Allocution of Pope Saint Pius X
Festivitas Dominicae Passionis (1907)
Allocution of His Holiness Pope Pius X
given to Cardinals gathered in Consistory on Apr. 15, 1907,
on the mournful condition of the Church in France
The liturgical remembrance of the Lord’s Passion, to which we lately attended amid transports of spiritual joys, warned us, with a repeated lesson as it were, that the Church, the Bride of Christ, in pursuing the work of mankind’s regeneration and in the struggle that she has on that account against the world of darkness, is summoned not to comfort on this earth, but to hardships and troubles. To be sure, we heard our very Head affirming of himself, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…?” (Lk 24:26). But indeed, to whatever place the glory of the head has led the way, to that place the hope of the body is also summoned. Surely this must be believed not only with regard to the joy of triumph, but also with regard to the travail of battle.
Furthermore, this is, Venerable Brothers, the faith that stirs and sustains Us in the midst of harsh times, so that, trusting not in Ourself but in God, We may be prepared, by piously and virtuously fulfilling the office of [Our] apostolate, to bear steadfastly all distresses and tribulations. It is not unknown to any one of you that, among Christ’s manifold sufferings that abound in Us, We are very much troubled especially by the harsher conditions that the Church of France experiences every day; indeed, [those conditions] have Us all the more distressed by the fact that We care for [that] most noble nation with too intense an affection. For truly, We solemnly declare that its sufferings are Our sufferings, just as We count its joys among Our joys.
Without a doubt, not satisfied to this point that they have by their own exertions annulled the most just concordats and agreements, that they have snatched away the goods of the Church by force, that they have rejected the ancient and substantial glories of Frenchmen, those who now govern that nation also direct every effort to root out religion entirely from the souls of their compatriots. In order to obtain [this objective], they venture straight ahead upon every extreme and novel affront to the French sense of propriety, with the most harmful violation of any right whatsoever, both private and public. Furthermore, on the one hand having calumniated the worthy bishops and clergy of France, yet on the other the Apostolic See itself, they strive to introduce suspicions into souls and to tear away mutual trust so that, if it can happen, they may break [the bishops’ and clergy’s] and also Our steadfastness in defending the faith of Christ and the rights of the Church.
In addition to that, by the most flagrant sophistry they endeavor to mix the old established customs of the French nation and the adventitious form of a republic with atheism and every sort of attack on divine things, aiming purposefully, as is apparent, to prove guilty of injustice any intervention of Ours in the affairs of religion among their own people, which the religiously sanctioned duty of office demands from Us and, at the same time, to persuade the people that We, while We uphold the rights of the Church, oppose the form of democratic government, which of course We have always recognized and always will regard with respect. By all means, thanks shall be to God that those who have searched after iniquities now also have failed in their search (Ps 63.7). And in fact, such was the entirely marvelous unity of the sacred bishops among themselves, such [was] the bond of the same [bishops] and the clergy and also the faithful with the Apostolic See, that the stratagems and deceits of [their] adversaries were of no avail to overcome those [faithful Catholics].
And indeed, this [fact], Venerable Brothers, is the reason why We hope for happier things, and that the days of deliverance for the French Church and for a nation afflicted with so many evils will be at hand. For Our part, absolutely at no time shall We discontinue pursuing the good of a deeply beloved people. What We have done hitherto, We shall do henceforward: We shall offer charity to ill-will, truth to error, forgiveness to insults and abusive language, desiring to a singular degree and entreating with unremitting lamentation that those who so resolutely and passionately trample upon the advantages of their own nation and [its] genuine glories may finally end their grudge against most holy religion. And with liberty granted to the Church, may [Frenchmen], however many they are, not only from the Catholic side but also lovers in any way whatsoever of civilization and decency, effortfully toil with Us for the common good and the favorable outcome for their own country.
We desired, Venerable Brothers, to have these things be shared with you so that We may regard you together as partakers of Our grief and confident expectation.
[Translated by Novus Ordo Watch from the Latin in the Acta Sanctae Sedis, vol. XL (1907), pp. 259-261. Italics given; paragraph breaks added.]
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