Serving With the Angels : This article was originally written and published by me in the November 1998 former Newsletter "FOUNDATION". It has to-day been amplified slightly to highlight the compelling reasoning of Pope Pius XI.

It is interesting how many treasures both sacred and profane get buried and forgotten with the passage of time -

tilling the soil in Ireland reveals a Mass kit buried for safety (its priestly owner perhaps executed before he could return for it), 

a vast hoard of Roman coins recovered at the bottom of the excavation of an English well (if only the barbarian attackers had known) or,

 a Papal Encyclical buried in the subsequent documentation of World War II and the Second Vatican Council “churchquake”. But the dust has settled and the advent of the computer database is shining light on some gems.

Eighty years ago the great Pope Pius XI issued the crystal clear gem of an encyclical Mortalium Animos on fostering true religious Unity.  He drew attention to what St. Cyprian says:

 “The Spouse of Christ cannot commit adultery; she is incorrupt and modest, she knows one house, she guards with chaste modesty the holiness of one room.” (De Cath. Ecclesiae Unitate, 6.) This same holy martyr marvelled, and with reason, how anyone could think that “the unity which proceeds from the stability of God and is bound together by the sacraments of Heaven could be torn asunder in the Church or separated by the wills of the discordant.” (Ibidem.)

SAINT JOHN by Titian
The great Pope goes on to emphasise
"All remember how John — the very Apostle of Charity who in his Gospel seems to have opened the secrets of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who always inculcated in the minds of his disciples the new commandment, Love ye one another — had wholly forbidden them to have relations with those who did not profess entire and uncorrupted the teachings of Christ. If any man cometh to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house nor say to him, God speed you. (II John 10.) Since charity is founded in whole and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united by the bond of unity in faith and by it as the chief bond."

Pope Pius XI uses his logical scalpel deftly and to great effect in Mortalium Animos :

"Since the Mystical Body of Christ, that is to say, the Church, is, like the physical body, a unity (I Cor. 12, 12), a compact thing closely joined together (Eph. 4, 16), it would be false and foolish to say that Christ’s Mystical Body could be composed of separated and scattered members. Whoever, therefore, is not united with it is not a member of it, nor does he communicate with its Head Who is Christ. No one is found in the one Church of Christ, and no one perseveres in it, unless he acknowledges and accepts obediently the supreme authority of St. Peter and his legitimate successors. (Emphasis added — Ed.) Did not the very ancestors of those who are entangled in the errors of Photius and the Protestants obey the Roman Bishop as the high shepherd of souls?"

Photius, it will be remembered was the heretical Patriarch of Constantinople who was the architect of the Great Schism over the "Filioque" Clause which the Council of Nicea added to the Creed, defining that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son.


Strangely, Mortalium Animos  is not referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or in the Second Vatican Council documents. It seems then ironical, that it was last officially referred to by Pope Saint John XXIII in his very first encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram (To the Chair of Peter) in which he announced the Council ... “this unity, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, must be solid, firm and sure, not transient, uncertain or unstable. Though there is no such unity in other Christian communities, all who look carefully can see that it is present in the Catholic Church.” (with footnote reference to Mortalium Animos).

The between the wars Pan Christian ecumenical movement, which Pius XI so decisively addressed, re-surfaced in the post-war period and in various ways tended to colour the post-Conciliar ecumenical project. In the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s ecumenical fever brought on a great deal of irrational hopes, activity and talk. But in the 1990s and this century the fever has declined, leaving some confused, others lost, and the majority exchanging knowing looks, as one might when an
errant relative comes to his/her senses. 

The accelerating decay of the Anglican “Communion” and the libertarian excesses of the Uniting Church are only two examples of the shock therapy administered to Catholic ecumenical zealots. But 80 years ago the Pope, who - 
in 1930 with Casti Connubii exposed the intellectual fraud of the Anglican decision allowing for the practice of contraception and - 
in 1937 in Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Sorrow)  (smuggled into the Third Reich by a priest on bicycle) blasted the pathetic claims of superiority of race and nation and again-
 in 1937, with Divini Redemptoris, revealed the perversity of Communism, 
with clarity and powerful reasoning and the deftness of a scalpel-wielding surgeon, exposed the perils of, and the reality of the false ecumenism we have in recent decades suffered - and against whose “false irenicism” Pope Saint John Paul the Great repeatedly warned.

Pope Pius XI teaches with impeccable logic, with Saint Cyprian " one room", with Saint John : " ....receive him not.....", we cannot abandon logic, such a great Saint and the Apostle Jesus loved for a mess of "niceness" and equivocation.


Pope Pius XI pray for us.


Popular posts from this blog



WHY I LOVE BEING A PRIEST by the Late Father Gregory JORDAN S.J