Benedict XV…

…judges Francis’ defense of the Jovinian heresy

  • The Apostolic See will never mitigate, limit nor abolish the law of ecclesiastical celibacy

Thus, venerable brethren, as we on numerous occasions have already declared, never will this Apostolic See mitigate or limit this most holy and most vital law of ecclesiastical celibacy, and much less so will it abolish it. (Benedict XV, Allocution in the Consistory, December 16, 1920, A.A.S. 12,1920, p. 587)

…judges Francis’ idea on if doctrine can be interpreted against the infallible Magisterium

  • Those infected by the spirit of modernism develop a keen dislike for all that savors of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties

We desire that Catholics should shrink, not merely from the errors of modernism, but also from the tendencies of what is called the spirit of modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savors of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: “Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.” In matters of faith that must be inviolably adhered to as the law; it may however also serve as a guide even in matters subject to change, but even in such cases the rule would hold: “Old things, but in a new way.” (Denzinger-Hünermann 3626. Benedict XV. Encyclial Ad beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Orthodox are no longer schismatics

  • Saint Jerome attacked vehemently those who left the Church; he regarded them as his own personal enemies

With his strong insistence on adhering to the integrity of the faith, it is not to be wondered at that he [Saint Jerome ] attacked vehemently those who left the Church; he promptly regarded them as his own personal enemies. ‘To put it briefly,’ he says, ‘I have never spared heretics, and have always striven to regard the Church’s enemies as my own’ (S. Jerome, Dial. contra Pelagianos, Prol. 2). To Rufinus he writes: ‘There is one point in which I cannot agree with you: you ask me to spare heretics – or, in other words – not to prove myself a Catholic’ (Contra Ruf., 3, 43). Yet at the same time Jerome deplored the lamentable state of heretics, and adjured them to return to their sorrowing Mother, the one source of salvation; (In Mich., I:I0-IS) he prayed, too, with all earnestness for the conversion of those ‘who had quitted the Church and put away the Holy Spirit’s teaching to follow their own notions’ (In Is., 16:1-S). (Benedict XV. Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, no. 41-42, September 15, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on zeal for the liturgy, doctrine and prestige of the Church

  • We are delighted to see that, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, efforts to develop the foreign missions in many quarters of the world are intensified

Anyone who studies the facts of this great saga cannot help being profoundly impressed by them: by all the stupendous hardships our missionaries have undergone in extending the Faith, the magnificent devotion they have shown, and the overwhelming examples of intrepid endurance they have afforded us. And to anyone who weighs these facts the realization must come as a shock that right now, there still remain in the world immense multitudes of people who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death. According to a recent estimate, the number of non-believers in the world approximates one billion souls. The pitiable lot of this stupendous number of souls is for Us a source of great sorrow. From the days when We first took up the responsibilities of this apostolic office We have yearned to share with these unfortunates the divine blessings of the Redemption. So We are delighted to see that, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, efforts to promote and develop the foreign missions have in many quarters of the world increased and intensified. It is Our duty to foster these enterprises and do all We can to encourage them; and this duty coincides perfectly with Our own most profound desires. Before writing this letter, venerable Brethren, We begged the Lord for His light and His aid. While writing it, We had two purposes in mind: to encourage you, your clergy, and your people in these efforts, and secondly, to point out methods you can adopt to further the fulfillment of this momentous undertaking. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, no. 6-7, November 30, 1919)

  • Being the most perfect type of universal society, the Church possesses an organization and institutions that brings brotherhood among men

The Church will certainly not refuse her zealous aid to States united under the Christian law in any of their undertakings inspired by justice and charity, inasmuch as she is herself the most perfect type of universal society. She possesses in her organization and institutions a wonderful instrument for bringing this brotherhood among men, not only for their eternal salvation but also for their material well-being to the sure acquisition of eternal blessings. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Pacem Dei munus, no. 18, May 23, 1920)

  • All continents have benefited from apostolic missionary projects

Upon the discovery of America, an army of apostolic men set out for the New World. This great host, which included that glorious son of Saint Dominic, Bartholomew de Las Casas, undertook there the twin tasks of protecting the unfortunate natives from human oppression and wresting them from their grinding subjection to the powers of darkness. To the same period belongs the work of Francis Xavier, a missionary worthy of comparison with the Apostles themselves. For Christ’s glory and the salvation of souls he spent himself relentlessly in the Fast Indies and in Japan. And when he died he was on the threshold of the Chinese Empire, attempting to enter it. It was as though, at the price of his death, he was breaking open for the Gospel a way into those vast territories that in years to come would be the arena where the sons of numerous religious orders and missionary congregations would, in the pursuance of their apostolate, contend with all the formidable obstacles thrown against them by shifting conditions and varying circumstances. More recent years have seen the last of the unknown territories – Australia and the interior of Africa – yield to the relentless assaults of modern exploration. These years have also seen the emissaries of the Church follow the newly blazed trails into the new lands. In all the vast reaches of the Pacific it would now be difficult to find an island remote enough to have escaped the vigilance and the energy of our missionaries. In speaking of all these achievements, however, we must not overlook a very significant fact about the men who performed them. Very many of these men, while they were working for the salvation of their brethren, themselves attained the heights of sanctity, just as the Apostles did before them. And many of them too, crowned their apostolate with the glory of martyrdom, entrenching the Faith at the cost of their blood. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, no. 4-5, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • The man who enters upon the apostolic life must have sanctity of life

But for the man who enters upon the apostolic life there is one attribute that is indispensable. It is of the most critical importance, as We have mentioned before, that he have sanctity of life. For the man who preaches God must himself be a man of God. The man who urges others to despise sin must despise it himself. Preaching by example is afar more effective procedure than vocal preaching, especially among unbelievers, who tend to be more impressed by what they see for themselves than by any arguments that can be presented to them. (Benedict XV. Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, no. 26, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christians and Muslims sharing the same points

  • God’s grace illumined the sacred writers until the task is accomplished

If we ask how we are to explain this power and action of God, the principal cause, on the sacred writers we shall find that St. Jerome in no wise differs from the common teaching of the Catholic Church. For he holds that God, through His grace, illumines the writer’s mind regarding the particular truth which, “in the person of God,” he is to set before men; he holds, moreover, that God moves the writer’s will – nay, even impels it – to write; finally, that God abides with him unceasingly, in unique fashion, until his task is accomplished. Whence the Saint infers the supreme excellence and dignity of Scripture, and declares that knowledge of it is to be likened to the “reassure” and the “pearl beyond price,” since in them are to be found the riches of Christ and “silver wherewith to adorn God’s house.” (Benedict XV. Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, no. 9, September 15, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church called to dialogue

  • The efficacy of apostolic efforts is in proportion to the sanctity of life

But to one who wishes to qualify himself for apostolic work, there is one thing that he must acquire before everything else, as being of the highest importance: it is, as We have said, sanctity of life. or whoever preaches God must be a man of God; whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin. It is chiefly among the Gentiles, who are led by sense more than by reason, that preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words. Granted, therefore, that the missionary be endowed with every quality of head and heart, versed in sciences, accomplished in every department of culture; if his accomplishments are not supported by innocence of life, they will be powerless instruments or the conversion of the people – nay more, they may become harmful to himself and to others. Let him, therefore, be an example of humility, obedience, chastity, and especially of piety, prayer and constant union with God, before Whom he must fervently plead for souls. […] It is by these virtues that truth finds an easy and direct access to souls, and that all obstacles are removed; there is no obstinacy of will that can resist them. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, no. 64–68, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea on the pastor

  • Preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words

It is chiefly among the Gentiles, who are led by sense more than by reason, that preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, no. 9, November 30, 1919)

  • Sanctity of life is of highest importance for apostolic work – whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin

But to one who wishes to qualify himself for apostolic work, there is one thing that he must acquire before everything else, as being of the highest importance: it is, as We have said, sanctity of life. For whoever preaches God must be a man of God; whoever preaches hatred of sin must himself hate sin. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, November 30, 1919)

  • To be endowed with intelligence and culture is of no use without innocence of life

Granted, therefore, that the missionary be endowed with every quality of head and heart, versed in sciences, accomplished in every department of culture; if his accomplishments are not supported by innocence of life, they will be powerless instruments for the conversion of the people – nay more, they may become harmful to himself and to others. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea on the ‘Bread of Life’

  • Be careful with eager searchers after novelties especially in the way they carry out religious functions

Nor do We merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: ‘Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down’ In matters of faith that must be inviolably adhered to as the law; it may however also serve as a guide even in matters subject to change, but even in such cases the rule would hold: ‘Old things, but in a new way.’ (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad beatissimi apostolorum, no. 25, November 1, 1914)

  • Those who undermine Catholic doctrine are detractors of the Scripture

Nor is Sacred Scripture lacking other detractors; We recognize those who, if they are restrained within certain limits, so abuse right principles indeed that they cause the foundations of the truth of the Bible to totter, and undermine the Catholic doctrine handed down by the Fathers in common. (Denzinger-Hunermann 3654. Benedict XV Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, September 15, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on good-will replacing theological investigation

  • Peter is the common teacher and rector of all

To Peter the Prince of the Apostles, the divine Founder of the Church allotted the gifts of inerrancy in matters of faith and of union with God. This relationship is similar to that of a ‘Choir Director of the Choir of the Apostles’. He is the common teacher and rector of all, so that he might feed the flock of Him who established His Church on the authority of Peter himself and his successors. And on this mystical rock the foundation of the entire ecclesiastical structure stands firm as on a hinge. From it rises the unity of Christian charity as well as our Christian faith. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Principi Apostolorum Petro, October 5, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • To enter upon the apostolic life: one must despise sin and practice the virtues

But for the man who enters upon the apostolic life there is one attribute that is indispensable. It is of the most critical importance, as We have mentioned before, that he have sanctity of life. For the man who preaches God must himself be a man of God. The man who urges others to despise sin must despise it himself. […] Let him be humble and obedient and chaste. And especially let him be a devout man, dedicated to prayer and constant union with God, a man who goes before the Divine Majesty and fervently pleads the cause of souls. For as he binds himself more and more closely to God, he will receive the grace and assistance of God to a greater and greater degree. (Benedict XV. Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, no. 26, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians should always humble themselves

  • The example of Saint Jerome: humility in hearing the Church and intransigence with her enemies

With his strong insistence on adhering to the integrity of the faith, it is not to be wondered at that he attacked vehemently those who left the Church; he promptly regarded them as his own personal enemies. ‘To put it briefly,’ he says, ‘I have never spared heretics, and have always striven to regard the Church’s enemies as my own (Dial. contra Pelagianos, Prol. 2). To Rufinus he writes: ‘There is one point in which I cannot agree with you: you ask me to spare heretics – or, in other words – not to prove myself a Catholic’ (Contra Ruf., 3, 43). Yet at the same time Jerome deplored the lamentable state of heretics, and adjured them to return to their sorrowing Mother, the one source of salvation (In Mich., 1:10-15), he prayed, too, with all earnestness for the conversion of those ‘who had quitted the Church and put away the Holy Spirit’s teaching to follow their own notions’(In Is., 16:1-5). Was there ever a time, Venerable Brethren, when there was greater call than now for us all, lay and cleric alike, to imbibe the spirit of this ‘Greatest of Doctors’? For there are many contumacious folk now who sneer at the authority and government of God, Who has revealed Himself, and of the Church which teaches. […] Would that all Catholics would cling to Saint Jerome’s golden rule and obediently listen to their Mother’s words, so as modestly to keep within the bounds marked out by the Fathers and ratified by the Church. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus , no. 38-39, September 15, 1950)

…judges Francis’ idea on offering rosaries

  • The Roman Pontiffs have let pass no occasion of commending the Rosary

[The Rosary,] that prayer which, being both vocal and mental, in the contemplation especially of the mysteries of religion, while the Lord’s Prayer is fifteen times repeated together with as many decades of the Hail Mary, is most adapted to fostering widely piety and every virtue. […] Accordingly the Church, which is wont to salute her ‘the Mother of Grace and the Mother of Mercy’, has so found her always, but especially in answer to the Rosary. Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs have let pass no occasion of commending the Rosary and have enriched it with Apostolic Indulgences. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Fausto appetente, June 29, 1921)

  • Modernists develop a keen dislike for all private exercises of piety

Nor do We merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: ‘Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.’ In matters of faith that must be inviolably adhered to as the law; it may however also serve as a guide even in matters subject to change, but even in such cases the rule would hold: ‘Old things, but in a new way.’ (Benedict XV. Encyclical Beatissimi Apostolorum, no. 25, November 1, 1914)

…judges Francis’ words that it was not an offense accepting the Cross in the form of a communist symbol

  • Socialism: error that must be exposed with the greatest care

It is not our intention here to repeat the arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines. Our predecessor, Leo XIII, most wisely did so in truly memorable Encyclicals; and you, Venerable Brethren, will take the greatest care that those grave precepts are never forgotten, but that whenever circumstances call for it, they should be clearly expounded and inculcated in Catholic associations and congresses, in sermons and in the Catholic press. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad Beatissimi apostolorum, no. 13, November 1, 1914)

…judges Francis’ pro-communist ideas expressed in the Meetings with Popular Movements

  • The fallacies of the agitators drive the poor against the rich

Drawn up against those who possess property, whether by inheritance or by industry, stand the proletariate and the workers, inflamed with hatred and envy, because, although they are by nature the same, they do not occupy the same position as the others. Once they have been imbued with the fallacies of the agitators, to whose behests they are most docile, who will ever make them see that it does not follow that because men are equal by their nature, they must all occupy an equal place in the community? And further, who will ever make them see that the position of each one is that which each by use of his natural gifts – unless prevented by force of circumstances – is able to make for himself? And so the poor who strive against the rich as though they had taken part of the goods of others, not merely act contrary to justice and charity, but also act irrationally, particularly as they themselves by honest industry can improve their fortunes if they choose. It is not necessary to enumerate the many consequences, not less disastrous for the individual than for the community, which follow from this class hatred. We all see and deplore the frequency of strikes, which suddenly interrupt the course of city and of national life in their most necessary functions, we see hostile gatherings and tumultuous crowds, and it not infrequently happens that weapons are used and human blood is spilled. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad Beatissimi apostolorum, no. 12, November 1, 1914)

  • The enemies of the Church insidiously incite to make immoderate demands, fostering hatred amongst classes

Wherefore, while we exhort the rich to practice liberality and to be inspired more by fairness than by the rule; likewise we warn the proletarians, to zeal for their own Faith, which is put in danger if they exceed in their demands. For, here exactly is the insidiousness of the enemies, who stir on to make immoderate demands, even of Church; and when what is sought is not obtained, they to incite the multitude rebellion. It is consequently necessary to abstain from intemperance: intemperance that is evident always if force is used, or if hatred amongst classes is fostered, or if the many social differences that are willed by nature itself and by human fraternity are ignored, and when finally the end to all human life is placed in the conquest of ephemeral goods. (Benedict XV. Letter Intelleximus ex iis, June 14, 1920)

  • The poor should be wary of the enemies who teach to violate the rights of others

The poor and necessitated comprehend what a special love We harbor for them, as closer resemblances of the image of Jesus Christ. We fear, nonetheless, that at times when they revindicate their own rights, they let themselves be taken to the point of forgetting their own duties and overriding the rights of others, which religion demands be considered as sacred and inviolable, just as their own. It is true that the enemies teach the violation of the other people’s rights; in this they find openly concord with those that they put all of man’s happiness in this mortal life; but with respect to these the violated rights will eternally clamor. (Benedict XV. Letter Intelleximus ex iis, June 20, 1920)

  • The errors of Socialism should be overcome by brotherly love, which is not calculated to get rid of the differences of conditions and classes

It is not our intention here to repeat the arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines. Our predecessor, Leo XIII, most wisely did so in truly memorable Encyclicals; and you, Venerable Brethren, will take the greatest care that those grave precepts are never forgotten, but that whenever circumstances call for it, they should be clearly expounded and inculcated in Catholic associations and congresses, in sermons and in the Catholic press. But more especially – and We do not hesitate to repeat it – by the help of every argument, supplied by the Gospels or by the nature of man himself, or by the consideration of the interests of the individual and of the community, let us strive to exhort all men, that in virtue of the divine law of charity they should love one another with brotherly love. Brotherly love is not calculated to get rid of the differences of conditions and therefore of classes – a result which is just as impossible as that in the living body all the members should have the same functions and dignitybut it will bring it to pass that those who occupy higher positions will in some way bring themselves down to those in a lower position, and treat them not only justly, for it is only right that they should, but kindly and in a friendly and patient spirit, and the poor on their side will rejoice in their prosperity and rely confidently on their help – even as the younger son of a family relies on the help and protection of his elder brother. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad Beatissimi apostolorum, no. 12, November 1, 1914)

  • Socialists present themselves as offering ‘better conditions’, employing acrimonious language to incite the multitudes to social revolution

Observe, therefore, how much damage is done to the interest of the workers, by those who, presenting themselves as attempting to better their conditions, show themselves to be attentive exclusively to the acquisition of those passing things and not only neglect to moderate the aspirations with the summons to Christian duties, but rather make every effort to urge them on against the rich with that acrimony of language that often is used by our enemies to incite the multitudes to social revolution. To remedy so great a danger, will be Your care, venerable brother; point out, as you already do, to those who dedicate themselves to promote the cause of the workers, that these, taking care to avoid the harshness of language used by the ‘socialists’, should carry out and action that is and a propaganda that is totally imbued with the Christian spirit; without which they can cause great harm, and certainly will be of no good. (Benedict XV. Letter Soliti nos, March 11, 1920)

  • The distinction of social classes proceeds from nature, and so from the very will of God, since ‘He himself made both small and great’

Those who are have less and who are of a lower social position must therefore understand well this truth: that the distinction of social classes proceeds from nature, and therefore from the very will of God, since ‘He himself made both small and great’ (Wis 6:7); and this works marvellously for the good of each individual and of the community. They should be convinced, then, that while they may better their conditions through effort and favored by the generous, there will always exist for them – as for all human beings – no small portions of suffering. Wherefore, if they wish to act wisely, they will not aspire to utopias beyond their reach, and will support with peace and moral strength the inevitable evils of this life, in the hope of the immortal goods. (Benedict XV. Letter Soliti nos, March 11, 1920)

  • The cause of justice and truth is not defended with violence nor with disorder

As such, we insistently beseech the citizens of Bergamo in the name of their special affection and adhesion toward this Apostolic See, that they do not allow themselves to the fooled by the charms of those who with fallacious promises intend to tear away from their hearts the avidity of the faith in order to stir them on to brutal violence and devastation. Neither with violence nor with disorder is the cause of justice and truth defended, because these are arms which end up wound above all those who employ them. (Benedict XV. Letter Soliti Nos, March 11, 1920)

  • The Church, unlike the adversaries, doesn’t offer deceitful things – She is affectionate mother of the rich and the poor

So, may the workers continue faithful to the teachings of the Church, even though it seems to give less than the adversaries, for it doesn’t offer excessive and deceitful things, but only just and lasting things. Workers should remember that though the Church is the mother of all, towards them, as we have said, she has a predilection; and that, if at times she defends the rich, she doesn’t defend them inasmuch as they are rich, but rather because they have been unjustly assailed. In a similar manner, the rich must obey the Church, confiding in her maternal affection and her impartiality. (Benedict XV. Letter Intelleximus ex iis, June 14, 1920)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the Church closed and ailing

  • Apostolic success ensues from the measure that one binds himself more closely to God

But for the man who enters upon the apostolic life there is one attribute that is indispensable. It is of the most critical importance, as We have mentioned before, that he have sanctity of life. For the man who preaches God must himself be a man of God. The man who urges others to despise sin must despise it himself. Preaching by example is afar more effective procedure than vocal preaching, especially among unbelievers, who tend to be more impressed by what they see for themselves than by any arguments that can be presented to them. Give the missionary, if you will, every imaginable talent of mind and intellect, endow him with the most extensive learning and the most brilliant culture. Unless these qualities are accompanied by moral integrity they will be of little or no value in the apostolate, On the contrary, they can be the cause of disaster, both to himself and to others. Let us have him, then, an example to those he deals with. Let him be humble and obedient and chaste. And especially let him be a devout man, dedicated to prayer and constant union with God, a man who goes before the Divine Majesty and fervently pleads the cause of souls. For as he binds himself more and more closely to God, he will receive the grace and assistance of God to a greater and greater degree. […] With these virtues the missionary will open for the Faith he preaches a smooth and unobstructed entrance into the hearts of men. All obstacles will melt from his path, for no man’s will is obdurate enough to oppose their attraction with equanimity. (Benedict XV. Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, no. 26-27, November 30, 1919)

  • You have been called to carry light to men who lie in the shadow of death

Now We turn to you, beloved sons, the working-men of the Lord’s vineyard. In your hands lies the immediate responsibility for disseminating the wisdom of Christ, and with this responsibility the salvation of innumerable souls. Our first admonition is this: never for a moment forget the lofty and splendid character of the task to which you have devoted yourselves. Your task is a divine one, a task far beyond the feeble reach of human reasoning. You have been called to carry light to men who lie in the shadow of death and to open the way to heaven for souls that are hurtling to destruction. (Benedict XV. Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, no. 18, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • Peter is the common teacher and rector of all

To Peter the Prince of the Apostles, the divine Founder of the Church allotted the gifts of inerrancy (Lk 22:32.) in matters of faith and of union with God. This relationship is similar to that of a ‘Choir Director of the Choir of the Apostles.’ (Saint Theodore the Studite, epistle 2 to the Emperor Michael.) He is the common teacher and rector (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, De Trinit., dialogue 4.) of all, so that he might feed the flock of Him who established His Church (Mt 16:18.) on the authority of Peter himself and his successors. And on this mystical rock the foundation (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Luc 22:32.) of the entire ecclesiastical structure stands firm as on a hinge. From it rises the unity of Christian charity as well as our Christian faith. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Principi Apostolorum Petro, no. 1, October 5, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church reduced to a minority

  • The duty of the Apostles continues in their successors

Before He returned to His Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ addressed to His disciples the words: ‘Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation’ (Mk 16:15). With these words He committed to them a duty, a momentous and a holy charge, that was not to lapse with the death of the Apostles but would bind their successors, one after another, until the end of the world – as long, that is, as there remained on this earth men whom the truth might set free. (Benedict XV. Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, no. 1, November 30, 1919)

  • Evangelizing is a fraternal help to unbelievers

For ‘He (God) gave to every one of them commandment concerning his neighbor’ (Eccl 17:12); and the strictness of this command varies in proportion to the seriousness of the neighbor’s need. Now what class of men is more in need of fraternal help than unbelievers, who live in ignorance of God, and consequently, bound by the chains of their blind and violent desires, are enslaved in the most hideous of all the forms of slavery, the service of Satan? Anyone then who contributes whatever services he can to the work of bringing the light of faith to them – and helping the work of the missions is the best means – would accomplish two purposes at the same time. He would be fulfilling his obligation in this important matter, and he would also be thanking God in a particularly appropriate way for the faith that has been given to him. (Benedict XV. Apostolic letter Maximum illud, November 30, 1919)

…judges Francis’ idea on Communism

  • The Church heals the wounds of society with a variety of good deeds because She is the heir and guardian of the spirit of Jesus Christ

So too is it necessary that Jesus, of Whom the Samaritan was the figure, should lay His hands upon the wounds of society. This work, this duty the Church claims as her own as heir and guardian of the spirit of Jesus Christ – the Church whose entire existence is a marvelously varied tissue of all kinds of good deeds, the Church, ‘that real mother of Christians in the full sense of the word, who has such tenderness of love and charity for one’s neighbors that she can offer the best remedies for the different evils which afflict souls on account of their sins.’ That is why she ‘treats and teaches children with tenderness, young people with firmness, old people with great calm, taking account not only of the age but also the condition of soul of each’ (Augustine de moribus Ecc. Cat. lib. I, c. 30). It would be difficult to exaggerate the effect of many-sided Christian beneficence in softening the heart and thus facilitating the return of tranquility to the nations. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Pacem Dei Munus, no. 11-12, May 23, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • ‘He himself made both small and great’ for the advantage of individuals and the community

Those who are have less and who are of a lower social position must therefore understand well this truth: that the distinction of social classes proceeds from nature, and therefore from the very will of God, since He himself made both small and great’ (Wis 6:7); and this works marvellously for the good of each individual and of the community. They should persuade themselves then that while they may better their conditions through effort and favored by fortune, there will always exist for them – as for all human beings – no small portions of suffering. Wherefore, if they wish to act wisely, they will not aspire to utopias beyond their reach, and will support with peace and moral strength the inevitable evils of this life, in the hope of the immortal goods. (Benedict XV. Letter Soliti Nos, March 11, 1920)

  • Brotherly love is not calculated to get rid of the differences of conditions and therefore of classes

When the twofold principle of cohesion of the whole body of society has been weakened, that is to say, the union of the members with one another by mutual charity and their union with their head by their dutiful recognition of authority, is it to be wondered at, Venerable Brethren, that human society should be seen to be divided as it were into two hostile armies bitterly and ceaselessly at strife? […] Once they have been imbued with the fallacies of the agitators, to whose behests they are most docile, who will ever make them see that it does not follow that because men are equal by their nature, they must all occupy an equal place in the community? And further, who will ever make them see that the position of each one is that which each by use of his natural gifts – unless prevented by force of circumstances – is able to make for himself? And so the poor who strive against the rich as though they had taken part of the goods of others, not merely act contrary to justice and charity, but also act irrationally, particularly as they themselves by honest industry can improve their fortunes if they choose. It is not necessary to enumerate the many consequences, not less disastrous for the individual than for the community, which follow from this class hatred. […] But more especially – and We do not hesitate to repeat it – by the help of every argument, supplied by the Gospels or by the nature of man himself, or by the consideration of the interests of the individual and of the community, let us strive to exhort all men, that in virtue of the divine law of charity they should love one another with brotherly love. Brotherly love is not calculated to get rid of the differences of conditions and therefore of classes – a result which is just as impossible as that in the living body all the members should have the same functions and dignity – but it will bring it to pass that those who occupy higher positions will in some way bring themselves down to those in a lower position, and treat them not only justly, for it is only right that they should, but kindly and in a friendly and patient spirit, and the poor on their side will rejoice in their prosperity and rely confidently on their help – even as the younger son of a family relies on the help and protection of his elder brother. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad beatissimi, no. 10-11, November 1, 1914)

…judges Francis’ idea on the multiplication of the loaves

  • Those who overturn the fundamental truth of the Bible destroy Catholic teaching handed down by the Fathers

Then there are other assailants of Holy Scripture who misuse principles – which are only sound, if kept within due bounds – in order to overturn the fundamental truth of the Bible and thus destroy Catholic teaching handed down by the Fathers. If Jerome were living now he would sharpen his keenest controversial weapons against people who set aside what is the mind and judgment of the Church, and take too ready a refuge in such notions as ‘implicit quotations’ or ‘pseudo-historical narratives,’ or in ‘kinds of literature’ in the Bible such as cannot be reconciled with the entire and perfect truth of God’s word, or who suggest such origins of the Bible as must inevitably weaken – if not destroy – its authority. What can we say of men who in expounding the very Gospels so whittle away the human trust we should repose in it as to overturn Divine faith in it? They refuse to allow that the things which Christ said or did have come down to us unchanged and entire through witnesses who carefully committed to writing what they themselves had seen or heard. They maintain – and particularly in their treatment of the Fourth Gospel – that much is due of course to the Evangelists – who, however, added much from their own imaginations; but much, too, is due to narratives compiled by the faithful at other periods, the result, of course, being that the twin streams now flowing in the same channel cannot be distinguished from one another. (Denzinger-Hünermann 3654. Benedict XV, Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, September 15, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony among good and evil

  • Keep yourself from the spirit of Modernism: eager searching after novelties in everything

Nor do we merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savours of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: ‘Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.’ In matters of faith that must be inviolably adhered to as the law; it may however also serve as a guide even in matters subject to change, but even in such cases the rule would hold: ‘Old things, but in a new way.’ (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914)

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘culture of encounter’

  • By its nature, the Church unites men and society

The Church will certainly not refuse her zealous aid to States united under the Christian law in any of their undertakings inspired by justice and charity, inasmuch as she is herself the most perfect type of universal society. She possesses in her organization and institutions a wonderful instrument for bringing this brotherhood among men, not only for their eternal salvation but also for their material well-being to the sure acquisition of eternal blessings. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Pacem Dei munus pulcherrimum, no. 18, May 23, 1920)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • Those who resist any legitimate authority, resist God

The spirit of insubordination and independence, so characteristic of our times, has, as We deplored above, not entirely spared the ministers of the Sanctuary. […] It is not rare for pastors of the Church to find sorrow and contradiction where they had a right to look for comfort and help. […] Let them remember that if, as we have seen, those who resist any legitimate authority, resist God, much more impiously do they act who refuse to obey the Bishop, whom God has consecrated with a special character by the exercise of His power. […] Moreover, bishops have a very heavy burden in consequence of the difficulties of the times; and heavier still is their anxiety for the salvation of the flock committed to their care: ‘For they watch as being to render an account of your souls’ (Hb 8:17). (Benedict XV. Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, nos. 28- 29, November 1, 1914)

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