Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Friday, 18 July 2014

Pope Benedict XV (Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista Della Chiesa). Papacy From 1914-1922. (Part Six.)

Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

English: Pope Benedict XV, circa 1915.
Français: Photo de Benoît XV prise vers 1915.
Photo: Circa 1915.
Source: Library of Congress.
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Encyclical Humani Generis Redemptionem, from 15 June 1917, deals with blatant ineffectiveness of Christian Preaching. According to Pope Benedict XV, there are more Preachers of the Word than ever before, but "in the state of public and private morals, as well as the Constitutions and Laws of Nations, there is a general disregard and forgetfulness of the Supernatural, a gradual falling away from the strict standard of Christian virtue, and that men are slipping back into the shameful practices of paganism."

Copyright-expired-photo of birth-place
of Bishop Della Chiesa
in Pegli, Genoa, Italy.
Date: 1906 (7 September 2008 (original upload date)).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia (Original text : Anton de Waal).
Author: Anton de Waal. Original uploader was Ambrosius007 at en.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Pope squarely put part of the blame on those Ministers of the Gospel, who do not handle it as they should. It is not the times, but the incompetent Christian Preachers who are to blame, for no-one today can say for sure that the Apostles were living in better times than ours. Perhaps, the Encyclical states, that the Apostles found minds more readily devoted to the Gospel, or they may have met others with less opposition to the Law of God.

As the Encyclical tells, first are the Catholic Bishops. The Council of Trent taught that Preaching "is the paramount duty of Bishops." The Apostles, whose successors the Bishops are, looked upon the Church as something theirs, for it was they who received the Grace of the Holy Spirit to begin it. Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Christ sent us not to Baptise, but to Preach the Gospel."

Council of Trent Bishops are required to select, for this Priestly Office, those only who are "fit" for the position, i.e. those who "can exercise the Ministry of Preaching with profit to Souls." Profiting Souls does not mean doing such "eloquently or with popular applause, but rather with spiritual fruit."

Copyright-expired-photo of Cardinal Ferrata in 1913.
Source: 1914 Book von Waal.
Author: Hofrat Hilsdorf Darmstadt.

Under Pope Benedict XV,
Cardinals Domenico Ferrata
in 1914 switched positions in the Vatican.

The Pope requested that all the Priests who are incapable of Preaching or of hearing Confession be removed from the position. The Encyclical helps to draw out the message that Priests must concentrate on the Word of God and the benefitting of Souls, before their own selves.

Quod Iam Diu was an Encyclical, given at Rome at Saint Peter's Basilica, on 1 December 1918, in the fifth year of his Pontificate. It requested that, after World War I, all Catholics of the world Pray for a Lasting Peace and for those who are entrusted to make such during Peace Negotiations.

The Pope noted that true Peace had not yet arrived, but the Armistice had suspended the slaughter and devastation by land, sea and air. It is the obligation of all Catholics to "invoke Divine Assistance for all who take part in the Peace Conference," as the Encyclical states. The Pope concludes that Prayer is essential for the Delegates, who are to meet to define Peace, as they are in need of much support.

Statue of Pope Benedict XV
in the Courtyard of Saint Esprit Cathedral,
Istanbul, Turkey.
This File: 20 May 2007.
User: Sissyneck.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Maximum Illud is an Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XV, issued on 30 November 1919, in the sixth year of his Pontificate. It deals with the Catholic Missions after World War I. Pope Benedict XV recalled the great Apostles of the Gospel, who contributed much to the expansion of Missions. He reviewed the recent history of the Missions and stated so as the purpose of the Apostolic Letter.

The Encyclical first turned to the Bishops and Superiors in charge of the Catholic Missions, noting the need to train local Clergy. Catholic Missionaries, today, continue to be reminded that their goal is a spiritual one, which must be carried out in a selfless way.

Pope Benedict XV underlined the necessity of proper preparation for the work in foreign cultures, and the need to acquire language skills before doing such work. He requested a continued striving for personal Sanctity and praised the selfless work of the Religious Females in the Missions.

Aleksander Kakowski (1862–1938),
made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XV
on 15 December 1919.
Date: Before 1938.
Author: Anonymous.
(Wikimedia Commons)

"Mission," however, "is not only for Missionaries, but all Catholics must participate through their Apostolate of Prayer, by supporting Vocations, and by helping financially." The Encyclical concluded with the naming of several organisations which organise and supervise Mission activities within the Catholic Church.


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