, epist. Auspicatus profecto: AAS XXV, 1933, p. 80.
  • 51. Pius XII, litt. enc. Mystici Corporis: AAS XXXV, 1943, p. 247.
  • 52. S. Sophronius, In annuntianone Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG LXXXVII, 3238 D; 3242 A.
  • 53. S. Germanus, Hom. II in dormitione Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVIII, 354 B.
  • 54. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Hom. I in Dormitionem Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVI, 715 A.
  • 55. Pius IX, bulla Ineffabilis Deus: Acta Pii IX, I, p. 597-598.
  • 56. Ibid. p. 618.
  • 57. Leo Xlll, litt. enc. Adiumcem populi: ASS, XXVIIl, 1895-1896,p.130.
  • 58. Pius X, litt enc. Ad diem illum: ASS XXXVI, 1903-1904, p.455.
  • 59. S. Thomas, Summa Theol., I, q. 25, a. 6, ad 4.
  • 60. Pius Xll, litt. enc. Humani generis: AAS XLII, 1950, p. 569.
  • 61. Ex Brev. Rom.: Festum Assumptionis Beatae Mariae Virginis.
  • 62. Cf. Gen. IX, 13.
  • 63. Eccl. XLIII, 12-13.
  • --------------------
    [cf., Vatican.va: Ad caeli reginam]

    Live well!

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    The Great American Eclipse

    Total solar eclipse
    A view of a total solar eclipse [By I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1107408]


    Today, 21 August 2017, is a date that has sat on my to-do calendar for quite a few years now: the date that a total solar eclipse will pass across the United States of America from Oregon to South Carolina, and will be visible as a partial eclipse over much of the rest of the country.



    Geometry of a solar eclipse.

    What is a solar eclipse?

    Simply, it is the rather infrequent situation where the moon passes precisely between the sun and the earth, allowing its shadow to fall over a narrow part of the surface of the earth.  The means that for that narrow swath of land that falls in the shadow of the moon, the sun is blotted out for a few minutes.

    Earth has a pronounced axial tilt; the Moon's orbit is not perpendicular to Earth's axis, but lies close to Earth's orbital plane.
    This diagram illustrates how the moon orbits the earth at just over 5 degrees in divergence from that of the earth around the sun (or off of the ecliptic), meaning that solar eclipses are infrequent.


    Of course, this can only occur when a moon is at its new moon phase.  Typically the new moon is simply invisible to us, and since the moon orbits the earth at a divergence from the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun through the starts) of just over 5 degrees, most of the time the shadow of the moon entirely misses the earth.  The solar eclipse is an exception, however, and the total solar eclipse, in particular, is a dramatic deviation from the norm.

    The difference between the partial and total solar eclipse is impressive, and this consideration illustrates: "Since the photosphere is 1 million times brighter than the corona, even a 99 percent partial eclipse still leaves 1 percent of 1 million times, or 10,000 times, more light from the photosphere than there is from the corona." -- Jay Pasachoff, Stars and Planets, 490-491.

    For that reason, the total solar eclipse is described as one of the most compelling natural phenomenon.


    Time-lapse of the 2008 total eclipse in 3 minute intervals. 
    [By User:Kalan - Based on 38 own photos, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4512025]


    Today, the remarkable experience of totality will occur for folks in the narrow band running coast-to-coast for around 2 minutes.  What a two minutes it should be!

    For more information on the one that is occurring today, you might note some of the following resources.

    This site, from NASA, gives you an interactive map of the eclipse route, allowing you to pin-point the time of the eclipse by location:
    NASA Eclipse Route Map

    Also from NASA, here is the link to the live broadcast of the event: NASA TV

    This site will allow you to run a simulator to view what the eclipse will look like from any location: Eclipse Simulator

    If you are looking to learn more about solar eclipses, or to teach about them, here is a useful resource: American Astronomical Society: Teaching the Eclipse

    If you have the chance to see it, enjoy!

    If you don't, well, the next total solar eclipse in the United States, at least, will come on 8 April 2024, so you might put that on your calendar...

    SE2024Apr08T.png
    The 8 April 2024 total solar eclipse map.

    May these remarkable celestial events reinforce for all of us the greatness of our Creator who set it all in motion...

    Live well!

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    Feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

    Today, 20 August, although pre-empted by the observance of Sunday this year, is the feast of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Bernard of Clairvaux -- the Mellifluous Doctor.

    St. Bernard was an early member of the Cistercian Order, a reform order of monks that sought to return to a more austere observance of Benedictine monastic life.  In 1115, St. Bernard founded a daughter house of Citeaux at Clairvaux, marking the start of another sort of monastic revival – more austere than Cluny.  Though a monk, he would be deeply involved in repairing schisms in the Church, supporting the Pontificate of Innocent II, working with St. Norbert, and giving advice to a great many crowned heads.  St. Bernard would be known for his beautiful writings on Our Lady and the Truths of the Faith, earning him the wonderful title of Mellifluous Doctor.  He died at Clairvaux in the year 1153AD.



    St. Bernard of Clairvaux by Georg Wasshuber (+1732)


    One of St. Bernard's associates, Bernard of Pisa, who was the abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Tre Fontane, the site of the martydom of St. Paul just outside Rome, was actually elected Pope, taking the name Pope Eugene III (1145-1153).  He would be a holy reforming pope in the mold of St. Leo IX, St. Gregory VII, and Blessed Urban II.

    In December 1144 the city of Edessa – recall it was one of the Crusader states in the Middle East – fell to Seljuqs under Imad al-Din Zengi, Atabeg of Mosul (1127-1146).  Christendom was shocked, and the pope responded with another call to Crusade to defend the Holy Land and the Christians there.  This call to Crusade came on 14 December 1145.  St. Bernard of Clairvaux would be the preacher – and he sent out letters.  The next spring, 31 March 1146, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was preaching the Crusade in France – at Vezeley – and King Louis VII of France agreed to take up the cross. (Abbot Suger, credited with being the originator of Gothic architecture, would watch the kingdom while the king was gone)  St. Bernard then crossed into Germany, and at the famous Diet of Speyer, the Emperor Conrad III took the cross – this on Christmas 1146.  Despite the impressive recruits and good intentions, this Second Crusade would fall well short of its goals, and be abandoned, without recovering Edessa, in 1148.

    St. Bernard also assisted in writing the rule and forming the Knights Templar. Indeed, to this end, he wrote an eloquent and robust letter giving advice to the members of this new Chivalrous order. He exhorts, "So go forth in safety, knights, and drive out the enemies of the cross of Christ with fearless intention, certain that neither death nor life can separate you from God’s love, which Jesus Christ embodies; in every moment of danger, fulfill through your own actions the principle: ‘Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.’ ‘How glorious the victors returned from battle! How blessed those martyrs who died in battle!Rejoice, brave fighter, if you live and conquer in the Lord; but rather exult and glory, if you die and are joined to the Lord. Life can be fruitful and victory can be glorious; but sacred death is properly to be preferred to either, for if ‘they are blessed who die in the Lord,’ are they not much more so who die on the Lord’s behalf?" and further on he observes, "If a Christian is not allowed to strike with the sword, then why did the Savior’s precursor bid knights be content with their earnings, instead of forbidding them knighthood altogether?" You can read the full text here: St. Bernard: Novae Militiae

    This link provides a good account of the life of St. Bernard: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Bernard

    This webpage gives a brief overview with some images, links to other sites, and a few other details: Catholic Saints Info: St. Bernard

    Finally here is the encyclical letter of Pope Pius XII from 1953AD on St. Bernard: Pope Pius XII, Doctor Mellifluus

    Live well!

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    St. Helen, Mother of Emperor Constantine I

    Today is the Feast of St. Helen, the holy mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I.  She is best known for her discovery of the True Cross of Our Lord in Jerusalem. St. Helen helped establish notable Churches, such as that of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but also brought many precious relics back to Rome.  Tradition has it that she was born in Britain, and we know that she was espoused to the Emperor Constantius Chlorus.

    File:Helena of Constantinople (Cima da Conegliano).jpg
    St. Helen of Constantinople by Cima da Conegliano (1495AD)

    You can read more about the life of St. Helen here: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Helen

    This site gives a short summary about today's saint with a few images and links: Catholic Saints Info: St. Helen

    This page, while not exactly for the Feast of St. Helen, does discuss the finding of the Cross -- a feast once in early May, but later combined with that of September (the Sept. feast was inspired by the defeat of the Persians by the Emperor Heraclius and the recovery of the relics in the 7th century):
    Fisheaters: Exaltation of the Holy Cross


    Santa croce di gerusalemme at Night.jpg
    The Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.
    ["Santa croce di gerusalemme at Night" by Livioandronico2013 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

    The Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome, just down the Via Carlo Felice from the Pope's Cathedral at San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran) in the southeast corner of the city, was built around a part of the palace of St. Helen.  It was here that the relics brought back to the Eternal City by St. Helen were, and still are, housed for veneration.  These include: part of the inscription, a nail, a couple of thorns, parts of the True Cross, the cross beam of the good thief’s cross, and the finger of St. Thomas.  It is certainly well worth a visit!

    Here is a link to the parish website: Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Roma

    Live well!

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    Traditional Feast of St. Joachim

    File:Friesach - Dominikanerkirche - Hochaltar - Hl Joachim.jpg
    St. Joachim.  Statue in the Dominican Church of Friesach, Austria.


    St. Joachim is, according to venerable tradition, the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus, the grandfather of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    "The holy Patriach Joachim was the husband of St. Anne, and the father of our Lady.  This feast, originally kept on March 20, was transferred to this day following the Assumption, in order to associate the Blessed Daughter and her holy father in triumph." [The Daily Missal, Baronius Press, 2007, pg. 1439]

    Of course, although today is his traditional feast since the time of St. Pius X, it is combined with St. Anne, on 26 July, in the calendar of 1970.

    Still, considering his honored role, and historic feast on this date, St. Joachim certainly merits his own blog post!

    For more on St. Joachim:
    Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Joachim

    Catholics Saints Info: St. Joachim

    "Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him. Joachim and Anne, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: “By their fruits you will know them.” The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during, and after giving birth. She along for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body. Joachim and Anne, how chaste a couple! While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is."  Sermon of St. John of Damascus, (+750AD), from the patron saint site above.

    This blogger has had the opportunity to visit a rather beautiful Church of St. Joachim in Quebec.  Here is the website of that municipality, also bearing the name of the saint: Municipality of St. Joachim in Quebec, Canada

    So, pray for the intercession of St. Joachim, and remember to pray for your grandfathers today!

    Live well!

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    File:Tizian 041.jpg
    The Assumption, by Titian, ca. 1516-1518AD


    Today is the great feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  On this day we celebrate the Assumption of the Mother of Jesus Christ, body and soul, into heaven.  Historically today was known as Marymass or St. Mary's Day, and is a Holy Day of Obligation.

    "Mary was cared for by St. John for twelve years after our Lord's Resurrection.  Her life was spent in helping the Apostles and in praying for the conversion of the world.  On the third day after Mary's death, when the Apostles gathered around her  tomb, they found it empty.  The sacred body had been carried up to the celestial paradise.  Jesus Himself came to conduct her thither; the whole court of heaven came to welcome with songs of triumph the Mother of the Divine Word." [The Daily Missal, Baronius Press, 2007, pg. 1435]

    This link provides a little history of the glorious feast: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

    A great resource, with mention of customs, and a reading, is that of Fisheaters: Fisheaters: Assumption


    The great master of polyphony, Giovanni Pierluiga da Palestrina wrote a Mass for the occasion, Assumpta est Maria, well worth a listen:



    A couple of great Churches dedicated to the Assumption are:
    The Cathedral-Basilica of the Premier See of Baltimore, Maryland, Cathedral-Basilica of Baltimore
    and the Cathedral-Basilica of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, Cathedral-Basilica of Covington.



    The Assumption of the Virgin, Francesco Botticini, ca. 1475AD


    In 1950AD, the Supreme Roman Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, solemnly defined the dogma of the Assumption, reaffirming the constant faith of the Catholic and Orthodox.

    What better way to appreciate this Feast, and understand its place in Catholic Doctrine, than to read the declaration of Pope Pius defined the Dogma of the Assumption?  I present here, in full, the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, dated 1 November 1950AD:

    -------------------------

    DEFINING THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION

    Munificentissimus Deus
    Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950
    1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

    2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

    3. Actually God, who from all eternity regards Mary with a most favorable and unique affection, has "when the fullness of time came"[2] put the plan of his providence into effect in such a way that all the privileges and prerogatives he had granted to her in his sovereign generosity were to shine forth in her in a kind of perfect harmony. And, although the Church has always recognized this supreme generosity and the perfect harmony of graces and has daily studied them more and more throughout the course of the centuries, still it is in our own age that the privilege of the bodily Assumption into heaven of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, has certainly shone forth more clearly.

    4. That privilege has shone forth in new radiance since our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God's Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another. Christ overcame sin and death by his own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul.

    5. Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.

    6. Thus, when it was solemnly proclaimed that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was from the very beginning free from the taint of original sin, the minds of the faithful were filled with a stronger hope that the day might soon come when the dogma of the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven would also be defined by the Church's supreme teaching authority.

    7. Actually it was seen that not only individual Catholics, but also those who could speak for nations or ecclesiastical provinces, and even a considerable number of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, urgently petitioned the Apostolic See to this effect.

    8. During the course of time such postulations and petitions did not decrease but rather grew continually in number and in urgency. In this cause there were pious crusades of prayer. Many outstanding theologians eagerly and zealously carried out investigations on this subject either privately or in public ecclesiastical institutions and in other schools where the sacred disciplines are taught. Marian Congresses, both national and international in scope, have been held in many parts of the Catholic world. These studies and investigations have brought out into even clearer light the fact that the dogma of the Virgin Mary's Assumption into heaven is contained in the deposit of Christian faith entrusted to the Church. They have resulted in many more petitions, begging and urging the Apostolic See that this truth be solemnly defined.

    9. In this pious striving, the faithful have been associated in a wonderful way with their own holy bishops, who have sent petitions of this kind, truly remarkable in number, to this See of the Blessed Peter. Consequently, when we were elevated to the throne of the supreme pontificate, petitions of this sort had already been addressed by the thousands from every part of the world and from every class of people, from our beloved sons the Cardinals of the Sacred College, from our venerable brethren, archbishops and bishops, from dioceses and from parishes.

    10. Consequently, while we sent up earnest prayers to God that he might grant to our mind the light of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to make a decision on this most serious subject, we issued special orders in which we commanded that, by corporate effort, more advanced inquiries into this matter should be begun and that, in the meantime, all the petitions about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven which had been sent to this Apostolic See from the time of Pius IX, our predecessor of happy memory, down to our own days should be gathered together and carefully evaluated.[3]

    11. And, since we were dealing with a matter of such great moment and of such importance, we considered it opportune to ask all our venerable brethren in the episcopate directly and authoritatively that each of them should make known to us his mind in a formal statement. Hence, on May 1, 1946, we gave them our letter "Deiparae Virginis Mariae," a letter in which these words are contained: "Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?"

    12. But those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God"[4] gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This "outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,"[5] affirming that the bodily Assumption of God's Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant teaching of the Church's ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to his Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.[6] Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth,[7] and therefore absolutely without error, carries out the commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the Vatican Council teaches, "the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by his revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by his assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the apostles, or the deposit of faith."[8] Thus, from the universal agreement of the Church's ordinary teaching authority we have a certain and firm proof, demonstrating that the Blessed Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven- which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the heavenly glorification of the virginal body of the loving Mother of God is concerned-is a truth that has been revealed by God and consequently something that must be firmly and faithfully believed by all children of the Church. For, as the Vatican Council asserts, "all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written Word of God or in Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed."[9]

    13. Various testimonies, indications and signs of this common belief of the Church are evident from remote times down through the course of the centuries; and this same belief becomes more clearly manifest from day to day.

    14. Christ's faithful, through the teaching and the leadership of their pastors, have learned from the sacred books that the Virgin Mary, throughout the course of her earthly pilgrimage, led a life troubled by cares, hardships, and sorrows, and that, moreover, what the holy old man Simeon had foretold actually came to pass, that is, that a terribly sharp sword pierced her heart as she stood under the cross of her divine Son, our Redeemer. In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, had actually passed from this life. But this in no way prevented them from believing and from professing openly that her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb, and that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes. Actually, enlightened by divine grace and moved by affection for her, God's Mother and our own dearest Mother, they have contemplated in an ever clearer light the wonderful harmony and order of those privileges which the most provident God has lavished upon this loving associate of our Redeemer, privileges which reach such an exalted plane that, except for her, nothing created by God other than the human nature of Jesus Christ has ever reached this level.

    15. The innumerable temples which have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven clearly attest this faith. So do those sacred images, exposed therein for the veneration of the faithful, which bring this unique triumph of the Blessed Virgin before the eyes of all men. Moreover, cities, dioceses, and individual regions have been placed under the special patronage and guardianship of the Virgin Mother of God assumed into heaven. In the same way, religious institutes, with the approval of the Church, have been founded and have taken their name from this privilege. Nor can we pass over in silence the fact that in the Rosary of Mary, the recitation of which this Apostolic See so urgently recommends, there is one mystery proposed for pious meditation which, as all know, deals with the Blessed Virgin's Assumption into heaven.

    16. This belief of the sacred pastors and of Christ's faithful is universally manifested still more splendidly by the fact that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege. The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have never failed to draw enlightenment from this fact since, as everyone knows, the sacred liturgy, "because it is the profession, subject to the supreme teaching authority within the Church, of heavenly truths, can supply proofs and testimonies of no small value for deciding a particular point of Christian doctrine."[10]

    17. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: "Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself."[11]

    18. What is here indicated in that sobriety characteristic of the Roman liturgy is presented more clearly and completely in other ancient liturgical books. To take one as an example, the Gallican sacramentary designates this privilege of Mary's as "an ineffable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin's Assumption is something unique among men." And, in the Byzantine liturgy, not only is the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption connected time and time again with the dignity of the Mother of God, but also with the other privileges, and in particular with the virginal motherhood granted her by a singular decree of God's Providence. "God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you a virgin in childbirth, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb."[12]

    19. The fact that the Apostolic See, which has inherited the function entrusted to the Prince of the Apostles, the function of confirming the brethren in the faith,[13] has by its own authority, made the celebration of this feast ever more solemn, has certainly and effectively moved the attentive minds of the faithful to appreciate always more completely the magnitude of the mystery it commemorates. So it was that the Feast of the Assumption was elevated from the rank which it had occupied from the beginning among the other Marian feasts to be classed among the more solemn celebrations of the entire liturgical cycle. And, when our predecessor St. Sergius I prescribed what is known as the litany, or the stational procession, to be held on four Marian feasts, he specified together the Feasts of the Nativity, the Annunciation, the Purification, and the  Dormition of the Virgin Mary.[14] Again, St. Leo IV saw to it that the feast, which was already being celebrated under the title of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, should be observed in even a more solemn way when he ordered a vigil to be held on the day before it and prescribed prayers to be recited after it until the octave day. When this had been done, he decided to take part himself in the celebration, in the midst of a great multitude of the faithful.[15] Moreover, the fact that a holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which "the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes."[16]

    20. However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ's faithful. They presented it more clearly. They offered more profound explanations of its meaning and nature, bringing out into sharper light the fact that this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death, her heavenly glorification after the example of her only begotten Son, Jesus Christ-truths that the liturgical books had frequently touched upon concisely and briefly.

    21. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."[17]

    22. These words of St. John Damascene agree perfectly with what others have taught on this same subject. Statements no less clear and accurate are to be found in sermons delivered by Fathers of an earlier time or of the same period, particularly on the occasion of this feast. And so, to cite some other examples, St. Germanus of Constantinople considered the fact that the body of Mary, the virgin Mother of God, was incorrupt and had been taken up into heaven to be in keeping, not only with her divine motherhood, but also with the special holiness of her virginal body. "You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."[18] And another very ancient writer asserts: "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him."[19]

    23. When this liturgical feast was being celebrated ever more widely and with ever increasing devotion and piety, the bishops of the Church and its preachers in continually greater numbers considered it their duty openly and clearly to explain the mystery that the feast commemorates, and to explain how it is intimately connected with the other revealed truths.

    24. Among the scholastic theologians there have not been lacking those who, wishing to inquire more profoundly into divinely revealed truths and desirous of showing the harmony that exists between what is termed the theological demonstration and the Catholic faith, have always considered it worthy of note that this privilege of the Virgin Mary's Assumption is in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture.

    25. When they go on to explain this point, they adduce various proofs to throw light on this privilege of Mary. As the first element of these demonstrations, they insist upon the fact that, out of filial love for his mother, Jesus Christ has willed that she be assumed into heaven. They base the strength of their proofs on the incomparable dignity of her divine motherhood and of all those prerogatives which follow from it. These include her exalted holiness, entirely surpassing the sanctity of all men and of the angels, the intimate union of Mary with her Son, and the affection of preeminent love which the Son has for his most worthy Mother.

    26. Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers,[20] have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption. Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist: "Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified"[21]; and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord's temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven. Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer.[22] Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles "that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense" to be crowned.[23] These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom.

    27. Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.[24] Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,"[25] since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve.

    28. Thus, during the earliest period of scholastic theology, that most pious man, Amadeus, Bishop of Lausarme, held that the Virgin Mary's flesh had remained incorrupt-for it is wrong to believe that her body has seen corruption-because it was really united again to her soul and, together with it, crowned with great glory in the heavenly courts. "For she was full of grace and blessed among women. She alone merited to conceive the true God of true God, whom as a virgin, she brought forth, to whom as a virgin she gave milk, fondling him in her lap, and in all things she waited upon him with loving care."[26]

    29. Among the holy writers who at that time employed statements and various images and analogies of Sacred Scripture to Illustrate and to confirm the doctrine of the Assumption, which was piously believed, the Evangelical Doctor, St. Anthony of Padua, holds a special place. On the feast day of the Assumption, while explaining the prophet's words: "I will glorify the place of my feet,"[27] he stated it as certain that the divine Redeemer had bedecked with supreme glory his most beloved Mother from whom he had received human flesh. He asserts that "you have here a clear statement that the Blessed Virgin has been assumed in her body, where was the place of the Lord's feet. Hence it is that the holy Psalmist writes: 'Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark which you have sanctified."' And he asserts that, just as Jesus Christ has risen from the death over which he triumphed and has ascended to the right hand of the Father, so likewise the ark of his sanctification "has risen up, since on this day the Virgin Mother has been taken up to her heavenly dwelling."[28]

    30. When, during the Middle Ages, scholastic theology was especially flourishing, St. Albert the Great who, to establish this teaching, had gathered together many proofs from Sacred Scripture, from the statements of older writers, and finally from the liturgy and from what is known as theological reasoning, concluded in this way: "From these proofs and authorities and from many others, it is manifest that the most blessed Mother of God has been assumed above the choirs of angels. And this we believe in every way to be true."[29] And, in a sermon which he delivered on the sacred day of the Blessed Virgin Mary's annunciation, explained the words "Hail, full of grace"-words used by the angel who addressed her-the Universal Doctor, comparing the Blessed Virgin with Eve, stated clearly and incisively that she was exempted from the fourfold curse that had been laid upon Eve.[30]

    31. Following the footsteps of his distinguished teacher, the Angelic Doctor, despite the fact that he never dealt directly with this question, nevertheless, whenever he touched upon it, always held together with the Catholic Church, that Mary's body had been assumed into heaven along with her soul.[31]

    32. Along with many others, the Seraphic Doctor held the same views. He considered it as entirely certain that, as God had preserved the most holy Virgin Mary from the violation of her virginal purity and integrity in conceiving and in childbirth, he would never have permitted her body to have been resolved into dust and ashes.[32] Explaining these words of Sacred Scripture: "Who is this that comes up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?"[33] and applying them in a kind of accommodated sense to the Blessed Virgin, he reasons thus: "From this we can see that she is there bodily...her blessedness would not have been complete unless she were there as a person. The soul is not a person, but the soul, joined to the body, is a person. It is manifest that she is there in soul and in body. Otherwise she would not possess her complete beatitude.[34]

    33. In the fifteenth century, during a later period of scholastic theology, St. Bernardine of Siena collected and diligently evaluated all that the medieval theologians had said and taught on this question. He was not content with setting down the principal considerations which these writers of an earlier day had already expressed, but he added others of his own. The likeness between God's Mother and her divine Son, in the way of the nobility and dignity of body and of soul-a likeness that forbids us to think of the heavenly Queen as being separated from the heavenly Kingmakes it entirely imperative that Mary "should be only where Christ is."[35] Moreover, it is reasonable and fitting that not only the soul and body of a man, but also the soul and body of a woman should have obtained heavenly glory. Finally, since the Church has never looked for the bodily relics of the Blessed Virgin nor proposed them for the veneration of the people, we have a proof on the order of a sensible experience.[36]

    34. The above-mentioned teachings of the holy Fathers and of the Doctors have been in common use during more recent times. Gathering together the testimonies of the Christians of earlier days, St. Robert Bellarmine exclaimed: "And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms."[37]

    35. In like manner St. Francis of Sales, after asserting that it is wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has himself observed, in the most perfect way, the divine commandment by which children are ordered to honor their parents, asks this question: "What son would not bring his mother back to life and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?"[38] And St. Alphonsus writes that "Jesus did not wish to have the body of Mary corrupted after death, since it would have redounded to his own dishonor to have her virginal flesh, from which he himself had assumed flesh, reduced to dust."[39]

    36. Once the mystery which is commemorated in this feast had been placed in its proper light, there were not lacking teachers who, instead of dealing with the theological reasonings that show why it is fitting and right to believe the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, chose to focus their mind and attention on the faith of the Church itself, which is the Mystical Body of Christ without stain or wrinkle[40] and is called by the Apostle "the pillar and ground of truth."[41] Relying on this common faith, they considered the teaching opposed to the doctrine of our Lady's Assumption as temerarious, if not heretical. Thus, like not a few others, St. Peter Canisius, after he had declared that the very word "assumption" signifies the glorification, not only of the soul but also of the body, and that the Church has venerated and has  solemnly celebrated this mystery of Mary's Assumption for many centuries, adds these words of warning: "This teaching has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary's body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic."[42]

    37. At the same time the great Suarez was professing in the field of mariology the norm that "keeping in mind the standards of propriety, and when there is no contradiction or repugnance on the part of Scripture, the mysteries of grace which God has wrought in the Virgin must be measured, not by the ordinary laws, but by the divine omnipotence."[43] Supported by the common faith of the entire Church on the subject of the mystery of the Assumption, he could conclude that this mystery was to be believed with the same firmness of assent as that given to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Thus he already held that such truths could be defined.

    38. All these proofs and considerations of the holy Fathers and the theologians are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation. These set the loving Mother of God as it were before our very eyes as most intimately joined to her divine Son and as always sharing his lot. Consequently it seems impossible to think of her, the one who conceived Christ, brought him forth, nursed him with her milk, held him in her arms, and clasped him to her breast, as being apart from him in body, even though not in soul, after this earthly life. Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God's law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, we must believe that he really acted in this way.

    39. We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the new Eve, who, although subject to the new Adam, is most intimately associated with him in that struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the protoevangelium,[44] would finally result in that most complete victory over the sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles.[45] Consequently, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part  and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body, for the same Apostle says: "When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory."[46]

    40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,[47] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.[48]

    41. Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith-this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians-we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.

    42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ's Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father's will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

    43. We rejoice greatly that this solemn event falls, according to the design of God's providence, during this Holy Year, so that we are able, while the great Jubilee is being observed, to adorn the brow of God's Virgin Mother with this brilliant gem, and to leave a monument more enduring than bronze of our own most fervent love for the Mother of God.

    44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

    46. In order that this, our definition of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven may be brought to the attention of the universal Church, we desire that this, our Apostolic Letter, should stand for perpetual remembrance, commanding that written copies of it, or even printed copies, signed by the hand of any public notary and bearing the seal of a person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, should be accorded by all men the same reception they would give to this present letter, were it tendered or shown.

    47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    48. Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the great Jubilee, 1950, on the first day of the month of November, on the Feast of All Saints, in the twelfth year of our pontificate.

    I, PIUS, Bishop of the Catholic Church, have signed, so defining.


    ENDNOTES
    1. Rom 8:28.







  • 2. Gal 4:4.
  • 3. Cf. Hentrich-Von Moos, Petitiones de Assumptione Corporea B. Virginis Mariae in Caelum Definienda ad S. Sedem Delatae, 2 volumes (Vatican Polyglot Press, 1942).
  • 4. Acts 20:28.
  • 5. The Bull Ineffabilis Deus, in the Acta Pii IX, pars 1, Vol. 1, p. 615.
  • 6. The Vatican Council, Constitution Dei filius, c. 4.
  • 7. Jn 14:26.
  • 8. Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus, c. 4.
  • 9. Ibid., Dei Filius, c. 3.
  • 10. The encyclical Mediator Dei (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XXXIX, 541).
  • 11. Sacramentarium Gregorianum.
  • 12. Menaei Totius Anni.
  • 13. Lk 22:32.
  • 14. Liber Pontificalis.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Responsa Nicolai Papae I ad Consulta Bulgarorum.
  • 17. St. John Damascene, Encomium in Dormitionem Dei Genetricis Semperque Virginis Mariae, Hom. II, n. 14; cf. also ibid, n. 3.
  • 18. St. Germanus of Constantinople, In Sanctae Dei Genetricis Dormitionem, Sermo I.
  • 19. The Encomium in Dormitionem Sanctissimae Dominae Nostrate Deiparae Semperque Virginis Mariae, attributed to St. Modestus of Jerusalem, n. 14.
  • 20. Cf. St. John Damascene, op. cit., Hom. II, n. 11; and also the Encomium attributed to St. Modestus. 
  • 21. Ps 131:8.
  • 22. Ps 44:10-14ff.
  • 23. Song 3:6; cf. also 4:8; 6:9.
  • 24. Rv 12:1ff.
  • 25. Lk 1:28.
  • 26. Amadeus of Lausanne, De Beatae Virginis Obitu, Assumptione in Caelum Exaltatione ad Filii Dexteram.
  • 27. Is 61:13.
  • 28. St. Anthony of Padua, Sermones Dominicales et in Solemnitatibus, In Assumptione S. Mariae Virginis Sermo.
  • 29. St. Albert the Great, Mariale, q. 132.
  • 30. St. Albert the Great, Sermones de SanctisSermo XV in Annuntiatione B. Mariae; cf. also Mariale, q. 132.
  • 31. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Illa; q. 27, a. 1; q. 83, a. 5, ad 8; Expositio Salutationis AngelicaeIn Symb. Apostolorum Expositio, a. S; In IV Sent., d. 12, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 3; d. 43, q. 1, a. 3, sol. 1, 2.
  • 32. St. Bonaventure, De Nativitate B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo V.
  • 33. Song 8:5.
  • 34. St. Bonaventure, De Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 1.
  • 35. St. Bernardine of Siena, In Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis, Sermo 11.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. St. Robert Bellarmine, Conciones Habitae Lovanii, n. 40, De Assumption B. Mariae Virginis.
  • 38. Oeuvres de St. Francois De Sales, sermon for the Feast of the Assumption.
  • 39. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, Part 2, d. 1.
  • 40. Eph 5:27.
  • 41. I Tm 3:15.
  • 42. St. Peter Canisius, De Maria Virgine.
  • 43. Suarez, In Tertiam Partem D. Thomae, q. 27, a. 2, disp. 3, sec. 5, n. 31.
  • 44. Gn 3:15.
  • 45. Rm 5-6; I Cor. 15:21-26, 54-57.
  • 46. I Cor 15:54.
  • 47. The Bull Ineffabilis Deusloc. cit., p. 599.
  • 48. I Tm 1:17.

  • [cf., http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12MUNIF.HTM]
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