Monday, April 13, 2015

ADSS 1.1 Pope Pius XII - Message to the World

ADSS 1.1 Pope Pius XII message to the world

Reference: AES 2210/39; Acta Apostolicae Sedis XXXI (1939), pp 86-87.

Location and date: Vatican, 03.03.1939

Summary statement: A greeting to the entire world, Catholic and non-Catholic, with solemn undertakings in the cause of peace. (1)

Language: Italian.


In this moment when the very heavy responsibility of the Supreme Pontificate (which God, in the hidden wisdom of his providence has placed upon our shoulders) moves us to the depth of our being and well night breaks our spirit, we feel ourselves driven by the necessity, as we turn in spirit, to turn also in fatherly speech to the whole Catholic world.

We salute, with all possible good will, each and every one of our venerable brethren of the episcopate.  We bless the priests, ministers of Jesus Christ and stewards of the Mysteries of God, and We bless also the men and women of the religious orders and all those who assist the hierarchy in its apostolic role, whether they devote their energies to the missions by which the kingdom of Jesus Christ is on all sides extended, or whether, led by their bishops, they strive in Catholic Action.

We finally implore all heavenly gifts and the divine consolation for all our children, wherever in the world they dwell, and especially for the poor and for those whom pain and sorrow afflict.

Our minds turn also to all those whose life is passed beyond the limits of the Catholic Church, and who, we are sure, will gladly hear that, in this solemn hour, we beseech the Almighty and all merciful God to send them his divine assistance.

To this our fatherly message we desire to add an invitation to, and indeed an augury of peace. (2) We speak of that peace which our predecessor of pious memory tried to inspire in men and for which he uttered such fervent prayers, offering his own life to God for the restoration of concord among men; peace, the fairest of all God’s gifts, that passes all understanding, the peace that all men of feeling cannot but strive for; the peace, in fine, which arises from justice and charity.  This is the peace to which we exhort all, the peace which brings new warmth to those already joined in friendship with God, which moderates and tempers private interests with the sacred love of Jesus Christ, the peace which joins nations and peoples through mutual brotherly love, so that each race, by a feeling common to all, by friendly helping alliances, strives with God’s inspiration and aid, for the greater happiness of the whole human family.

Moreover, in such anxious times as these, while so many difficulties, such grace difficulties, seem to prevent that true peace which all so earnestly desire, and to keep it at a distance, we humbly pray to God for all who are placed in authority over states, upon whom falls the heavy burden and the high distinction of leading their peoples to prosperity and to civic progress.

Such, Eminent fathers, Venerable Brothers, and most dear children, is the first desire with which God has inspired our father’s heart.

The very serious ills that afflict men everywhere do not escape our gaze, those ills which, though we be resourceless, save in the aid of the Most High, in which indeed we place all our trust, it is our office to heal.  Borrowing the words of St Paul we urge all, “Receive us”.  We take courage in our trust that you, brethren and most dear children, will be the last to fall short in all that belongs to the work of forwarding this desire of our heart, the peaceful reconciliation of mankind.  After the help of God, it is in your prompt and eager goodwill that our confidence chiefly lies.

May Christ our Lord “of whose fullness we have all received” (John 1.16), harken from heaven to this our desire, that it my be spread through all the world, an augury of comfort and well being, and may the Apostolic Blessing also be a like augury which we most lovingly impart.

(1) Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958) was elected pope during the evening of 02.03.1939.  It was on the following morning, when the cardinals were assembled again in the Sistine Chapel, that the new pope delivered this message.  The pope spoke at about 11.30.
(2) The original Italian text shows more clearly than the Latin version the four kinds of peace, which are distinguishable: 1) spiritual peace; 2) family peace; 3) social peace within nations; and 4) international peace between nations.

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