65 years since the release of ‘Meminisse Iuvat’…

The Last Encyclical:
Pope Pius XII and the Persecuted Church

On July 14, 1958, Pope Pius XII released the encyclical letter Meminisse Iuvat, on the Persecuted Church. It was his last encyclical and thus the last such document from a true Pope for the time being.

The full text in English is available at the Papal Encyclicals Online web site:

That the Holy Father’s final encyclical should have the Church Persecuted for its main theme proved to be providential, considering what transpired after his death, especially during and after the so-called Second Vatican Council (1962-65). It was then that the Modernists, those “partisans of error” so fiercely fought by Pope St. Pius X (d. 1914), emerged from where he had discovered them — namely, not only outside the Church but also “in her very bosom” — and unleashed upon unsuspecting souls the full fury of their wickedness (see Encyclical Pascendi, n. 2). The resultant spiritual and doctrinal wasteland is what is known as the “great renewal” of Vatican II and is currently presided over by the Argentinian apostate Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”).

Pope Pius XII’s Meminisse Iuvat is not very long and makes for edifying reading. We should note that His Holiness addressed the encyclical letter to “the Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.” Notice that he speaks without qualification simply of communion with the Holy See — the idea of “full” versus “partial” or “imperfect” communion did not exist yet. It was invented at Vatican II as part of a modified, false ecclesiology, which was needed to enable the false ecumenism Pius XII and his predecessors had always rejected as contrary to the Catholic doctrine on religious unity.

To help encourage all to read this beautiful last encyclical letter, Meminisse Iuvat, here is a preview of some salient portions of it:

5. It is Christianity, above all others, which teaches the full truth, real justice, and that divine charity which drives away hatred, ill will, and enmity. Christianity has been given charge of these virtues by the Divine Redeemer, who is the way, the truth, and the life, and she must do all in her power to put them to use. Anyone, therefore, who knowingly ignores Christianity — the Catholic Church — or tries to hinder, demean, or undo her, either weakens thereby the very bases of society, or tries to replace them with props not strong enough to support the edifice of human worth, freedom, and well-being.

11. And secondly, We are aware — to the great sorrow of Our fatherly heart — that the Catholic Church, in both its Latin and Oriental rites, is beset in many lands by such persecutions that the clergy and faithful, if not in so many words, certainly in fact, are confronted with this dilemma: to give up public profession and propagation of their faith, or to suffer penalties, even very serious ones. As a result, many bishops have been driven from their sees or so impeded that they cannot freely exercise their ministry; they have even been cast into prison or exiled. And so with rash daring men undertake to fulfill the words: “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”

24. The society which Christ founded can be attacked, but not defeated, for she draws her strength from God, not from man. And yet, there is no doubt that she will be harassed through the centuries by persecutions, by contradictions, by calumnies — as was the lot long ago of her Divine Founder — for He said: “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” But it is equally certain that, just as Christ our Redeemer rose in triumph, so the Church shall someday win a peaceful victory over all her enemies.

25. Have confidence, therefore; be brave and steadfast soldiers. We wish to counsel you in the words of St. Ignatius, martyr, although We know you do not require such counsel: “Serve Him for whom you fight… May none of you desert Him! Your baptism must be a shield; your faith a helmet; your charity a lance; your patience a suit of armor. Your works should be your credentials, so that you may be worthy to receive your reward.”

33. We ardently pray that every diocese might soon have its lawful shepherd again. May Christian principles be taught freely in all lands and among all classes of citizens.

It is always a comforting joy to read a magisterial text from a true Pope. What is strikingly different from most of the junk the false popes of the Vatican II Sect pump out, is that the real papal documents are distinguished not just by their eloquence but also their clarity of speech and relative brevity. Though even some pre-Vatican II encyclicals are quite long — think of Mystici Corporis (Pius XII) or Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII) — one never gets the sense that words have been multiplied unnecessarily. Rather, the texts are filled with meaning, and the Popes are always careful to ensure that even when temporal/earthly things are being discussed, the eternal and supernatural goal is not lost sight of, in line with St. Paul’s exhortation: “Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2).

Most Novus Ordo documents, by contrast, are filled to the brim with turgid, tedious, and sugary sentimental language that glories in ambiguity, vagueness, and (sometimes insufferable) figures of speech. The Synod on Synodality’s recent working document is a prime example. Similarly, in Vatican II’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes it is a real challenge to get past Chapter 1. We won’t even mention the 2013 exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in which Francis outlines the program of his ‘pontificate’ and informs the hapless reader that “time is greater than space” (n. 222) and “realities are greater than ideas” (n. 231).

Returning to Meminisse Juvat, the prophetic words of the last Pope’s final encyclical are comforting to all sedevacantists, and they also constitute a good assessment of our situation for those inclined to recognize our present state. So let us pray for the Holy Father, Pius XII, who was called to judgment less than three months after its publication, on October 9, 1958.

Nothing has been the same since.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (David Seymour)
License: public domain

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