ON ST. ANSELM OF AOSTA
Encyclical of Pope Pius X promulgated on April 21, 1909.
To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and the Apostolic Benediction.
Amid the general troubles of the time and the recent disasters at home which afflict Us, there is surely consolation and comfort for Us in that recent display of devotion of the whole Christian people which still continues to be “a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men” (I Cor. iv. 9), and which, if it has now been called forth so generously by the advent of misfortune, has its one true cause in the charity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For since there is not and there cannot be in the world any charity worthy of the name except through Christ, to Him alone must be attributed all the fruits of it, even in men of lax faith or hostile to religion, who are indebted for whatever vestiges of charity they may possess to the civilization introduced by Christ, which they have not yet succeeded in throwing off entirely and expelling from human society.
- For this mighty movement of those who would console their Father and help their brethren in their public and private afflictions, words can hardly express Our emotion and Our gratitude. These feelings We have already made known on more than one occasion to individuals, but We cannot delay any longer to give a public expression of Our thanks, first of all, to you, venerable brethren, and through you to all the faithful entrusted to your care.
- So, too, We would make public profession of Our gratitude for the many striking demonstrations of affection and reverence which have been offered Us by Our most beloved children in all parts of the world on the occasion of Our sacerdotal jubilee. Most grateful have they been to Us, not so much for Our own sake as for the sake of religion and the Church, as being a profession of fearless faith, and, as it were, a public manifestation of due honor to Christ and His Church, by the respect shown to him whom the Lord has placed over His family. Other fruits of the same kind, too, have greatly rejoiced Us; the celebrations with which dioceses in North America have commemorated the centenary of their foundation, returning everlasting thanks to god for having added so many children to the Catholic Church; the splendid sight presented by the most noble island of Britain in the restored honor paid with such wonderful pomp within its confines to the Blessed Eucharist, in the presence of a dense multitude, and with a crown formed of Our venerable brethren, and of Our own Legate; and in France where the afflicted Church dried her tears to see such brilliant triumphs of the August Sacrament, especially in the town of Lourdes, the fiftieth anniversary of whose origin We have also been rejoiced to witness commemorated with such solemnity. In these and other facts all must see, and let the enemies of Catholicism be persuaded of it, that the splendor of ceremonial, and the devotion paid to the August Mother of God, and even the filial homage offered to the Supreme Pontiff, are all destined finally for the glory of God, that Christ may be all and in all (Coloss. iii. II), that the Kingdom of God may be established on earth, and eternal salvation gained for men.
- This triumph of God on earth, both in individuals and in society, is but the return of the erring to God through Christ, and to Christ through the Church, which We announced as the programme of Our Pontificate both in Our first Apostolic Letters “E supremi Apostolatus Cathedra” (Encyclica diei 4 Octobris MDCCCCIII.), and many times since then. To this return We look with confidence, and plans and hopes are all designed to lead to it as to a port in which the storms even of the present life are at rest. And this is why We are grateful for the homage paid to the Church in Our humble person, as being, with God’s help, a sign of the return of the Nations to Christ and a closer union with Peter and the Church.
- This affectionate union, varying in intensity according to time and place, and differing in its mode of expression, seems in the designs of Providence to grow stronger as the times grow more difficult for the cause of sound teaching, of sacred discipline, of the liberty of the Church. We have examples of this in the Saints of other centuries, whom God raised up to resist by their virtue and wisdom the fury of persecution against the Church and the diffusion of iniquity in the world. One of these We wish especially in these Letters to commemorate, now that the eighth centenary of his death is being solemnly celebrated. We mean the Doctor Anselm of Aosta, most vigorous exponent of Catholic truth and defender of the rights of the Church, first as Monk and Abbot in France. and later as Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate in England. It is not inappropriate, We think, after the Jubilee Feasts, celebrated with unwonted splendor, of two other Doctors of Holy Church, Gregory the Great and John Chrysostom, one the light of the Western, the other of the Eastern Church, to fix our gaze on this other star which, if it “differs in brightness” (I. Cor. xv. 41) from them, yet compares well with them in their course, and sheds abroad a light of doctrine and example not less salutary than theirs. Nay, in some respects it might be said even more salutary, inasmuch as Anselm is nearer to us in time, place, temperament, studies, and there is a closer similarity with our own days in the nature of the conflicts borne by him, in the kind of pastoral activity he displayed, in the method of teaching applied and largely promoted by him, by his disciples, by his writings, all composed “in defense of the Christian religion, for the benefit of souls, and for the guidance of all theologians who were to teach sacred letters according to the scholastic method” (Breviar. Rom., die 21 Aprilis). Thus as in the darkness of the night while some stars are setting others rise to light the world, so the sons succeed to the Fathers to illumine the Church, and among these St. Anselm shone forth as a most brilliant star.
- In the eyes of the best of his contemporaries Anselm seemed to shine as a luminary of sanctity and learning amid the darkness of the error and iniquity of the age in which he lived. He was in truth a “prince of the faith, an ornament of the Church . . . a glory of the episcopate, a man outranking all the great men” of his time (“Epicedion in obitum Anselmi”), “both learned and good and brilliant in speech, a man of splendid intellect” (“In Epitaphio”) whose reputation was such that it has been well written of him that there was no man in the world then “who would say: Anselm is less than I, or like me” (“Epicedion in obitum Anselmi”), and hence esteemed by kings, princes, and supreme pontiffs, as well as by his brethren in religion and by the faithful, nay, “beloved even by his enemies” (Ib.). While he was still Abbot the great and most powerful Pontiff Gregory VII wrote him letters breathing esteem and affection and “recommending the Catholic Church and himself to his prayers” (Breviar. Rom.. die 21 Aprilis): to him also wrote Urban II recognizing “his distinction in religion and learning” (In libro 2 Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 32); in many and most affectionate letters Paschal 11 extolled his “reverent devotion, strong faith, his pious and persevering zeal, his authority in religion and knowledge” (In lib. 3 Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 74 et 42), which easily induced the Pontiff to accede to his requests and made him not hesitate to call him the most learned and devout of the bishops of England.
- And yet Anselm in his own eyes was but a despicable and unknown goodfor-nothing, a man of no parts, sinful in his life. Nor did this great modesty and most sincere humility detract in the least from his high thinking, whatever may be said to the contrary by men of depraved life and judgment, of whom the Scripture says that “the animal man understandeth not the things of the spirit of God” (I Cor. ii. 14). And more wonderful still, greatness of soul and unconquerable constancy, tried in so many ways by troubles, attacks, exiles, were in him blended with such gentle and pleasing manners that he was able to calm the angry passions of his enemies and win the hearts of those who were enraged against him, so that the very men “to whom his cause was hostile” praised him because he was good (“Epicedion in obitum Anselmi”).
- Thus in him there existed a wonderful harmony between qualities which the world falsely judges to be irreconcilable and contradictory: simplicity and greatness, humility and magnanimity, strength and gentleness, knowledge and piety, so that both in the beginning and throughout the whole course of his religious life “he was singularly esteemed by all as a model of sanctity and doctrine” (Breviar. Rom., die 21 Aprilis).
- Nor was this double merit of Anselm confined within the walls of his own household or within the limits of the school — it went forth thence as from a military tent into the dust and the glare of the highway. For, as We have already hinted, Anselm fell on difficult days and had to undertake fierce battles in defense of justice and truth. Naturally inclined though he was to a life of contemplation and study, he was obliged to plunge into the most varied and most important occupations even those affecting the government of the Church, and thus to be drawn into the worst turmoils of his agitated age. With his sweet and most gentle temperament he was forced, out of love for sound doctrine and for the sanctity of the Church, to give up a life of peace, the friendship of the great ones of the world, the favors of the powerful, the united affection, which he at first enjoyed, of his very brethren in troubles of all kinds. Thus, finding England full of hatred and dangers, he was forced to oppose a vigorous resistance to kings and princes, usurpers and tyrants over the Church and the people, against weak or unworthy ministers of the sacred office, against the ignorance and vice of the great and small alike; ever a valiant defender of the faith and morals, of the discipline and liberty, and therefore also of the sanctity and doctrine, of the Church of God, and thus truly worthy of that further encomium of Paschal: “Thanks be to God that in you the authority of the Bishop ever prevails, and that, although set in the midst of barbarians, you are not deterred from announcing the truth either by the violence of tyrants,” or the favor of the powerful, neither by the flame of fire or the force of arms; and again: “We rejoice because by the grace of God you are neither disturbed by threats nor moved by promises” (In lib. iii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 44 et 74).
- In view of all this, it is only right, venerable brethren, that We, after a lapse of eight centuries, should rejoice like Our Predecessor Paschal, and, echoing his words, return thanks, to God. But, at the same time, it is a pleasure for Us to be able to exhort you to fix your eyes on this luminary of doctrine and sanctity, who, rising here in Italy, shone for over thirty years upon France, for more than fifteen years upon England, and finally upon the whole Church, as a tower of strength and beauty.
- And if Anselm was great “in works and in words,” if in his knowledge and his life, in contemplation and activity, in peace and strife, he secured splendid triumphs for the Church and great benefits for society, all this must be ascribed to his close union with Christ and the Church throughout the whole course of his life and ministry.
- Recalling all these things, venerable brethren, with special interest during the solemn commemoration of the great Doctor, we shall find in them splendid examples for our admiration and imitation; nay, reflection on them will also furnish Us with strength and consolation amid the pressing cares of the government of the Church and of the salvation of souls, helping Us never to fail in our duty of co-operating with all our strength in order that all things may be restored in Christ, that “Christ may be formed” in all souls (Galat. iv. 19), and especially in those which are the hope of the priesthood, of maintaining unswervingly the doctrine of the Church, of defending strenuously the liberty of the Spouse of Christ, the inviolability of her divine rights, and the plenitude of those safeguards which the protection of the Sacred Pontificate requires.
- For you are aware, venerable brethren, and you have often lamented it with Us, how evil are the days on which we have fallen, and how iniquitous the conditions which have been forced upon Us. Even in the unspeakable sorrow We felt in the recent public disasters, Our wounds were opened afresh by the shameful charges invented against the clergy of being behindhand in rendering assistance after the calamity, by the obstacles raised to hide the beneficent action of the Church on behalf of the afflicted, by the contempt shown even for her maternal care and forethought. We say nothing of many other things injurious to the Church, devised with treacherous cunning or flagrantly perpetrated in violation of all public right and in contempt of all natural equity and justice. Most grievous, too, is the thought that this has been done in countries in which the stream of civilization has been most abundantly fed by the Church. For what more unnatural sight could be witnessed than that of some of those children whom the Church has nourished and cherished as her first-born, her flower and her strength, in their rage turning their weapons against the very bosom of the Mother that has loved them so much! And there are other countries which give us but little cause for consolation, in which the same war, under a different form, has either broken out already or is being prepared by dark machinations. For there is a movement in those nations which have benefited most from Christian civilization to deprive the Church of her rights, to treat her as though she were not by nature and by right the perfect society that she is, instituted by Christ Himself, the Redeemer of our nature, and to destroy her reign, which, although primarily and directly affecting souls, is not less helpful for their eternal salvation than for the welfare of human society; efforts of all kinds are being made to supplant the kingdom of God by a reign of license under the lying name of liberty. And to bring about by the rule of vices and lusts the triumph of the worst of all slaveries and bring the people headlong to their ruin-“for sin makes peoples wretched” (Prov. xiv. 34) — the cry is ever raised: “We will not have this man reign over us” (Luc. xix. 14). Thus the religious Orders, always the strong shield and the ornament of the Church, and the promotors of the most salutary works of science and civilization among uncivilized and civilized peoples, have been driven out of Catholic countries; thus the works of Christian beneficence have been weakened and circumscribed as far as possible, thus the ministers of religion have been despised and mocked, and, wherever that was possible, reduced to powerlessness and inertia; the paths to knowledge and to the teaching office have been either closed to them or rendered extremely difficult, especially by gradually removing them from the instruction and education of youth; Catholic undertakings of public utility have been thwarted; distinguished laymen who openly profess their Catholic faith have been turned into ridicule, persecuted, kept in the background as belonging to an inferior and outcast class, until the coming of the day, which is being hastened by ever more iniquitous laws, when they are to be utterly ostracized from public affairs. And the authors of this war, cunning and pitiless as it is, boast that they are waging it through love of liberty, civilization, and progress, and, were you to believe them, through a spirit of patriotism — in this lie too resembling their father, who “was a murderer from the beginning, and when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar” (Ioan. viii. 44), and raging with hate insatiable against God and the human race. Brazen-faced men these, seeking to create confusion by their words, and to lay snares for the ears of the simple. No, it is not patriotism, or zealous care for the people, or any other noble aim, or desire to promote good of any kind, that incites them to this bitter war, but blind hatred which feeds their mad plan to weaken the Church and exclude her from social life, which makes them proclaim her as dead, while they never cease to attack her — nay, after having despoiled her of all liberty, they do not hesitate in their brazen folly to taunt her with her powerlessness to do anything for the benefit of mankind or human government. From the same hate spring the cunning misrepresentations or the utter silence concerning the most manifest services of the Church and the Apostolic See, when they do not make of our services a cause of suspicion which with wily art they insinuate into the ears and the minds of the masses, spying and travestying everything said or done by the Church as though it concealed some impending danger for society, whereas the plain truth is that it is mainly from Christ through the Church that the progress of real liberty and the purest civilization has been derived.
- Concerning this war from outside, waged by the enemy without, “by which the Church is seen to be assailed on all sides, now in serried and open battle, now by cunning and by wily plots,” We have frequently warned your vigilance, venerable brethren, and especially in the Allocution We delivered in the Consistory of December 16, 1907.
- But with no less severity and sorrow have We been obliged to denounce and to put down another species of war, intestine and domestic, and all the more disastrous the more hidden it is. Waged by unnatural children, nestling in the very bosom of the Church in order to rend it in silence, this war aims more directly at the very root and the soul of the Church. They are trying to corrupt the springs of Christian life and teaching, to scatter the sacred deposit of the faith, to overthrow the foundations of the divine constitution by their contempt for all authority, pontifical as well as episcopal, to put a new form on the Church, new laws, new principles, according to the tenets of monstrous systems, in short to deface all the beauty of the Spouse of Christ for the empty glamour of a new culture, falsely called science, against which the Apostle frequently puts us on our guard: “Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ (Colos. ii. 8).
- By this figment of false philosophy and this shallow and fallacious erudition, joined with a most audacious system of criticism, some have been seduced and “become vain in their thoughts” (Rom. i. 1), “having rejected good conscience they have made shipwreck concerning the faith” (I Tim. i. 19), they are being tossed about miserably on the waves of doubt, knowing not themselves at what port they must land; others, wasting both time and study, lose themselves in the investigation of abstruse trifling, and thus grow estranged from the study of divine things and of the real springs of doctrine. This hot-bed of error and perdition (which has come to be known commonly as modernism from its craving for unhealthy novelty) although denounced several times and unmasked by the very excesses of its adepts, continues to be a most grave and deep evil. It lurks like poison in the vitals of modern society, estranged as this is from God and His Church, and it is especially eating its way like a cancer among the young generations which are naturally the most inexperienced and heedless. It is not the result of solid study and true knowledge, for there can be no real conflict between reason and faith (Concil. Vatic., Constit. Dei filius, cap. 4). But it is the result of intellectual pride and of the pestiferous atmosphere that prevails of ignorance or confused knowledge of the things of religion, united with the stupid presumption of speaking about and discussing them. And this deadly infection is further fomented by a spirit of incredulity and of rebellion against God, so that those who are seized by the blind frenzy for novelty consider that they are all sufficient for themselves, and that they are at liberty to throw off either openly or by subterfuge the entire yoke of divine authority, fashioning for themselves according to their own caprice a vague, naturalistic individual religiosity, borrowing the name and some semblance of Christianity but with none of its life and truth.
- Now in all this it is not difficult to recognize one of the many forms of the eternal war waged against divine truth, and one that is all the more dangerous from the fact that its weapons are craftily concealed with a covering of fictitious piety, ingenuous candor, and earnestness, in the hands of factious men who use them to reconcile things that are absolutely irreconcilable, viz., the extravagances of a fickle human science with divine faith, and the spirit of a frivolous world with the dignity and constancy of the Church.
- But if you see all this, venerable brethren,. and deplore it bitterly with Us, you are not therefore cast down or without all hope. You know of the great conflicts that other times have brought upon the Christian people, very different though they were from our own days. We have but to turn again to the age in which Anselm lived, so full of difficulties as it appears in the annals of the Church. Then indeed was it necessary to fight for the altar and the home, for the sanctity of public law, for liberty, civilization, sound doctrine, of all of which the Church alone was the teacher and the defender among the nations, to curb the violence of princes who arrogated to themselves the right of treading upon the most sacred liberties, to eradicate the vices, ignorance, and uncouthness of the people, not yet entirely stripped of their old barbarism and often enough refractory to the educating influence of the Church, to rouse a part of the clergy who had grown lax or lawless in their conduct, inasmuch as not unfrequently they were selected arbitrarily and according to a perverse system of election by the princes, and controlled by and bound to these in all things.
- Such was the state of things notably in those countries on whose behalf Anselm especially labored, either by his teaching as master, by his example as religious, or by his assiduous vigilance and many-sided activity as Archbishop and Primate. For his great services were especially accomplished for the provinces of Gaul which a few centuries before had fallen into the hands of the Normans, and by the islands of Britain which only a few centuries before had come to the Church. In both countries the convulsions caused by revolutions within and wars without gave rise to looseness of discipline both among the rulers and their subjects, among the clergy and the people.
- Abuses like these were bitterly lamented by the great men of the time, such as Lanfranc, Anselm’s master and later his predecessor in the see of Canterbury, and still more by the Roman Pontiffs, among whom it will suffice to mention here the courageous Gregory VII, the intrepid champion of justice, unswerving defender of the rights of the Church, vigilant guardian and defender of the sanctity of the clergy.
- Strong in their example and rivaling them in their zeal, Anselm also lamented the same evils, writing thus to a prince of his people, and one who rejoiced to describe himself as his relation by blood and affection: “You see, my dearest Lord, how the Church of God, our Mother, whom God calls His Fair One and His Beloved Spouse, is trodden underfoot by bad princes, how she is placed in tribulation for their eternal damnation by those to whom she was recommended by God as to protectors who would defend her, with what presumption they have usurped for their own uses the things that belong to her, the cruelty with which they despise and violate religion and her law. Disdaining obedience to the decrees of the Apostolic See, made for the defense of religion, they surely convict themselves of disobedience to the Apostle Peter whose place he holds, nay, to Christ who recommended His Church to Peter. . . Because they who refuse to be subject to the law of God are surely reputed the enemies of God” (Epist. lib. iii. epist. 65). Thus wrote Anselm, and would that his words had been treasured by the successor and the descendants of that most potent prince, and by the other sovereigns and peoples who were so loved and counseled and served by him.
- But persecution, exile, spoliation, the trials and toils of hard fighting, far from shaking, only rooted deeper Anselm’s love for the Church and the Apostolic See. “I fear no exile, or poverty or torments or death, because, while God strengthens me, for all these things my heart is prepared for the sake of the obedience due to the Apostolic See and the liberty of the Church of Christ, my Mother,” (Ib. lib. iii. ep. 73), he wrote to Our Predecessor Paschal amid his greatest difficulties. And if he has recourse to the Chair of Peter for protection and help, the sole reason is: “Lest through me and on account of me the constancy of ecclesiastical devotion and Apostolic authority should ever be in the least degree weakened.” And then he gives his reason, which for Us is the badge of pastoral dignity and strength: “I would rather die, and while I live I would rather undergo penury in exile, rather than see the honor of the Church of God dimmed in the slightest degree on my account or through my example” (Ib. Lib. iv. ep. 47).
- That same honor, liberty, and purity of the Church is ever in his mind; he yearns for it with sighs, prayers, sacrifices; he works for it with all his might both in vigorous resistance and in manly patience; and he defends it by his acts, his writings, his words. He recommends it in language strong and sweet to his brethren in religion; to the bishops, the clergy, and to all the faithful; but with more of severity to those princes who outraged it to the great injury of themselves and their subjects.
- These noble appeals for sacred liberty have a timely echo in our days on the lips of those “whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God” (Act. xx 28) — timely even though they were to find no hearing by reason of the decay of faith or the perversity of men or the blindness of prejudice. To Us, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, are especially addressed the words of the Lord: “Cry out give yourself no rest, raise your voice like a trumpet” (Isai. lviii. I), and all the more that “the Most High has made His voice heard” (Psalmus xvii. 14), in the trembling of nature and in tremendous calamities: “the voice of the Lord shaking the earth,” ringing in our ears a terrible warning and bringing home to us the hard lesson that all but the eternal is vanity, that “we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come (Hebr. xiii. 14), but, also, a voice not only of justice, but of mercy and of wholesome reminder to the erring nations. In the midst of these public calamities it behooves us to cry aloud and make known the great truths of the faith not only to the people, to the humble, the afflicted, but to the powerful and the rich, to them that decide and govern the policy of nations, to make known to all the great truths which history confirms by its great and disastrous lessons such as that “sin makes the nations miserable” (Prov. xiv. 34), “that a most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule” (Sap. vi. 7), with the admonition of Psalm ii.: “And now, ye kings, understand; receive instruction, you that judge the earth. Serve the Lord with fear . . . embrace discipline lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.” More bitter shall be the consequences of these threats when the vices of society are being multiplied, when the sin of rulers and of the people consists especially in the exclusion of God and in rebellion against the Church of Christ: that double social apostasy which is the deplorable fount of anarchy, corruption, and endless misery for the individual and for society.
- And since silence or indolence on our part, as unfortunately is not unfrequently the case among the good, would incriminate us too, let every one of the sacred Pastors take as said to himself for the defense of his flock, and bring home to others in due season, Anselm’s words to the mighty Prince of Flanders: “As you are my Lord and truly beloved by me in God, I pray, conjure, admonish and counsel you, as the guardian of your soul, not to believe that your lofty dignity is diminished if you love and defend the liberty of the Spouse of God and your Mother, the Church, not to think that you abase yourself when you exalt her, not to believe that you weaken yourself when you strengthen her. Look round you and see; the examples are before you; consider the princes that attack and maltreat her, what do they gain by it, what do they attain? It is so clear that there is no need to say it” (Epist., lib. iv. ep. 32). And all this he explains with his usual force and gentleness to the powerful Baldwin, King of Jerusalem: “As your faithful friend, I pray, admonish, and conjure you, and I pray God that you live under God’s law and in all things submit your will to the will of God. For it is only when you reign according to the will of God that you reign for your own welfare. Nor permit yourself to believe, like so many bad kings, that the Church of God has been given to you that you may use her as a servant, but remember that she has been recommended to you as an advocate and defender.” In this world God loves nothing more than the liberty of His Church. “They who seek not so much to serve as to rule her, are clearly acting in opposition to God. God wills His Spouse to be free and not a slave. Those who treat her and honor her as sons surely show that they are her sons and the sons of God, while those who lord it over her, as over a subject, make themselves not children but strangers to her, and are therefore excluded from the heritage and the dower promised to her” (Ibid. ep. 8). Thus did he unbosom his heart so full of love for the Church; thus did he show his zeal in defense of her liberty, so necessary in the government of the Christian family and so dear to God, as the same great Doctor concisely affirmed in the energetic words: “In this world God loves nothing more than the liberty of His Church.” Nor can We, venerable brethren, make known to you Our feelings better than by repeating that beautiful expression.
- Equally opportune are other admonitions addressed by the Saint to the powerful. Thus, for example, he wrote to Queen Matilda of England: “If you wish in very deed to return thanks rightly and well and efficaciously to God, take into your consideration that Queen whom He was pleased to select for His Spouse in this world. . . Take her, I say, into your consideration, exalt her, that with her and in her you may be able to please God and reign with her in eternal bliss” (Epist., lib. iii. ep. 57). And especially when you chance to meet with some son who puffed up with earthly greatness lives unmindful of his mother, or hostile or rebellious to her, then remember that: “it is for you to suggest frequently, in season and out of season, these and other admonitions, and to suggest that he show himself not the master but the advocate, not the step-son but the real son of the Church” (Ibid. ep. 59). It behooves Us, too, Us especially, to inculcate that other saying so noble and so paternal of Anselm: “Whenever I hear anything of you displeasing to God and unbecoming to yourselves, and fail to admonish you, I do not fear God nor love you as I ought” (Ibid. Lib. iv. ep. 52). And especially when it comes to Our ears that you treat the churches in your power in a manner unworthy of them and of your own soul, then, We should imitate Anselm by renewing Our prayers, counsels, admonitions “that you think over these things carefully and if your conscience warns you that there is something to be corrected in them that you hasten to make the correction” (Epist., lib. iv. epist. 32). “For nothing is to be neglected that can be corrected, since God demands an account from all not only of the evil they do but also of the correction of evil which they can correct. And the more power men have to make the necessary correction the more vigorously does He require them, according to the power mercifully communicated to them, to think and act rightly . . . And if you cannot do everything all at once, you must not on that account cease your efforts to advance from better to better, because God in His goodness is wont to bring to perfection good intentions and good effort, and to reward them with blessed plenitude” (Ibid. Lib. iii. epist. 142).
- These and similar admonitions, most wise and holy, given by Anselm even to the lords and kings of the world, may well be repeated by the pastors and princes of the Church, as the natural defenders of truth, justice, and religion in the world. In our times, indeed, the obstacles in the way of doing this have been enormously increased so that there is, in truth, hardly room to stand without difficulty and danger. For while unbridled license reigns supreme the Church is obstinately fettered, the very name of liberty is mocked, and new devices are constantly being invented to thwart the work of yourselves and your clergy, so that it is no wonder that “you are not able to do everything all at once” for the correction of the erring, the suppression of abuses, the promotion of right ideas and right living, and the mitigation of the evils which weigh on the Church.
- But there is comfort for us: the Lord liveth and “He will make all things work together unto good to them that love God” (Rom. viii. 28). Even from these evils He will bring good, and above all the obstacles devised by human perversity He will make more splendid the triumph of His work and of His Church. Such is the wonderful design of the Divine Wisdom and such “His unsearchable ways” (Ib. xi. 33) in the present order of Providence — “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways, said the Lord” (Isai. Iv. 8) — that the Church of Christ is destined ever to renew in herself the life of her Divine Founder who suffered so much, and in a manner to “fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ” (Coloss. i. 24). Hence her condition as militant on earth divinely constrains her to live in the midst of contentions, troubles, and difficulties, that thus “through many tribulations she may enter into the kingdom of God” (Act. xiv. 21), and at last be united with the Church triumphant in heaven.
- Anselm’s commentary on the passage of St. Matthew: ” Jesus constrained His disciples to enter the boat,” is directly to the point: “The words in their mystical sense summarize the state of the Church from the coming of Jesus Christ to the end of the world. The ship, then, was buffeted by the waves in the midst of the sea, while Jesus remained on the summit of the mountain; for ever since the Savior ascended to heaven holy Church has been agitated by great tribulations in the world, buffeted by various storms of persecution, harassed by the divers perversities of the wicked, and in many ways assailed by vice. Because the wind was contrary, because the influence of malign spirits is constantly opposed to her to prevent her from reaching the port of salvation, striving to submerge her under the opposing waves of the world, stirring up against her all possible difficulties” (Hom. iii. 22).
- They err greatly, therefore, who lose faith during the storm, wishing for themselves and the Church a permanent state of perfect tranquillity, universal prosperity, and practical, unanimous and uncontested recognition of her sacred authority. But the error is worse when men deceive themselves with the idea of gaining an ephemeral peace by cloaking the rights and interests of the Church, by sacrificing them to private interests, by minimizing them unjustly, by truckling to the world, “the whole of which is seated in wickedness” (I Ioan. v. 19) on the pretext of reconciling the followers of novelties and bringing them back to the Church, as though any composition were possible between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial. This hallucination is as old as the world, but it is always modern and always present in the world so long as there are soldiers who are timid or treacherous, and at the first onset ready to throw down their arms or open negotiations with the enemy, who is the irreconcilable enemy of God and man.
- It is for you, therefore, venerable brethren, whom Divine Providence has constituted to be the pastors and leaders of the Christian people, to resist with all your strength this most fatal tendency of modern society to lull itself in a shameful indolence while war is being waged against religion, seeking a cowardly neutrality made up of weak schemes and compromises to the injury of divine and human rights, to the oblivion of Christ’s clear sentence: “He that is not with me is against me” (Matt. xii. 30). Not indeed that it is not well at times to waive our rights as far as may lawfully be done and as the good of souls requires. And certainly this defect can never be charged to you who are spurred on by the charity of Christ. But this is only a reasonable condescension, which can be made without the slightest detriment to duty, and which does not at all affect the eternal principles of truth and justice.
- Thus we read how it was verified in the cause of Anselm, or rather in the cause of God and the Church, for which Anselm had to undergo such long and bitter conflicts. And when he had settled at last the long contest Our Predecessor Paschal II wrote to him: “We believe that it has been through your charity and through your persistent prayers that the Divine mercy has been persuaded to turn to the people entrusted to your care.” And referring to the paternal indulgence shown by the Supreme Pontiff to the guilty, he adds: “As regards the great indulgence We have shown, know that it is the fruit of Our great affection and compassion in order that We might be able to lift up those who were down. For if the one standing erect merely holds out his hand to a fallen man, he will never lift him unless he too bends down a little. Besides, although this act of stooping may seem like the act of falling, it never goes so far as to lose the equilibrium of rectitude” (In lib. iii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 140).
- In making our own these words of Our most pious Predecessor, written for the consolation of Anselm, We would not hide Our very keen sense of the danger which confronts the very best among the pastors of the Church of passing the just limit either of indulgence or resistance. How they have realized this danger is easily to be seen in the anxieties, trepidations, and tears of most holy men who have had borne in upon them the terrible responsibility of the government of souls and the greatness of the danger to which they are exposed, but it is to be seen most strikingly in the life of Anselm. When he was torn from the solitude of the studious life of the cloister, to be raised to a lofty dignity in most difficult times, he found himself a prey to the most tormenting solicitude and anxiety, and chief of all the fear that he might not do enough for the salvation of his own soul and the souls of his people, for the honor of God and of His Church. But amid all these anxieties and in the grief he felt at seeing himself abandoned culpably by many, even including his brethren in the episcopate, his one great comfort was his trust in God and in the Apostolic See. Threatened with shipwreck, and while the storm raged round him, he took refuge in the bosom of the Church, his Mother, invoking from the Roman Pontiff pitiful and prompt aid and comfort (Epistol. lib. iii. ep. 37); God, perhaps, permitted that this great man, full of wisdom and sanctity as he was, should suffer such heavy tribulation, in order that he might be a comfort and an example to us in the greatest difficulties and trials of the pastoral ministry, and that the sentence of Paul might be realized in each one of us: “Gladly will I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities . . . for when I am weak then am I powerful” (2 Cor. xii. 9, 10). Such indeed are the sentiments which Anselm expressed to Urban II.: “Holy Father, I am grieved that I am not what I was, grieved to be a bishop, because by reason of my sins I do not perform the office of a bishop. While I was in a lowly position, I seemed to be doing something; set in a lofty place, burdened by an immense weight, I gain no fruit for myself, and am of no use to anybody. I give way beneath the burden because I am incredibly poor in the strength, virtue, zeal, and knowledge necessary for so great an office. I would fain flee from the insupportable anxiety and leave the burden behind me, but, on the other hand, I fear to offend God. The fear of God obliged me to accept it, the same fear of God constrains me to retain the same burden. Now, since God’s will is hidden from me, and I know not what to do, I wander about in sighs, and know not how to put an end to it all” (Epist. Lib. iii. ep. 37).
- Thus does God bring home even to saintly men their natural weakness, in order the better to make manifest in them the power of strength from above, and, by a humble and real sense of their individual insufficiency, to preserve with greater force their obedience to the authority of the Church. We see it in the case of Anselm and of other contemporaries of his who fought for the liberty and doctrine of the Church under the guidance of the Apostolic See. The fruit of their obedience was victory in the strife, and their example confirmed the Divine sentence that “the obedient man will sing victory” (Prov. xxi. 28). The hope of the same reward shines out for all those who obey Christ in His Vicar in all that concerns the guidance of souls, or the government of the Church, or that is in any way connected with these objects: since “upon the authority of the Holy See depend the directions and the counsels of the sons of the Church” (Epist. Lib. iv. ep. 1).
- How Anselm excelled in this virtue, with what warmth and fidelity he ever maintained perfect union with the Apostolic See, may be seen in the words he wrote to Pope Paschal: “How earnestly my mind, according to the measure of its power, clings in reverence and obedience to the Apostolic See, is proved by the many and most painful tribulations of my heart, which are known only to God and myself… From this union I hope in God that there is nothing which could ever separate me. Therefore do I desire, as far as this is possible, to put all my acts at the disposition of this same authority in order that it may direct and when necessary correct them” (Ibid. ep. 5).
- The same strong constancy is shown in all his actions and writings, and especially in his letters which Our Predecessor Paschal describes as “written with the pen of charity” (In lib. iii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 74). But in his letters to the Pontiff he does not content himself with imploring pitiful aid and comfort; he also promises assiduous prayers, in most tender words of filial affection and unswerving faith, as when, while still Abbot of Bec, he wrote to Urban II: “For your tribulation and that of the Roman Church, which is our tribulation and that of all the true faithful, we never cease praying God assiduously to mitigate your evil days, till the pit be dug for the sinner. And although He seems to delay, we are certain that the Lord will not leave the scepter of sinners over the heritage of the just, that He will never abandon His heritage and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (In libro ii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 33).
- In this and other similar letters of Anselm We find wonderful comfort not only in the renewal of the memory of a Saint so devoted to the Apostolic See, but because they serve to recall your own letters and your other innumerable proofs of devotion, venerable brethren, in similar conflicts and similar sorrows.
- Certainly it is a wonderful thing that the union of the Bishops and the faithful with the Roman Pontiff has drawn ever more and more close amid the hurtling of the storms that have been let loose on Christianity through the ages, and in our own times it has become so unanimous and so warm that its divine character is more apparent than ever before. It is indeed Our greatest consolation, as it is the glory and the invincible bulwark of the Church. But its very force makes it all the more an object of envy to the demon and of hatred to the world, which knows nothing similar to it in earthly societies, and finds no explanation of it in political and human reasonings, seeing that it is the fulfillment of Christ’s sublime prayer at the Last Supper.
- But, venerable brethren, it behooves us to strive by all means to preserve this divine union and render it ever more intimate and cordial, fixing our gaze not on human considerations but on those that are divine, in order that we may be all one thing alone in Christ. By developing this noble effort we shall fulfill ever better our sublime mission which is that of continuing and propagating the work of Christ, and of His Kingdom on earth. This, indeed, is why the Church throughout the ages continues to repeat the loving prayer, which is also the warmest aspiration of Our heart: “Holy Father, keep them in thy name, whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we also are” (loan. xvii. 11).
- This effort is necessary not only to oppose the assaults from without of those who fight openly against the liberty and the rights of the Church, but also in order to meet the dangers from within, arising from that second kind of war which We deplored above when We made mention of those misguided persons who are trying by their cunning systems to overthrow from the foundations the very constitution and essence of the Church, to stain the purity of her doctrine, and destroy her entire discipline. For even still there continues to circulate that poison which has been inoculated into many even among the clergy, and especially the young clergy, who have, as We have said, become infected by the pestilential atmosphere, in their unbridled craving for novelty which is drawing them to the abyss and drowning them.
- Then again, by a deplorable aberration, the very progress, good in itself, of positive science and material prosperity, gives occasion and pretext for a display of intolerable arrogance towards divinely revealed truth on the part of many weak and intemperate minds. But these should rather remember the many mistakes and the frequent contradictions made by the followers of rash novelties in those questions of a speculative and practical order most vital for man; and realize that human pride is punished by never being able to be coherent with itself and by suffering shipwreck without ever sighting the port of truth. They are not able to profit by their own experience to humble themselves and “to destroy the counsels and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every understanding even unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. x. 4, 5).
- Nay, their very arrogance has led them into the other extreme, and their philosophy throwing doubt on everything has involved them in darkness: hence the present profession of agnosticism with other absurd doctrines springing from an infinite series of systems in discord with one another and with right reason; so that “they have become vain in their thoughts . . . for professing themselves to be wise they became fools” (Rom. i. 21, 22).
- But unfortunately their grandiloquent phrases and their promises of a new wisdom, fallen as it were from heaven, and of new methods of thought, have found favor with many young men, as those of the Manicheans found favor with Augustine, and have returned these aside, more or less unconsciously, from the right road. But concerning such pernicious masters of an insane knowledge, of their aims, their illusions, their erroneous and disastrous systems, We have spoken at great length in Our Encyclical Letter of September 8, 1907, “Pascendi dominici gregis.”
- Here it is well to note that if the dangers We have mentioned are more serious and more imminent in our own days, they are not altogether different from those that threatened the doctrine of the Church in the time of St. Anselm, and that we may find in his labors as Doctor almost the same help and comfort for the safeguarding of the truth as we found in his apostolic firmness for the defense of the liberty and rights of the Church.
- Without entering here in detail into the intellectual state of the clergy and people in that distant age, there was a notable danger in a twofold excess to which the intellects of the time were prone.
- There was at the time a class of lightminded and vain men, fed on a superficial erudition, who became incredibly puffed up with their undigested culture, and allowed themselves to be led away by a simulacrum of philosophy and dialectics. In their inane fallacy, which they called by the name of science, “they despised the sacred authority, dared with impious temerity to dispute one or other of the dogmas professed by Catholic faith . . . and in their foolish pride considered anything they could not understand as impossible, instead of confessing with humble wisdom that there might be many things beyond the reach of their comprehension. . . For there are some who immediately they have begun to grow the horns of an overweening knowledge — not knowing that when a person thinks he knows something, he does not yet know in what manner he should know it — before they have grown spiritual wings through firmness in the faith, are wont to rise presumptuously to the highest questions of the faith. Thus it happens that while against all right rules they endeavor to rise prematurely by their intelligence, their lack of intelligence brings them down to manifold errors” (S. Anselm., “De Fide Trinitatis,” cap. 2). And of such as these we have many painful examples under our eyes!
- Others, again, there were of a more timid nature, who in their terror at the many cases of those who had made shipwreck of the faith, and fearing the danger of the science that puffeth up, went so far as to exclude altogether the use of philosophy, if not of all rational discussion of the sacred doctrines.
- Midway between these two excesses stands the Catholic practice. which. while it abhors the presumption of the first class who “puffed up like bladders with the wind of vanity” (according to the phrase of Gregory XIV in the succeeding age) “went beyond the true limits in their efforts to establish the faith by natural reason adulterating the word of God with the figments of the philosopher” (Gregor. IX, Epist. “Tacti dolore cordis” ad theologos Parisien, 7 Jul. 1228), so too it condemns the negligence of the second class in their excessive neglect of true investigation, and the absence of all desire in them “to draw profit from the faith for their intelligence” (In lib. ii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 41.), especially when their office requires of them to defend the Catholic faith against the errors that arise on all sides.
- For this defense, it may well be said that Anselm was raised up by God to point out by his example, his words, and his writings, the safe road, to unseal for the common good the spring of Christian wisdom and to be the guide and rule of those Catholic teachers who after him taught “the sacred letters by the method of the school” (Breviar. Rom., die 21 Aprilis), and who thus came rightly to be esteemed and celebrated as their precursor.
- Not, indeed, that the Doctor of Aosta reached all at once the heights of theological and philosophical speculation, or the reputation of the two supreme masters Thomas and Bonaventure. The later fruits of the wisdom of these last did not ripen but with time and the collaboration of many doctors. Anselm himself, with that great modesty so characteristic of the truly wise, and with all his learning and perspicacity, never published any writings except such as were called forth by circumstances, or when compelled thereto by some authority, and in those he did publish he protests that “if there is anything that calls for correction he does not refuse the correction” (“Cur Deus homo,” lib. ii. cap. 23), nay, when the question is a debated one, and not connected with the faith, he tells his disciple: “you must not so cling to what we have said as to abide by it obstinately, when others with more weighty arguments succeed in overthrowing ours and establishing opinions against them; should that happen you will not deny at least that what we have said has been of profit for exercise in controversy” (“De Grammatico,” cap. 21 sub finem).
- Yet Anselm accomplished far more than he ever expected or than others expected of him. He secured a position in which his merits were not dimmed by the glory of those that came after him, not even of the great Thomas, even when the latter declined to accept all his conclusions and treated more clearly and accurately questions already treated by him. To Anselm belongs the distinction of having opened the road to speculation, of removing the doubts of the timid, the dangers of the incautious, and the injuries done by the quarrelsome and the sophistical, “the heretical dialecticians” of his time, as he rightly calls them, in whom reason was the slave of the imagination and of vanity (“De fide Trinitatis” cap. 2).
- Against these latter he observes that “while all are to be warned to enter with the utmost circumspection upon questions affecting the Sacred Scriptures, these dialecticians of our time are to be completely debarred from the discussion of spiritual questions.” And the reason he assigns for this is especially applicable now to those who imitate them under our eyes, repeating their old errors: “For in their souls, reason, which should be the king and the guide of all that is in man, is so mixed up with corporal imaginations that it is impossible to disentangle it from these, nor is itself able to distinguish from them things that it alone and pure should contemplate” (Ibid. cap. 2). Appropriate, too, for our own times are those words of his in which he ridicules those false philosophers, “who because they are not able to understand what they believe dispute the truth of the faith itself, confirmed by the Holy Fathers, just as if bats and owls who see the heaven only by night were to dispute concerning the rays of the sun at noon, against eagles who gaze at the sun unblinkingly” (Ibid.).
- Hence too he condemns, here or elsewhere, the perverse opinion of those who conceded too much to philosophy by attributing to it the right to invade the domain of theology. In refuting this foolish theory he defines well the confines proper to each, and hints sufficiently clearly at the functions of reason in the things of divinely revealed doctrine: “Our faith,” he says, “must be defended by reason against the impious” (In lib. ii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 41). But how and how far? The question is answered in the words that follow: “It must be shown to them reasonably how unreasonable is their contempt of us” (Ibid.). The chief office, therefore, of philosophy is to show us the reasonableness of our faith and the consequent obligation of believing the divine authority proposing to us the profoundest mysteries, which with all signs of credibility that testify to them, are supremely worthy of being believed. Far different is the proper function of Christian theology, which is based on the fact of divine revelation and renders more solid in the faith those who already profess to enjoy the honor of the name of Christian. “Hence it is altogether clear that no Christian should dispute as to how that is not which the Catholic Church believes with the heart and confesses with the mouth, but even holding beyond all doubt the same faith, loving and living according to it, must seek as far as reason is able, how it is. If he is able to understand let him return thanks, let him not prepare his horns for attack, but bow his head in reverence” (“De fide Trinitatis,” cap 2).
- When, therefore, theologians search and the faithful ask for reasons concerning our faith, it is not for the purpose of founding on them their faith, which has for its foundation the authority of God revealing; yet, as Anselm puts it, “as right order requires that we believe the profundities of the faith before we presume to discuss them with our reason, so it seems to me to be negligence if after we have been confirmed in the faith we do not strive to understand what we believe” (“Cur Deus homo,” lib. i. c. 2). And here Anselm means that intelligence of which the Vatican Council speaks (Constit. “Dei filius,” cap 4). For, as he shows elsewhere, “although since the time of the Apostles many of our Holy Fathers and Doctors say so many and such great things of the reason of our faith . . . yet they were not able to say all they might have said had they lived longer; and the reason of the truth is so ample and so deep that it can never be exhausted by mortals; and the Lord does not cease to impart the gifts of grace in his Church, with whom He promises to be until the consummation of the world. And to say nothing of the other texts in which the Sacred Scripture invites us to investigate reason, in the one in which it says that if you do not believe you will not understand, it plainly admonishes us to extend intention to understanding, when it teaches us how we are to advance towards it.” Nor is the last reason he alleges to be neglected: “In the midst between faith and vision is the intellectual knowledge which is within our reach in this life, and the more one can advance in this the nearer he approaches to the vision, for which we all yearn” (“De fide Trinitatis,” Praefatio).
- With these and the like principles Anselm laid the foundations of the true principles of philosophical and theological studies which other most learned men, the princes of scholasticism, and chief among them the Doctor of Aquin, followed, developed, illustrated and perfected to the great honor and protection of the Church. If We have insisted so willingly on this distinction of Anselm, it is in order to have a new and much-desired occasion, venerable brethren, to inculcate upon you to see to it that you bring back youth, especially among the clergy, to the most wholesome springs of Christian wisdom, first opened by the Doctor of Aosta and abundantly enriched by Aquinas. On this head remember always the instructions of Our Predecessor Leo XIII, of happy memory (Encyclical “Aeterni Patris,” diei 4 Augusti, an. 1879), and those We have Ourself given more than once, and again in the above-mentioned Encyclical “Pascendi dominici gregis.” Bitter experience only too clearly proves every day the loss and the ruin ensuing from the neglect of these studies, or from the pursuit of them without a clear and sure method; while many, before being fitted or prepared, presume to discuss the deepest questions of the faith (“De fide Trinitatis,” cap. 2). Deploring this evil with Anselm, We repeat the strong recommendations made by him: “Let no one rashly plunge into the intricate questions of divine things until he has first acquired, with firmness in the faith, gravity of conduct and of wisdom, lest while discussing with uncautious levity amid the manifold twistings of sophistry he fall into the toils of some tenacious error” (Ibid.). And this same incautious levity, when heated, as so often is the case, at the fire of the passions, proves the total ruin of serious studies and of the integrity of doctrine. Because, puffed up with that foolish pride, lamented by Anselm in the heretical dialecticians of his time, they despise the sacred authorities of the Holy Scriptures, and of the Fathers and Doctors, concerning which a more modest genius would be glad to use instead the respectful words of Anselm: “Neither in our own time nor in the future do we ever hope to see their like in the contemplation of the truth” (“De fide Trinitatis,” Praefatio.)
- Nor do they hold in greater account the authority of the Church and of the Supreme Pontiff whenever efforts are made to bring them to a better sense, although at times as far as words go they are lavish of promises of submission as long as they can hope to hide themselves behind these and gain credit and protection. This contempt almost bars the way of all wellfounded hope of the conversion of the erring; while they refuse obedience to him “to whom Divine Providence as to the Lord and Father of the whole Church in its pilgrimage on earth . . . has entrusted the custody of Christian life and faith and government of His Church; wherefore when anything arises in the Church against the Catholic faith to no other authority but his is it to be rightly referred for correction, and to no other with such certainty as to him has it been shown what answer is to be made to error in order that it may be examined by his prudence” (Ibid. cap. 2). And would to God that these poor wanderers on whose lips one so often hears the fair words of sincerity, conscience, religious experience, the faith that is felt and lived, and so on, learned their lessons from Anselm, understood his holy teachings, imitated his glorious example, and, above all, took deeply to heart those words of his: “First the heart is to be purified by faith, and first the eyes are to be illuminated by the observance of the precepts of the Lord . . . and first with humble obedience to the testimonies of God we must become small to learn wisdom . . . and not only when faith and obedience to the commandments are removed is the mind hindered from ascending to the intelligence of higher truths, but often enough the intelligence that has been given is taken away and faith is overthrown, when right conscience is neglected” (“De Fide Trinitatis,” cap. 2).
- But if the erring continue obstinately to scatter the seeds of dissension and error, to waste the patrimony of the sacred doctrine of the Church, to attack discipline, to heap contempt on venerated customs, “to destroy which is a species of heresy” in the phrase of St. Anselm, and to destroy the constitution of the Church in its very foundations, then all the more strictly must we watch, venerable brethren, and keep away from Our flock, and especially from youth which is the most tender part of it, so deadly a pest. This grace We implore of God with incessant prayers, interposing the most powerful patronage of the august Mother of God and the intercession of the blessed citizens of the Church triumphant, St. Anselm especially, shining light of Christian wisdom, incorrupt guardian and valiant defender of all the sacred rights of the Church, to whom We would here, in conclusion, address the same words that Our Holy Predecessor, Gregory VII, wrote to him during his lifetime: “Since the sweet odor of your good works has reached Us, We return due thanks for them to God, and We embrace you heartily in the love of Christ, holding it for certain that by your example the Church of God has been greatly benefited, and that by your prayers and those of men like you she may even be liberated from the dangers that hang over her, with the mercy of Christ to succor us” (S. Anselm, “De nuptiis consanguinerorum,” cap. 1). “Hence We beg your fraternity to implore God assiduously to relieve the Church and Us who govern it, albeit unworthily, from the pressing assaults of the heretics, and lead these from their errors to the way of truth” (In lib. ii. Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 31).
- Supported by this great protection, and trusting in your co-operation, We bestow the Apostolic Benediction with all affection in the Lord, as a pledge of heavenly grace and in testimony of Our goodwill, on all of you, venerable brethren, and on the clergy and people entrusted to each of you.
Given at Rome at St. Peter’s on the Feast of St. Anselm, April 21, 1909, in the eighth year of Our Pontificate.