Sunday, September 25, 2016


(PONT. 6.2.1922 to 10.2.1939)
"8. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise? 

For here there is question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost:[15] has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defence is God Himself? If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy. But the Only-begotten Son of God, when He commanded His representatives to teach all nations, obliged all men to give credence to whatever was made known to them by "witnesses preordained by God,"[16] and also confirmed His command with this sanction: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned."[17] 

These two commands of Christ, which must be fulfilled, the one, namely, to teach, and the other to believe, cannot even be understood, unless the Church proposes a complete and easily understood teaching, and is immune when it thus teaches from all danger of erring. In this matter, those also turn aside from the right path, who think that the deposit of truth such laborious trouble, and with such lengthy study and discussion, that a man's life would hardly suffice to find and take possession of it; as if the most merciful God had spoken through the prophets and His Only-begotten Son merely in order that a few, and those stricken in years, should learn what He had revealed through them, and not that He might inculcate a doctrine of faith and morals, by which man should be guided through the whole course of his moral life."

Such is the power and clarity of Pope Pius XI 's teaching that it requires no commentary, it is the God given Truth and any honest man can hear and understand THAT.


Saturday, September 24, 2016


" And here it seems opportune to expound and to refute a certain false opinion, on which this whole question, as well as that complex movement by which non-Catholics seek to bring about the union of the Christian churches depends.

 For authors who favour this view are accustomed, times almost without number, to bring forward these words of Christ: "That they all may be one.... And there shall be one fold and one shepherd,"[14] with this signification however: that Christ Jesus merely expressed a desire and prayer, which still lacks its fulfilment. For they are of the opinion that the unity of faith and government, which is a note of the one true Church of Christ, has hardly up to the present time existed, and does not to-day exist. They consider that this unity may indeed be desired and that it may even be one day attained through the instrumentality of wills directed to a common end, but that meanwhile it can only be regarded as mere ideal. 

They add that the Church in itself, or of its nature, is divided into sections; that is to say, that it is made up of several churches or distinct communities, which still remain separate, and although having certain articles of doctrine in common, nevertheless disagree concerning the remainder; that these all enjoy the same rights; and that the Church was one and unique from, at the most, the apostolic age until the first Ecumenical Councils. Controversies therefore, they say, and longstanding differences of opinion which keep asunder till the present day the members of the Christian family, must be entirely put aside, and from the remaining doctrines a common form of faith drawn up and proposed for belief, and in the profession of which all may not only know but feel that they are brothers. The manifold churches or communities, if united in some kind of universal federation, would then be in a position to oppose strongly and with success the progress of irreligion. 

This, Venerable Brethren, is what is commonly said. There are some, indeed, who recognise and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it. Among the chief of these they number that which concerns the primacy of jurisdiction, which was granted to Peter and to his successors in the See of Rome. Among them there indeed are some, though few, who grant to the Roman Pontiff a primacy of honour or even a certain jurisdiction or power, but this, however, they consider not to arise from the divine law but from the consent of the faithful. Others again, even go so far as to wish the Pontiff Himself to preside over their motley, so to say, assemblies.

 But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act. it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ."

This is an interesting and even perhaps overly - generous presentation of the Protestant views then being canvassed- and they are still around to-day. The  patent falsity of their view is shown in the organic growth of Christ's Church from the date of the Resurrection until to-day. It is attested in Sacred Scripture and super-abundantly in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. 

The Holy Father proceeds to highlight very effectively the falsity of their position and to speak with Authority on the role of the Successor of Saint Peter and the unique nature of the Church.  

Friday, September 23, 2016


(PONT. 6.2.1922 to 10.2. 1939)

6. We were created by God, the Creator of the universe, in order that we might know Him and serve Him; our Author therefore has a perfect right to our service. God might, indeed, have prescribed for man's government only the natural law, which, in His creation, He imprinted on his soul, and have regulated the progress of that same law by His ordinary providence; but He preferred rather to impose precepts, which we were to obey, and in the course of time, namely from the beginnings of the human race until the coming and preaching of Jesus Christ, He Himself taught man the duties which a rational creature owes to its Creator: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days, hath spoken to us by his Son."[3] From which it follows that there can be no true religion other than that which is founded on the revealed word of God: which revelation, begun from the beginning and continued under the Old Law, Christ Jesus Himself under the New Law perfected. 

Now, if God has spoken (and it is historically certain that He has truly spoken), all must see that it is man's duty to believe absolutely God's revelation and to obey implicitly His commands; that we might rightly do both, for the glory of God and our own salvation, the Only-begotten Son of God founded His Church on earth. Further, We believe that those who call themselves Christians can do no other than believe that a Church, and that Church one, was established by Christ; but if it is further inquired of what nature according to the will of its Author it must be, then all do not agree. A good number of them, for example, deny that the Church of Christ must be visible and apparent, at least to such a degree that it appears as one body of faithful, agreeing in one and the same doctrine under one teaching authority and government; but, on the contrary, they understand a visible Church as nothing else than a Federation, composed of various communities of Christians, even though they adhere to different doctrines, which may even be incompatible one with another.

 Instead, Christ our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head,[4] with an authority teaching by word of mouth,[5] and by the ministry of the sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace;[6] for which reason He attested by comparison the similarity of the Church to a kingdom,[7] to a house,[8] to a sheepfold,[9] and to a flock.[10] This Church, after being so wonderfully instituted, could not, on the removal by death of its Founder and of the Apostles who were the pioneers in propagating it, be entirely extinguished and cease to be, for to it was given the commandment to lead all men, without distinction of time or place, to eternal salvation: "Going therefore, teach ye all nations."[11] In the continual carrying out of this task, will any element of strength and efficiency be wanting to the Church, when Christ Himself is perpetually present to it, according to His solemn promise: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world?"[12] 

It follows then that the Church of Christ not only exists to-day and always, but is also exactly the same as it was in the time of the Apostles, unless we were to say, which God forbid, either that Christ our Lord could not effect His purpose, or that He erred when He asserted that the gates of hell should never prevail against it.[13]


The Holy Father grounds his analysis solidly on the Will of God in the creation of mankind, and shows His initial dealings with the Chosen People by the imposition of The Law. Then, in the fullness of time His Divine Son Jesus Christ becomes Man and through His Sacrificial Death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead fulfils the Old Covenant, supersedes the Law, and establishes His Church on Earth to carry on His Work until the end of the world.

His Holiness goes on to show that that this Church founded by Christ is the Divinely appointed and equipped means to satisfy the needs of Man, and to achieve the conversion of the world. And further, His Holiness points out that it has survived to the present day because of the Divine guarantee given it by Christ and continues to grow in its pursuit of the objectives of the Great Commission.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


(PONT. 6.2.1922 to 10.2.1939)
"3. But some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when there is question of fostering unity among all Christians.

4. Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be "one."[1] And did not the same Christ will that His disciples should be marked out and distinguished from others by this characteristic, namely that they loved one another: "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another"?[2] All Christians, they add, should be as "one": for then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion, which like a serpent daily creeps further and becomes more widely spread, and prepares to rob the Gospel of its strength. 

These things and others that class of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. 

But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.

5. Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians."

So much for the preparatory stage. The Holy Father, the clear thinking former mountain climber has presented the problem and has perceived the danger, now he proceeds to show how these errors and dangers may be avoided and  the Faith left undefiled. His approach to the issues is all common sense. He was a no nonsense man as we have said, no buffoonery, no Media stunts, just solid Catholic teaching. The integrity of his teaching is evidenced in its clarity and precision. He does not run on for hundreds of pages to obscure anything. Rather he makes everything stand out with crystal clarity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


(Pont. 6.2.1922 to 10.2.1939)

"2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. 

Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgement of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."

Please do not be put off by the different style of writing and presentation employed those eight decades ago. I would ask you to carefully re-read the second paragraph above. Pope Pius XI is getting quickly into the heart of a great problem.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


(Pont. 6.2.1922 to 10.2.1939)

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Never perhaps in the past have we seen, as we see in these our own times, the minds of men so occupied by the desire both of strengthening and of extending to the common welfare of human society that fraternal relationship which binds and unites us together, and which is a consequence of our common origin and nature. For since the nations do not yet fully enjoy the fruits of peace - indeed rather do old and new disagreements in various places break forth into sedition and civic strife - and since on the other hand many disputes which concern the tranquillity and prosperity of nations cannot be settled without the active concurrence and help of those who rule the States and promote their interests, it is easily understood, and the more so because none now dispute the unity of the human race, why many desire that the various nations, inspired by this universal kinship, should daily be more closely united one to another."

This is how Pope Pius XI began his great Encyclical "Mortalium Animos". In the coming days we will complete our "bite size" presentation of it section by section  before going on to see what happened since. You might be surprised. You might wonder what has happened?

Monday, September 12, 2016



In the 2012 Winter Edition of "The Priest" -the quarterly publication of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy - Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore in northern New South Wales, wrote two articles one of which was entitled " Liturgy and Evangelisation". A long time maember of the Confraternity, His Lordship had also been its Chairman for a number of years. He is a convert from Anglicanism, having been an Anglican cleric for some years he " swam the Tiber" in 1965.

The Bishop's article in one part raises the question :" what is a church?" In addressing the question he turns to the Anglican architect and writer Sir John Ninian Comper(1864-1960) .

Noting that Comper was not a prolific writer, Bishop Jarrett refers to his little book " On the Atmosphere of a Church" (1947) re-published in 2006 with an Introduction by Father Anthony Symondson S.J. He also notes that the renowned Father Aidan Nichols O.P. demonstrated  present day Catholic interest in Comper's thinking when he wrote for New Blackfriars in 2008.

Referring to the key to Comper's thought on the subject, His lordship notes that Comper believed the Altar to be the central object from which church design should be developed. He likened it to the flame within a lamp. The very purpose of the lamp is to protect and enhance the beauty and utility of the flame. The whole should then work to draw a person instinctively to their knees , in silence before God.

                                 SAINT MARY'S BEAUDESERT VIEW TO THE SANCTUARY

As Comper put it, a church is " a building which enshrines the altar of Him Who.......has made there His Covenanted Presence on earth. It is the centre of Worship in every community of men who recognise Christ as the Pantpkrator , the Almighty, the Ruler and Creator of all things; at its altar is pleaded the daily Sacrifice in complete union with the Church Triumphant in Heaven, of which He is the one and only Head .........  "

He goes on "....To enter therefore a Christian church is to enter none other than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven.
The note of a church should be, not that of novelty, but of eternity. Like the Liturgy celebrated within it, the measure of its greatness will be the measure in which it succeeds in eliminating time and producing the atmosphere of the Heavenly worship.This is the characteristic of the earliest art of the Church , in liturgy in architecture and in plastic decoration, and it is the the tradition of all subsequent ages. "

Comper then reflects on the origins and evolution of what we have :"The Church took over what is eternal in the Jewish and Greek temples, adapting and perfecting it to her use, developing and adding to it in unbroken sequence, and evolving new forms, some of which came to stay and some which needed correction ....just as no moment is perfect, so no reform is perfect, for it will always go a little too far."

He saw architecture as the "handmaid of liturgy"  and held that " no beautiful style should be excluded. But the plan, the "layout" of the church must first be in accord with the requirements of the liturgy and the particular needs of those who worship within it, and the imagery must express the balanced measure of the Faith; and for guidance in both we must look to tradition. There is no need to apologise for doing so in architecture, any more than in music, unless we need apologise for the the guidance of tradition in the interpretation of the New Testament and the creeds of the Church. There are those who do so apologise , and for them tradition in the arts has naturally no appeal. They are consistent; since modernism in art is the natural expression of modernism in doctrine......"

There is a great deal more in Bishop Jarrett's article which I would recommend readers to refer to here: